8th December 2022
Read (Hebrews 11v29-30)
Message (Scott Woodburn)
Have you ever heard the phrase "between a rock and a hard place"? It means that you are caught in a difficult situation with trouble on both sides. For the Israelites who left Egypt the rock was the Red Sea and the hard place was the advancing Egyptian army. On one side was death by drowning and on the other was death by sword, spear and arrow.
Things were so bad that the Israelites complained to Moses “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14v11-12)
It's extraordinary that despite witnessing the plagues, the pass over, the cloud and fiery pillar these people quickly turned to faithlessness. It is incredibly easy to judge them and pretend that we would never make the same mistakes but truth be told we are often just as faithless as the Israelites.
Despite their pleas Moses was clear “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14v13)
What followed was yet another miraculous intervention by the Lord. Moses reached out his hand and the Lord sent a strong wind which divided the Red Sea and created a path for the Israelites to safely follow. As the Egyptians gave chase, the Lord commanded Moses to stretch out his hand again. This time the waters returned to their normal position and the Egyptian army was destroyed.
Forty years later (after much rebellion and wandering) a new generation of Israelites would be called to follow an unorthodox approach. The Lord told them that He had given them the city of Jericho which in turn opened the way to the promised land of Canaan. They wouldn't take the city with military might, instead they were to march around the city walls once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day they were to march around the city walls seven times. Joshua 6 tells the whole story but needless to say the end result was the destruction of the walls and city of Jericho. The people accepted all of this by faith.
Faith believes God even when the situation seems bleak and faith willingly accepts that our God is able to do stunningly miraculous things. In this faithless generation we would love to see walls falling and seas parting but perhaps you have missed an even greater miracle in your own home? The Lord is able to take a spiritually dead sinner like you and give you a heart of flesh that willingly receives Christ by faith. Without the movement of God, no one would seek Him, no one would want Him and no one would be saved. Instead He tears down the hard walls that surround our hearts and He parts the waters of sin.
We are recipients of God's miraculous saving grace and yet sadly still often respond with faithlessness. We must repent today of our hard heartedness and eyes which often look back to Egypt. May God forgive us and remind us of His miraculous deeds. In response as exiled pilgrims we fall silent before Him (Exodus 14v13) in faith and fear (Exodus 14v31).
Q18 Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell? The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.