These words in ‘HEB 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.’ took us back to Ex.14 a couple of weeks ago. And today I want us to go there once more and hear what the Spirit is saying.
Scripture Reading: Ex. 14: 13-31 Verse 16 begins with these three words- “As for you…” And verse 17 begins with these three words- “As for Me…” Based upon these six words here is the theme of today’s message: “As for you- As for Me.” There is nothing that will wear us out any more quickly than failing to distinguish between our responsibility and God’s responsibility. When this happens we take upon ourselves the role of God while missing entirely the role that God has assigned to us. Directing God is a burden we are not designed to carry. Responding to His direction is true freedom and life. This may be a very simple thought- but I can assure you it is a huge issue. And for the next few minutes I want to work it out within the context of this incredible event of the Exodus. To fully appreciate what God spoke to Moses in verse 16 you must first understand what He spoke to him in verse 15. Here it is: EX 14:15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. In many respects I see this as the most pivotal moment in this whole event. When would God ever say to His people- “Why are you crying out to Me?” I think the answer is clear- and I think the lesson is critical. There is a time to cry out to the Lord. But when God speaks His direction and we go right on praying for direction- our prayer has become redundant. Beyond that it is possible- highly possible- that our “ praying” has very subtly become our way of avoiding the required obedience to His commanded direction. To understand why God’s people might fall into this place we must first understand the obedience to which the direction of God has called them. In this case the command is very simple: “Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” 1 The whole command is actually expressed in two words: “…go forward.” On some days the command-“…go forward” seems to be a lot more doable than it does other days? And I can assure you that on that particular day reported in Ex.14 there was no evidence in the sense realm of the do-ability of “Go forward”. In fact every evidence in the sense realm shouted- “There is no possible way to go forward.” You need to see the position they were in. They have the sophisticated military “machine” of Egypt quite literally breathing down their necks. They are surrounded by wilderness in which there is no familiarity- no frame of reference. The people are crying out to the Lord with one breath- while cursing Moses and articulating all the reasons why this is never going to work with the next breath. Into the swirl of all of that there comes two words of direction from God- “…go forward.”- and somehow that is supposed to dispel all the confusion, all the fear and the negative emotion of a million or more people. It is well and good to celebrate the prophetic and directive word of the Spirit. But it is grossly immature and naïve to shut our eyes to the practical realities involved in walking that word out. “Go forward” is a wonderful word- depending upon what is immediately in front of you. And we all know what was immediately in front of them that day. “Go forward” on that day meant- go into the sea. I spoke to you last Sunday on-‘The Vulnerability of Faith’. Well, here it is in spades. As much as the church has romanticized the miraculous in this- let us not forget the vulnerability of our humanity and of our senses. To find yourself between two towering walls of something as instable and fluid as water is to appreciate the incredible challenge of what seems to be a simple word of direction from the Lord- “Go forward” How can I say this? How can I articulate the conviction and the passion of the prophetic reality that is in my spirit regarding where we are- and what the God of the Exodus is saying to us right now? We are already beyond the edge of the sea. We are somewhere between this side and that sidesomewhere between what we left and what we are going to. And that can only mean one thing regarding where we are right now- and that is we are between the “water walls”. And moreover, we are experiencing a baptism 2 into spiritual realities, dynamics, and dimensions we have only dreamed about. The only option is to go forward into the sea or to return and remain where we were. And yet for people of true Biblical faith there cannot finally be such a thing as “return”. For as we have already discovered in the Hebrews 11 record- our hearts are not in the place we have left- our hearts are in the place He has called us to possess. For some individuals here this morning- and for KCF corporately, the only way out is to proceed straight into the impossibility that is in front of you. As David did when he ran toward the giant Goliath- the time comes for all of us when we must run toward our fear. And that’s the whole point. It is very possible that we try to go around, over, and under- when the command of God is- “Go forward.” There is no moment as critical to the future as that moment when we discover that we can no longer avoid what He has called us to confront. I will speak only of myself in this. But what I have been slow to understand is that confronting the impossible in the obedience of my faith to His known command and direction puts me in that happy place where it is His strength in which I am marching through impossibility. On the other hand, when I devise my own route of avoidance I am left to my own strength- and in that unhappy place I soon discover that what I thought to be easily possible becomes increasingly impossible. This is where I return to the theme of this message- although it may appear I have lost my way: “As for you- As for Me.” At verse 15 we hear God say- “Go forward.”- which according to the interpretations of the sense realm meant ‘Go forward right into absolute impossibility.’ And this is where we discover the critical importance of verses 16 & 17. God does not merely tell them to go forward into the impossible. He gives them clear instruction regarding this journey through impossibility. Here is my paraphrase of this. ‘Now, Moses- regarding the possibility of this impossibility- your role is this. Lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And while you are doing that, I am going to be dealing with Pharaoh. So you do that- and I will do this.’ There is your responsibility- and I have empowered you to do it. Here is My 3 responsibility- and if you try to take this on, you will have no grace to handle it.’ What that meant was that the obedience of faith on the part of Moses would deal with the impossibility of the sea. At the same time God would deal with the enemy. The journey from here to the field is no different. As we obey God in going forward- God will deal with the enemy at our heals. Our business is to respond in faithful obedience to the various directives He sets in front of us on this journey. His business is to establish what is in His heart concerning us through that faithful obedience. And in this we must not take upon ourselves that role which He has reserved uniquely for Himself. 4