(Listen to audio along with also reading transcript below which are both available for download from www.biblestudyministriesinc.com)
As we come again to look into the precious word of the Lord, we need to be reminded that our only hope for getting anything out of the written word is to see the living Word, and the only way we can see the living Word is by the indwelling Holy Spirit who lives in our heart. Only God can reveal God. I want to share a couple of verses, just to prepare our hearts. Jesus was being mocked by the Sadducees and He made this comment to them. Matthew 22:29, “You are making two mistakes. You are mistaken, not understanding the scriptures,” and then He said, “and the power of God.” There were two errors; knowing the Bible, and knowing the power of God. In that connection, 1 Thessalonians 5:24 says, “Faithful is He who calls you. He also will do it.” He’ll bring it to pass. We’ve got the word of God, and all these wonderful promises. We don’t want to make the mistake that the Sadducees made. We want to believe the scriptures. We also want to believe the power of God. He watches over His word to fulfill His word. Let’s ask the Lord to open the scriptures, open our hearts, and then give us the faith to believe that God will do what He said He would do.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your word, for Your indwelling Spirit living in us, the life of God. How we praise You! And we thank You that the Spirit has told us that it’s His pleasure, His privilege, His ministry to unveil Christ to our heart. We know we’ve been taught of God when we come to Jesus, so, Lord take us to Christ today and help us see Him in a fresh way. Thank You for the promises You’ve given that You would open Your word to our hearts. We wait on You now. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Welcome again to our little look at Exodus, our study of our Lord Jesus through this marvelous book. In our last study I suggested the outline that we’ll be following throughout the remainder of the book. We called it the out workings, the blessed out workings of being saved by power and blood. After they crossed the Red Sea, God gives these six pictures, and we’ll develop them one by one. First, the Shekinah glory cloud, and the out working is guidance. You are saved and you’re a Christian and born again, you’ve been washed in the precious blood of Christ and you can expect guidance. I love Psalm 121:8 in that regard, “The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” All of my goings out are guided by the Lord. All of my comings in are guided by the Lord. There’s going to be a final going out, and there is going to be a final coming in, and that’s also guided by the Lord.
Following that was the song, the song of Moses and the dance of Miriam in Exodus 15. Because we’re redeemed by power and blood, God has put a song in our heart. 1 Peter 1:8, “Though you have not seen Him, you love him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” So, we have a song.
And then we can expect provision illustrated by water and manna and quail and the supernatural preservation of their clothing and so on. Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want.
If I’m saved by power and blood, I can not only expect guidance, a song in my heart, provision for all of my needs, but I can also expect victory, and that’s the next story. That’s illustrated by the victory over Amelich in the Valley of Rephidim. 2 Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifest through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” Because we’re saved God has promised us victory.
Then we’ll move to the illustration of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. I’m going to word it this way, “Because we’re saved by power and blood, God has promised us a New Covenant obedience. The law of God will be able, as Christians, we’ll be able to obey the Lord. Deuteronomy 30:6, “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” Because you’ve trust Jesus, God has promised guidance, joy, provision, victory, a life of obedience, and then the book ends up with the great illustration of the tabernacle. God has promised to lead us into worship and into union with Himself. 2 Corinthians 6:16, “We are the temple of the living God, just as God said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’” So, that’s the rest of the book of Exodus. The first part is redemption by power and blood. The second part is the blessed out workings of that redemption.
Let me bring you to where we were when we left off in our discussion. Since the first outworking of redemption, the Shekinah glory cloud, was actually mentioned before the crossing. Usually the out workings are when you get over the Red Sea. I’ll tell you in another time why God separates from the six, and takes the Shekinah glory cloud as a special case. I’ll show you why in another connection. I was in the process of giving you the principles illustrated by the glory cloud.
We had mentioned four. I won’t develop it again, but I’ll mention them. The first principle of guidance is to remember that the guidance pictures a Person. The cloud was the Lord; His personal guidance. Secondly, it’s a glory cloud. It’s glorious guidance because it leads to the glory of God. The third principle is that it’s constant, and never ever leaves; in the day by a cloud and by the night by a pillar of fire; twenty four seven the Lord guides us.
When we left off I was discussing how mysterious that guidance was because I’m called to live by faith, so He took His presence and He brought it behind us. So, He guides us from behind. When I say that His guidance is mysterious, I want you to remember that I’m talking about to us it’s mysterious. It’s not mysterious to Him. He knows what He’s doing. He knows what He’s about, and He has a reason for everything that He does. It’s clear to Him. It might baffle me and we might be confused, about this or that in our life, but the Lord is not confused.
Let me give you a couple of illustrations we’ve already looked at. Exodus 13:17&18, “When Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, ‘The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.’ Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.” That direction, when God led them south, that was probably a confusion to them, but God has a reason. It was clear to Him. God saw in advance and He saw that they would get discouraged if they saw the enemy at that point. Later they had to back track, and that was confusing because it led them right into a trap. Exodus 14:2, “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahirotyh, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-sephon, opposite it, by the sea.” God said, “Turn around and go back,” and that led them into the trap. But to the Lord it wasn’t confusing. Exodus 14:3-4, “For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in. Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.; And they did so.”
All things are redemptive. God has a reason. Everything He allows in our life, and every time we go forward, and every time we stop. Israel had to stop. They didn’t know why, but God knew why. In that connection I love Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way.” I like to add this and I think it’s true to the balance of scripture, the steps of a man are established by the Lord, and so are the stops of a man established by the Lord. Sometimes God has us on the move and sometimes He stops us. When the Lord closes a door and you are stopped, don’t think His guidance has stopped. It has not. When the Lord puts up a road block and you can’t go forward, don’t think that His guidance has stopped. It has not. We’re guided all the time. In God’s purposes we’re being guided when we’re on the move, and we’re being guided when we’re at a dead stop.
I read a comment by John Ruskin. He was the Victorian art critic and an occasional poet, but most of his work is in prose. He was not a musician, but he made a comment about music that I thought was just tremendous. I’m also not a musician. My grandson Jonathan is studying music. By the way, he emailed us today and he was calling attention to the fact that he’s not here to sing for us, but he said Ephesians 5:19 will be applied, “Speak to one another in Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, making a melody in your heart to the Lord.” So, he’s out there in the mid-west making a melody in his heart to the Lord, and he wants you to know that that’s speaking to you in Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” Here’s what Ruskins says about music, “There is no music in a rest, but there’s the making of music in a rest.” Isn’t that a tremendous statement! No music in a rest, but the making of music. A rest in music is a stop. Nothing is happening; you’ve stopped. It’s a pause, but it’s still part of the music. I read there can be whole rests, and half rests, and quarter rests, and eighth rests. There can even be a sixty second rest and a sixty fourth rest and thirty second rest, and all that. Some rests are long, and some rests are short.
Some Christians wrongly think that when their life comes to a stop—maybe they’ve had an accident or a sickness—they might say, “I wish I could get out of this sickness and get on with serving the Lord.” Hey, that sickness is part of serving the Lord. The stops and the steps are established by the Lord. Don’t think the music stops when a rest comes into your life. A rest is part of the music. That might be confusing to us, but it’s all part of His guidance.
I had a dear friend who is in glory now named George Younce, and he was the bass singer of that quartet called “The Cathedrals” and he could never remember Lillian’s name, so when he called to fellowship, he would say, “And how is lady?” That was his name for my Lillian. Anyway, he had a severe case of sugar diabetes, and other complications as well. During one particular flair-up his daughter told me how very discouraged he was. He was really down in the dumps because he couldn’t sing. He would go in the shower and try to sing, and he just wasn’t able to sing. He thought his ministry was over. When she told me that I thought of Ruskin’s comment that there is no music in a rest, but there’s the making of music in a rest. I think you know that I like to express my heart in poetry and rhyme, so I sent him this poem…
A rest is part of the music
The Lord ordained for you.
Its beats are perfectly measured,
How many or how few.
The silent pause may alarm you,
But God knows what is best.
Have faith in the great Composer,
When He inserts a rest.
All things are working together,
Although your faith is tried.
Don’t think that the tune is finished,
Because you are set aside.
It’s not that you’ve been forsaken,
You did not fail a test,
But God, to sweeten the love-song
Enhanced it with a rest.
The steps and stops must be blended,
The short ones with the long,
The Lord is adding uniqueness
And beauty to His song.
Let God take care of the music.
Just trust Him and be blessed.
Your life is His composition,
So trust Him for the rest.
It’s only a break in the music,
It’s only a pause of peace.
God knew that your rest was needed.
The symphony did not cease.
God guides us always; all the stops and all of the forward motions, the steps, are guided by Him. The KJV in Mark 6:31, “Come apart and rest a while.” I read one commentator who said, “If you don’t come apart and rest a while, you just come apart.” I think that might be true. We need rest. Guidance is glorious, it’s personal, it’s constant and it’s mysterious to us, but not to the Lord. He leads us from behind in order that we might go forward in faith. Exodus 4:19&20 illustrates it; that’s when He went behind them to guide them with His light.
Let me wrap up the principles of guidance and then we’ll move on. I have two more things to say about this precious illustration. The next principle that took place with the cloud happened in the middle of the Red Sea. We haven’t crossed the Red Sea, but Lord willing we’ll start today, and maybe get half way through the Red Sea. Let’s jump ahead and look at the cloud. Exodus 14:23-25, “Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. At the morning watch the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.’” This is such an amazing and graphic portion of scripture that I think it would be helpful if you had some kind of a mental image of what took place here.
I’m going to try to tell the story in my own words. All the facts are not in Exodus. They are scattered around; some in Deuteronomy, some in the Psalms, and I’ve tried to pool them together. As clear as I can see it, this is how it took place. If you don’t agree with the way I’ve put these pieces together, that’s okay because it’s not going to affect the principle. Here’s how I think it was. Exodus 14:19 begins the story, “The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.”
The first fact that we have in this story is when the cloud went between Egypt and Israel, they were in darkness, and Israel walked in the light. That was the fact. The next piece of information we get is from Exodus 14:21-22, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” The second fact is that Moses stretched out his rod and the sea parted. I have no reason at this point to believe that things changed as far as the cloud is concerned. The cloud is still between them. They are still in darkness. Israel now has an open path and they are in light, but the cloud is still between them. Remember there are 2 ½ million or so people, and there are herds, and there are flocks, and there are beasts of burden carrying out all the treasures of Egypt. I can’t imagine that their moving was silent. I don’t think 2 ½ million people just started to tiptoe out so that they wouldn’t be missed in the darkness. Egypt was in the dark, but they weren’t deaf. They could hear that crowd in front of them, and somehow they heard that they were on the move.
Exodus 14:23, “The Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea.” It seems to me that when Egypt heard the noise, they began their pursuit, but remember it’s still in the dark. They are chasing, but they are in darkness. The glory cloud is only glorious on the one side, on Israel’s side. They were just following the noise. The redeemed were walking on dry ground. In the dark when Egypt chased them they chased them on dry ground. Egypt went on dry ground. It was in the fourth watch somewhere between 3am and 6am in the morning.
The next piece of information is from Exodus 14:24, “At the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.” That’s all that Moses tells us about this moment, leaving the rest to the inspired Psalmist to fill it in. We read from Moses that God looked down from the cloud. I’m assuming then that the cloud lifted, if He’s looking down from the cloud. Now suddenly the Egyptians are in the light. If you are in dark for a long time and somebody puts on a light, you have to adjust your eyes. The question is, “Did Egypt realize that they were in the middle of the Red Sea? Israel had already gone on dry ground to the other side, and Egypt is now in the middle of the Red Sea. Did they know or did they suddenly when the lights came on say, “Whoa, look where we are!” They just followed on dry ground.
Moses said that God looked down. According to the description of the Psalmist, Psalm 77:16, “The waters saw You, O God; the waters saw You, they were in anguish; the deeps also trembled. The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth a sound; Your arrows flashed here and there.” I picture it this way; when the cloud lifted and God looked down, what did that look like to the Egyptians? I think it was a flash of light. Revelation 1:14 tells us that the eyes of the Lord are like a flame of fire. In a moment of time all nature turned against the Egyptians. The cloud poured out water, and what was once dry ground was now a muddy mess. I think almost quick sand for the heavy chariot wheels. It was a deluge; a rain storm, and thunder, lightning, a crash. There were 600 iron chariots, according to Josephus probably a thousand more chariots, each one being pulled by two horses, I can’t imagine with all of this thunder and lightning and noise that these horses were not spooked. I don’t know what happened. It sounds from the Psalm like you add a whirlwind. Was there a tornado that night, as well? Psalm 77:18, “The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; the lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and shook.” Was there an earthquake? How do I know he is talking about the Red Sea? The next two verses, Psalm 77:19&20, “Your way was in the sea; Your path in the mighty waters; Your footprints may not be known. You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” It’s describing that scene. What a night! An earthquake, rain, thunder, lightning, a whirlwind.
When the cloud lifted, the darkness lifted and Egypt finally knew where they were. I think they didn’t have a clue that they were there. They are just running in the dark on dry ground, and they end up in a place that they do not want to be. Exodus 14:25, “He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty, so the Egyptians said, ‘Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.’” The point is this. When they saw where they were, they tried to turn around. You have 600 chariots, 1200 horses plus another 600 horses, and you try to get them all to turn around all at once. These chariot wheels had strange things happening to them; great confusion. Some of them were tipping over. Some translators say that the wheels of the chariots fell off. Some translations say that they wrapped around the axle. Another translation says they were stuck in the mud. Maybe they were struck by lightning. We don’t know, but what we know for certain is that Egypt discovered where they were and they tried to get out of there.
Then came the command, Exodus 14:26, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.’” Exodus 14:28, “The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained.” Did Pharaoh die with them? Was he with the army? The only clue we have, but it’s a problem because it could be poetry. In Psalm 136:15, “But he overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea.” That might be literal, but you know how they speak about leadership; We say Bush ‘bombed” Iraq, but he was in the White House and didn’t go actually. I don’t know. I incline to think that Pharaoh died the same day and the same way.
That’s the scene as I understand it. That use of the cloud rising up and looking down and causing confusion, engaging the weather, lightning, rain and storms and whirlwinds and earthquakes, the principle is this; God’s guidance is providential. What I mean by providential is that God controls the circumstances. He’s always in charge. God uses second causes. As a Christian you never need to be a victim of a second cause, because God is controlling it, controlling all the circumstances. Something comes into your life, like into the life of my brother in law and sister, and a drunkard ran over their three year old child, that’s terrible, but they are Christians. God used that second cause, and they wrote to that drunkard and invited him to receive Christ and said, “We hold nothing against you.” That’s grace, the grace of the Lord. We’re not victims. It’s not a virus. It’s not some plot of the wicked. It’s not a crashing economy. It’s not icy roads. You’re a Christian. It’s the Lord, and we can praise Him in all things.
Providence is not the same as luck or chance or good fortune. Providence has a Master hand controlling it; the storms, the government, the decisions of every person. Romans 8:28, you know it well, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Of course that good is to be conformed to the image of His Son. God, through Moses, told the people before they got to the Red Sea, Exodus 14:13, “But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.’” He knew God’s plan, and he told them even before they got into the Red Sea. Sometimes we sing, “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls come tumbling down.” They ought to put another verse in there, “Moses fit the battle of Pharaoh and the walls came tumbling down.” These were walls of water.
There’s something about this principle that brings guidance to finality. It sort of a climactic end. We used to have a lot of mice and we had a cat. Now Lillian trips over her shadow, so we don’t have animals in the house, except we still have the mice. The cat used to play and bat the mouse around. I don’t want to be irreverent and compare God to a cat, but I’m thinking in those 10 plagues, he was batting Egypt around a little bit. But now it’s over. The enemy, the Egyptians that you see today you will not see them again forever.
Notice the end of verse 31, “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.” Of course that verse is followed by the song. Once you see the Egyptians dead on the seashore you are going to burst into song. I’m going to spend more time on that principle when we come to the song, but this description of guidance is closely tied to Revelation. When their eyes were opened, it was over for them. When Israel eyes were finally opened and they saw a finished work, that Egypt was dead, their eyes were opened as well, and that led to that beautiful song. I’ll leave that there for now.
The only other thing about the cloud is not new; I’ve already mentioned it, and will remind you of it. The first mention of the expression “go forward” in the Bible is right there in chapter 14. What did it take for Israel to go forward that day? The answer is that it took a mighty miracle of God. No Christian ever goes forward in their walk with the Lord apart from a mighty miracle of God. It’s not possible to advance in my own strength. Aren’t you glad that God has saved you by power and by blood? I am. Psalm 73:24, “With Your counsel You will guide me; and afterward receive me to glory.” Guidance is forever.
That brings us in our meditation finally to the crossing of the Red Sea. I think we’ll probably take a few steps into it, maybe midway. You are familiar with the history, so I’m going to tell the story in terms of the life principles illustrated by that history. I’ll begin with two verses we’ve already mentioned. One is Hebrews 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.” The truth I want you to know is that they are still walking by faith. It was a struggling faith. We explained that, but they are still going by faith. Exodus 14:15, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.” To go forward requires a mighty miracle of God. Faith requires a miracle of God.
In this story God gives a strong illustration of what that miracle is. I’ve got to go forward, by faith, but I’ve got to go forward by a miracle; what is the miracle? Exodus 14:16, “As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.” Mark “dry land”. Exodus 14:21, “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.” Dry land. Exodus 14:22, “The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land.” Exodus 14:29, “But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” Exodus 15:19, “For the horses of Pharaoh with this chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the Lord brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea.” Then we come to the New Testament, Hebrews 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.”
Why does the Holy Spirit keep saying “dry land, dry land, dry land, dry land”? That’s because that’s the illustration of the miracle. I can’t go forward without walking (now think spiritually) and I must walk on ground that God has dried up. That is one of the Old Testament pictures of what we call “the finished work”. It’s got to be the finished work. There would be no way to cross the sea with flocks and herds and beasts of burden and 2 ½ million people if it were only partially dry. They would struggle in the slime and mud. I need dry ground. That’s a miracle.
Can you picture generations later a child talking to his grandfather’s great grandfather and says, “Grandpa, can you tell me again, how did you get out of Egypt over here to this Promised Land?” I can hear the grandfather say, “Child, that was the day God required us to go by faith. We went by faith.” “Grandpa, explain faith to me. I don’t understand faith. It just seems so hard for me. I’m glad I wasn’t there then. I would have had a hard time believing God. What is faith and how did it work?” I would hear the great grandfather say something like this, “Child, you should have seen; it was amazing! You aren’t going to believe it. We walked on dry ground.” Can you see the kid looking up and saying, “You walked on dry ground? That’s it? I’ve been doing that since I’ve been 18 months old. It’s no big deal to walk on dry ground. Anybody can walk on dry ground. Is that all it is?”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, that’s how easy it is to live a miracle life, to walk on ground that He has dried up. That’s all you need to do; just walk like a little child. That’s the miracle of the Christian life. It will never get more difficult than that. It’s always that simple. On the cross our Lord Jesus, John 19:30, our Lord Jesus cried out, “It is finished.” I can walk on forgiveness because He dried up the ground of guilt and sin. I can walk in the victory He has given me because He dried up the ground for me. I can trust Him for fruit in my life because He dried up the ground. I can see myself crucified with Christ and identify with Him because He’s dried up the ground. I can go forward in faith. As you receive Christ, so walk. Dry ground; He has done it all.
When we’re on the path that is dry ground there’s only one road. They had one path. They aren’t going to slip and slide and fall away if they are on dry ground. You get off that dry ground and you could be in trouble, and you could fall. Many Christians have gotten off the ground God has dried up, and found themselves terribly injured in a fall. I don’t want to play with this, but when I see the miracle of the Red Sea, I say, “What a mighty miracle! God opened up the sea and made the ground dry. What a mighty miracle!” I’ll be honest. That’s just the picture. That mighty miracle that happened is just a picture. The reality, I would rather face Pharaoh’s 600 iron chariots times ten and a sea double deep as the Red Sea than to think I would have to live a holy life on my own. To live the Christian life, do you realize the standard that is, the impossibility? That’s a miracle He opened the Red Sea, but for me to live in union with Christ is a greater miracle, infinitely greater than that. That’s what God is offering us, everyone.
I want to take one more step. Exodus 14:22, “The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand an on their left.” Picture that. Two or three million people crossing in one night. We don’t know how wide the path was. Nobody has been able to say “this is the exact crossing.” So, we don’t know how high the walls were. Some have suggested several miles across and maybe a half mile or more wide. We know they all went over in one night, so they aren’t single file. They are going over in a great group; men, women, children, flocks, herds and so on. One commentator said the least would be a half mile wide. I want you to picture a path several miles long and a half mile wide. How much water would be displaced in order to make that wall? Just 5 inches of rain and you are in big trouble with flash floods and so on. How high were those perpendicular walls?
The Bible presents the principle of water as being unstable. When Jacob mentioned Reuben in dying words in Genesis 49:4, He said, “My son Reuben is as unstable as water.” Water seeks its own level. You can’t stack it up without a container. You can’t just pile up water. I don’t know how you picture it, but do you picture this water like a brick wall on each side? Do you picture it like someone piling snow up on the side? Do you picture it like the water in an aquarium with a glass wall holding it back? This wall was being held up by wind. I picture Jello, this wobbly wall. I can’t imagine going through a path with the walls as high as those were to completely drown the army of the Egyptians, and passing through that.
I told you from Exodus 14:10 that Egypt pictures the past, and they are trying to get Israel again to come back into slavery. The way God deals with the past is that He puts Himself between ourselves and our past, so that when we look back, we don’t see the past, we only see Jesus. Egypt pictures the past. The walls also tell a story. Those unstable walls I think are a beautiful picture of the present; where we are right now, passing through. So, I’m going to give you this principle. Since water is unstable, I think Egypt pictures the bondage of the past, and the walls of water picture the pressure of the present. And don’t think the present doesn’t have pressures, and you’ve got to walk through it.
I think I could give quite a few series on the pressures we face; COVID, finances, getting older, having burdens for the kids and family and grandkids and maybe being lonely and some have school pressures and broken relationship and health problems, and pressures just maturing in the Lord, wanting to go forward in the Lord, keeping schedules, and some have the pressure of the consequence of their sin and what could happen, and church problems, and new responsibilities taking care of elderly people and so on. The present is full of pressures and I promise you if you look at that wall you are going to get discouraged, and if you keep looking you are going to get depressed, and it can get worse. You better not look at those walls.
I want to tie this into Exodus 14:21, “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.” Exodus 14:26, “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.” Who piled up those walls? Was that Satan? It wasn’t just circumstances. That was the Lord. Exodus 15:5, “The deeps cover them; they went down into the depths like a stone.” Exodus 15:8 says, “At the blast of Your nostrils the water was piled up.”
What I’m trying to say, and I can’t say it any more simply than this; I don’t know what pressures are in your life today, but God put them there. The Lord piled it up. By the breath of His nostrils you have the pressure you are going through today. Your only hope is that you better be on dry ground, on ground that He has dried up. You might say, “You don’t get it. I can’t deal with all these pressures.” You don’t have to deal with pressure. You’ve got to deal with Jesus. That’s different. May God help us to see it! He put up the pressures. You say, “Well, I wish He’d take the pressures away.” No, He’s not going to deliver us from the pressures. He’s going to deliver us through the pressures to the other side, to the victory side. Every pressure in your life this moment and in my life this moment has been put there by the Lord, and He’s called us to walk in faith on ground He has dried up through the pressures He has arranged. To know that He’s the author of all pressures is very precious.
I want you to remember that the pressures that frustrate you are the same pressures that are going to destroy your enemies. The very pressures that I fear and want removed are necessary. The pressures are part of the victories and we need these pressures, but we’ve got to be on ground He’s dried up. The only ones hurt by the pressures in my life and yours are the enemy. Satan is going to get frustrated because you are going to be led through those pressures. Christ brings the pressures and Christ preserves us. Who brought the pressures? Jesus. Who is holding it back? It’s Jesus. He’s the One that brought it and He’s the One preserving you and He’s the One who is holding it back. So, Christ is all I need for the past, and Christ is all I need for this moment and for all the ages of eternity. As we continue, we saw the past, we see the present, Lord willing next time I want to show you Christ as God’s provision for the future.