Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Most High God
God had commanded Moses to lead the children of Israel down to Pihahiroth, which was probably near the southern mouth of the modern Suez canal. God tells Moses that it will appear to the Egyptians that the Jews are trapped, and that God will harden Pharaoh’s heart and he will pursue the children of Israel. And so it was that soon after the first Passover the children of Israel set out in obedience and camped in Pihahiroth and waited for God’s further instruction.
We can imagine the entire gamut of emotions throughout the camp. Confusion, excitement, and fear were just a few. They numbered in the millions, and they seemed trapped between the Red Sea and the approaching armies of Pharaoh. And when the dust of those armies became visible in the distance the children of Israel scolded Moses for having brought them to the wilderness to die. They even desired top go back and serve the Egyptians.

“And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”

Moses, the meekest man who ever lived, became bold with faith in Jehovah. But there was no sign of impending deliverance yet. Fear has turned to terror.

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”

The Jews moved toward the Red Sea based upon the words of Moses. It would be very difficult to have three million people move in an orderly fashion, however we can assume they all stretched out for miles along the banks of that sea. The Lord had told Moses to stretch forth his rod toward the Red Sea and as he did the winds blew the water into great heaps and the Jews walked across on dry land. The armies of Pharaoh followed and were swallowed up by the Sea when the heaps of water came down upon them. A miracle to say the least.
But let us think about what transpired after this great miracle. Of course the people were dirty with dust, and the eastern side of the Red Sea was just wilderness and desert. They had not arrived in some housing development, and in fact it would have been much easier to stay in Egypt as slaves. The task before them was colossal, not to mention they did not even know where they were going. God had delivered them from Egyptian slavery by His hand alone, but now God would require much labor from their hands.
And this event so wonderfully pictures the salvation of each sinner. There is nothing we can do to move the Red Sea, it has to be all of God. He alone has paid for our sins and He alone can draw us to Christ. All that is required is faith which results in a moving forward. But our salvation is not because we moved forward, but moving forward reveals our faith in God. The children of Israel were not saved because they walked across on dry land; they were saved because God parted the sea. After they saw Pharaoh’s armies destroyed they sang and rejoiced in Jehovah!
But now comes the Christian life. When we become a born again believer in Jesus Christ things change. We begin to battle things we never saw as enemies before and we must search for spiritual food because the nourishment of this world is death. We have known and experienced God’s amazing saving power, but now we will experience the fellowship of His sufferings. What we had known is now gone, and what seemed to be our playground is now our wilderness. I can remember my first weeks as a believer and how the Spirit and my flesh did internal battle inside me. It was like I was in a strange land.
This journey to walk in victory will not be accomplished by bold words or aggressiveness. Truly our victory is in Him, and the way of Jesus is humility and selflessness. That does not come easy, and our flesh resists by overt and subliminal ways. The old paths are well worn and comfortable and they beckon us to walk in them, even suggesting we can keep our religion anyway. Many see us as fanatics and unbalanced, and our minds desire to trick us into embracing a more sensible Christian walk.
But Jesus exhorts us not to remove our hands from the plow and not to imitate Lot’s wife and look back. In our hearts we know there is nothing to which to return. Sure it would have been much easier to remain in our sin and enjoyed their pleasures for the season of our life. But soon after we are delivered the Spirit begins to minister to us in unspeakable ways that unbelievers cannot understand and which feed us with heavenly manna. They think it strange that you do not attend their parties or that you refuse the debauchery of years past. But in a miracle, we can find a joy simply by reading God’s Word, or praying, or fellowshipping with other believers that surpasses the exhilaration we once experienced in sin.
There are temptations to be sure and we can never claim perfection, but our new found hope gives us the strength to keep moving forward even when we stumble. And oh how we love to rehearse the story of the parting of the Red Sea in our own lives. Every time I share my testimony I relive the experience once again. But make no mistake, even though the glories of eternity await us, the journey here on earth will be a rewarding struggle. This world is no friend of Jesus, and the closer we walk with Him the more struggles we may have.
I remember a former drug user who was saved and in the ministry relating his own early Christian experience. He had been worshiping God in a church service and his spirit was lifted so high he realized he felt “higher” than drugs had ever taken him. As he left the church he shared that with God and he said God reminded him, “I am the Most High God”.
He sure is!!

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