“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them. Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help. They said to Moses: ‘Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.’ But Moses said to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lords salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.’ The Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to break camp. As for you, lift up your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I am going to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them, and I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh, all his army, and his chariots and horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I receive glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.’ Then the Angel of God, who was going in front of the Israelite forces, moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and stood behind them. It came between the Egyptian and Israelite forces. The cloud was there in the darkness, yet it lit up the night. So neither group came near the other all night long. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left. The Egyptians set out in pursuit — all Pharaohs horses, his chariots, and his horsemen — and went into the sea after them. Then during the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud, and threw them into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve and made them drive with difficulty. ‘Let’s get away from Israel,’ the Egyptians said, ‘because Yahweh is fighting for them against Egypt!’”[1]

 

Playing it safe

It is no secret that the entire human race desires safety. Safety is the motivation for many common fears including: the fear of spiders, the fear of heights and the fear of tight spaces. After so much time, the Hebrew people became content with slavery because they were able to live, no matter how badly they were treated. They feared the wilderness surrounding Egypt because, much too often, the entering the wilderness meant death. These Hebrews had no faith in God to deliver them and only hoped that God would take care of them where they already were: in slavery to a nation whose lord was not Yahweh.

So far this week, we have committed to trust God with whatever He chooses to do in us and through us. We have asked for physical, emotion, mental and spiritual healing trusting Him to provide those things. This evening, I hope to challenge you concerning courage.

When I was a freshman in high school, I remember walking back to campus from baseball practice one day and talking with one of my teammates about Christianity. I told him that I attended church but was not too serious about my faith. Just like the Hebrew people in Egyptian captivity, we tend to expect God to help us where we are at instead of trusting Him to place us where He wants us to be. We want Him to work in our lives according to terms we write and sign. We settle for captivity because it is safe instead of facing the dangers that await us if we actually choose to go where God wants us to go.

 

Do not be afraid

For the Hebrew people, there was security in staying where they were and there is security for us in staying where we are. Staying trapped by our anger keeps us safe from the ridicule of others. Staying trapped by entertainment keeps us safe from a world that would argue against what we believe. Staying trapped by our own feelings keeps us safe from having to deal with real problems or having to make real choices. Our fear, our want to remain safe actually keeps us from doing the things that matter. Sometimes people will actually hide behind a façade of silliness and immaturity in order to stay safe from a world of problems that need to be solved.

This evening, do not be afraid! It was not until Moses took action that the sea was parted and the Hebrew people were able to walk across. The Israelites saw the Egyptians coming and cried out to God. God’s answer was this: “Why are you crying out to me?” Sometimes we spend so much time praying for God to work according to our own captivity. God did not desire for the Israelites to pray for Him to move in their captivity. He desired for them to follow His direction. He desired action.

 

To trust is to act

            Should we endure dangers for Jesus Christ? For this I offer one answer- He faced the finality of death for each of us and overcame! To trust God is not to pray for His work within our captivities. To trust God is to step out into the dangers of something we do not know and to go wherever God has instructed. Just as God desired action from the Israelites, He so desires action from each of us. My question is this: do we have the courage to step out of the captivities where we feel safe? God will deliver us just as He delivered the Israelites. The only thing required of us is courage. Do you have courage?

 

Conclusion

What are you captive to in your own life? I have talked with several people already this week who are captive to anger. Many people, young and old alike, are captive to their relationship status. There are those who are captive to their own feelings or thoughts toward others. Some are captive to technology, knowledge, media and entertainment. These captivities will only keep us from doing something worthwhile with our lives and will only keep us from serving the purpose that God has for us to serve.

Are you captive to anger? Do you have the courage to step beyond that anger and pursue a greater calling in Jesus Christ? Are you captive to your relationship status? Are courageous enough to step beyond that captivity in order to pursue a greater calling in Jesus Christ? Are you captive to your own feelings or thoughts toward others? Do you have the courage to step beyond that captivity in order to pursue a greater calling in Jesus Christ? Are you captive to something else? Do you have the courage to step beyond that captivity in order to pursue a greater calling in Jesus Christ? If we cannot step beyond these captivities, we will only remain stuck in our walk with Christ and will never be able to complete the work that God has for us on this earth.


[1] Exodus 14:10-25 HCSB

Advertisements