Wednesday, March 11, 2015
One Step at a Time
I'm teaching "Moses" to the children on Wednesday nights. We haven't even gotten to the part of the story about crossing the Red Sea yet, but events this week have brought this story to my mind (and I can't wait to teach it!).
I'm convinced the Christian life is designed for us to come to know God and His amazing acts more and more throughout our lifetime. I also believe the Christian life is designed for us to come to know ourselves--with the opportunity to change ourselves--throughout our lifetime.
The Israelites had the opportunity to do both. God began revealing Himself to them before they ever left Egypt (a picture of our slavery to sin). That's the way God woos many of us to Himself--by revealing His greatness. Through a series of miracles, Israel left Egypt (picture of salvation) and started on their journey to the Promised Land (picture of abundant life). Their first BIG obstacle was the Red Sea. They were butted up against the sea--and the enemy was coming towards them. They feared they were about to die! But God...God put a cloud between them and the enemy and told Moses to raise his rod over the sea. Moses acted out of faith and raised the rod and the sea parted! The Israelites walked across the Red Sea on dry ground! God lifted the cloud and the Egyptians followed them on the dry ground--but God swallowed them up by letting the waters flood them after the Israelites were safely across. (It's fun to go to YouTube and look for accounts where they've found Egyptian articles in the Red Sea.) And then the Israelites began the journey of going through the wilderness for 40 years--where they learned about God's provision, God's faithfulness, God's forgiveness, and God's redemption.
But they also learned about themselves. They learned that they mostly walked in fear. The interesting thing is that God put them in some difficult situations. For instance, he told Moses to lead the Israelites to Pi-hahiroth--a place where they would be shut in next to the Red Sea with no way out. And then he turned Pharaoh's heart against them. GOD did that! It seems cruel...but it was actually a way for God to prove just how big He was!! He set them all up for a display of His greatness! But in the setting up, the people learned what was in their hearts--fear. In fact, the Bible says they were "exceedingly frightened!" Later in the story, we see their hearts of full of rebellion, idolatry, greed, jealousy.
The Israelites journey wasn't taken just to get them from Egypt to Canaan, it was a journey for God to reveal His greatness and His love. And it was a journey to work out the fear, rebellion, idolatry, greed, and jealousy from their own hearts. And time was no object to God. God's doing the same thing for us. We're on a journey. We're not just saved and securing a place in heaven, we're here to work some things out of our own hearts. That's what it means when it says we're "working out our own salvation." We can't save ourselves, but we can work at getting these things out of our hearts. God is calling us to walk in faith. Believe what He says He will do. Agree with Him. Allow Him to reveal those things in your heart and be willing to remove them from your life.
Walk out of Egypt and into the Promised Land...one step at a time.