Updated: Jan 2
You know the feeling.
The pressure cooker. The deadline.
You're WAY outside of your comfort zone.
You've got one shot to make this work or it all goes in the toilet.
Whether it's with your relationships, your business, your work, your school, there are decisions you will make every day that will make you, or break you.
I am reminded of when I was in my 20s watching that Eminem movie, 8 Mile, although now, (HA!) I would never let my own kids watch this movie! I remember how riveting it was to watch this guy who had one shot to make it. He was a white guy, trying to be successful in a predominantly black genre. It seemed impossible. He had one shot to make a name for himself. He had one shot to get off of food stamps. One shot to restore his family.
One shot to prove that he had it in him. That he had what it takes.
The Lord reminded me this morning,
"You've got it in you, because I am in you."
I think that God must have such a huge sense of humor, because He's not afraid to use anyone or anything to speak to you. He's so secure in Himself and His Word, and His love for us, that He'll even use an angry, worldly, sex-crazed, foul-mouthed, white rapper to give me a little kick in the rump.
So if this guy can do it, so can I. So can you.
He had no power, no Holy Spirit. How much more do we have in us?
When the Israelites were about to cross the Red Sea, they didn't think they had it in them either.
They had forgotten what God had done for them. They had forgotten how God sent 10 supernatural, wildly outrageous plagues to dispel 10 of the Egyptian Gods.
God showed those gods who was really God.
You remember the story. But the part you may have forgotten is that when they left Egypt, the Egyptians were so awed and afraid of them that they gave them articles of silver, gold and clothing for the journey.
"Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians." Exodus 12:35-36
Haven't you ever wondered where they got all that gold to make the golden calf? They were slaves, in the middle of the desert, and they have gold? What? YES! It came from the Egyptians! From their former captors!
So they literally just PLUNDERED the Egyptians on their way out. Most definitions of plunder refer to stealing or looting. But the Word says they didn't steal it. They asked for it, and the Egyptians handed over their goods FREELY.
I googled "plunder" and I thought the following definition was super cool:
"Some common synonyms of plunder are booty, loot, prize, spoils, and spoil. While all these words mean "something taken from another by force or craft," plunder applies to what is taken not only in war but in robbery, banditry, grafting, or swindling."
God literally swindled the Egyptians out of their money! He took money from the Egyptians, and gave it to His children.
Hmmm. Interesting.....More on that later. ;)
The Bible also describes the supernatural strength the Israelites had when they left:
"He also brought them out with silver and gold, and there was none feeble among his tribes. Psalm 105:37
So God had just done the miraculous. They saw the plagues. God wiped out Egyptians and their livestock all around them, yet they are safe. After 430 years of their bodies being broken from of the difficult life of slavery, they walk out of there, unharmed, RICH, and strong!
How good is God?!
I have to include a few more verses because God is so good:
"For He remembered His holy promise, and Abraham His servant. He brought out His people with joy, His chosen ones with gladness. He gave them the lands of the Gentiles, and they inherited the labor of the nations, that they might observe His statues and keep His laws. Praise the Lord!" Psalm 105:42-45
God remembered His promise to them. And He remembers His promise to you.
So God delivered them out of slavery in a matter of days. He filled their purses in a matter of a few hours. And now, with their renewed strength and vigor and excitement for life, they set out to follow God to a new land that was promised to them.
But it wasn't all sunshine and roses from there on out. They soon found their backs against the wall again.
Why would God do the miraculous, and yet still bring them to a place they had to trust Him again?
They, like us, found they are going to have to go through this trial of trusting God over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over............
It doesn't necessarily say at this point, but I believe the Israelites were already complaining and asking "Why God? Why are we going this way? Why aren't we going the way through the Philistine country, isn't that a better way?"
They had lived in slavery for 430 years, yet they were going to question God whether His way was best? They questioned the God who literally just saved them, restored their strength, and gave them riches beyond anything they had ever experienced before.
Ugh. Slave mentality.
I have to admit, my natural tendency is to default back into that mindset. But that is another blog.
God, through Moses, led them straight into what seemed like a trap. They were surrounded by water on one side, mountains on another side, and Egyptians on the other. They had nowhere to go. No one to turn to except God.
But instead of getting out their weapon of praise, and using their faith and trust in God, what did they do, again?
They complained. This time (and many more) the Bible records it. They moaned to Moses:
"...have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us? We told you to leave us alone so we can serve the Egyptians. For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness." Exodus 14:12
Ugh. Slave mentality.
Let me give you a little background on the exact spot where God led them to on the Red Sea. This wasn't just some random spot. They all knew where they were.
The Bible says God led them to "camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon" (Exodus 14:2).
Now, the location of these places are much disputed today, but I did look into the significance of these places.
Pi HaHiroth was describing specific location of land. Perhaps it was a wadi, or a canal, or even a peninsula, but it had to do with a piece of land connected to water.
Migdol has been described as the ruins of a city, or even an ancient Egyptian watchtower, which makes sense, as Egyptians would post watchmen for ships traveling up the gulf.
And finally, Baal-Zephon was either a mountain or site of worship of the ancient Egyptian sea god.
What I love about the Bible is that although scholars argue about the actual location of the Red Sea crossing, one thing remains:
Over 1 Million Israelites crossed the sea RIGHT IN FRONT of the mountain dedicated to Baal-Zephon.
BOO YEAH! That's our God!
I can just hear God taunting this (little-g) god,
"Who is (the BIG G) GOD? Who do you think you are?"
"You think you control the sea? Watch this!"
As he parades His spoils, His redeemed children, His prize RIGHT IN FRONT OF Baal-Zephon.
The Israelites felt trapped too. They had nowhere to go. Nowhere to look but up.
Have you ever felt like God has led you into a trap? I think sometimes we think following God means that everything will be all sunshine and roses. That it will be easy-peasy from here on out, because we are being, oh, so obedient.
I think God, in His wisdom, knows that we've got to be tough. He doesn't want pansy Christians who want to live a life without adventure or faith. It takes faith to get out of the boat. It takes faith to trust God when it's hard. It takes faith to do the impossible, because you know dang well that you're not the one that can work miracles. Only He can.
If you read the rest of the Exodus and Wilderness accounts, you'll see that God delivered them from their enemies multiple times, yet multiple times they forgot what God had done for them. They had forgotten who God was. They had forgotten who they were.
Thankfully, we live under the New Covenant. We have new, even better promises. And best of all, we have the Holy Spirit in us!
There will be times when our backs are against the wall. There will be times when all we are left to do is trust that God will make a way.
I'm telling you, He made a way for 1M people to cross the sea on dry ground. He will make a way for you!
I believe God wants to tell you today:
"See how I have delivered you? It's up to you now to keep your deliverance. Don't go back to your slave mentality. Don't complain. Don't curse what I've given you. Instead, use what I've given you. Use what's in your hand to dwell and prosper in the Land. Use my gifts, my Holy Spirit, against your enemies. The power that lives in you is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. Have I not equipped you? Have I not promised you that you will win? Be not downcast. Look not to your circumstances. I have placed you above your circumstances, not beneath them. You are the head and not the tail. You are my children, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased. So go out there and take hold of your promised land, because I go before you. I am fighting for you. And you will hold your peace."