If you're interested, this series comes from a book called Red Sea Rules, 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times. The author, Robert J. Morgan, gives us 10 practical things we can learn about how to deal with tough times in life. All of these things come from the story of Moses in the wilderness.
I would like to start with a bit of a disclaimer of sorts. I am going to speak in general terms in these messages, especially today. I don't know your personal situation, so I can't speak exactly to what is happening in your life. If you are living in a situation of abuse, please seek someone in your life who can help support you through that. God does not desire for us to be hurt by others physically or emotionally. No matter what situation you are in though, God can lead you out someone how. You are not alone.
To start things off this week, we are going to cover the first 3 rules of the book:
Realize that God means for you to be where you are.
Be more concerned for God's glory than for your relief.
Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.
God delivered Israel from Egpyt. They were in the center of Egpyt, Rameses. It wouldn't have taken them far to enter into the desert, but God instructed them to go to the shore and camp. I didn't make a lot of sense to camp in that spot. The land was marshy, and it trapped them. But God told Moses he wanted them to camp there so that Pharaoh would think that they were confused and trapped in the wilderness.
We're told in scripture that the Israelites camped as they were told, but we also know from the verses that followed that they panicked with Pharo's armies arrived. The Lord intentionally trapped them between the desert and the sea, so that he could deliver them.
Life is hard. The Christian life is harder. If no one has ever said that to you, I'm very, deeply sorry. God wants to help us deal with the difficulties of life and walk away from the difficulties and through parted waters. On the other side, we will find something even more meaningful on the other side. Notice I didn't say easier.
One more thing to note here is that there are times our difficulties are caused by us. I might say most of the time our difficulties are caused by us. God tries to direct us, but many times we choose to follow our own desires in life. The result of that is we must deal with the results of our decisions. There is good news though. God can still use us wherever we are.
Once we confess to God our mistakes, or in Morgan's language, our stupidity, we get a shortcut back to God's path. God can use us wherever we are and make a path even when one's not visible.
The number one thing to remember for Rule #1 is the God the led you in, can lead you out. Or, when we lead ourselves in, God can still lead us out.
Be more concerned for God's glory than for your relief. Think with me for a moment, to the last time you were in a sticky situation or stressed out about something. PAUSE. Maybe it was something at work or school you felt you couldn't handle, or maybe it was some family drama. Did you ask yourself questions like:
How did I get into this mess, and how can I get out?
How quickly can I solve this problem?
Why did this have to happen to me?
These types of questions are natural when things seem to go wrong. Maybe we are in one of those places God has put us to help us grow and we haven't realized it, or maybe or choices have placed us in the situation.
That may seem like a silly question, but Morgan goes on to explain the situations that God can gain glory:
With those things in mind, we can glorify God in any situation, because of no matter what the situation we can do 1 of those 5 things. We can praise God, even when life isn't Good We can remember all that God has done in our lives and in the lives of others no matter what is happening in life. And so forth. No matter what, we can glorify God.
God led the people of Israel to the end of the sea so that he could be glorified. He knew that Pharo would see that as lost and come after them. That would be one more opportunity for God to show his power. God was able to show just how worthy of our praise he was the day he parted the sea.
God is still worthy of our praise today. We just need to look for all the things he is doing in our lives and tell him how much we appreciate him.
The third Rule is so important for us today. Rule #3: Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord. Too many times in our lives, we look at the evil around us, and take our eyes off of God, just as Peter did when he was walking on the water.
Satan comes after us just as Pharo came after Israel when they camped in the desert. He received reports that they were wondering and lost. The picture of what he saw and what he felt that is painted by Morgan is so eloquent, as you read this, picture in your mind the image Morgan paints:
In the same way, Satan sees his dominion slipping away from him every time a person recognizes Christ as Lord. He can lose his power, so he sends his soldiers after that person, tempting them. He tries to show them that his way of the world is better than God's. When we keep our eyes focused on God and resist temptation, we honor and glorify God. We also take power away from Satan.
Once you have chosen this life, you must refuse to turn back. Keep your eyes on God and keep moving forward. Always forward.
We all have something we're facing right now in our life that's some type of sea. It may be big or it may be small. My challenge to you this week is to keep your eyes on God, figure out how to glorify him, and be sure you're on his path.
This series is based upon a small books called Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan. We are looking at how God helps lead us out of the difficult times as may be in, using the lessons Moses learned during the Exodus. There is a wonderful Leader’s Guide written by the author that I will use to guide our connect notes during this series.
Rule #1: Realize that God means for you to be where you are
Read Exodus 14:1-2.
Does God Let His People Experience Difficulties?*
When have you felt that your difficulties were because of God, and when were they because or your own choices?
For further study, read John 16:33, James 1:2, 1 Peter 4:12, Luke 22:54-62, Romans 8:28
Rule #2: Be More Concerned for God’s glory than your relief
Read Exodus 14:3-4, 10-12.
Why did God lead his people to the edge of the sea?*
How did God intend to get glory or honor from the Red Sea experience?*
When was a time you sought ways to glorify God and your perspective changed?
Rule #3 Acknowledge your enemy, but keep your eyes on the Lord.
Read Exodus 14:5-9.
After the Israelites left Egypt, getting their first taste of freedom, what did Pharaoh do?*
Describe the forces with white Pharaoh tracked the Israelites.*
How did the Israelites react when they saw the Egyptian armies?*
What as Moses’ advice for the fearful pilgrims?*
What does this story teach us about keeping our eyes on God?
For further study, read 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:10, Ephesians 6:13-18, Job 1:6-12, Hebrews 2:14.
*These questions come from Robert J. Morgan’s Leader’s Guide for Read Sea Rules http://robertjmorgan.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/rsrLeadersGuideCombined.pdf