In our passage this morning, the people of Israel are trying to figure out what their purpose is. Israel was in Egpyt for over 400 years. All they could remember was Egpyt. Now Moses has taken them out, promised them a life free from the oppression of Pharo. In a brief moment of hope, they agreed to leave Egpyt with him.
Now, they are standing, staring at the Red Sea, and watching Pharo's arming getting closer to them. The glimmer of hope they had is gone. They don't see any purpose for their life. In Egpyt, they had a purpose, even if it wasn't glamorous. Pharo fed them, even though he abused them. Israel is doubting why they are even in existence at this moment.
Let's start by reviewing our rules from last week (1-3) and looking at the rules for this week (4-6).
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.
Stay calm and confident and give God time to work.
When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.
Do you see those words, 'They cried out to the Lord'? This was not their normal, daily quiet time prayers. They cried out to God in crisis. Their life was about to end. This was a life-threatening, soul-shattering prayer. They cried out from the depts of their souls.
Robert Morgan explains their prayers by saying,
When life corners us, our first step needs to be to stop, and recognize the situation, then to cry out to God.
We must also remember the importance of praying God's power, not our fears. There are times that prayer can hurt us, because we work ourselves up so much by focusing on what we are afraid of, that we leave the prayer time more upset then when we started.
We must go to prayer, focusing on God's ability and power to deliver us. It's ok to ask God to free us from our fear, but don't make the prayers about that. Make the prayers focused on who God is and what he is able to do.
After the people spend time complaining to Moses, he looks at them and says, don't be afraid, just stand and watch. Israel doesn't have to do anything in this fight. They just need to sit back, witness who God is, and what he is going to do for them.
Morgan goes on to say,
Life throws all sorts of stuff at us. We have to stop, no matter what, and go to God, asking him to deliver us. Then, we must be willing to let him work.
We're going one verse farther, and learning about one more rule than the rest of the services this weekend. I wanted to be sure I got to preach on this rule. Next weekend, I will be delivering my ordination message, so I won't be speaking about the Red Sea Rules.
After Moses told the people that they need to allow God to deliver them, he did tell them that they needed to get moving. Now that might sound a bit contradictory. Realize though, that it's God that told them to move, as part of his way of delivering them.
When we ask God to deliver us, that doesn't mean we stop listening to his guidance. We just stop trying to take everything into our control. Walking into the Red Sea wasn't an easy decision for Israel. It had to have been one of the scariest things they did. With Pharo behind them though, I'm sure it was the least scary of the options.
We must take things day by day, and step by step.
Morgan puts it this way,
We must keep moving forward in life, no matter what happens. Take one step, then another, then another.
This week we are focusing on faith, as we go deeper into the lessons we can learn from Moses and the Israelites as they faced the Red Sea.
Rules #4: Pray.
Read Exodus 14:10.
What did Israel see that made them afraid?*
Why were the afraid?*
Why do you think crying out to the Lord looked like and what was the content of their cries?*
When have you cried out to God?
Was it from a place of fear?
Rule #5: Stay calm and confident, and give God time to work.
Read Exodus 14:12-14.
Why do you think God includes the phrase “do not be afraid” so many times in scripture?*
What are some other stories of scripture when people had to wait on God?
When have you had to wait on God in your life?
How can you stay focused on God’s presence when you do have to wait?
Rule #6: When unsure, just take the next logical step by faith.
Read Exodus 14:15.
How can the phrase “paralysis of analysis” influence our Red Sea journey?*
In your journey thus far, have you sensed God wants youth talk some actions step? If so, have you responded to that nudging?*
What did God tell Israel to do?*
Why do you think God only shows us pieces of his plan for our lives, instead of reveling everything to us at once?
Are you obeying God in your daily relationship with him?
*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