Character for the Crossing

Character for the Crossing

(Exodus 14:10-18)

Exodus 14:13-14 “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses and the Israelites in Exodus chapter 14 learned an important character lesson of living by trust and faith in God, versus living by sight or living by their own logic or thinking. They learned, along with many other truths through this perilous event, that if you trust God wholly and completely He will not let you down.

INTRODUCTION

“That they go forward:” They needed to go forward with their lives, not faint in their present circumstances, not dwell on the past, but trust God and move forward. Exodus 14:15. We will look at several character truths learned both by Moses and the Israelites in this account, found in Exodus chapter 14, of their crossing of the Red Sea; which we can apply to our lives, so that we too can “Go forward” or move forward in the direction God has for us. We will examine how living by sight contrasts with living by faith.

 Do we live a faith filled life or do we live a sight filled life?

Are we going forward in our life, or perhaps are we just treading water and not trusting God to see us through to the other side of the situation?

THE SETTING

The setting of this text is when the Israelites, led by Moses, have finally left Egypt and are being chased by Pharaoh. They are on the edge of the Red Sea, and the Egyptians are at their back, and the Red Sea is in front of them. They appear to be in a no win, no alternatives situation. The Israelites at this moment, along with Moses, are going through an extremely stressful and difficult time, as you can imagine. We will learn some principles from God’s Word from this passage to help us to make it through our own hard times and difficulties.

LIVING BY SIGHT

Exodus 14:10a – “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them;”

The Israelite’s were living by sight; and what they saw was on one side the Egyptian army marching toward them, and on the other side was the Red Sea. As far as they could see they were in a no-win situation.

But are we to live by our sight, are we to live by our vision? – No, we should just trust in the Lord by faith to see us through all of our no-win situations, and watch Him miraculously snatch victory time and time again, from the jaws of defeat.

Instead of living by sight, we are to live by faith. (II Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight:) To walk by faith, is to live in the confident expectation of things that are to come to pass just as the Lord wills them, and at just the moment He wills them. The Lord is always on time. Those that don’t live by faith are only influenced by things they see, they will live for wealth, for personal honor or gain, for acquiring objects or for friends. The Christian on the other hand, is to have a firm conviction of the reality of an unseen God, of a Savior, of a God that holds the whole world in His right hand; and we are to live by this faith, and not by our sight of temporal things, but by our faith in our eternal God and His love and care for His children.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 1 – God may mean for you to be right where you are. Sometimes obedience to Christ puts you in the middle of the trouble. (Acts 7:54-60)

WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?

FEAR (Exodus 14:10b -and they were sore afraid:) –  Fear is a result of living by sight and not living by faith. If we are living by sight, we will have fear because:

  • we do not trust our circumstances to God and His control
  • we cannot see things from His perspective.

The Bible tells us the spirit of fear does not come from God. (II Timothy 1:7 – For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.) If God does not give us a spirit of fear, then who does? A.B. Simpson, an old Canadian preacher from early 20th century, said this about fear, “Fear is born of Satan, and if we would only take time to think a moment we would see that everything Satan says is founded upon a falsehood.”

If you have a problem with fear and worry take it to the Lord, He can help you overcome that spirit of fear. (Psalm 34:4 – I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 2 – Remain calm and stay confident in the situation you find yourself in and give God time and room to work. (Romans 8:28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

COMPLAINING (Exodus 14:10c – and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.) – Having a complaining spirit is a result of living by sight and not by faith.

  • Having a complaining spirit displeases God. (Numbers 11:1 – And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.)
  • If you have a complaining spirit, you need to examine yourself and repent of this sin and turn back to the Lord. (Lamentations 3:39-40 – Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sins? Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 3 – We need to be more concerned with God’s glory in the situation than complaining about our current circumstances in the situation. (Psalm 148:13Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.) We are to give God glory, bring God glory and direct glory to God in all we do, even in going through difficult, seemingly no-win situations. (I Corinthians 10:31Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

DOUBTING GODLY LEADERSHIP THAT IS IN OUR LIFE (Exodus 14:11And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?) – Doubting Godly leadership can be a result of living by sight and not living by faith.

The Bible tells us that people who have doubting spirits are unstable in all their ways. (James 1:6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.)

This doubting by the Israelite’ of Moses’ leadership took a sarcastic and disrespectful tone. Living by sight can not only lead someone to doubt the Godly leadership in their life but to also start disrespecting that Godly leadership as well.

This doubting of Godly leadership will lead to ungratefulness and forgetfulness of what that leader has done in our life. Once one lets this sin of doubting and questioning Godly leadership in their life, it can be hard to get a lasting victory over it. It may plague you again and again. (Exodus 16:2 – And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness:)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 4 – Acknowledge our true enemy, of which Godly leaders are not, and keep our eye on God. Don’t let the sin of doubting God or doubting those who are trying to help us creep into our life. We need to be on guard for that. (Romans 8:31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?)

(WHAT DOES LIVING BY SIGHT AND NOT BY FAITH LEAD TO?)

THINKING OUR WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GODS (Exodus 14:12Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.) – Thinking we know better than God on how to handle a situation is a result of living by sight and not by faith.

We need to learn to trust in God’s wisdom and quit thinking that we know better. If God is leading us in a certain direction, trust Him and go in that direction. Don’t think you thought of something God must not have considered or He would not have led you in that direction. Nothing ever surprises God, God knows all the facts of the situation. Nothing ever slips His mind.

If God is leading, just simply submit and follow. (Proverbs 3:5-8 – Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.)

Living by sight means we are relying on our own flesh; and the flesh can be impatient and not willing to wait for God’s timing of deliverance. We will not be able to understand God’s timing or God’s reasons as to why things seem delayed or not answered them the way we would like. (Isaiah 55:8-9 – For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon had this comment on Exodus 14:12:

“This unbelief was both unjust and cruel.  Had they not seen the Lord’s works in the great plagues?  Could they not believe that he who had wrought such marvels could and would deliver them?  They were smitten with panic, and were willing to return to bondage; whereas true freemen never debate which of the two to choose, slavery or death.”

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 5We need to make sure not to think that we know better than God, we need to just trust God to deliver in His own unique way and in His own timing. God’s timing and God’s way is always best. (Romans 11:33O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!)

SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?

A LACK OF FEAR (Exodus 14:13aAnd Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not,) – Moses was living by faith, and he knew with God on their side there was no need to fear. So Moses exhorted the Israelites to not fear their current circumstance.

Psalm 23 tells us to what extent we are to not have fear as long as God is with us. (Psalm 23:4 – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.)

If you think about it for a moment, we really have nothing to fear as a Christian. We are, if we are saved, in God’s hand, and what can man do to us, that God has not ordained to happen, if we are in God’s hand. (John 10:28-29 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.)

And if God has allowed it to happen, or caused it to happen, we know that it is a good gift for us, even though we may not see how it is good, from God’s perspective it is. (James 1:16-17 – Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 6 – We need to learn to exercise faith, and when we are not sure, we should just take the next logical step, trust God and go forward.

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

CONFIDENCE IN YOUR POSITION (Exodus 14:13b – stand still) – Moses told the Israelites to stand still. Moses was confident in their position as long as they had God on their side. As long as they were living by faith they could have confidence of their position or confidence in God in their circumstance. Moses was trying to give them confidence by showing his own confidence in the Lord.

If you are living by faith you need to testify of the confidence you have in your position and circumstance to your family, to your friends and to all those around you. You need to do what you can to influence others to have this confidence in God as well.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 7 – Envision God’s presence with you in your current circumstance, and have confidence in your position with Him, and demonstrate this confidence to those around you who don’t yet possess it. (Matthew 28:20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

SEEING THE HAND OF THE LORD WORKING IN OUR LIFE (Exodus 14:13And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.) – Seeing God at work in our life, and seeing answers to prayer are both the results of living a life of faith and not a life based on our sight.

God’s hand is at work in your life. Have faith and trust His sovereignty over your life. (Philippians 2:13 – For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.)

Moses and the Israelite’s were about to see the Almighty hand of God at work on their behalf, on a monumental scale. It is an exciting thing to see God at work in your life. You need to make sure you are living by faith; you do not want to miss out on a mighty blessing from God.

God is our Heavenly Father and we need to stand still and have confidence in His ability to do anything or meet any need we may have. (Philippians 4:19 – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.)

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 8 – Living a life by faith gives us the opportunity to see firsthand God at work in our life. A result of seeing Him at work is that we get more energized and more encouraged to keep living a life of faith for Him. (Jeremiah 33:3Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

THE LORD WILL FIGHT OUR BATTLES FOR US (Exodus 14:14a – The LORD shall fight for you) – Don’t try to fight your own battles with circumstances, with others or with the flesh, call on God and He will fight those battles for you and with you. This fact is a great result of living by faith and not living by sight.

The Lord will be with you in the heat of the battle. He will fight for you in the battles of your life on your behalf. (Deuteronomy 20:4 – For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.)

With the fact that the Lord is fighting for you, we need to remember to give Him the glory for victories, because it was not us, it was Him that did it. Point all glory to God.

Never was a Hebrew leader ever been tried as much as Moses was at this point. He was exposed to the danger coming quickly at them from Pharaohs army, he had no obvious or visible way of escape or defense, he had the multitude under him getting very frightened, they were questioning God’s leadership and his leadership. Can you imagine the stress Moses was under at this point; but he did not lose hope, he did not get discouraged, instead he confidently rallied his people and told them that deliverance was coming.

Why did he not get discouraged? – He had the presence of God and he was living by faith in God and trusted God for deliverance though neither he nor anyone else could see any possibility of it coming at that moment. We too can keep from living in discouragement by living the faith life.

CHARACTER PRINCIPLE # 9 – You will be greatly tested, you will be greatly stressed, just make sure to not lose your faith and confidence in God.

How do we do that? – We use the small situations as faith builders to help us with the next one and with the next one, till when we face the giant of a faith testing circumstance we have already learned to always and confidently trust in God for deliverance. (Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. & Romans 4:20 – He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;)

(SO WHAT DOES LIVING BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT LEAD TO?)

PEACEFULNESS (Exodus 14:14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.) – A sense of peace that passes all understanding, even in the midst of great trial and stress, is what comes from living a life by faith and not by sight. (Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.)

MOVING FORWARD IN OUR LIFE WITH THE LORD AND FOR THE LORD

Exodus 14:15 – “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”

The end result of living a life of faith in God is moving forward with and for the Lord.

  • The Lord wants us to be constantly moving forward in our walk with Him, and He wants us to be constantly growing in Him.
  • He does not want us to rest and be content where we are at in our walk with Him, but he wants us to be maturing in our knowledge and walk with Him. The Lord desires for us to move past the milk of the Word and unto the meat of the Word. (Hebrews 5:12 – For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.)
  • We should always be striving to conquer new challenges and take new ground for His Kingdom.
  • We should never come to a place where we think we have arrived as a Christian; because if we do we are no longer living by faith, we would be living by sight.

We need to make sure we are always growing in the Lord, always moving forward in your Christian walk, and seeking the things of the Lord; we should not ever quit trying to become more like Christ. (Colossians 3:1 – If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.)

speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:” – Are you going forward for the Lord?

CONCLUSION

God performed a great miracle in the parting of the Red Sea and Moses and the Israelites went over on dry ground. Pharaoh and his army were destroyed. God can perform a great miracle in our life too.

  • We need to commit to living a life by faith and not living a life by sight.
  • We need to commit to developing Godly character.
  • We need to commit to “going forward” for Christ.

We should not give God any excuses or reasons why He cannot use us; instead we need to be living by faith now and watch just how God can use us in so many different ways, different ministries, and different circumstances in the future.

We should always keep in our thinking that the Lord is in control of our life. He sometimes may bring circumstances or trials in our life for a purpose or for a reason. God controls a chain of events from start to finish with the goal in mind to help His children to be constantly doing one thing for Him; He will bring about events so “That they go forward” like it says in the last part of verse 15.

Are you going forward for Christ? Are you letting God lead you, are you letting God develop you so He can use you in a particular ministry in the future?  

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