Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“O God, be not far from me! O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be put to shame and consumed who are adversaries to my life…But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteous acts and of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is more than I know. I will come in the strength and with the mighty acts of the Lord God; I will mention and praise Your righteousness, even Yours alone.”
Psalm 71: 12-16
Today’s Study Text:
“Moses told the people, ‘Fear not; stand still – firm, confident, undismayed – and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.’”
Exodus 14: 13, 14
“Trapped Between Pharaoh and the Sea” Part 1
“There is never a fear that has not a corresponding, ‘Fear not’.”
Amy Wilson Carmichael
What is there in my life right now which is causing me to fear?
What would it mean to me, like God did for Moses, to have Him say to me, ‘Fear not?”
Do I believe God is the same today as He was in the time of Moses?
How do I believe God’s words, “Fear not,” apply to my life right now?
“If God can be found in all things, then there is nothing at all that can happen to us that we need fear.”
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (daughtership). And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father,’”
Romans 8: 15
After the wonderful studies during the Easter season on the life of Jesus, I ran head first into a daunting task for two disabled people. For over a year, Jim and I have felt that we should sell our home and downsize. There are several reasons for this but one of the most important is that a small place to live will give us more time to focus on the work at Transformation Garden.
While we are excited about the thought of putting as much energy as possible into the “Garden,” after nearly 40 years of marriage, we have accumulated more than our share of “things.” Although we have been working on selling or giving away lots of the “stuff” that has latched on to us through the years, packing is a big job.
Since there are many young people who come to the “Garden,” I’d like to offer you a piece of advice, live with as little as possible. Because Jim and I have no children and our nieces and nephews already have more stuff than they can use, we are taking this time to totally de-clutter our lives. At the same time, we have a significant task ahead. The fact is, this ordeal has frightened both of us to some extent. It is not that we don’t see wonderful opportunities before us, but it is getting through the dark tunnel ahead and not knowing where we’ll end up that has us on pins and needles.
Jim and I have discussed this perplexing situation, probably too much. But after praying about it, we have separately come to the same decision. And it is this: God can better use our empty hands than our cluttered ones. When Transformation Garden began nearly ten years ago, Jim and I were in a financial position to underwrite all the costs ourselves, and we did. But about five years ago, our lives were unexpectedly turned upside down, to the point that I wondered how in the world the “Garden” would continue to function. Well, obviously God was totally able to provide for Transformation Garden in ways I could not have ever imagined.
My desire not to ask for money was something that both Jim and I believed, to the core of our bodies. The message of the Gospel is free. And many people who come to the “Garden” don’t have the means to send money. What’s more, I don’t ever want anyone to desire to invite a friend to read a devotional and then have to worry about that person being asked to donate money. I’ve prayed about this and both Jim and I believe in our great “Jehovah-Jireh,” our God who provides. Yes, He is our great provider!
But there’s another important lesson I’ve learned over the past five years. God has ways and means to surprise every one of us when our backs are up against the wall or when, like the Israelites, we have Pharaoh roaring at us from behind and we hear the rushing waves of the Red Sea right before us. Just to let you know, I’m going to share with you some of the ways God has held the “Garden” in the palm of His hand!
As Jim and I prayed about his dilemma, he made a very intelligent observation. While I laughingly tell him I married him for his money (we had absolutely no money to speak of when we met.) Jim’s mind has always kept God in the forefront. And Jim reminded me how God has always come to our aid. In fact, owning a small business for over 33 years has helped us realize how frequently God rescues us, even from our own ignorance or stupidity. And both are traits I can claim to have exhibited on more than one occasion in my life.
Like I said, God is well aware of every challenge we face in our lives. So my husband Jim noted that since I write a devotional which I pray encourages at least one person each day, that of all people, I need to exhibit complete and total trust in my Father’s guiding hand during our unknown challenge of moving to who knows where! And just maybe, as we walk into the darkness, the lessons I’m learning and sharing will help you for I can tell you with complete certainty that what God does for me, He’ll do for you. I’m not some special case – but I am God’s case just like you are.
This is why I want to take us back to the book of Exodus for this coming week. Not just with the written word, but in music as well. The great gospel singer Dottie Peoples wrote a song called: “He’s An On-Time God, Yes He Is.” I want to share the word and music with you today:
“He’s an on time God, yes, He is.
Oh, an on time God, yes, He is
Job said, He may not come when you want Him to,
But He’ll be there right on time;
I tell you He’s an on time God, yes, He is.
You can ask the children of Israel,
trapped at the Red Sea
by that mean old Pharaoh and his army.
They had water all around them,
and Pharaoh on their track,
from out of nowhere, God stepped in
and cut a highway just like that.
You can ask the 5,000 hungry souls
He fed on the banks of the river
With two fishes and 5 loaves of bread.
What a miracle He performed on that
multitude, but what He did way back then
He can do today for you and me.
He’s an on time God,
Yes He is,
He’s an on time God,
Yes He is.
He may not come when you want Him,
But He’ll be there right on time.
He’s an on time God,
Yes He is!”
Right now, I’d like for you to take time to go back to the beginning of today’s devotional and reread the entire study text, for the passage found in Exodus 14, will be the template for our studies all week.
A little background will be helpful and will also explain why this text is so critical, especially when you and I face disturbing delays and unanswered prayers which cause us to doubt if God even hears us at all or sees the fix we are in.
God had a special task for His chosen leader, Moses. This prince of Egypt and Shepherd of Midian was hand-picked by God to lead His chosen people, the Israelites out of slavery from their Egyptian taskmasters. This was no easy…or simple endeavor. Once out of Pharaoh’s control, I imagine everyone breathed a big sigh of relief. That is until a crisis so huge hit this wilderness bound multitude. Frankly, death seemed inevitable. Looking behind them, toward Egypt, an ominous cloud of dust, heralded the dreadful news. The Egyptian army, along with 600 chosen chariots, and “all the other chariots of Egypt,” were headed straight toward the Israelite encampment. The Bible tells us that Pharaoh came toward the Israelites “proudly and defiantly,” intent on their complete annihilation. What’s worse, Exodus 14: 9 explains that the, “Egyptians pursued them (the Israelites), all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the Red Sea.”
I’m thankful God’s Word is so comprehensive. We aren’t left to wonder how God’s children felt, watching this army come down upon them. Exodus 14:10 (Amplified Bible) makes the situation completely clear: “When Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked up, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and the Israelites were exceedingly frightened and cried out to the Lord.” In the King James Version of the Bible the words “exceedingly frightened” are translated “sore afraid.” In the Hebrew, the word “sore” means, “utterly, intensively, totally.” You couldn’t get much more afraid than this. I liken it to someone saying, “They were quaking in their boots!” Fear permeated every fiber of the Israelites.
The Bible says that God’s chosen children were totally fearful. This description helps me to understand that God doesn’t reject His children just because they are frightened. What’s more, the very first thing we are told happened when God’s fearful kids saw the Egyptians headed toward them with murder on their mind and the Red Sea on the other side of them, was that they “Cried out unto the Lord!”
Here’s the crucial point in this experience – just because God’s people became frightened at the moment when they were staring death in the face – God didn’t turn on them and say, “Well, you don’t have enough faith so I’m not going to help you – you faithless, and weak-kneed losers!”
This isn’t the way our Father works or acts. Instead, He took His precious children, as they were, where they were, and not only surrounded them with His protective love, but He gave them a very distinct plan of attack to assist them in the battle they faced.
This is important for you and me to comprehend today, especially right now when nearly every person I know is facing an “Egyptian” army on one side and the “Red Sea” on the other.
For many of you, the Red Sea which is drowning you right now is a wall of financial waves that are swamping you in “Red Ink!” Or on the other side, many of you have been struck by marital infidelity or health problems, not of your own choosing or making. And please let me just add one other thing to this discussion, even when our own folly and errant judgment brings us into challenging circumstances, the Bible is filled with examples of how God comes to the rescue of His fallen children, when we don’t deserve His loving-kindness. While there may be consequences as a result of our wanderings, God still renews us and does for us what we could never do for ourselves.
In a moment of terror, when fear reigned, when the Egyptian army had God’s children on the verge of being drowned in the Red Sea, or murdered in the desert, Moses, called aloud, ‘Fear not!” God’s message rang out over the barren wilderness. “Don’t be afraid! You can count on Me!”
God’s children found themselves in what you and I would call a tight spot. Cut off from any human assistance, their only reliance was on God. I love what the Apostle Paul told his son in Christ, Timothy, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and a sound mind” (II Timothy 1: 7, K.J.V.). When we feel afraid, we need to remember that “fear” doesn’t come from God. He doesn’t give His children a “spirit of fear.” One of my favorite quotes by the dedicated missionary to China, Hudson Taylor states that: “All our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestations of God’s grace, power and love.” Hallelujah! He’s an on-time God, yes, He is!
“In tribulation, immediately draw near to God with trust, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.”
John of the Cross
God Is My Strong Salvation
“God is my strong salvation;
What foe have I to fear?
In darkness and temptation
My light, my help is near.
Though hosts encamp around me,
Firm to the fight I stand;
What terror can confound me,
With God at my right hand?
Place on the Lord reliance;
My soul, with courage wait;
His truth be thine affiance,
When faint and desolate.
His might thine heart shall strengthen,
Hi love thy joy increase;
Mercy thy days shall lengthen;
The Lord will give thee peace.”
The Place of Peace
As the heart of the cyclone tearing the sky
And flinging the clouds and the towers by,
Is a place of central calm;
So here in the roar of mortal things,
I have a place where my spirit sings,
In the hollow of God’s palm.”
“He’s An On Time God, Yes, He Is”
By Dottie Peoples
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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