This has been a strange week! Any 'Amens' for that? It's been a strange week - what I mean by that is usually I know where I'm going with regards to the ministry and the preaching, but up until Sunday morning I didn't have a clue what I was going to bring. I have plenty of stuff, you need to look at the website and you'll find that out - but I just had nothing on my heart, but I knew God was going to speak. Then God directed us to Exodus and to Moses, and a few thoughts on Sunday night, and then we ended up starting in Moses and Exodus on Monday night, and ended up in Jonah. Then last night the penny dropped, or during the afternoon, that God was creating a series here. I have been preaching the Gospel, I hope you'll agree with that, but there has been a lot of ministry to the church and to God's people as well - and we realised that this is a series, and the title of the series is 'Let My People Go'. That is what God is saying: 'Let My people go, that they may serve Me'. And that is a cry to the church, that the church should come out of bondage - but it's also a cry to people who are still in the slave market of sin, folk who are unbelievers who have never been born again and converted. You need to be saved, and you need to be liberated. So what we're really preaching about is a new Exodus, where the church comes out of its bondage, and unconverted people are delivered from their sin and their self to find freedom in Christ.
Tonight we're turning to Exodus chapter 14, we are in Exodus again. We're going to be here again tomorrow night, I'm giving you a heads up on this - because this has been so strange, I mean it now. Your pastor will tell you this: preparation for ministry isn't easy, and sometimes it can take me a couple of days getting a message together. The Lord has been downloading these messages in an hour or two, an hour or two in the morning. I've had a busy week with other things, I was down at the RVH for a hospital appointment today - not for me, but someone else - so I've been running around the place, even took the dog for a walk yesterday! But you understand: when God is moving and God is speaking, it becomes very easy - His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I want you to understand: I'm not just firing stuff at you these nights, that God is speaking. So we're going to be in Exodus at least tonight and tomorrow night, and who knows.
Exodus chapter 14, and we're coming to the Red Sea crossing. If you want a title for this message, it's 'The Red Sea Route' - OK? Verse 1 of Exodus 14: "Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 'Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, 'They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in'". I wonder is there anybody here tonight, and you're bewildered - it's a wonderful phrase, isn't it? Bewildered with life, bewildered with why you're here, what life is all about, where you're going. Maybe you're bewildered about the church - join the club! You're maybe bewildered about Christianity. Dare I say this? Am I allowed to say this in the church? You could be bewildered about God. You know, God is hard to understand. If He was easy to understand, He wouldn't be God - isn't that right? There are certain things that God does that are quite hard to get your head around at times. You see, the carnal mind does not perceive the things of the Spirit, they are foolishness unto him. Who can understand everything that happens to us in this life?
Anyway, that's another sermon. We are bewildered here, and then we move into verse 4 God says: "'Then I will harden Pharaoh's heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD'. And they did so. Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, 'Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?'. So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon".
Now let me just pause there for a moment. At the end of verse 8 it says that Pharaoh pursued the children of Israel. At the beginning of verse 9 it says the Egyptians pursued them. Now we have been looking these nights, right from at least Monday night anyway, at how Pharaoh is a picture of Satan. The spirit of Pharaoh is still alive and well in our modern day world, the spirit of Pharaoh is on this planet right now making slaves of sinners, robbing people of life and hope. Do you know something? Maybe you have never become aware of this before, you're maybe not even a Christian: Satan is pursuing you, just like Pharaoh and the Egyptians were pursuing the Israelites, Satan is pursuing you. I would say to Christians here, born-again believers: you need to waken up, because if Satan is pursuing unbelievers you can be absolutely assured that Satan is pursuing you. In fact, he perhaps is more interested in you because you are a threat to him, because you're in the kingdom of light and you know God. So it's as if the crosshair sights are on you, you are public enemy number one for Satan. In fact, the Bible says that he is like a roaring lion, going about seeking whom he may devour. The only way we can resist him is steadfast in the faith, so you've got to be in the faith. I'm not talking about in the church, I'm talking about in the faith - you've got to be a Christian, a true Bible-believing Christian who has repented of their sins, turned around, changed your mind, and come to Jesus Christ who was crucified for you - believe in His death alone for your salvation. That's the only way you can resist the evil one. Do you know the devil wants to kill you? Do you know that? We have these wee cartoon images of this wee guy on your shoulder, you know, like Tom and Jerry - you remember, was it the mouse sat on the shoulder with the horns and the pitchfork and the tail? That's the way we think of the devil. Wait till I tell you: the devil wants to destroy you, and he wants to take you to hell. I know those are strong words, but that's the truth of God's word.
Maybe that shakes you a bit, well in verse 10 it shook the Israelites - Pharaoh breathing down their neck. Verse 10: "And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD" - they were very afraid! Fear is one of the enemy's biggest weapons. When we talk about the devil, you might think of the Satanists, or witches, or occult things - you know, ouija boards and spells. All that is in the kingdom of darkness, believe you me, and it's more prevalent than you could imagine. But one of the most potent weapons that Satan has today in our world is fear. I wonder is that a problem for you? Fear, anxiety, nervous tension, it can often lead to depression and all sorts of mental and emotional disorders, and even physical ailments. Jesus said that in the last days men and women's hearts would fail them for fear, literally they would be taking heart attacks - but metaphorically they would be emotionally broken and wrecked.
Mental health care in our own society is near breaking point, I think. You know, fear is at epidemic proportions. I know I can be a bit cynical at times with stuff that comes on the news or in the newspapers, but there was something yesterday - I don't know where I read it, or what it was, whether it was on a news website or in a paper or something like that. But did any of you hear this: about another cancer scare - I think it was a cancer scare anyway. This time it was candles - did you hear that one? Put your hand up if you heard that one - candles - have you heard that one? Candles, and is it joss sticks? There's probably something weird about those - but anyway, burning sticks with scent on them - and 'You've got to stay away from those!'. (I like candles by the way, don't be telling anybody - but I like candles! Birthday candles are the best ones!). I thought: 'That's interesting, isn't it?'. Then 'Open fires', I thought 'Ah, come on! Open fires?'. They're talking about pollution in the air. Then this really did it for me: 'Going outside'! That was the next thing in this article! Going outside! It started off with candles, and you could start to believe: 'Well, maybe there is a problem with candles' - but we're not to go outside anymore? I would challenge you to study the papers, study the news with a filter on your eyes to see how much scaremongering goes on. I was even reading a Christian news article just before I came out tonight, and the headline was: 'Should we be stocking up food?' - you know, this apocalyptic concept. Now I believe we are in the end times, and I believe we are in the last of the last days - but I don't believe in this pessimistic type of attitude.
So we see that fear is so prevalent. This is what the enemy was using with the Israelites, this is what the enemy is using with you. I don't know whether your heart is wracked by fear, but I want to tell you tonight that the only way to be delivered from fear is Jesus Christ. The only way to be delivered from fear is to fear God. That's not a 'shaking in your boots' fear, that's a reverential awe and love for God. Perfect love casts out fear. Fear has got to do with judgement, Jesus said: 'Come unto Me all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for My yoke is easy and My burden is light, and you will find rest for your souls'.
But the Lord knew the Israelites were fearful. If you look back at chapter 13 quickly and verse 17, there is a very interesting statement here: 'Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near' - can I paraphrase that? That was a shortcut through the territory of the Philistines, but God didn't lead them that way - why? 'God said, 'Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt''. Do you see that? They weren't strong enough to fight the enemy, God knew that fear would grip them. Now, we need balance, OK? You're not to be ignorant of Satan's devices, you're not to walk around with your head in the sand about how powerful he is and how much he hates you and how much he wants to destroy you. But we're not to be cowards either - do you know what I mean? We're not to forget the inheritance that we have, and the blessings that we enjoy. We're not to be negligent in understanding who we are in Christ, who our Father is, who our Elder Brother, our Saviour, and our Great High Priest is. Are you afraid of the devil? Are you? Corrie Ten Boom spent time in the concentration camps of the Nazis, so she suffered a thing or two. Her family, I think most of them died if not all of them. She said: 'Fear of the demons comes from the demons' - that is profound, isn't it? The devil wants you to be afraid of him - that's why whenever (and I don't want to get into any of this stuff), but whenever somebody manifests who has a demon, there's a whole lot of amateur dramatics, and shouting, and rolling, and getting on - because the devil, he's like a puff adder: he likes to make himself bigger and more intimidating than he really is.
I want to say to you tonight, especially if you're a Christian - 2 Timothy 1:7: 'God has not given you a spirit of fear'. So if God has not given you a spirit of fear, where does it come from? It comes from the devil. So don't you tell me, dear, that because your Mummy was a worrier, and your Granny was a worrier, that you're just a worrier - that it's a family trait. That's a lie that you have believed: it is a sin. Now it might be inherited, it certainly was in my family, but it's not from God and you ought to reject it!
It says that Pharaoh drew near, if you go back to chapter 14 verse 10, it says Pharaoh drew near. I wonder is Satan drawing near to some of you here tonight? Christian or not, have you sensed evil near you? Have you sensed darkness? Maybe you have been dabbling in doorways of darkness and danger, and the enemy has revealed himself to you in some way, and it has freaked you out. Maybe you have seen something, heard something, maybe you have had some kind of a visitation? Well, it says here in verse 10: 'Pharaoh drew near, and the children of Israel lifted their eyes' - they had got their eyes on the devil! Now listen folks: the devil is real, and he can show up big-time - but we're not to have our eyes on the devil. Wait till I tell you: you can see it all around you, you don't have to look hardly beyond your own nose to see the devil at times - you need to think about that one! But he is everywhere, his fingerprints are everywhere - but we're not meant to walk by sight, we are meant to walk by faith. We're not meant to be walking by our physical senses, what we see, what we hear, what our mind perceives. Sure, as I'm talking about listening to the news, you'd be depressed after watching the news every night in the week if you didn't have a Christian worldview and filter it through the word of God. So we, of all people, are meant to understand what God's mind is, we are meant to have the mind of Christ. If you focus on the devil, guess what happens? The devil gets bigger! Do you ever notice that when you're driving along the road, if you're trying to avoid the wall that's likely what you're going to hit - for whatever you focus on, you go towards. If you focus on the devil, you will attract the devil, you will see the devil everywhere. God wants us to be God-conscious, not devil-conscious.
We see what this led to in the lives of the Israelites, verse 11 - they are very afraid remember, as Pharaoh drew near they put their eyes on him, and they were very afraid: "Then they said to Moses, 'Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?''. Despair! Dejection! Then they start murmuring and moaning against the Lord's servant. Look at verse 12: "Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt", OK, this is going back a wee bit. Even before they left, this was the word they told Moses: "Saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?' For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the Wilderness". Are you getting the picture here? Do you see what the devil is doing on them? Now I can give you as many cliches as you want, alright: 'Don't rock the apple cart', 'Oh, we prefer the status quo', 'Don't rock the boat', 'Don't push us out of our comfort zone'. Now they had forgotten a lot, because they weren't that comfortable in Egypt as slaves - but now the grass is always greener on the other side, there's another one for you. They were remembering, here's another, with rose tinted spectacles - they're all coming tonight! They were remembering, revising history, the way Egypt wasn't - because now they are facing the devil eyeball to eyeball, they're seeing what he's really like and what he could do. Fear has gripped them, you see this is what fear does to us - and the consequence was that they would rather be slaves in Egypt than die in freedom!
Now, I'm not going to ask you did you watch 'Braveheart' the film. I quoted Robert the Bruce last night, about the English trying to get him. You know that William Wallace, the English didn't like him much either. If you have seen the film, you probably remember this part, where he says: 'Tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!'. Remember? 'Freedom!'. But you know, Christian, and non-Christian, how much do you value freedom, true freedom? Do you know what is true of the church? We have lost our fight, we have become so intimidated by the enemy that we are weak-willed, passive, limp. Oh, there is a wonderful verse that I love, turn with me to it - keep a marker in there in Exodus - turn to Matthew chapter 11 verse 12: 'And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force'. That's a sort of tricky verse, isn't it? 'From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force'. Listen to it in the Amplified Version: 'The kingdom of heaven suffers violent assault, and violent men seize it by force as a precious prize'. Jesus says: 'The gate is narrow, the way is straight and the gate is narrow', and you've got to push in. So you've got to fight in a sense - now I'm not talking about being saved, OK? 'By grace are you saved through faith', if you want to know God, your sins forgiven, it's a gift that you just take, because God says it's there and Jesus died for your sins. What I'm talking about is - I once quoted it, and when I quoted it, it wasn't even my quote, and it went all over the Internet on all these different social media things, but it was somebody else's - 'A little faith will take you to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to you'.
'The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent', remember I talked last night about passion, and zeal, and desire - how much do you want to bring God down, do you want to bring the kingdom of God to us? We've lost our fight. In John chapter 2, you remember Jesus cleansed the Temple - now that doesn't fit in with the Sunday School picture type version of the Lord Jesus, does it, or the stained-glass window portrait of Jesus? He takes time, and it was premeditated, He braided together a whip, the Bible says. He thought about it and planned it. It wasn't an angry explosion. He went down in complete order, He didn't lose His temper; but He upended the money changer's tables, and He whipped the animals - not the people now, but He whipped the animals out of the place. He said: 'You have made My Father's House a den of thieves and robbers, My Father's House shall be a house of prayer', and it says 'Then the disciples remembered where it said in the word of the Lord', it's a Psalm, 'The zeal of My house has eaten me up' - the zeal of God, that's how it's sometimes displayed. I'm not talking about violence towards people, we don't believe in any of that - but here was a passionate Saviour, a zealous Christ who had fight in Him! Aren't you glad He had fight in Him? If He didn't have fight in Him, He would never have went to the cross - because they were all trying to kill Him before He got to the cross.
Do you want to know what the antidote to fear, and the incubator of zeal is? Guess what? Faith! That's the antidote to fear, and it's the incubator of zeal. Now I've heard it that many times, that there are 365 times in the Bible, some people say 366, one for every day and one for a leap year, it says 'Fear not', or 'Do not fear', or 'Be not afraid'. That's good, isn't it? I don't know whether it's true, but it's good anyway! It depends what version you're reading probably! But there is no doubt about it, whether that's the case or not: every day of our lives the Lord would say, 'Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me'. If you don't want your heart to be troubled, friend tonight, whether for your sins, or for circumstances in your life, or for your future or your eternity, you need to believe in Jesus Christ.
'Fear not', and here we see it in verse 13, look down with me in Exodus 14: "Moses said to the people", they said 'Let us alone, leave us alone!', Moses said, "'Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever'". Oh, I love that! Will you, someone in this place tonight, everyone, will you believe God for your deliverance? Deliverance is another word for salvation or rescue. Whatever you need to be delivered from tonight, sin, Satan, sickness, sadness - what is it? Storms of life? Do you believe God to deliver you? That means you need to stop the fretting, you need to stop the panicking, and you need to stop the attempts at manipulating your circumstances to make things better. You need to give up, and give over to God - that's what Moses was saying: 'Stand still, and see the salvation of God', 'I'm going to do this for you today, I will do it!'.
Some of you believers really need to do this. You know the armour of God in Ephesians chapter 6, all those different pieces of armour - well, one is pertinent to this, it's called the helmet. What is it the helmet of? Salvation! What did I say was another word for salvation? Deliverance. So it's a helmet of deliverance. When you go to 1 Thessalonians, we find out that it is a helmet of hope. So the helmet of salvation and deliverance is a helmet of hope, do you know what that means? We are to put on our heads - in other words, we are to renew our minds in faith, hoping that God is going to come through for us. Now, is that what we do, or do we get our eyes on Pharaoh breathing down our neck, and the Egyptians? Do we see what they are like, the devil, and do we be so terrified that we are paralysed? Do you know something? I was meditating half of the day yesterday on Psalm 27:13: 'I had fainted if I had not believed that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living'. Do you know how the NIV translates that? It puts it more positively, it says: 'I am confident that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living'. What? Do you know what I was saying half of the day to the Lord yesterday? 'Lord, that is now! That's now, that's not when I die and go to heaven, and play some harp' (we're not going to be doing that anyway), but you know that's the way we think: 'Everything will be alright when we get to glory', and nothing for today. The verse says it's now: 'I would have fainted', and I'll tell you I would despair, I would pack it all in, if I did not believe that I would see the goodness of God now. That's the helmet of the hope of deliverance.
Oh, look at this verse 13 again, at the end of it: 'For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever' - isn't that mighty? That's victory! If I was to tell you tonight - and you were an alcoholic tonight, or you're a drug abuser, or you're steeped in pornography or gambling, or whatever it might be - if I was to say to you: 'If you come to Christ tonight you will see that no more forever', you would say 'Boy, that's a tall claim'. It's not me that's making it, I couldn't make that; but I assure you tonight, if you give your life to Christ, that He will change it. Everything may not happen overnight, but it will happen if you walk with God, if you trust Him with your life, if you obey Him and do everything He tells you to do - I guarantee you, you will see those enemies no more. That's victory! That's our message! That's our message, it's not: 'Say a wee sinner's prayer, and try and do your best until you die or until Jesus comes again - but really, just try and make the best of it'. That's not Christianity! Christianity is a triumphant, all-conquering, victorious message!
Look at chapter 6 and verse 1. Do you remember what God said to Moses when he was a bit fearful of going to Pharaoh? 'Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh'. Have I told you yet that the devil is defeated? Have I told you that this week? He is defeated. I've been quoting Revelation 12, and I want you to turn to it - I don't think we've actually turned to it yet. Keep a marker there in Exodus, go to Revelation 12 till we read it, to show how defeated the devil is. Revelation chapter 12 and verse 9: 'So the great dragon', that's the devil, 'was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now salvation'', what does that word salvation mean? Deliverance! 'Now salvation' - deliverance - 'and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death'. That's victory, that's victory! Not just your sins forgiven and the slate wiped clean, victory is power over sin now and victory over the devil in your life - that's the Gospel! Don't water it down.
If you go to Exodus 15, right after the deliverance through the Red Sea - we'll be looking at it in a moment, but most of it tomorrow night - in chapter 15 you've got what is called 'The Song of Moses'. Later on, about verse 20, Miriam, Moses and Aaron's sister takes up a tambourine - I don't know whether she was Elim or not, but she took up a tambourine - and she starts to sing, she was a prophetess. But look at some of the words here in chapter 15, listen to the note of victory, we've lost this note of victory - the first verse of chapter 15, in the middle: 'I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; my father's God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; The LORD is His name. Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You; You sent forth Your wrath; It consumed them like stubble'. Look at verse 11 too, this is a favourite of mine: 'Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods?' - small 'g'. But there are gods - small 'g' - you know that? Principalities and powers, these captains in Pharaoh's army, if you like: 'Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?'.
Look at verse 16: 'Fear and dread will fall on them; by the greatness of Your arm they will be as still as a stone, till Your people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over whom You have purchased'. Do you know what God wants to do for you tonight, friend? Listen: He wants to take all your fears, all your worries, and all your burdens - and, because of what Jesus did on the cross, He's going to take them all off you and He's going to put them on the devil. Do you believe that? 'The devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees' - the devil gets terrified when he sees a Christian really trusting in God. He can't do anything, he can't do anything with that. I'll tell you something, do you see in Revelation 15 - we'll not go there - but in Revelation 15 there is a crowd in heaven around a glassy sea, and they are the people who have been victorious over the beast, that's the Antichrist, and his whole regime - the mark of the beast and all the rest. Do you know what they are singing? They're singing the song of Moses, the song of Moses and the Lamb.
This is about victory over the devil, that's what we have at the cross! Psalm 24: 'Lift up your heads, O you gates! Be lifted up, you everlasting doors that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle'. What does Moses song say in verse 3 of chapter 15?: 'The LORD is a man of war' - that's a strange verse, isn't it? But it's true: God is a warrior. We've got so effeminate, no offence to the ladies here - that's not referring to you anyway - but we've become so effeminate, so namby-pamby in our attitude. I believe in grace and graciousness, I try my best, but do you know what I'm saying? God is a man of war, He is the mighty conqueror - let us not forget that. I believe, as I was preparing this, I believe I had to say something here - and it's not any of you, it's to the devil. I believe I have to say this tonight: 'Devil, you're at work in this church, you are at work in this church, but you are defeated, you're defeated!' - and he hears me.
Look at verse 14, back to chapter 14 verse 14: "The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace". Oh, isn't that wonderful? You've got to trust the Lord, and then He will fight for you - and you just have to hold your peace. I know that's hard for some of you, but it has to be done. Now, my mind immediately when I read this went - keep a marker in there - to 2 Chronicles, turn to this because you will see such a parallel. Second Chronicles chapter 20 verse 2, and the background is that the people of Moab, people of Ammon, are coming against Jehoshaphat king of Judah. Look at verse 2: 'Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, 'A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar' (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD'. Do you see the similarity here? A great multitude, like Pharaoh and the Egyptians, coming against God's King and His people. I tell you: if you haven't already realised it, there is a great multitude coming against us today. 'Woe unto you who call evil good and good evil', that's what's happening today - whether it's in politics, in the legislature, whether it's even in the ranks of the church, in popular culture. Everybody is feeling this: there is a great multitude coming against us, and it is fearful. Just like the children of Israel feared Pharaoh, Jehoshaphat is fearing the Moabites and the Ammonites - what does he do but, what does he do with his fear? He gets on his face before God, and he seeks the Lord, he proclaims a fast - verse 3 - throughout all Judah. 'So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD' - that's what we need to do. Now I'm not disparaging people with mental illness or anything like that, please don't misunderstand me - but listen: worry needs to be repented of, first and foremost, because it's sin.
The best remedy for fear is faith, and prayer, and seeking God's face. This is what Jehoshaphat does. Look down at verse 14: 'Then the Spirit of the LORD came' - that's what happens when you turn your fear into faith and prayer and fasting - 'The Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly'. Now look carefully at what happens here: 'And he said, 'Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: 'Do not be afraid'', there it is again, ''Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's''. Some of you need to underline that! It's not your battle, you stop fighting, let God fight for you. Now, I know I said we've lost our fight, but really what I'm talking about is being behind what the Lord is doing, rather than trying to do the Lord's work for Him. Do you understand?
Look at verse 17: 'You will not need to fight in this battle'. It's just like the Israelites: 'You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves', that's vital, don't just sit on your blessed assurance and do nothing about it, or lie back and say 'We'll let the Lord do everything'. It's not this passivity, you've to position yourself correctly and 'Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem! Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them' - they had to do something - 'go out against them, for the LORD is with you'. Don't you love it? And do you know who they sent out at the front? It wasn't the SAS, or their equivalent, they sent the praise band out in front - that's what they did! They sent the musicians, and look at verse 22, they went out praising the Lord, their faith was so great in the Lord that they praised and worshipped, and verse 22 says: 'When they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated'.
Now here's 'The Red Sea Route', OK? I'm summarising here. If you want to go through obstacles in your life, and you want to escape the enemy, here is the Red Sea route: one, it must be faith, not fear. I've said enough on that, haven't I? It must be faith and not fear. Secondly, it must be fight and not flight. The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds - and we need to start using them again. But do you know one weapon that is here in Exodus and with Jehoshaphat that we don't often use? It is the weapon of waiting. Did you know that was a weapon? It's the most difficult weapon to wield, I can tell you, but it's one of the most effective weapons there is. Praise, as we've seen, is an antidote for the devil - the devil hates praise.
Look at verse 15 of chapter 14, I haven't got much more to go, verse 15 of chapter 14: 'And the LORD said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to Me?'' - that's lovely, isn't it? 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward'. Now please don't misunderstand me: prayer is not for the work, prayer is the work. Prayer is the work! Prayer is vital, but there is a time that comes where we need to move from prayer to action. So this is the third principle in 'The Red Sea Route', you need a faith that functions, a faith that functions. Doesn't James 2:20 say: 'Faith without works is dead'? Is it not true, let's be honest, and I'm talking to my own heart here tonight: the things that we profess, we declare, the things we read and we preach, the things we sing and we pray - we could say that many of us go to the church of sanctimonious sentiment in what we say. There is a pastor there, by the way, in Sanctimonious Sentiment Church, Dr Doolittle - and everybody follows Dr Doolittle, because we speak all these creeds and these confessions, but we don't actually do - faith without works is dead. Are you with me? There is so much hot air in the church today, and I know I create an awful lot of it - it's a wonder we're not like a hotair balloon, the only problem is we don't seem to get off the ground ever!
God says: 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward'. That is a word from the Lord for someone here tonight. I'm not talking about activity, or work for work's sake - I'm talking about functioning faith, doing the works that God has ordained. Wait till I tell you: you'll never get burnout if you do the things God has ordained for you, it doesn't exist if you do what God is asking you to do, not what men or tradition asks you to do. You'll never burnout: 'My yoke is easy, and My burden is light' - and I had a bit of burnout, so I know what I'm talking about. Romans 14 says: 'That which is not of faith is sin'. So if you're functioning without faith, you're sinning - but you've got to work in faith, and go forward. Now I want to ask you tonight: are you going forward? Unbeliever, are you moving towards Christ or are you moving away from Christ? I pray that some of you will step over the line tonight. But Christian, listen: you can't be standing still! I know it says 'Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD', but they had to go forward in faith with God. There is no such a thing as standing still in the Christian life: you're either going forward or you're going backward. There is no static position.
I was reminded of an old hymn we used to sing years ago in Redemption Hymnal it says:
'When Israel out of bondage came,
A sea before them lay' - do you know that one?
'And God put forth His mighty hand,
And rolled the sea away.
Forward still - 'tis Jehovah's will,
Though the billows crash and spray.
With a conquering tread we will push ahead;
And roll the sea away'.
'Forward still is Jehovah's will' - are you going forward? Look at verse 16: 'Lift up your rod', God said, 'and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea'. 'Lift up your rod', remember we saw the significance of that rod, was it Sunday night? Use what God has given you! So many of us, including myself, are saying: 'Lord, look at the things You haven't given me, look what that person has' - if we just used what God gave us, what we know we have and possess! Imagine for a moment if, collectively and individually as the church, we put together the knowledge we already have, and the resources we already possess, and went forward with them! The result would be what you find in verse 18, look at it: 'Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honour for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen'.
Do you know what God is still doing? Go back with me to chapter 5 verse 2 quickly, I think it's chapter 5 verse 2, it is. Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh and say: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness'. Pharaoh said: 'Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go'. God is showing Pharaoh who He is. I believe with all my heart that God is going to answer the critics, God is going to answer the cynics, God is going to answer the sceptics, God is going to answer the naysayers, God is going to do a wonderful work in our day and generation - but we've got to get on 'The Red Sea Route'. We've got to put out fear and start to have faith again, we've got to get our fight back and stop fleeing away from the battle, and we've got to put a function behind our faith. Then we can cry with authenticity to God from Psalm 68 and verse 28, the NIV puts it like this: 'Summon Your power, O God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before' - isn't that a wonderful verse? 'Summon Your power, O God; show us Your strength, our God, as You have done before'.
Are you facing a Red Sea tonight? Is it your sin? Is it your selfishness, your circumstances, whatever? The enemy is behind you, and in obstacle is in front of you, and the mountains are at either side of you, and you've no place to go? I say to you tonight: stand still, trust Jesus who died for you, and you will see the salvation of the Lord. Let us pray. Now, while heads are bowed, just for a moment, let me recite two verses of a poem, two separate poems that are very precious to me over the years. Listen, and they will speak to your heart if you receive them:
''Stand still', my soul, for so the Lord commands:
E'en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands;
His arm is mighty to divide the wave.
'Stand still', my soul, 'stand still' and thou shalt see
How God can work the 'impossible' for thee,
For with a great deliverance He doth save'.
''Stand still' and thou shalt see how God can work the 'impossible' for thee'. Annie Johnson Flint, who has written some wonderful poems, wrote this:
'Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back,
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the wind, He will heap the floods,
When He says to your soul 'Go on''.
'Go on' - that's what He's saying to some of you tonight: 'Go on. Go out of your sin. Go out of your selfishness. Go out of these circumstances. Go into victory. Go out of your fear'. Now I want to ask first of all tonight, as heads are bowed and eyes are closed: is there anyone here this evening and you're not born again Christian, you've never trusted Christ personally as your Saviour, you've never come to the foot of the cross and said 'I'm sorry for my sins and, Lord, I believe Jesus died for me and it's the only way I'm going to get to God, have my sins pardoned, and be in heaven one day' - but you want to be saved tonight. Maybe fear has been your sin, as it was very much mine. Is there anyone here, and just where you are, while heads are bowed and eyes are closed, you would raise your hand to say 'I want to be a Christian tonight, I want to get right with God'? Just raise your hand quickly, I will see it, we're not going to embarrass you, we want to lead you in a prayer just now quietly between you and the Lord. Is there anyone, just where you're sitting, don't be afraid. Jesus hung naked on a cross for you between heaven and earth, He wasn't ashamed of you - don't be afraid to put your hand up in the air, if you're afraid of putting your hand up in the air, how are you going to tell people and confess Him before men if you can't put your hand up in the air? Is there anyone? Just slip that hand up and down and I'll see it.
Is there a backslider, and you've wandered away from the Lord, you want to come home tonight. Is there a backslider, just raise your hand and I will see it. Is there a Christian - and if there is no response to this there are liars among you - is there a Christian who knows that they have been in the bondage of fear, or the bondage of some other oppressive force, and you know you need set free tonight, and you know you need faith. Well, guess what: God gives faith, God gives faith. You don't have to try and muster it up. People think faith is standing in front of the mirror saying: 'I do believe, I do believe, I do believe, I do believe' - it's not! God gives it if you go to Him and ask for it. Is there any Christian, and you want to be set free from fear, or you want to be set free from some other power of the enemy - would you raise your hand where you're sitting? There are some truthful people here. You can put your hand down now.
There could be others, and you've been weak in the fight. You're overcome, rather than overcoming. You're a victim, rather than a victor. You're conquered, rather than conquering. You want to avail of the power of the cross tonight, and the victory of Calvary and the resurrection, to take this fight to the devil - not in your strength, but in the power of God alone. Is there anyone who will say: 'I'm going to fight from now on in the power of the Lord, I'm going to put on the armour of God, and I'm going to stand'? Is there anyone? 'I haven't been doing it, and I'm going to do it', God bless you. God bless. God bless. I'm not interested in numbers or anything like that.
Let me help you, if you are here and you didn't put your hand up but you want to be saved, maybe you've been here on another night and you want to be saved, you want to trust Christ - pray this prayer with me. Now it's not a magic spell or a mantra, it's not the words, it's the faith in your heart that God will hear you, and the repentance. Pray this with me from your heart, just between you and the Lord, if you want to trust Him tonight as your Saviour: 'O God, I come to You in the name of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I confess I am a sinner, and I repent. I turn from my sin, believing that Jesus died on the cross for me. I ask You to save me now, forgive my sin, cleanse me of it, make me Your child. I confess Jesus Christ as Lord, I renounce Satan and all his works. I ask You now that You will fill me, Father, with the power of the Holy Spirit, that I might live a life of glory to Your name'. If you prayed that prayer, why not tell us tonight. We can help you.
If you're a backslider, pray something similar to it, but just confess your sin and come back to the Lord. If you're a person that has been wracked with fear or other oppressions of the enemy, well, do you know what you need to do? You need to confess your cooperation in that area, you need to say: 'Lord, I'm sorry I worried, I'm sorry I've been fearful, I'm sorry I believed the lies of the devil, I'm sorry for unbelief'. You need to own up to your part in the whole thing. Come and confess to the Lord, say 'I repent of it, Lord, and I renounce it'. If it's something else, if it's other things I've mentioned tonight, just fill in the gaps: 'I repent of that, I confess it, and I renounce it'. Then I want you to do something else, I want you to say: 'Lord Jesus, I believe in the power of Your blood to free me from this bondage, and I ask You to do that now'. Then I want you to do something else, I want you to say now: 'I submit myself to God, and I resist the devil'. There might be a particular demon that's at your heels, it might be fear, that spirit of fear that God hasn't given you. It might be, well, it could be stress, it could be a spirit of heaviness, it could be mind-manipulating, lying, tormenting, deceiving spirits - I don't know what it is. It could be an addictive spirit, it could be a sexual spirit. Well, just say: 'In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I command the spirit of', whatever, 'to leave me now. Leave me now, you have nothing in me. Jesus Christ is my Lord, you leave me now'.
Father, I thank You for what You're doing tonight. Thank You for what You're doing this week. I don't really understand it all, I don't know it all, but I know something is going on - and I praise You and thank You. Lord, I just come behind what the people in the gathering tonight have been doing, and we agree - those of us who are in touch with You now - we agree, Lord, that the bondage of darkness be broken now in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ over lives here, that people will be set free. Enemy, I command you, in the name of Christ Jesus, the Lord of Nazareth, to leave people's lives right now. Go in Jesus' name. I pray, Father, in the name of Jesus Your Son, that You will send the Holy Spirit to fill, baptise, completely immerse, submerge, infill, own and control the people gathered here; that they would be vessels of honour to Your glory. Lord, that we will go forward as Your army for Your glory. For Christ's sake, Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Brookeborough Elim Church in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the fourth recording in his 'Let My People Go' series, entitled "The Red Sea Route" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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