In Exodus 14 Israel found them selves in a situation that seemed hopeless. They had lost ground by turning back the way they had come. All the hard fought progress they had made was lost. They found themselves surrounded by insurmountable mountains on two sides, a sea on one side, and an army of angry Egyptians on the other. If they had such a thing as cable news or talk radio there is no doubt they would have been hearing from all the pundits just how monumentally screwed they were.
It’s not lost on me that we as a country find ourselves in a very similar situation. As a nation we’re sort of wedged into a position of seeming hopelessness. On one side we’ve got a mountain of debt on our government that is into the trillions of dollars rung up by current and past Presidential Administrations. David Scwartz who wrote the book How Much Is A Million puts it in perspective in a recent interview with Time: “One million seconds comes out to be about 11 ½ days. A billion seconds is 32 years. A trillion seconds is 32,000 years.” Stack a trillion one dollar bills on top of each other and you could get a quarter of the way to the moon.
On another side we’ve got a mountain of an economic crisis. We’re taught that “history teaches us” the market will rebound. Of course, the “history” of our stock market is just over a hundred years old. What 6,000 years of history teaches us is that great civilizations rise and fall.
And meanwhile we have enemies that are plentiful and powerful. It was said after 9/11 that our failure was a failure of imagination. It never occurred to us that someone would crash full of innocent people into our buildings. What are we not imagining now? The Iranian nuclear program feels very far away until you consider that if they send a ship to the Atlantic ocean armed with a nuclear weapon, explode it 180 miles over our country and shut down everything that operates on electricity east of the Rockies.
On the other side of the sea that we are trapped up against is safety, but we can’t get there because the cost is too great, the water too deep. Just a few months ago the Bush Administration introduced the Troubled Asset Relief Program. It was a $750B infusion of cash “buying” troubled assets.
It was a giant move; the financial equivalent of shock and awe. It was like someone took the Colin Powell war doctrine of “overwhelming show of force” and applied it to the financial system. If you’re wondering whether or not it worked, consider this. Bank of America, JPMorgan, Chase and Wells Fargo have received a total of $140B of taxpayer money. The result of this is that these 4 banks have lost a combined $335B dollars in value. Bank of America alone has lost over $140B.
It’s important to note that Israel was where they were because God led them there. Not only did He lead them to the desert. Exodus 14:2 God told them to “turn back”. He led them to turn back to give up the progress they made. (This week we lost over 10 years of gains in the stock market. We have certainly turned back. We have certainly lost ground. ) He told them where to go, which is to say he told them to wedge themselves between 2 mountains trapped on one side by a sea. They were sitting ducks and God led them to that very place.
There was a leader that was bringing on trouble that was ultimately being controlled by the Lord. It says in Exodus 14:4 that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. It was God that led Israel into a situation that seemed hopeless, and it was God that led Pharaoh and the armies of Egypt to bear down on them. The question is why would God do this? Why lead your people into this situation? The last half of verse 4 tells us: “But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”
Egypt, which is a picture of the world, worshiped many gods but not the one true God. In His mercy God was setting up a show down that would leave indisputable proof that He was THE Lord. We have prayed for revival in our nation, and in our world. We have prayed that God would be known, that the whole world would see that He is the Lord. I’m no prophet and certainly do not know the future, but I wonder if that’s what God is doing globally. Perhaps He is setting a stage to answer our prayers.
We do not have to be afraid. God is in control. When I’m afraid, I tend to freeze up. I tend to get a little panicky and maybe even a little whiny and definitely a little edgy. It’s hard to blame Israel for being a little scared, but listen to what God told Israel. Exodus 14:15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”
He told them go get moving. It can be my tendency to sit around and whine about what’s happening in our nation. If you’ve been by my face book page you know that I have some opinions. I do pray about it, and sort of whine to the Lord about how it got so bad, and could He please fix it. I just can’t help but wonder if the Word of the Lord for me and maybe for you is to get moving. Let God do his part, do His job, and we do our part.”
And what is our part? What is our role? What did God call us to do? With over 2000 verses in the Word about the cause of the poor and the vulnerable I have a great idea where we could start. I see a myriad of commands for you and I, for the Church to be about that business. All they had to do was keep moving and as Exodus 14:14 records “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still”. I think it’s the Biblical equivalent of the southern saying, “know your role, shut your hole”.
I don’t have to be afraid of the gathering storm around me. The bigger the crisis, the bigger the storm, the bigger the God needed to deliver, and the greater the deliverance. Our God is infinite. This situation is not out of his reach, and not out of His control.
Perhaps this is all part of the set up for the final show down, the final moment where the Bible tells us “every knee shall bow, every tongue confess”. I don’t have the benefit of hindsight on this one, so I don’t know. What I do know is I need to get moving. Conduit let’s get moving! We’ll let God figure out the rest.
I’m excited to be back for Conduit tomorrow. Teaching the Bible to a laptop in a hotel room isn’t nearly as fun as seeing you guys in person. I hope you can join us. We are going to tackle Exodus 15 and maybe even 16. I also wanted to share some pretty cool stuff that I have read in the news in the past couple of weeks that are pertinent to our study and to our times.
We’re back at Journey at 7:30pm in Building 8 At The Factory. If you’re in town I hope you can make it.
http://www.darrentyler.podomatic.com the teachings from Ex 13 and 14 are both posted
http://www.conduitmission.org remember that only $15 can fee a child in Haiti for a month.