Message 2: Encountering the Power of God
SUGGESTED PASSAGE: Exodus 14:1-18
Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him; and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly. Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.
As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen.”
The goal of this message on Encountering the Power of God
is to show that God wants to encounter you, not merely by
the information you may learn about Him, but by personal
experience in your daily Christian life.
After church one day, a mother asked her son, “What did you learn about in Sunday school today?” The little boy said, “We learned about Israel crossing the Red Sea.”
His mother asked, “What did the teacher say about Israel crossing the Red Sea?”
The boy replied, “Well, it was like this. Israel built a bridge over the Red Sea. They got in buses and crossed over the bridge. Then when the Egyptians came after them, God sent some F-16 fighter jets and dropped bombs on them until they were all destroyed.”
His mother looked skeptical. “Come on, now! Your teacher couldn’t have explained Israel crossing the Red Sea like that,” to which her son replied, “No, but if I told you how it really happened, you’d never believe me!”
Probably the most notable story and most celebrated miracle in Israel’s history was the crossing of the Red Sea. But what I want you to see today is that Israel had this incredible divine encounter with God in the context of the greatest dilemma in their history—being trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army that had come to slaughter them. We’re talking about divine encounters in this brief series—how to encounter God by experience, not merely by information.
You can go to church for years and never have an encounter, that is, a real, life-changing experience, with the living and true God. Yet, God wants to have an encounter with you and me, both individually and collectively as His people.
1. WHEN YOU RUN INTO A REAL DILEMMA, GOD COULD BE POSITIONING YOU FOR A LIFE-CHANGING ENCOUNTER WITH HIM.
• Your dilemma may appear at first to be a no-win situation. No matter what direction you look in, you’re trapped. Your back is against the wall.
• A dilemma does not mean you are out of God’s will. He led the Israelites the long way out of Egypt (Exodus 13:17-18), deliberately putting them between the Red Sea and
• When God leads you in what seems to be the long way in His will, His presence is going before you (Exodus 13:21).
• The Bible says the story of Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea is designed to give you hope for your Red Sea experience (Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6).
2. BUT BEFORE YOUR “RED SEA” DILEMMA GETS BETTER, IT MAY ACTUALLY GET WORSE.
• God may be bringing you this dilemma to put you in a situation that only He can get you out of.
• Just because a situation turns left on you doesn’t mean the devil is behind it.
• God may send Pharaoh and his army after you so you can see His deliverance in a way you would never see it otherwise.
• It’s easy to get confused when you’re trapped between the Red Sea and Pharaoh’s army.
• At times like this, you may be calling out to God for deliverance and blaming other people for the mess you’re in at the same time.
3. WHEN YOU’RE TRAPPED IN A DILEMMA, YOU MUST APPEAL TO SOMEONE WHO HAS A SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE.
• Fear can lead you to blame the person who is most in touch with God (Exodus 14:10-12).
• The person with the right spiritual perspective on your situation may tell you, “Just be quiet, and watch God work” (Exodus 14:13).
• When we are fearful of circumstances that seem about to engulf us, it’s time to quit talking and start trusting.
• Keeping silent and listening to the sound advice of godly spiritual leaders puts you in a position of submitting to legitimate spiritual authority, which pleases God.
4. FOCUS ON THE DIVINE DIRECTIONS, NOT THE HUMAN SITUATION.
• When there is nothing you can do or should do in your dilemma, stand still!
• When God says move forward, put feet to your faith (Exodus 14:14-15; Hebrews 11:29).
• Until God sees faith, you won’t see God (Hebrews 11:6).
5. GOD WILL PUT YOU IN A DILEMMA, EVEN WHEN YOU ARE IN HIS WILL, SO YOU CAN SEE SOMETHING.
• You may need to look at your dilemma in a different light, from God’s perspective. • Get in the will of God so He can turn your dilemma into something He can use.
• Begin walking by faith because you now have a bigger view of the God who wants to show you His power that will blow your mind.
A WINDING ROUTE
It’s frustrating when God doesn’t seem to know how to lead you on a direct route! Instead, He takes you from point “A” to ‘F” and then back to “C,” only to bring you back to point “F” and wind up at point “X.”
You know what a cul-de-sac is, a drive with only one way out—the way you came in. God led Israel into the worst culde-sac of all time when He put them up against the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army coming along the only way out. That’s called a trap.
A lot of us believe God wouldn’t lead us into a trap. Oh, but God does do that, because it is sometimes only in those situations that we come to learn He is God. When God is ready to move you to a new spiritual experience with Him, He will regularly do it in the midst of a contradiction and a conflict.
QUOTES BY DR. TONY EVANS:
“Unless you understand and accept the sovereignty of God over your dilemma, you will be confused about what is going on.”
“Faith is in your feet, not in your feelings. I don’t care how ‘faith-ish”’ you feel, if your feet are not moving when God has given you instruction to move, you are faithless while feeling full of faith. On the other hand, you can feel no faith at all, but be full of faith because you are walking by faith, contradictory to your feelings of lack of faith.”
“A lot of people are waiting on God, when God is actually waiting on us because while we are talking a good faith game, our feet haven’t moved. We haven’t operated on what He has told us to do.”
“When God is ready to give you a new experience with Him, He will allow you to be put into a situation that only He can get you out of. It doesn’t matter who you know, how much money you have, where you live or the car you drive. When God is ready to give you a new experience with Him, He will regularly put you in a situation you can’t handle so you will see Him work in a way you’ve never seen before.”