____________________ We know that salvation is a gift from God that we do not earn. But it is a gift that must be received. And it can only be received with empty hands, but there is a transaction by which what he gives actually becomes yours. And that's the point....
There is one battle you will fight your entire life.
I’m referring to your battle against sin. Some of you reading this blog post are discouraged today; some of you feel beat up and ashamed; some of you are sick of fighting the sin in your life; and some of you have just about given up altogether.
The truth is, all of us are not only guilty of sin, we are slaves to sin. So, we not only need forgiveness, we need freedom. Here is what I want you to take confidence in today: No matter how powerful sin feels in your life, God’s power is greater.
In Exodus, we read the epic story of God’s power to free his people from slavery. In chapter 14, we get to the climax of the story: the crossing of the Red Sea. Before the people of Israel cross over the sea, they come face to face with their enemy. Their enemy is strong, and they are weak—but God is stronger.
Here are three observations from Exodus 14 that I pray will encourage you today:
The enemy does not want to let you go (vv. 5-9).
At this point in the story, things have not gone so well for Pharaoh. Ten plagues have rocked his nation, his firstborn son is dead, and he’s just lost all his slaves.
If he had any sanity at all, he would have called it quits. But evil, narcissistic, power-hungry people are often irrational. So Pharaoh is not ready to give up, even after all the evidence that God is stronger than him. He hears that the people of Israel have actually fled from his country. And he says, “Let’s go get them back.”
He takes six hundred chosen chariots (the real legit ones—think stealth bombers), all the other chariots, and he pursues the people of Israel with his whole army. Every military advisor with half a brain would say, “You lost man!” But Pharaoh is not willing to let his slaves go.
This is exactly the insanity and evil of our enemy. Jesus defeated Satan on the cross. But he won’t quit his hot pursuit of God’s people. This is why we can’t be complacent Christians. We have to be on guard. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Are you being watchful? Do you know his strategies?
You should be able to identify the unique ways that he tempts you. Is it stress, exhaustion, boredom, loneliness, pride in your accomplishments? Is it at school, at work, at a certain friend’s house, in your room, driving in your car? When, where, and how does the enemy come after you?
You must be watchful, because he does not want to let you go. But take heart…
God fights for you (vv. 10-20).
Israel has got their back against the wall—cut off by the Red Sea.
They are terrified as they look upon their enemy. Then they complain because they are under the false assumption that following God out of slavery is going to be easy. It’s not.
We make this mistake every time we assume that following Jesus will be easy. He never promised that. But in Exodus, God gives us a true promise: “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:14).
Imagine this: Israel with the sea on one side and Pharaoh on the other. Trapped. But then, in a pillar of cloud and fire, God’s presence moves between them. This is one of the greatest pictures in the entire Bible of what Jesus does for us. We are trapped in sin, totally helpless. But Christ moves with all his power and positions himself between us and our enemy.
This is the gospel! Your battle against sin is real, but you are not fighting alone. Jesus fights for you, he died fighting for you, and in the victory of his resurrection you win as well.
Now, this doesn’t mean you won’t sin. This doesn’t mean you won’t struggle. It means that if you trust Christ by the simple silence of your faith alone, your enemy will not defeat you. So this week when you face temptation, it may seem overwhelming. But remember which side of the pillar you are on. You’re not fighting alone. The Lord fights for you!
God will save you (vv. 21-31).
As Christians, we know that the outcome of our lives is secure in Christ. But sometimes we still wonder, am I going to make it? Will my struggle against sin ever really end?
What we learn at the end of this story is magnificent: that the Lord saved Israel, and His people saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
The day will come when your enemy will be gone forever! Satan will be destroyed. You will live in eternity with no more temptation and no more sin. Revelation 22:3-5 says, “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in [the city], and his servants will worship him… And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever.”
If you’re a Christian that’s the end of the story for you.
But what exactly was it that got Israel across the sea? What gets us into this glorious eternity? Read Hebrews 11:19 with me: “By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted the same, were drowned.”
That’s what it comes down to: faith. Exodus 14:31 says that the Israelites believed the Lord. What about you? Do you believe the Lord? Do you have faith in Jesus? I pray today that you will trust in his power to set you free.