Charles Stanley - Escaping a Desperate Situation
Well, this text is about one of the most interesting events in the Old Testament, and all of us have heard about it at some point in our life and probably thought about it, but never thought about applying it to our own personal life. And in this fourteenth chapter and several chapters around it is the story of the great escape. We hear that phrase, but this is what the great escape is all about. So, I want us to look at this incident that we know very well about Moses and the Red Sea, and then I want us to just pull out at least five principles here, just to show you how to do this and how you can do it in any passage of Scripture that you're dealing with.
So, when I look at this and realize what's happened, Pharaoh's afraid, so they enslave God's people, and how long they were enslaved we don't know, but a very long time. And here is Moses who grew up in Egypt, in Pharaoh's household, you'll remember. Because Pharaoh's daughter found him in a little ark in the Nile River. And so, he grew up in their schools, educated by the Egyptians, so he knew very well how they lived. And there came a time when he committed a crime. That is, he killed an Egyptian. And so, went over to the other side of the desert, Midian.
Now, forty years later, God dealt with Moses at the burning bush and told him to go back to Egypt because He wanted him to lead His people out of bondage. And you remember that story. And so, he comes back and God begins to work in his heart and he begins to go about doing what God said do. And of course, confronting Pharaoh about releasing all these Hebrews was absolutely ridiculous as far as Pharaoh was concerned. For what reason? And so naturally, Pharaoh didn't pay much attention to that, so this is when you and I find in the Scripture what God knows how to do. He knows how to get people's attention.
So, what did He do? He started with the first of ten plagues. And then that one work of God that changed the whole story is that when God killed the first born of all of Egypt and all the people inhabited there. You remember the Scripture says that Moses gave the people of Israel instructions. The Death Angel's coming through Egypt. And you want to put blood on the doorpost, the lintel of your house. If there's no blood, the first born is going to die tonight in your family. But that was the ultimate, final blow to Pharaoh to realize he could no longer keep these people captive and he could no longer ignore their religion and what they believed.
And so naturally, they were let go; and when they were let go, they also, the Scripture says, the people in Egypt, the citizens who were Egyptians gave them their gold, their silver, their clothes, everything to get rid of them. If you had lived through those ten plagues, you'd been happy to give them anything to get rid of this Moses guy and all of these people who were called Hebrews or Israelites in those times.
So, with that in mind, I want us to look at this first principle, I want us to think about. Now, we know the rest of the story, but we're coming to it. The first principle is this: God always knows which way is best. Now, what do we mean by that? God always knows which way is best 'cause all of us face situations and circumstances in life, and we wonder: God, how do I get through this? How do I survive this? How do I handle this?
Well, I want us to see this in this first issue here. When Pharaoh finally let the people go after these ten plagues and then decided, for example, afterwards that was a mistake, then he arranged his army to attack the Israelites and to bring them back. The Israelites were completely vulnerable, surrounded by the desert on the one side and the sea on the other. And so, what was happening was that Pharaoh was watching this. He was convinced that the Hebrews had trapped themselves. They were in the desert with a desert on one side, the sea on the other side.
And so, he decided that he was not going to tolerate this because he decided he couldn't afford to let them go. And so, this was not a surprise to God. And the one thing that happened to Pharaoh was this: what happens to a lot of people, they forget who's in charge. God was in charge, not Pharaoh, not even the Hebrews were in charge, God was in charge. God's purpose was to demonstrate to the Egyptians that the God of the Jews, the God of Israel, the God of the Hebrews, was the one true God.
So, the second principle I want us to see is that God's faithful to provide for His people. What did they have? They had nothing. They'd lived in huts. They were slaves. They had nothing. And the last thing they would have thought is that the Egyptians were going to empty their house of their precious commodities from clothes to silver and gold and jewels and give that to the Jews. Watch this, only God could have spoken to the Egyptians and said, "Give it to them. Get them out of here". So, here they leave now and it looks like they're free and they have been blessed greatly by all of this Egyptian gold and silver and all the rest, which leads me to the third principle.
God's always, listen, He's always present to guide His people. And that is, He's not going to tell you to do something and then not guide us to do it. So, if God tells you to move or if He tells you to do this, that, whatever it might be, remember this: that He knows the beginning and the end. Watch this, He will never tell you to do something that He does not provide for you to do it, never. So oftentimes, when I hear people say, "Well, you know, I know God told me to do that, but I couldn't figure it out, so I just said no". That's a disaster because if God tells you to do something, He's responsible to make it possible to happen in your life whatever that might be.
So, we have no justifiable reason for disobeying God by saying, "I couldn't figure it out. I didn't understand. God didn't make it clear". God is not going to ever tell you to do something that He doesn't make clear. Is He going to give you all the answers to all the things you'd like to hear? No, He's not going to do that. He wants us to trust Him. And so, when you look at this passage and you see how God has worked, this is the way God operates. That is, He's going to show us what to do; and when He does, we have to ask ourselves the question: am I willing to obey God even though I don't quite understand?
I don't always know what to do next, I just know that to obey God is always the right thing, whether I understand it or not. Whether I can figure it out or not. Whether it hurts or not, whether it pleases anybody else or not, you don't have to please anybody but God. And so, if that be true, we don't have to worry about what's going to happen. Here they are out in this area, trapped because they have the desert and Pharaoh's army and the Red Sea, and what do you do now from that?
So, here's what happens. He says, "Get ready to march". "Well, where are we going? We can hear the rumble of chariots, and here's the water. In fact, it's pretty close to my feet now. And you're telling us head for the sea and watch God work". Now, God opened up the sea, He opened it up so the people could pass through, God's command is very important, 'cause here's the principle. God's simplest command can result in surprising and powerful consequences when we obey Him.
One of the most difficult things in life when you're in pain and suffering or you're facing some trauma in life is for God to say, "Be quiet, shh, just trust Me". And so, God's simplest command oftentimes is surprising. But it has powerful consequences if we obey Him. So, here they are. Put yourself in that position. The sea is behind you, the charioteers of an army that is fully equipped to destroy you is coming down on you, what do you do? Well, you do what they did, and they, first of all, said, "Moses, how did you get us in this position? What's this all about"? So, they want to attack him.
And each time, God had moved them in a certain way with the cloud and they knew exactly where they were going, they were trusting Him. And now, it looks like it's all over. Watch this, we make our biggest mistakes in life when we're looking at our circumstances, through our eyes, our abilities and talents and skills, our circumstances, our situation, and do not look first to God. The issue is: am I willing to trust Him in this situation when I've never been in that situation before?
Sometimes God's commands we don't understand. But we have to decide: am I going to do what He says, or am I going to do what I feel like doing, what my mind tells me to do? And so, there they were. And so, they either had to believe Moses, trust God or not. Now, what's significant about that is simply this: sometimes when we are where we are in our situations and circumstances as they were, God's simplest command can have awesome consequences. And sometimes God may say to you, "Sit down, be quiet". Or He may say, "This is where I want you to go. Just trust Me, don't try to figure it out".
Moses lifted up his arms with his staff in his hand and something began to happen. The sea began to open up and the people began to march through. And before it was all over, while they were still dark over here, the Scripture says that God's people were rescued. They walked out of a disastrous situation. And it had to take them all night, I'm sure. There were somewhere maybe two million or thereabouts. I don't know how long it was, but what God did is He kept it dark over here until they all got through.
When they finished, what happens? Then the light came out. And as a result of that, the Scripture says that Pharaoh attacked. And so, what did he do? God accomplished what was one of His primary objectives to begin with. The charioteers came rolling down upon the Hebrews. And so, when enough of them got in the midst of what was water, you know the story. That Moses spoke again and the waters came tumbling back and destroyed them all in the Red Sea.
So, the principle here is this: don't look for someone to blame for your circumstances, look for God to help you. They were continually blaming Moses for this and that and the other. And it's always easier to blame somebody when things aren't going your way. But think about this, is this not true that whatever the situation or the circumstance you're in, watch this, if you are in the will of God, God is responsible for getting you through it.
And it's interesting here, we look for somebody to blame; and yet, when I think about that and think about also how God worked in Moses's life and all through the prophets, what He said to Isaiah, Isaiah forty-one, which is one of my favorite passages. He said in this ninth verse, "You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you".
So, listen, "Do not fear, I am with you, do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored, and those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. You will seek those who quarrel with you but will not find them, and those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent. For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you'".
What an awesome passage. "But do not fear, I'm with you". The wise thing to do is to look to God. Look to God for help. He's the only One who can help us in situations and circumstances. Listen, you know where you are in your life today. If you're facing something that's very difficult, remember this: never too difficult for God. He knows where you are. He's there to help you. He never runs out of whatever is necessary to help you. And He wants you to trust Him step by step in whatever you're facing, you'll always come out right. Always, not sometimes, always come out right, by simply trusting Him.
We all have been through difficult times and will go through difficult times. The question is: what do you do when the bottom drops out? You trust Him. You rely upon Him. You believe Him. You wait upon Him. If they had, listen, if they had tried to fight, it would have been a total disaster. God, let's... watch this, sometimes when we're in situations, we try to fight our way out, it just gets deeper. The best thing to do is to surrender your life to the Lord and say, "God, I don't know what to do next, but I'm going to trust You because You said You would never leave me nor forsake me". Amen? Amen.
Father, we love You and praise You and thank You for these awesome, not just stories, but dramas in the Word of God, that remind us of where we are, where we could be, and what You'll do no matter where we are. I pray for somebody here today who's never trusted You as their Savior, to remember that apart from You they have no hope and no real, genuine, true help. We're trusting You, thanking You, thanking You for preserving this event and putting it on paper, in ink, so we, thousands of years later, could read it, hear the truth, understand and apply to our heart and walk in it. In Jesus's name, amen.