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Seven Gospel Truths from Exodus
By David A. DePra
In Exodus 14, we have the historical account of God delivering Israel from Egypt by the miracle of parting the Red Sea. But the NT tell us that while the OT accounts are historical, that they have a greater purpose:
Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the age are come. "(1 Cor. 10:11)
So when we read this account from Exodus 14, we are reading teaching that is for US today, and we are seeing Truth that applies to our walk with Jesus Christ. Indeed, if you read the whole of I Corinthians 10, you will find that Paul references this very account of Israel passing through the Red Sea to make his point.
So what are we to learn from this account of Israel’s deliverance in Exodus? There are a number of Truths revealed, spanning basic gospel Truth to some of the deeper things of the Christian walk.
#1 The Finality of the Blood
Fundamental to Israel’s deliverance was the first Passover. It is really upon this that everything else is built. It was the blood of the Passover Lamb that actually set Israel free from Egypt. This account is found in Exodus 12. We will touch upon this in summary form to bring out the general revelation.
Up to this point, God had brought nine plagues upon Egypt. After most of them, Pharaoh would agree to let the people go, but would then harden his heart. Incidentally, when the Bible says that, "God hardened his heart," it does not mean that God caused Pharaoh to rebel against Him. Neither does God do that today, nor has He ever done this with people. Such a thought is utter nonsense, and contradicts everything the Bible teaches about accountability to God and free will.
But what does it mean that God hardens the heart? It means that despite the fact that a person’s heart is set against God, God nevertheless continues to push them. It means that even though God may know how they will react, He keeps the Truth coming, and continues to put the choice before them. In effect, THEY harden their heart against God. But it can be said that, "God hardens them," in the sense that He keeps bringing that which they will fight against.
If God had not dealt with Pharaoh, then he would not have had occasion to harden his heart. But neither would he have had opportunity to turn to God. This is the case with everyone. It shows us that the same Truth that God wants to use to soften our heart, will, in fact, be the Truth that hardens it – because of OUR CHOICE to resist it. But this is not God’s fault. For in the end, the Truth is the Truth, and we are going to have to face it – one way or another. No one can say, "God, why have you dealt with me in this way?" (This is the point of Romans 9) No. God must bring us the Truth, and we must choose. Pharaoh may not have chosen the hour of his visitation, but God did choose it, and that made Pharaoh accountable. It does not matter whether God already knew how Pharaoh would choose. Pharaoh still did the choosing. We can be sure that if a person knows enough to resist God, that the same person knows enough to embrace Him. Hardness is always the result of rejecting God – never the result of something God DOES to people.
Anyways, this is a bit off the subject. The point is, Pharaoh resisted all of the opportunities that God gave him to yield, and therefore it was necessary for a tenth plague: The death of all the first born. This would occur during the first Passover night.
One of the reasons God went through nine plagues that He knew would not work was that He was proving to each of us that there is NO solution for what is wrong with man except death. We need to see this. Egypt represents the realm into which we are born, and the nature with which we are born – it represents everything that holds us captive as slaves. Nothing could break that bondage except DEATH.
We must see that God ordained that death be upon every house in Egypt that Passover night – upon every Israelite house and upon every Egyptian house. Note that. God did not say that there would be death upon ONLY the houses of Egypt. No. Death was upon every house in the land, just as it is upon each of US. The only question is whether the death that would be upon MY house would be that of the LAMB, or that of my first born.
Here we see a picture of Christ dying in our stead. For if I killed the Passover Lamb, and came UNDER the Blood – by placing it upon my doorposts – indeed, if I, "entered into," the house covered by the Blood, I would be saved. In fact, that was the ONLY reason I would be saved. It was solely upon the basis of the Blood that my salvation was secured that night.
This is important to see because many Christians believe that it was the fact that you were an Israelite that saved you that night. No. For God had said:
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. (Ex. 12:12-13)
And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Ex. 12:22-23)
It is clear that if you were an Israelite, but you did NOT obey the command to come under the Blood, that the same death that was upon Egypt would be upon you that night. Again, it was solely the Blood that saved. The Israelites therefore represent all who hear the gospel of Jesus Christ – all who are given light. But that alone saves no one. You must, by faith, come under the Blood. Only those who believe are saved.
You will notice that later, after Israel left Egypt, that God made provision for ANYONE, even a non-Israelite, to come under the Blood. That person simply need to be circumcised. But in the end, it came down to the Blood. That alone, not whether you belonged to some, "elect," group, determined salvation.
It is clear that no Israelite could deliver himself from Egypt. In fact, not one of them could so much as initiate their own salvation. They were slaves! But once God came to them and told them to come under the Blood, they were accountable for doing so. You will notice that THEY had to kill the lamb, and THEY had to gather the Blood in a basin, and THEY had to smear the Blood on the doorposts, and THEY had to enter into the house that night, and THEY had to eat all of the Lamb, and THEY had to stay under the Blood all night, and THEY had to emerge the next morning. THEY could do nothing about Egypt. But they had to put their faith in the Blood, and enter fully into the salvation it provided. God would take care of the rest.
This corresponds exactly to how God saves us. We can do nothing about sin, or about birthing ourselves anew. But this doesn’t mean, as the heresy of Calvinism teaches, that God acts upon us, and saves us – and then later we put our faith in Christ. The doctrine of, "regeneration before faith," is the doctrine of Calvinism and is not taught in the Bible. It is obviously not taught in Exodus. Otherwise, we should expect that Israel would have entered their houses that night, and while they were asleep, God would have delivered them by the Blood – and that only the next morning would they have discovered it. They would have been saved BEFORE putting their faith in the Blood. It would have therefore been at that point, once God broke the power of Egypt and they were delivered, that Israel would have smeared the Blood upon their doorposts. This is nonsense.
The idea that we cannot even respond to God until AFTER we are born again by unconditional election – the idea that we must first be saved BEFORE we can put our faith in Christ – is heresy. It is what Calvinism teaches. But it is not the gospel. From Exodus, we see that God begins our salvation when we are yet slaves. He awakens us to the fact that we are slaves in need of deliverance. At this point, we are still slaves, and can do nothing about it. But once a slave is awakened to his condition, and told about a Redeemer, he can at least WANT to be delivered. He is not yet actually delivered. But if he has a free will, he can want to be. Indeed, a slave has no power at all within himself to do anything about Egypt – but he can surrender to God. A slave can come under the Blood. And if he does that by faith, the rest of his salvation is of the Lord.
God requires only one thing from us: That we bring all of the bad stuff to the Cross. And we can do that once He brings us some light and shows us the Truth. A spiritually dead person cannot make himself alive, but a spiritual dead person can be shown he is dead, and can be shown to bring his spiritually dead self to the Cross. This is the Biblical definition of spiritual death – not that we have no will, or no possibility of responding to God. In the Bible, a spiritually dead person retains free will – the definition of spiritual death is to be void of LIFE; to be void of Christ.
So Israel was given the Truth about deliverance. They were told to come under the Blood. For those who did so, they were completely delivered from Egypt that night. Only the geographical location needed to be addressed. The spiritual bondage was broken.
What we need to see here is that according to God Himself, the next morning when those under the Blood came out of their houses, they were as delivered from Egypt as they were ever going to be. Pharaoh actually begged them to leave. God had said that He would, that Passover night, bring judgment, "against all the gods of Egypt." When the Israelites emerged from their houses the next morning, it was a done deal. They were set free by the Blood of the Lamb.
Here we see the finality of the Cross. And we see a resurrection. The houses that were covered by the Blood that night were like a tomb. If you DIED IN CHRIST – by coming under the Blood – then His death became your death. The result was freedom from Egypt. When you came out of that house the next morning, you were a new creation – you had been a slave, but now you belonged to God. This was final and forever.
Israel never again needed to be set free from Egypt. They had plenty of disobedience and unbelief still in them. But freedom from Egypt was not something that ever needed to be repeated. We find that the keeping of the Passover from that point on was in remembrance of their once for all salvation. (see Ex. 13) This is also why we take communion – we proclaim what the Lord has done. Salvation is once and for all and forever – solely by the Blood of the Lamb.
#2 Separation from Egypt
Once God delivered Israel from Egypt by the Blood, He began to work out His further purpose with them. As mentioned, Israel was as delivered from Egypt as they were ever going to be that next morning. But God was not going to leave them IN Egypt. No. He wanted to take them out of Egypt to a new place.
You will notice that God never told Israel to conquer Egypt. No. God had to do that. He broke the power of Egypt through the Blood, and dealt with the presence of Egypt at the Red Sea – which we will see in a minute. But even once God destroyed Egypt, He did not hand over the kingdom of Egypt to Israel. Neither did God tell Israel to rehabilitate Egypt. No. The only solution for Egypt was death.
In this we see an extension of the finality of the Blood. Christians are not those who have merely adopted a new religion. We are not those who have simply cleaned up our act. Neither are we those who remain slaves – only now nicer and better slaves. Neither is our salvation merely legal in nature. No. Rather, Christians are people who have been born again from above. We have a new identity. If our conversion is real, we have passed from death to life in Christ. We are NEW creations. We are in a new realm, and God intends us to learn how to live in it. These are not merely theological concepts or terms of a new belief system. They are realities.
This is really the only solution for Egypt – for SIN. That solution is death – and then a resurrection. Real deliverance takes us OUT of Egypt to a new realm. Possessing only a new legal classification cannot do this.
According to the Truth of the Bible, salvation in Christ is legal and moral in every way. We are declared righteous, and imputed with the righteousness of Christ – because our sin has been fully paid for by the Blood of the Lamb. But what makes salvation legal and moral is that through our death in Christ, we have been IMPARTED with His very life. In short, we are not merely slaves who carry around a legal document that says we are free. Rather, we are new creations who are no longer slaves, indeed, we have been delivered completely OUT of Egypt altogether.
So many problems in the church are because Christians do not understand what salvation IS, or what it means. Get that straight and much else lines up according to the Truth.
Of course, separation from Egypt leads us into the Truth of HOLINESS. To BE HOLY means to be separated unto God -- to belong to Him. This is the direction God was taking Israel. They did not later obey Him -- but His deliverance from Egypt was not just a thing unto itself; it was not limited to what they were delivered OUT from. It was all UNTO being delivered TO God, for His purposes. In this we see that it is possible to be delivered out of Egypt -- to be saved -- but to nevertheless fail to go on to holiness and the further purposes of God. Israel never went back to Egypt. But they never went on into the fullness of God's purpose.
#3 The Results of Obedience
After Israel left Egypt, God gave them specific instructions as to where to camp. He said:
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honored upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. (Ex. 14:2-4)
Israel’s response to God’s instructions was simply this: And they did so.
There is nothing unclear about any of this. The newly freed nation had geographically left Egypt, and at God’s command, had encamped exactly where God told them. Indeed, God had not only told them where to encamp, but He told them what was going to happen if they did.
And what did happen? Well, Israel found themselves in an impossible situation. They were indeed SHUT IN. They were trapped between two mountain ranges, with the Red Sea on the third side, and Pharaoh coming on the fourth side. There was no way out.
But again, ask: How did Israel get into this mess? Well, they got there BY OBEYING GOD! Can you see that?
Have we recognized this possibility in our own lives? Do we realize that OBEYING GOD can lead us into the impossible? That if we follow Jesus Christ, that we are going to have to come to such a place as this?
The impossible situation is one where I do not have what I need, and I have no way of getting it. It is a place of utter helpless. Not only that, but often it includes what appears to be danger. I mean, it wasn’t as if Israel could just sit there and wait things out. Egypt was coming down upon them. There was a deadline here. And they could do nothing to help themselves.
And yet ALL of this was deliberately orchestrated by God. God WANTED Israel in a situation where they could not help themselves. Why? Had He not set them free from Egypt? Why was all of THIS necessary?
We may as well ask why it is necessary for US once we are saved? Haven’t we been fully delivered from Egypt through death and resurrection? Then why can’t we be DONE with Egypt?
Have you ever wondered, as a Christian, perhaps even been devastated – by the fact that Egypt continues to pursue you? You came under the Blood and believed you were delivered. You KNOW you were. But here comes Egypt. How can this be if the power of sin has truly been broken in our lives? How can it be if we are new creations?
Israel reacted much the way we react at times like that. When they lifted up their eyes and saw Egypt coming, they cried:
Because there were no graves in Egypt, has you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt this way with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. (Ex. 14:11-12)
Israel was really saying, "We trusted you. We believed you. And look where it has led us! We were better off slaves. But now, because we have obeyed you, we are going to die. Why has God betrayed us in this way?"
What Israel did not understand, and why we usually don’t understand is this: God is not content to deliver us OUT of Egypt. Now He wants to take the Egypt out of us. God has broken the power of sin in our lives. But He also wants to deal with the presence of sin. In short, we are freed from sin. But now God wants us freed from sinning.
This event at the Red Sea, while portrayed as a one time event in Exodus, is really representative of an on-going spiritual process in the life of the believer. At the Red Sea, we are not saved all over again. No. We WERE saved by the Blood of the Lamb. But at the Red Sea, we are going to have everything that our salvation means worked out in experience. The power of Egypt over us was broken by the Blood of the Lamb. But now, the presence of Egypt in our lives is going to be deal with so that, "we will see the Egyptians no more." (Ex. 14:13, last part.)
When Israel lifted up their eyes and saw Pharaoh coming, they were looking at an enemy whose power over them had already been broken. They were no longer slaves of Egypt. Egypt had no power over them at all. But because they believed what their eyes saw, instead of what God had said, they began to fear. They easily fell back into their slave mentality – easily fell back into the only relationship they had ever known with Egypt.
This is what we do with regards to sin. Even though we are delivered forever by the Blood of the Lamb, there are times when it sure doesn’t seem like it. Our personal patterns of the flesh, and of the mind, will come back upon us as if nothing has changed. And if we believe that sin still has power over us, it will be so easy for us to just yield to it as slaves. Yielding is all we have ever done as slaves, and the pattern of doing so is easier to follow than it is to break.
So we have this contradiction: That which has NO power over us will pursue us and act as if the power over is in tact. We may be tempted to accuse the Lord of lying to us – of telling us that we were freed, when we were not. How could this be happening otherwise?
Well, it is happening because despite the fact that we are saved, we have not yet worked out much of our salvation. It is here that, once again, we need to understand a bit about the nature of salvation. The Bible teaches that when we are saved, our spirit becomes one with Christ through the Holy Spirit. Christ is in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – "in us," meaning that we are ONE with Him in spirit. (I Cor. 6:17) Note that this is the seat of salvation. It is where salvation begins. It is the NEW MAN, the inner man, and the new creation.
But note also that there continues to be much about us that is NOT yet saved. Our body is not yet saved. And we continue to have an, "old man." Our emotions are not yet saved. Our mind is not yet saved. No. God saves us from the inside out – we are saved only by virtue of our oneness with Christ. Consequently, the old patterns of the flesh, our tendency to put self first, and our sin nature – all of these continue to function. Our minds are not fully renewed by the Truth. Thus, sin and darkness remain PRESENT in us – the Christian is freed only from the POWER of sin – not the presence or possibility. Thus, it is possible for, "our Egypt," to seem fully in charge of us. It is possible that we will look up and see Egypt coming down upon us – seeming to have all the power over us as before.
Now, doesn’t this seem like a bad thing? Israel certainly thought it was. And we usually do. But is it really a bad thing? Ask yourself a question: Did not God orchestrate this very situation at the Red Sea? And does not God bring us into an impossible situation deliberately, and for His purposes? Sure. So it isn’t a bad thing. It is, in fact, the key to greater freedom.
God orchestrates impossible situations in our lives for the very purpose of drawing out and exposing Egypt. He puts us in a place where our total inability to deal with Egypt is revealed. We will find ourselves beset with aspects of our old nature that are unreasonable, tyrannical, fearful, and ugly. Those aspects of that old nature will seem to be as strong and as able to control us as slaves as they were before we were saved. This fact may even cause us to question whether our conversion could be real. But again – the Truth is that the POWER of these things HAS BEEN BROKEN. It is only because the presence and possibility of them is still there, and we are so used to being slaves to them, that the Truth of this broken power doesn’t seem to us to be the Truth.
And yet it is at the Red Sea that this Truth is both proven and worked out. For that which did have power over us, and still seems to have power over us, is going to be exposed as powerless at the Red Sea. It is at the Red Sea – at our many Red Sea experiences – that it is proven that the Blood of the Lamb DID set us free. And when this takes place, we will, "see the Egyptians no more."
Here we again see that God is not content with anything short of complete, experiential victory. He is not content to have people running away from sin. Rather, He wants sin completely overcome. Rather than have us spend our lives fleeing that which has no power over us, God intends to turn and deal with it head on. God doesn’t work around problems – He conquers them.
Expect this in your Christian life. God has saved you by the Blood of His Son. But this is more than a rubber stamp salvation. Salvation is victory over all through death and resurrection – it is to result in reigning and ruling with Christ. So God will deliberately – even through your OBEDIENCE – create impossible situations in your life where you must deal with that which continues to pursue you of that old creation. And it is at that point that you will be faced with the choice to believe God.
There is something very persuasive about looking at yourself, and how you function, or how you dysfunction – something very persuasive about doing that and basing what you believe about Christ upon that. If we have believed that the power of sin is broken in our lives, and yet sin seems to continue to have power, well, to us, then the power of sin must not be broken, and our whole conversion is under question. It is even possible to look at yourself, "to see whether you are believing," and then begin to place, "faith in your faith," or to come apart at the seams because you can’t find any faith in yourself. It never occurs to many of us that all of this, in itself, is of the natural, and has nothing to do with what God is after.
There are many Christians everywhere who continue to be beset by all kinds of sin who do not understand WHY this is possible if they have been set free by the Blood of the Lamb. But it IS possible – despite the fact that they ARE set free by the Blood of the Lamb. This is just as possible for us as it was for Israel, who was fully freed from Egypt, to have to face them again at the Red Sea. But the purpose of God in allowing it, indeed, in orchestrating it, is the same. God wants to take our reality of our full deliverance from Egypt and make it a living experience. In short, God wants more than a legal freedom from sin. He wants us to LIVE IN our freedom.
The Red Sea – the impossible situation – is where God proves IN US that we are set free by the Blood of the Lamb. The Red Sea is an experience, at the end of which, we will SEE the salvation of the Lord, and, "see the Egyptians no more." As mentioned earlier, this working out of God’s victory over Egypt at the Red Sea is not a one-time thing in the life of the believer, as is coming under the Blood. It is representative of how God deal with the presence and possibility of sin. He brings us to the Red Sea. Into the impossible.
So what are the results of obedience? Well, a common Biblical pattern is that obedience to God will bring us into an impossible situation. But the further purpose of it is so that God might use this as an occasion to set us free from the presence of Egypt. It is a working out of everything that the Blood of the Lamb provided in fact.
#4 Spiritual Bankruptcy
At the Red Sea, the way in which God accomplished His goal was NOT by making Israel strong. Rather, He exposed them as weak. In this we see a key.
There are Christians everywhere who continue to think that the goal of God is to make them better people. Books like, "Your Best Life Now," embodies the modern Christian idea of God’s purpose. We hear statements like, "Discover the Champion in You," and teachings that say outright that God has given us the Holy Spirit to bring out the best in us. The focus is more and more upon OUR value to God.
The reality is, God has completely set aside what we are in Adam. There is no solution He offers except the Cross of Jesus Christ. There is NO champion in you. There is just a big mess. If you don’t accept this then you are deceived. And you are not going to get very far in God’s real purpose.
Now, of course, this doesn’t mean you must spend your life depressed about yourself. What it does mean is that you can begin to understand what it means to leave yourself alone. For despite the fact that God does NOT offer you, "Your Best Life Now," He does invite you to absolutely relinquish it. And if you do, you will receive the life of Christ. You only receive your life if you lose it. I guess Joel Osteen doesn’t understand that. But then again, he doesn’t understand a lot of things – like the fact that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.
God wants to absolutely cripple our confidence in ourselves – especially our spiritual or religious confidence in ourselves. If we really understood this, we would understand that this is what it means to break the power of Egypt. Egypt isn’t a THING, "out here." Egypt is in us – it is SELF, and all the sin that SELF produces. We are in bondage to SELF and from that power we are delivered by the Blood of the Lamb. At the Red Sea this is proven in experience.
You cannot be delivered from self-trust by being made strong in self. You must be made weak in self. That is accomplished by the impossible situation. God brings us to the place where we are absolutely convinced that we have nothing we need, and have no way of getting it. But despite the negativity of that, it is all unto bringing us to where we can turn to Him fully by faith.
Christians pray to God all the time, "Accomplish Your purpose in my life." But often we think this will mean great success materially, or some accomplishment in ministry. Or when we hand ourselves over to God, we often do it because we think it is the, "best deal." In short, we surrender to God for what we think we will get out of it. Or we surrender because we don’t like the place we are presently in – we don’t like being in Egypt. But we need to come to terms with the fact that God’s goal is CHRIST – He wants the fullness of Christ in us. Everything else is unto that end.
God cannot accomplish His goal unless He brings us to the Red Sea, and there exposes us as spiritually bankrupt. It is possible to even WANT to be brought there, and to KNOW you need to come there, but unless you are actually brought there, you will never be spiritually bankrupt. This must be experiential.
Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Until you have NOTHING to offer God, and know it by experience, you are not going to have a clue as to what it means to come under the rule of God. You may know it as a doctrine or theological concept. But those things don’t help much at the Red Sea. You have to enter into these realities by experience.
So we see that when God brings us into the impossible it is a GOOD thing – He is answering our prayers and bringing us into His purposes. It may appear, because of our ignorance, to be a BAD thing, almost as if God has forsaken us. But God is pushing us to a surrender and a greater freedom.
#5 The Way of Escape
There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Cor. 10:13)
Many Christians who read the above passage are convinced that for every trial there is a way of escape – meaning that there is a way OUT of the trying circumstances. But if you think that through, it doesn’t make any sense. If God has allowed – or caused – you to get into a trial, is the goal for you to get OUT? No. He just put you IN.
Some Christians treat these things like God is playing, "Let’s Make a Deal." You get into a trial, and God expects you to guess, or figure out, how to get out? And you have to hope you pick the right door. This is nonsense.
If you read the above passage, two things stand out. First, "the way of escape," is given WITH the trial. It is not given INSTEAD of the trial. In short, "the way of escape," comes along with the trial – but doesn’t get us out of it, or eliminate it. Secondly, and this supports my first point, "the way of escape," is given so that we might, "be able to bear it" – the trial. Thus, if the way of escape is given so that we might be able to BEAR the trial, I would again suggest that it is not given to get us OUT of the trial.
The key here is to understand what God means by, "temptation," or a trial. HE doesn’t mean what WE usually mean. We usually think of a trial as being the circumstances we are IN. God thinks of a trial in terms of what is happening IN US because of the circumstances – more specifically in terms of what is happening between Himself and us through our choices while in the circumstances.
This brings clarity to the passage. THE WAY OF ESCAPE is therefore a way of escape from, not necessarily the circumstances of the trial, but from the harm and damage that might be done IN US, and to our relationship with God, through those circumstances. Thus, this way of escape is really a WAY IN CHRIST that will lift us above those negative possibilities. For example, the way of escape is often FAITH in Christ that delivers us out of the UNBELIEF that might otherwise overcome us.
This does not mean that God will never deliver us from circumstances, or that He doesn’t care about them. No. But again – God’s purpose is the fullness of Christ in us. Thus, what He wants is for us to be IN a trial, so that THROUGH the trial, He might do a work IN US that will lifts us out of the negative possibilities of the trial – that it might come between us and God.
How do we overcome by faith? By being brought to spiritual bankruptcy, and then falling into the hands of God. To the extent that we are weak, we will be strong and overcome. To the extent that we fall into the hands of God we find the way of escape.
Christ is the way of escape – through death and resurrection in Him. What good would it do us to escape difficult circumstances through a means other than coming into a greater oneness with Christ? It would be no good. We would be OUT of the trial, but there would be no enlargement of Christ IN US.
Now, once we have overcome by faith while in the trial, God may choose to remove the trial. He did at the Red Sea. But He did that only once His purpose for the trial was accomplished.
#6 God’s Commands to Us
The impossible situation is one where we don’t have what we need, and have no way of getting it – which leaves us helpless in God’s hands. This is, as mentioned, God’s purpose for the trial. He wants to bring us to this point. But God doesn’t leave us totally without instruction. He gives us four commands as to how to walk through our trial with Him.
God said to Israel through Moses:
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: (Ex. 14:13-15)
Note the four commands: (1) Fear not. (2) Stand still. (3) See salvation. (4) Move forward. Also note that they really aren’t so much THINGS WE MUST DO in order to get out of the trial. No. They are what we must do in order to fall into the hands of God. In short, they are acts of faith and result of faith that allow God to do what He wants to do.
What we find here is actually a description of how to find the real, "way of escape." If you obey these four things, you are taking Christ as the Way. And this will enable God to bring to pass His purpose.
I won’t go through each of these steps, as I have written other articles on the impossible situation and address them at length there. But just briefly, God begins, as He does so often, by saying, "Fear not." He begins there because it is usually where we begin – by fearing. And until the fear is dealt with the other commands are impossible to obey.
"Fear not," is a negative exhortation TO BELIEVE. Sure. To the extent that I fear not, I will believe, and to the extent that I believe, I will fear not. So up front, we find the need for FAITH. I must believe and trust God, and if I do, I will fear not.
Practically speaking, "to believe," at our Red Sea trial means that we confess that we are completely at the mercy of God in our trial, or with regards to our sin. We therefore tell Him that we want Him to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to deliver us. No cost is too high.
You really cannot make that kind of commitment to God unless you believe, and unless you know Him to a degree. But the fact is, if you really do believe God, it is really where it brings you. Unconditional surrender to God is the ONLY KIND of surrender there is, and it is simply not possible to truly trust God without doing it fully.
Ok. So the first thing God says is FEAR NOT. But notice that if we FEAR NOT and BELIEVE, that this will result is our STANDING STILL. To STAND STILL is not passivity. It really means that now that we have taken a stand BY faith, we need to stand still IN faith and refuse to be moved by anything the enemy might throw at us.
Here we see that there is a certain progression in these four commands. One naturally leads to the other, and you really can’t get to the next one until you obey the one before. You cannot STAND STILL in Christ, until you first fear not and believe.
If we believe instead of fearing, and then stand still in faith, then we are going to SEE the salvation of the Lord. There will be a working out of that in real life. It will become more than just a doctrine or nice teaching. Again – is God in this thing or not? Sure. He is after something of Christ in us. And Christ IS our salvation. God is going to see Him manifested one way or another.
Of course, there may come a deliverance from the trial itself. But clearly, once we see the salvation of the Lord – who is Christ Himself – we have been delivered through death and resurrection through the Way of escape.
The last command is to, "move forward." Interesting that God told them to do this BEFORE the Red Sea was parted. But this again is a picture of faith. As they moved forward, they were fearing not, standing still, and seeing the salvation of the Lord. The sea parted. God made a way where there had been no way.
#7 God Has a Purpose for His Glory
There is a greater overall purpose in what God is doing that we often realize. Can we see that what is being picture here, in Exodus, is not a people who are in any position to ask God to enhance their lives, or bless them, or give them what they want? This isn’t about Israel trying to get God to do for them what they would like Him to do. Rather, it is about God having a purpose for Israel, and catching them up in it – and bringing it to pass at the Red Sea. And He gives them instructions as to how to walk with HIM in HIS purpose.
I say this because so often we think that our relationship with God is a matter of us deciding about our lives, and about us getting God to help us accomplish this. Of course, we tend to think that whatever WE want must be what God wants. We think when Jesus said we ought to ask God whatsoever we desire that He meant it was our right to decide what we want in life, and it was God’s promise to give it to us. But ALL of this is WRONG. It is dead wrong. It is actually upside down.
The real Truth is that God has a purpose for our lives – for each of us. The fundamental purpose is the fullness of Christ. And God does have specifics as to how to work this out, and surely has certain situations in life that He would grant to us as blessings. But right from the start we are told that we must LOSE our lives to find them in Christ. We are told we are NOT our own. Thus, the Christian life is not about OUR purpose and how to get God to help us achieve it. Rather, it is about GOD’S purpose for us, and how we need to walk with Him so that HE might accomplish it – to HIS glory, and our benefit.
Jesus is Lord. Thus, if we want to be in the will of God, and experience the fullness of His purpose in Christ, we need to begin seeking HIS will, and praying that HIS kingdom come in OUR personal lives. And when God begins to bring it, we need to begin to surrender to Him – even if it conflicts with our agenda. Have we ever considered that God’s will for us is completely UNLIKE what we might want?
God wants us to completely put aside – LOSE – every right we think we have to possess our own life. This is not something extra we are supposed to do – IT IS Christianity. He wants us to be dedicated to HIS PURPOSE and to HIS GLORY. God isn’t making this stuff up as He goes along. He isn’t confused or trying to figure out what to do with us. He has a purpose for us. We need to find it by finding HIM – by surrendering to Him. And if we do, we will eventually confess that God really did know best.
Well, God’s purpose will always take us to the Red Sea. One way or another we are going to end up back there. But not as an end unto itself. He has for us a Promised Land down the road – which is victory and rest in Christ for NOW, in this life. But in order to be prepared for that, we must become prepared for HIM – we have to come to the place of utter dependency. And that cannot happen, "on paper." It has to be worked out and accomplished IN US through life; through the impossible situation.
Egypt is a type of sin and darkness – a type of where we are in Adam. The Blood of the Lamb is Christ as our Redeemer – and breaks the power of sin. The Red Sea is where we are brought into a greater experience of this freedom from sin, and into a greater freedom in Christ. But then there are further developments that are pictured – the wilderness and the promised land. The wilderness is where we have all of our unbelief dealt with and come to the place of maturity in Christ. And the promised land is where we enter into the further purposes of God, not as slaves, but as conquerors. We still have enemies to contend with, but are able to drive them out on the basis of the finished victory of Christ – a victory that has become real IN US.
God has given us many such OT examples to illustrate the Truth of Christ in us. And yet all of that Truth is directly taught and affirmed by the teachings found in the New Testament.
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