A Christian Counselor





HANDLING ADVERSITY


THE WILDERNESS: A JOURNEY WITH GOD. EXODUS 13:17 - 14:28

INTRO: Israel is being led out of their bondage in Egypt by God. They had witnessed firsthand how God had brought the plagues on Egypt; they had witnessed firsthand how God had kept His promise to the Israelites; they had witnessed firsthand how Pharoah had not only changed his mind; but he even gave the children of Israel things that they would need for their journey.

I. BUT NOTICE - EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD JUST WITNESSED THIS GREAT EVENT - THEIR FAITH WAS NOT AS STRONG AS ONE MIGHT EXPECT IT TO BE. (vs.13:17,18)

a. Notice how God protects the believer by not allowing too great a circumstance to come into his or her life. I thank God that He controls the trials in my life.
1 Corinthians 10:13....No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

b. A common problem for Christians is that we tend to dwell in our victories, rather than preparing for another attack. We relax, and sit back and celebrate.
c. We must never forget that we must be ready at all times: every victory for us is a defeat for the devil, and he will immediately plan another attack on us.

II. NOTICE ALSO THE DIVINE PRESENCE AND GUIDANCE OF GOD WHILE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL WERE IN THE WILDERNESS. (vs. 21,22)

a. God was physically with the children of Israel. Notice that He went before them during the day to lead the way. All Israel had to do was keep their eyes on the cloud, and follow it.
b. At night the cloud was a pillar of fire, to give them light. When they needed to see, God provided them with light.
c. It is the same with us today: when we keep our eyes on God, He directs our paths; when we need to see in the darkness, He lights our way.
d. The Holy Spirit inside each believer is like the cloud that Israel had; and just like the Israelites had to learn to walk by faith, we too must learn to trust the Holy Spirit to lead us.

III. NOW THE SITIUATION IS GOING TO CHANGE. ISRAEL SO FAR HAS HAD NO REAL TEST OF FAITH. THEY HAVE BEEN TRAVELING FOR 3 DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS, ENJOYING THEIR FREEDOM, ENJOYING THE SPOILS OF THE EGYPTIANS, AND ENJOYING THE GUIDING PRESENCE OF THE LORD.

a. Now God reveals something to Moses: vs.14:4.
Why would a good and loving God; one that just arranged the release of the Israelites; suddenly change His mind and have Pharaoh now come after them? Haven't the poor children of Israel had enough. Why would God allow this evil?

We need to stop here and learn three very important lessons:
1. God has a perfect right to use us in any way He chooses. He is sovereign; we belong to Him.
2. The trials we go through are to teach us something. We are then the direct object of the trial.
3. Some of the trials that we go through are to teach someone else something. Then we are the indirect object of the trial, or the means which God uses to show His glory.

God's purpose here was to show the Egyptians that He alone was God. EGOAMIN JEHOVAH ELOHIM - I am the Lord.
b. Now Pharaoh assembles a great army. vs.6-8

IV. NOW THE IRSRAELITES HAVE A FULL BLOWN CRISIS ON THEIR HANDS. 14:10

a. Imagine yourself in this situation: 600 chariots charging after you! The noise, the dust, the fear in your heart.
b. Now realize the situation that they were in: On one side was the Red Sea. On the other side, the Egyptians. There was no way out. They were literally trapped, or so it seemed.
(Have you ever felt this way? Trapped?)

V. NOTICE THE REACTION TO THE CRISIS:

a. What was the first thing they did? They cried out to God. That was good. But they didnt stop there. (They were gripped with fear.)
b. The next thing they did was to immediately look for someone to blame for their trouble. It is easier to turn fear into anger than to keep trusting God to deliver you.
They turned their anger on Moses.
vs. 12
When we are faced with a real crisis, we can do one of two things: we can choose to trust God, or we can do what the children of Israel did: turn on God. (because we have lost faith)
"We told you so." (vs.12)
"We shouldn't have tried, it was a dumb idea."
"This God business isn't worth all this trouble."

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever been so frustrated or scared that you just wanted to shake your fist at God and quit?
The children of Israel very quickly forgot all of the things that God had just done for them, and they were only in the wilderness three days!

VI. HOW TO HANDLE A CRISIS PROPERLY. vss. 13-15

a. Fear not.
b. Stand still, or stand firm. (in faith)
c. Let God fight for you, hold your peace. (or don't worry)
d. Go forward in faith.

When the children of Israel went forward in faith, completely trusting the Lord, believing that He would provide deliverance for them.
GOD PERFORMED THE MIRACULOUS: HE PROVIDED A WAY OUT FOR THEM:
HE OPENED THE RED SEA.
HE ALTERED REALITY.


He will do the same thing for you today.
When faced with a crisis, don't faint with fear, don't shake your fist at God, but:
Stand firm in your faith, hold your peace, trust God, and walk forward, letting Him make a path for you.

Copyright (c) 1996 Dr. William R. Hansen All rights reserved



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