Exodus 14-16 CSB | Trey VanCamp | January 22, 2023
In Exodus 14, Moses finally leads the people of Israel out of slavery and into freedom. But before they can enter the promised land, God tests them. He puts them between Pharaoh and the Red Sea, he leads them to undrinkable water, and then he makes them wander long enough to run out of food. Each time, the Israelites complain.
They would rather remain in slavery with stability than have their freedom without control.
In many ways, the story of Israel is the story of the Christian life. Like Israel’s struggle to detach themselves from Egypt, we struggle to detach ourselves from our sin. To confront us with this reality, God tests us. But from the life of Moses, we learn that the best way to endure seasons of testing and turn our attention away from our old life of sin, is to practice praise.
I will be reading Exodus 13, verse 17 and 18. When Farrell let the people go, God did not leave them along the mat along the road to the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearby for God said the people would change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war. So he led the people around toward the Red Sea, along the road of the wilder.
And the Israelites left the land of Egypt in battle formation. Amen. Thanks. Thank you, Alex. Let’s pray. Father, we just come to you as sinners. We have sin against you in thought, in word. Indeed, we have sin against others by not loving our neighbor as ourselves. Thank God we come to you as sufferers. Lord, we’re tired from the bondage of this world.
We are broken from un unmet expectations, and so we just give you all of that. Jesus. And thank you that we can give you all that because of the cross. And so in the name of Christ, God, just grant us your mercy for our sins and your grace for our sufferings as we hear your word today. May we not just be heroes only deceiving ourselves, but may we do the word draw near to us, God, as we draw near to you.
In Jesus name I pray. Amen. Amen. So the story of Exodus, open your Bibles to Exodus chapter 14. The story of Exodus is the story of the Christian life. And so there’s many parallels you can make as you read Exodus in fact, many of the New Testament writers make these comparisons for us. And so it’s important though.
Go ahead and put that on the slide. It’s important for us to not allegorize this to the point that the Exodus didn’t happen. Some biblical scholars try to come up with this reality that the real, that there wasn’t a Moses, or that there wasn’t actually a crossing of the Red Sea and all those types of things.
We believe that those things are real. However, they still also have these metaphors to what you and I go through. I’m gonna give you, this is on your notes, by the way, if you go to Passion creek.church/next you can quickly access the notes for today on an online version. I’m gonna give you nine different really images in Exodus that really is pointing to the Christian life.
So first set is Egypt. Egypt actually is representative of sin, satan, and death. So this is our ultimate enemy, right? This is why we are in bondage, right? Because of. Quote unquote, Egypt. Other passages throughout scripture move from Egypt to really Babylon. And especially when you read Revelation, it’s talking about this idea of Babylon, this evil empire that comes to defeat us slavery.
If we know the story, this what we’ve talked about so far Egypt was enslaving the Israelite people who were people of the. People of God’s promise. And so as we read about them being saved from slavery, it’s a picture of us in our spiritual bondage outside of Christ. We are enslaved and there’s nothing we can do about it.
But then you have the Pharaoh and he just represents kings and leaders, but also he represents us when we are stubborn. And the reality is, and we talked about this was the main crescendo last. Is the Pharaoh. He had a stubborn heart whose end is destruction and we need to take fear of the Lord and go if we do not churn from our sin, we will be like Pharaoh and it will end in destruction.
But then you have this other side, a more positive side of the coin on these images you have Israel. Israel is a countercultural community created by God’s covenant, grace. And that is today for us, that is the church we are. Now there are certain promises that are, some believe are just for Israel, right?
But a lot of what we see in the Old Testament we can also take for ourselves because we are the people, the covenant of God’s grace. Now, freedom. As you see them being saved from Egypt to the Promised Land, it shows the freedom you and I have. We are saved from destruction. We’re no longer in, we’re no longer slaves, but also we’re not just saved from something.
We’re saved towards something. And for us, we’d like to say, we are saved. We are free so we can be like Christ. That is ultimate freedom. God’s agenda for your life is to become more. And more like him. And then you have Moses. He is the deliverer. He is the mediator, which we’re gonna look at today God.
And Israel needs somebody a communicator, a mediator between the two. And so that is pointing to Jesus Christ, who was our ultimate deliverer and our ultimate mediator. Fully God, fully man, represented both parties perfectly. I have a few more, if you’re ready. All right. You have the Red Sea, which can I just burst your bubble real?
It’s probably not called the Red Sea. You knew Caleb? You’re like, yes. Good. He’s our Old Testament scholar in residence here at passion Creek Church. It’s actually called the Sea of Reeds. He’s so happy, he’s blushing. It’s actually called the Sea of Reeds, but it’s actually, I think it was Tindale when we did the English translation of the 15th century.
He actually called it the Red with two D’s, red C and then King James just called it red C. And now, from now on, We just call it the Red Sea and some commentators. Yeah, he’s so happy right now a lot of the translators, if you have the new translations, just say Red Sea because it’s like what we’ve always known and we would flip out if it’s like, how come it’s sea of reeds?
Like the Bible’s not real like everybody would, but it actually doesn’t really matter. Like people in Israel didn’t really care location wise in the same way that we do. We’re a lot more scientifically brained anyways. It is a sea full of reeds and we somehow have called it the Red Sea repentant turn to Jesus.
Now, can. Canaan is the new heaven and the new Earth. Now, we like to talk here at church, at our church about the new heavens and the new Earth. It’s not just heaven floating in the clouds. We believe every, all of this thing will be resurrected. Amen. And it’s gonna be pretty incredible. And so now the people of God are saved from their sin, and now they’re on a journey in the wilderness.
The wilderness equals the journey of the Christian life, and that journey is leading towards the new heaven and the new Earth. So in this. We are on a journey and some of us try to say the Christian life is just Canaan, but it’s mainly the wilderness. As long as we are on this side of death and this journey, this wilderness phase is full of tests.
And so today’s passage actually marks what some scholars call the second movement of Exodus, or like the second chunk. So Exodus is written in three parts. It’s supposed to be seen this way. This is now the second. It’s from chapter 13 verse 17, all the way to chapter 24. And if you had to summarize this whole and.
The all of these passages in one word, it would simply be the word test. We will see in 14 through 16. But if we had enough time, I would keep going. It’s test after test. God is testing his people and in turn, which it’s not a good thing, his people begin to test God. And the question we have to ask ourselves to be faithful readers of the text is why would God test the Israelites to make it more personal?
Why does God test you and why does God test me? What is he looking to get out of it, and doesn’t it seem a bit harsh? Let’s read from Exodus 14 to find out verse one. Then the Lord spoke to Moses. Notice how he’s not talking to all of God’s people yet. This is just to Moses first. Two, tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of between you just keep going and you’re confident and it’s the way you say it between McDo and the sea.
And you must camp in front of Bales, Steon facing it by the sea. This doesn’t mean much to you and me, but it meant cuz they understood what this meant. Back then. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, they’re wandering around the land and. The wilderness has boxed them in. It’s funny because God is giving them strange directions, and as Pharaoh is looking ahead, remember 10 plagues, his firstborn son is now dead, and now he is so stubborn, he’s still looking ahead to see what they’re doing and it literally, it looks like the people of God are going the wrong direction.
And so he is thinking, I have ’em. What God is doing, he’s testing the Israelites, but he’s trapping the. Look at verse four. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them. He’s still hardening his heart. Then I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh in all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.
So the Israelites did this. And so when the King of Egypt was told that the people have fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about the people and said, what have we done? We have rele. We have released Israel from serving us. What are we gonna do about our. Right all of our glory. We need to get these people back.
They quickly forgot the plagues. They quickly forgot the pain. So he got his chariot ready and took his troops with him. So he took 600 of the best chariots and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt with officers in each one. This is a military route here. Verse eight. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites who were going out defi.
The Egyptians all Pharaohs horses and chariots, his horsemen in his army chase after them and caught up with them as they camped by the sea between in front of be Zein. So what it looks like here, and God told Moses to do this, Moses leads the people of God into a corner. So you have the sea of reeds in front of them or what you want to call cuz you’ve watched the Prince of Egypt, the Red Sea, and you have Egypt and the Pharaoh behind.
and so the Pharaoh has the illusion of control. It was fascinating even after the 10 plagues, Pharaoh still wants control some even Title chapter 14 as the 11th and final plague against Egypt. We often talk about the 10, but they’re about to encounter yet another. Let’s keep going. Verse 10. As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and there were the Egyptians coming after them, and so the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help.
After all, they’ve seen God do after all the plagues and the undoing of Egypt. , they still quickly ran to fear. I wonder if you and I can have some stories today where we have the same kind of experience before we point the finger at is Israel. Maybe we point the finger at ourselves. And so they said to Moses, is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?
How dramatic is this right? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? This was their cry. They wanted to get out of there, and now that they did it, what have you done? Why did you take me out? Verse 12, isn’t that what we told you in Egypt? Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians. It would’ve been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in.
The wilderness. Now, Israel never said this to Moses. They have recreated their history to fit their narrative. And if you are a parent, you have seen this happen time and time again, right? This is what I said. No, it wasn’t right. Redefining the narrative. What is happening here? God is trapping Pharaoh, but in the minds of Israel, God is trapping.
See often in our own life, God is actually trapping the enemy, but we confuse it. We get fearful. We don’t trust in his promises, and we actually think in turn it is trapping us. So despite God’s providence and grace, they keep assuming the worst, and this will not be the last time they grumble. Hold your finger there.
You’re gonna look at Exodus chapter 15 now, verses 22. So we’re spoiler alert, which we’ll read. God saves them from that terrible situation, and Pharaoh and the Egyptians die. And yet now they’re in a new situ. Very shortly after and they find a way to grumble yet again. Look at verse 22 of chapter 15.
Then Moses led Israel on from the Red Sea or the sea of Reeds, and they went out to the wilderness of sure they journeyed for three days in the wilderness without finding water. This is pretty tough, right? We need to relate to that. They came to Mira, but they could not drink the water of Mira because it was bitter.
Must have been Arrowhead water. Amen. . Amen. Or Dasani. I don’t know you. That it, that is why it was named Mora. The people grumble to Moses. What are we going to drink? They’re panicking. What did you do to us? Moses? Look at chapter 16 verse two. We’ll see that they were saved from that situation. Yet they find another way to grumble.
Verse two of chapter 16, the entire Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the. The Israel, I said to them, if we only had died by the Lord’s hand, like how you, like how they’re like spiritual about it, right? Oh man, we were trusting the Lord’s hand in Egypt. We could have died there.
It would’ve been amazing providence of God if only we had died by the Lord’s hand in land of Egypt when we sat by pots of meat and ate all the bread we wanted. Revisionist history. You were sweating, bro. You were working day and night. Oh, but there was food and water all around us. Instead, you right, you did this.
You brought us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of hunger. This isn’t a question. This is, look what you have done. Now we have to ask ourselves, why are they grumbling? We have to ask ourselves, why do we gr. Why won’t they open their eyes to the grace and providence of God? Why don’t we, here’s what’s happening here.
When put to the test, Israel longed for slavery with stability rather than freedom, without control. If given the choice, they said, give me slavery, because at least it’s. Rather than freedom because I don’t like that, I don’t have control, and this is the position they’re in now in peace time here. Here’s why.
God test people. Because in peace time, they would’ve said if they just left Egypt and there was Oasis right away, there was nobody running after them, no issues at all. They would say, oh, we trust God. We are in his hands. Moses is pretty incredible. We just love the Lord with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength.
But trusting God was actually a facade because the moment storms be, the moment testing came into. They started pointing their fingers, grumbling and trusting in everything but the Lord and his messenger. So the testing reveals what we are trusting. And so God is testing the Israelites to reveal to them who they actually trust.
And I actually believe in his grace. God does this with you and with. Let me explain a little bit more the difference between slavery with stability and freedom without control. Now, here’s the reality is sin offers slavery with the promise of stability. , when you look at the condition the Israelites were in, there are, and I guess you can say there is benefits to becoming a slave.
Slaves, for example, are free from the worries of having to figure out what to do with their lives, right? There’s actually something to that. My generation specifically is really stressed and really depressed because we have this weight of anxiety, of picking the right career and knowing our identity.
People all throughout the world who don’t have enough money to sit around and think who just need to make a living. They actually are given the blessing of not having to fear, am I living my true peace? Am I doing this right? So there is a freedom, right? A stability better word, not freedom.
There is a stability from not having to figure out what to. Slaves are also free, and according to them from wondering what their next mill will be, right? The masters, they’re beating the slaves, but at least they give the slave enough food to keep working the next day. And this is what sin does and what slavery does.
Sure they do things that they don’t want, but the sin of slavery makes you feel safe, makes you feel like you are in control. And for some people that’s worth. . Salvation, on the other hand, offers freedom, but it’s without control, right? God, he puts us on paths that you and I would never pick for ourselves.
But if we’re honest and we give the path enough of a chance, that path gives us a purpose that we can never imagine for ourselves. But so many of us never experienced that freedom cuz we’re not willing to do it without control, but there is no salvation with Christ. while you’re still in charge And Israel said, you know what?
I think I’d rather be in Egypt. I’d rather be back in bondage and slavery and sin under sin, Satan, and death, cuz at least it felt like it was my mess. See what happens is when you follow God, Exodus 14 through 16 is showing us. That God is unpredictable. Look at, let me just summarize. We’re not gonna read it again, but Exodus 14, what does God do?
God puts them in a corner, right? You, they’re between an uncrossable sea. They’re thinking, okay, how do we get across this sea? We don’t have a bridge. We don’t have time, we don’t have boats. But behind us is a raging military, right? A Pharaoh who is very mad and they’re very powerful. What do. . That’s not how I would pick my escape plan.
I would walk around the water, but they’re now in a really bad spot. But this is what God does. He doesn’t take us out of the storm. He brings us through it literally, and you get unbelievable freedom. But with that, you get no sense of control. Exodus 15. If we had enough time, we’d look at it and I encourage you to look at it with your group.
This week. God takes them to this place called Mira. It’s a three days journey, and so they finally get there. Moses is saying, just keep going. I know we haven’t had any water yet, but once we get there, we’ll have water, and when he gets there, the water is bitter. Can you imagine the exasperation? Are you kidding me?
What God does actually in his grace is he uses a tree, throws it onto the water, and by doing that the water is made. Sweet, right? What is God doing? I would prefer to skip the bitter part and make it sweet, but God is training them, showing them, keep trusting me. Ask me and I will make these things right.
And what’s amazing about the rest of Exodus 15 is so they went to Morra place of bitterness, finally got transformed, then they left and went to Elam in verse 27. And it’s the perfect oasis. It is everything that they would see, life with God is full of ups and full of downs and it is unpredictable, absolutely un predict.
What I love about it is life with God brings a lot of freedom, but that freedom only comes when you realize you’re not the one in control. Exodus 16, God makes them wander In verse two and three, you see them complaining again. They’re grumbling again. Why? Because now they had to leave Elam. They don’t wanna leave Elam, but God told ’em to.
Moses told ’em to, so they had to keep. and now they’ve wandered long enough where now they’re out of their reserves, they don’t have any more food. What do we do now? We’re gonna die. See what God does, he gets you to the point where you lose all provision so that you trust in him even more. This testing is actually to increase their trust.
This testing is to increase your trust, but life with God is un predict. Some of you today, you are sitting here right now and you are in Mira. You are exhausted. It’s been a three year journey and you thought it was water and now it’s bitter. Others of you, we want to hang out with you. You’re in Elam right now.
You’re replenished. You’re at the perfect oasis. You were just at a great resort and you’re filling it. And then others of you, you’ve had those experiences and now you’re back to the point where you’ve lost all provision again. And what’s helpful for us to know in this passage? Is, this is not a journey of us losing salvation, gaining it again, losing salvation, gaining it again.
It’s instead the journey of the Christian life. Notice you’ll see 14 and on. They never go back to Egypt. They’re saved. They’re redeemed. They go through the seat, they’re done. But even though they are saved, there is a lot they have to learn, right? We believe you’re a Christian, you’re not gonna lose your s.
but there are journeys to it. George Morrison, he put it this way, he says, it took one night to take Israel out of Egypt, but 40 years to take Egypt out of Israel. Friends, it takes one moment to take us out of the bondage of sin, believing in Christ, but it takes the rest of our life to take sin out of us.
Robert Mahoen, he describes this. Of getting rid of Egypt. It’s this process of detangling our souls from the Egyptian way of life, from today from the worldly way of life the non-Christian way of life. And it happens through a series of trials and tests. And he actually describes it through four different stages or phases, at our church we love stage stuff.
All right let me walk that through with you real quick. This is again, by Robert Mahoen. He says, stage one, when you come to Christ, You learn to let go of gross sins. He calls it gross in the sense that it’s overt. It’s just over the top. It’s so bad. Some of us have sins when we first entered into the way of Jesus, that even the culture is like, good for you, that you stopped doing that.
Wow. Like we all agreed, like some of us, like everybody in society, they don’t know about heaven or hell and this or that, but we still praise the Lord, have a few things that we all agree is just bad, and when you come to Christ by His grace, some of those things like adultery, right? R like rage murder, right?
When you come to Christ, those things are done. Praise the Lord for. And we want to celebrate those moments, and that’s pretty incredible. But what happens is you follow on this journey in the wilderness long enough, you will then butt up against the second stage of sins. This next layer that you are so used to holding onto this part of Egypt that you still want to be a part of.
And that’s what we would call acceptable sins. The acceptable sins are behaviors that Egypt applauds. And for us though, it’s just not God’s will for whole. Things today that are acceptable that for us, we are calling us to, to peel back and to turn away from things like sexual behavior and consumption.
Even the media we produce sorry, the media we consume. . It’s actually pretty incredible the types of movies we watch, and I get it. I don’t wanna go back to the nineties where we have a party and we all burn our CDs together. Like y’all did crazy stuff in the nineties. But there’s something about saying, we’re just not gonna watch that. I know it’s acceptable. I know nobody’s gonna be mad at me if I do it, but like I’m really trying to look more and more like Jesus and I just don’t wanna do this. I think one that’s really big, as I talked to some of you and hearing about God moving in your life is one set of acceptable sins that is totally acceptable in Egypt, but not in the kingdom of God, is tearing people down in order to build yourself up.
It is so common for conversations just to do short little jabs about every. And it’s applauded and it’s entertaining. It’s one reason why if you come, I would love for any, everybody’s invited 35 minutes before our service. We have a prayer gathering, and so we pray for a blessing. But before we do that, we honor somebody in the room.
We give people four or five people say, Hey, today was Justin. Hey Justin. This is what I love about you. This is what I’ve seen in you. This is pretty great. Why do we do that? Because that’s what the kingdom of God does not. . So we have to do that. Let me keep going. The third level, and maybe this is where you’re at, and as a church we wanna help you is unconscious sins.
Good luck spelling that. If you’re on your notes, , good thing it’s on the screen to help you. I struggle with that word like crazy. Now, unconscious sins, these are sins that are invisible to us, and you’ve been maybe following Jesus for years, decades, and you still haven’t really noticed that this is a problem.
but now through a series of tests and trials and maybe a confrontation, God begins to peel that back. And you have noticed that these things are the thing that is keeping you from growing even more in Christ. . That thing is the thing that’s keeping you from stepping into even further into your purpose.
These are things like subtle selfishness, right? Churning yourself away from certain people groups. This is things like complacency. I think a big one that most of us are unconscious for when we’re thinking about forgive, asking God to forgive us. Our sins is how we steward our finances, right?
All of these elements. Look, if you’re first coming to Christ, like I’m not gonna immediately go here. I know that God’s gonna take you on a wilderness journey, and we want to help figure out where you’re at and there’s grace every step of the way. But eventually, if you’ve been here a while, you need to start confronting your unconscious sins.
That’s why David says, Lord, show me. Reveal to my heart, forgive me of sin, and any sin that I don’t know of reveal it to me so I can confess it. The last thing is trust structures. We talked about this a little bit last week. Another way of saying trust structures is idolatry. These are things where you manipulate situations to feel like you’re in control, right?
You have things in life where you trust in them and they’re good things, but man, you trust it so much. That good thing has now become a god. This is why for some people, God, in their journey of Christian maturity, God begins to ask people to sacrifice things that don’t seem bad, but for you, it is a step of trust and things like finances or certain relationships you are called to take a step away from in order to trust in God even more.
Now, here’s the beautiful thing. The only way we go from this journey to the next is to be tested by. We don’t realize our need for this until God tests us. See, God tests us to bless us. This is why God is constantly testing you through all sorts of things. A confrontation, a loss of resources, a debilitating diagnosis.
Whatever it is, God is testing you, but it’s always for the fact of blessing. And I think what’s pretty amazing about this passage is Moses already knows this to be true. Back to chapter 14. I need to be quick here. Verse 13. Notice how Moses responds to each of their grumblings. Verse 13. But Moses said to the people after they first grumbled, don’t be afraid.
Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation that he will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you and you just must be quiet. You must be introverted like me. Can we just all stop, right? Can you just stop talking, he’s be quiet. Look at verse 15 verse 25.
It says, so he cried out to the Lord. And the Lord showed him a tree, and when he threw it into the water became drinkable. The Lord made a statue, an ordinance for them at Morra, and he tested them there. What did Moses know? He knows the blessing of dependence on God. He didn’t complain to others.
Instead, he cried to God. Chapter 16, verse six. How did he respond to the next set of grumblings? So Moses and Aaron said, all the Israel rights this evening, you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you will see the Lord’s glory because he has heard your complaints about him.
For who are we? That you complain about us. This is great boundaries. This is great, healthy leadership. He’s saying, no, you’re blaming me. It’s not my no, look to God. This isn’t me. Moses continued. The Lord will give you meat to eat this evening and all the bread you want in the. Free has heard the complaints that you are raising against him.
Who are we? Your complaints are not against us, but against the Lord. Some of us in ministry, we take things way too personal. What they’re mad at is God, not you just keep staying the messenger, but that’s another story on another day. Why does Moses have so much wisdom and patience? How come he is able to answer such an incredible wait?
By the way, he’s human just like you and just like me, because he already spent 40 years whining and wandering in the wilder. He was already tested before the Israelites were tested. Moses is wandering in a land he had already spent wandering in. Henry Nowan, he says this, he says, the great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.
See, EV we all wanna be like Moses. Moses had a wander. The wilderness 80. In order to lead a people to wander for 40. So Moses, what is, what did Moses learn in that first journey and how was he appropriate to hear? He has learned salvation is from God. I am saved by simply learning to be quiet and letting God fight for me.
And that’s why God tests us to bless us with. And that’s exactly what God did. I can’t help but just read this part 1421 and following, what does God do at the Sea of Reeds? Verse 21. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind with all wind all that night, and turned the sea into dry land.
So the waters were divided and the Israelites went through the sea on dry. With the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left. Imagine this picture. Look, the Egyptians set out in pursuit all pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen, and went into the sea after them. During the morning watch, the Lord looked down at Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud and threw the Egyptian forces and took confusion.
He caused their chariot wills to swerve and made them drive with difficulty. Let’s get away from Israel. The Egyptian said because the Lord is fighting them fighting for them against Egypt. They are cl It’s clear God is doing the fighting. Verse 26, then the Lord said to Moses, stretch out your hand over the sea so that the water may come back on the Egyptians, on their chariots and horsemen.
So Moses stretched out his hand over its the sea. And at daybreak the sea returned to its normal. While the Egyptians were trying to escape from it, the Lord threw them into the sea. The water came back and covered the chariots and horsemen, plus the entire army of Pharaoh that had gone after them into the sea.
Not even one of them survived, but the Israelites had walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters like wall to them on their right and their. That day, the Lord saved Israel from the power of the Egyptians and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. And when Israel saw the great power that the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and believed in him and his servant Moses.
Then chapter 15, then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord. They said, I will sing to the Lord for he is highly ex. . He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea. The Lord is my strength of my song. Look at this theme. One of the weirdest things we do when we talk about the Old Testament is we act like Old Testament about earning your salvation that didn’t work and now we need Jesus in the new.
No. God’s a God of grace in the Old Testament just as much as either God. As a God of grace in the new God is the one doing the fighting for his covenant people. He has become my salvation. This is my God and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a warrior. The Lord is his name.
So how are we called to respond when we are testing? How do we recognize that it can be a blessing? I think the practice, the application here is pretty simple, and I wanna encourage you to do this in your groups this week is to simply practice praise. How can we set aside time this week to praise God in your living room, in your car, on the way to work.
On a walk alone at the dinner table with your family, right? The practice we’ll do together, I hope, with your family, with your group, is to praise, because here’s the answer. Look. Look, here’s the thing, the answer is not to get enough strength to pass the test cuz you will fail. But the answer is to praise God as he is the one who fights in our place.
This is salvation. See, in the Bible, God is constantly testing his people. And his people are constantly failing Adam and Eve in the garden. They fail because they want to eat from the tree of knowing good and bad. What about Abraham and Sarah? They fail two tests. He’s constantly worried that they will take Sarah, so he keep saying it’s his sister.
He does pass the ultimate test on the Mount Mariah and trying to sacrifice his. But then God provides a Ram. Moses and the Israelites keep reading. They are tested in the wilderness and they fail. They fail their test over and over again. I fail my test over and over again. You fail your tests over and over again.
But here’s the good news. Jesus passed every test and Jesus passed the test in your place. He was testing in every way. Like I said, Adam and Eve, they were tested in a garden. Jesus was tested in the garden. Gall Gethsemane. God told Adam and. Bay me about the tree and live, and they didn’t. God told Jesus in the garden, obey me about the tree and die.
And he did. He passed the test. You and I never could, like Abraham, Jesus was tested on Mount Mariah with the sacrifice, but this time, Iam wasn’t given in in, in Isaac’s place. There wasn’t a bailout. Jesus laid down his life and his life was taken
like Moses and the Israelites, I don’t know if you’ve seen this before, but the Israelites, they’re tested in the wilderness for 40 years. Jesus was tested in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, and in the wilderness, the. Grumbled. They were full of fear. They forgot God’s word, but in the wilderness, Jesus stayed faithful, remembered God’s word and persevered to the end.
See, ultimately we can praise God. Because God is not a one. God is not a God. Taking the tallies, making sure you’ve done enough good things to get to heaven, God is a covenant God, a gracious God who says, I will open up the seat. You just have to have faith to walk through it. I have passed every test in your place.
Now, as we journey in the maturity, let me be clear, I think, I believe there are little lowercase t tests that you and I go through and I think we are called to pass those tests. It’s not the test of salvation, not the test of becoming beloved, but the test of growth, right? You and I have. Have opportunities this week to hate what is evil and to cling what is good.
And I really believe the more that we clinging to what is good I don’t know how to describe it, but there becomes an anointing on your life. There becomes opportunity and an increase that, that is incredible. So I pray that we don’t take this and think, good, I can do in sin whatever I want because Jesus passed it for me.
Yes and no. Jesus has passed the ultimate capital. You are not a child because you’ve passed the test. You are a child because he passed it in your place. But we are called to pursue love, joy, and peace. But let me be clear, we need to rest in the fact that ultimately Jesus passed the test. Our salvation is forever secure.
There’s no condemnation, not because of how great we did this week or how terrible we did this week, but because of what Christ has done in our place. And so I just want us to end by asking, have you trusted him? Do you need to turn back to him? Are you feeling like you’re in a moment between the sea of Reeds and the pH and the Pharaoh?
And what do.
We get so fearful because we think the test, we’re supposed to find enough strength to fight the Pharaoh, but the reality is all we’re called to do is to sit and be quiet and praise the Lord, who’s the one who fights the battle in our place. This is why we are. People, will you take the invitation today to be a gospel people praising Jesus for doing all the things you and I could never do?
What would that look like this week?
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Meal & Conversation
Open the night with a quick prayer over your time together. As your Group shares a meal, use one or two of these questions to check in with everyone:
- What’s one thing you’re anxious for this upcoming week?
- What’s one thing you’re excited for this upcoming week?
Overview of Teaching
In Exodus 14, Moses finally leads the people of Israel out of slavery and into freedom. But before they can enter the promised land, God tests them. He puts them between Pharaoh and the Red Sea, he leads them to undrinkable water, and then he makes them wander long enough to run out of food. Each time, the Israelites complain. They would rather remain in slavery with stability than have their freedom without control. In many ways, the story of Israel is the story of the Christian life. Like Israel’s struggle to detach themselves from Egypt, we struggle to detach ourselves from our sin. To confront us with this reality, God tests us. But from the life of Moses, we learn that the best way to endure seasons of testing and turn our attention away from our old life of sin, is to practice praise.
Read Exodus 14:10-11, 15:22-23, and 16:1-3 and discuss the following questions:
- Why do you think God allowed the Israelites to experience these dangerous tests just after being delivered? What was he testing them for?
- Why is it significant that the Israelites are complaining so frequently after being delivered from slavery? How does this demonstrate their failing God’s tests?
- In what ways can you relate to Israel’s grumbling and complaining?
- How have you experienced the difference between slavery to sin withstability and freedom from sin without control?
Now read Exodus 15:1-3, 21 and discuss the following questions:
- Why are praise and worship vital to maturity in the Christian life?
- In what ways is praise an act of defiance against the world outside of usand the grumbling within us?
What usually prevents you from praising God?
This week, we’re practicing praise. Some people differentiate between praise and worship. To worship is to turn your attention to God in recognition and adoration, but to praise is to specifically express thanksgiving, awe, joy, and wonder to God for his actions and attributes. There are many ways to practice praise. Talk through the following options with your group and brainstorm ways you can practice praising God this week:
• Consider beginning your morning with a gratitude and praise ritual. Thank God for specific actions and attributes that you’ve experienced lately and spend some time praising God for those things.
• Set aside time to sing and pray through your favorite worship songs on your own or with your family. It could be during a meal, in the car, or in the evening as a bedtime ritual.
• Go on a walk in your neighborhood or local park and thank God for the ways that he’s demonstrated his love for you.
• Set a reminder on your phone 3 times a day where you can pause to praise God for a few moments: in the morning, at midday, and in the evening.
Before you pray to close, have everyone answer the following question:
What would success look like for you as you engage in the practice this week?
As you end your night, spend some time praying for and encouraging one another.