Which Fighter are You Watching?
Perhaps the greatest fight in our lives is to be enthralled with God’s capacity to war for us. I love the fruit of being still, but I hate the pride-tackling process to get there. Perhaps one of the greatest lies in the church today is that you are measured by your activity for Jesus. We are spent on doing things for Jesus so that Jesus will be pleased with us, but we miss watching the activity of Jesus and being pleased with Him. Like Mary and Martha; Martha was distracted with serving Jesus, but Jesus told Martha that Mary had the good portion. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet receiving from Him.
When it comes to battles in this life, perhaps the biggest battle is the one for our disposition. Will we be focused on the activity of God and have peace, or will we be focused on the activity around us, our own actions, and be consumed with fear?
This is the war that God’s people had in the wilderness, and this is how God set up their victory.
Exodus 14:1-4“Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.”
This is the most awkward, confusing, drawn-out deliverance plan. God, why would you position us within reach of Pharaoh? Why would you harden Pharaoh’s heart? And why would you do all of this just so that the Egyptians know that you are the Lord?
God’s revealed plan in this part of the journey is for the Egyptians to know that He is the Lord. This whole time the Egyptians have assumed a right to enslave God’s people. Pharaoh has deemed Himself as sovereign and superior. He has mistreated the people of God.
God was not numb during that time. All of Exodus leading up to this point portrays the heart of God as He watches His people in slavery and raises up a leader to lead them out, and a canvas for His glory.
Exodus 9:14-17 “14 For this time I will send all my plagues on you yourself, and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is none like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have put out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 17 You are still exalting yourself against my people and will not let them go.”
The reason for the Egyptian empire, Pharaoh, and his sovereign reign is to portray that there is none like God on the earth. His power is greater, and He will demonstrate it – so that His name is proclaimed in all the earth. Pharaoh is a backdrop, a reference point for the superior greatness and sovereignty of God.
When the Egyptians hunt down God’s people and surround them, they will steal their focus and provoke their fear. The oppression of Pharaoh over God’s people is still active in their hearts.God does not only remove His people from bondage, He wants to destroy the captors. As Dr. Dharius Daniels once said “God doesn’t just want to take you out of Egypt, He wants to take Egypt out of you.” God wants glory as His people fully focus on Him, and fear Him.
God does harden Pharaoh’s heart and Pharaoh says, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” (Exodus 14:5) So he gathers his best chariots and warriors, an army worthy of fear, and pursues God’s people in the wilderness. (14:6-9)
The plan of God does not fail, and it includes sovereign governance over Pharaoh’s plan, which seems detrimental to his people before they see the full picture.
God may seem to bring YOU harm at the moment. Being surrounded by our enemies by the will of God seems to conflict with being set free by the will of God. But God’s AIM is always eternal. He will silence our boasting. He will silence the boasting of the Egyptians, and HE WILL BE GLORIFIED.
“10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
God delivered His people out of Egypt, but Egypt came after them. Their eyes were captured, and their hearts felt captured. Egypt still had their hearts.
Focus fuels Fear. Undivided attention is exaltation, and exaltation is worship.
God is bringing contending sovereign lords into the arena. How dare the Egyptians contend with God for glory among His people. God is going to demonstrate before a large audience His supreme reign and goodness.
God Sovereignly Leads Us to Confront Bondage from Past
The people of God are not familiar with the leading of God. They are familiar with the leading of the Egyptians. They have seen God do miraculous things, but when their old captors taunt them the power of God is foreign to them. They don’t trust God. They don’t really know God. And God is going to bring them into a confrontation with that truth to resolve it.
When God brings up past pain in your life it’s because He wants to be victorious over it. He doesn’t just want to put your enemies to rest, he wants you to rest as you watch Him conquer your enemies. There is power when we watch God destroy that which had power over us. God brought His people into that arena and wants to bring you into that arena. He knows that you can’t defeat your greatest enemies, He knows that He can. The Christian life is not centered on celebrating our victories, deliverance, or freedom from pain, sin, and bondage. The Christian life is centered on the God who loves us, fights for us and delivers us from those things.
This is Moses’ God-inspired instruction to the people of God:
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”
Watch the Best Fighter Fight
Watch God, Church. When the fight climaxes in intensity do not be provoked to match that intensity with fighting, but with trusting. When the Egyptians come back, do not fix your eyes on the Egyptians, but on the God who will destroy the Egyptians. Be a people that have a fixed focus on the deliverer. When our focus shifts from the enemy’s activity to God’s activity, our hearts find peace. When we step back, we will see God step up. When we look to the God who is Good, Deliverer, Father, Shepherd THEN we will see the GREAT GOD do great things!
There is a song on the other side of the Red Sea. There is a victory to be had in which you watch God deliver you from your enemy, destroy your enemy, and give you a new land.
In Psalm 23, David was surrounded by the presence of his enemies while God is preparing a table for Him. Will you come to the table while God fights for you?
“The Lord will fight for you, you have only to be silent.”
For the #joysetbeforeme,