And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters for I know their sorrows. So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey – Exodus 3:7-8(NIV)
Here’s a list of cliché’s for you to start off our devotional today.
Things seem to always get worse before they get better.
When it rains it pours.
Just when you’ve dealt with one thing, along comes another.
Everything happens in threes.
Whatever your superstitious motto is, there is a truth to it. We go through seasons in life when it ALL seems to be going wrong.
I used to blame these seasons on the devil, a season of spiritual warfare and assault, it’s true to some extent, that his sticky evil hands are stirring the pot, but I am becoming more convinced, that sometimes it is God who flips our tables and gathers our enemy against us. This isn’t heresy I promise! Keep reading.
In Exodus 3:7 – God hears the cry of oppression from His beloved children. He is moved with compassion to deliver them out of slavery. So he comissions Moses for the job and off Moses goes.
You think it would be easy, once you decide you’re going to break free from something that has been holding you back. We at least hope it’s going to be, but remember satan has a lot invested in our bondage. He’s not going to give in so easy. And in Exodus, Pharaoh wasn’t about to budge anytime soon. It took a lot of locusts, famine and sorrow for Pharaoh to relent. His entire kingdom was at stake.
A few Friday’s ago, we discussed why God led the Israelites out the hard way, though the other way was easier. I wrote on how God led them into battle and through the 1st wilderness so they would have to struggle though their own deliverance, so they would remember the fight, they would count the cost of their freedom, and be less likely to run back to their bondage.
We ended with Moses and the Israelites in the 1st wilderness before crossing the Sea, and they are moaning to Moses, even though God is leading them, and sheltering them with the miraculous (Exodus 13:21-22)
They have agreed to be set free, they are excited, ready to finally put the past behind them. Some, not all, are trusting in God and Moses, and they follow obediently and boldly out of Egypt.
So – you have decided its time to finally break free from your bondage, you’ve decided that enough is enough, and it’s time. You’ve followed God out into a place unfamiliar, and it’s an intense wilderness. Now what? You’re feeling vulnerable, exposed, afraid, and a little lost.
All of a sudden – all hell breaks loose and you are scrambling to find your way back to Egypt. I have so been there. Read what happens.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea.
They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘
The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. – Exodus 14 1-4 (NIV)
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites
go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with ALL the other chariots of
Egypt, with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians
—ALL Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it
because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us
alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” – Exodus 14: 5-12 (NIV)
Let’s paraphrase, The Israelites, obedient to God, left Egypt – leaving the familiar, because God said there is something better. Moses leads them out, and God says to go the hard way, so they go. THEN God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, and makes him take back his promise to let them go. Pharaoh goes into a possessive rage, enlists his entire army. ALL of his chariots, ALL of his horsemen, and troops and horses. ALL OF THEM! He wants his slaves back, and he is pulling out no stops.
Why is it, that God, wanting our freedom, would give us the green light to finally receive it and then release satan’s entire force against us, making it near impossible?! Why, when God had compassion on us, would he bring us to a place of complete overwhelming odds?
One reason, is that God wanted to be glorified, to show his power. (Exodus 14:4)
But God is never just thinking of himself, he started this for the Israelites freedom, not just for him.
So what other reason would spur God on to stir up the enemy and pursue us with ALL might?
Here’s when I begin to become overwhelmed by God’s glory …
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land.
The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
The Egyptians pursued them, and ALL Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the
pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving.
And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand
over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lordswept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots
and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. Exodus 14 21:28
Do you think if God had led the Israelites easily out of Egypt and settled them in a nice safe land, that Pharaoh, week’s months or even years later would not pursue them? Pharaoh would never give up chasing them, they would forever be looking behind their backs and be tempted to return. But God….
God knows the beginning, the middle and the end. He sees it all, He always knows what is best, even if we don’t.
God made absolute sure that there was no Egypt to return to!
You see, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and gathered his entire army against the Israelites, so that God could defeat Pharaohs’ entire army in one move. There would be no remains, no more chance of bondage- once they were gone, the Israelites would be completely free.
When God gathers our enemies against us, be diligent to trust God. It’s satan that had you in bondage, not God, but God will stir up all the crap that got you there, and drown all the crap that kept you there.
He will make you go through fire, fighting a long side you, helping you battle your thoughts, your past and your current situations. It will feel like it is ALL crumbling, it is all too much. You may be white knuckled thinking you are going to die out here! You won’t.
Remember, the purpose is for you to be set free, and set free forever. God may gather it all against you, but he is doing it so he can defeat it all at once, and destroy your Egypt once and for all.
When I hit rock bottom into despair and crippling anxiety, I felt that the world was caving in. Finances were stressing, my teenager was a bomb ready to blow, my self-esteem was crumbling, my marriage was weary, my body was failing, my mind was unstable, and my spirit was silent. It all hit at once and it hit so hard, I honestly (not figuratively) did not think I would survive it.
“God! Why have you taken me out here? To kill me?!”
Then God, as he gathered the force against me, showed His great glory, his great power, his great love and his solid unfailing deliverance. All my enemies were defeated. I came out of this experience freer than I was before. My spirit is stronger than ever before, my mind is calm and quiet (most days) my body is 99% healthy (once God cures PMS) , my faith is growing, and I am beginning to actually step into the promised land. I thought deliverance was figurative and now I know to be very real.
Do not be discouraged, or afraid. If you have recently taken steps to reclaim your life and have noticed it all begin to crumble and overwhelm you, trust, trust and trust God!
He is doing a great work, and He will have absolute Glory in your freedom.