Going out with Faith
Ex. 14:8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly.
Ex. 14:14 The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”
Ex. 16:35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.
Acts 2:47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Today we find a common thread between the Old Testament and New Testament readings. In the Old Testament we find the children of Israel finally leaving Egypt, and when the moment comes they leave boldly! They've been given their instructions, God has been faithful and they leave with confidence in him. Along the way however, they become scared as the Egyptians follow them and they wonder what they are to do. God tells them that they are to do nothing. He will fight for them. They are only to keep still. He does fight for them and then they end up out in the wilderness. They are hungry and God provides for their needs. He does so for forty years. Finally, in the book of Acts we find God's continued provision and work, now through the power of the Holy Spirit. The handful of faithful are obedient and God adds to their number daily.
These stories have powerful lessons for us today in terms of prayer and living the life of faith.
1) When God tells you to do something -- walk out in bold faith. Trust him to take care of you and don't wait ! We are not supposed to sheepishly hang onto the promises of God, but rather, we are to claim what he tells us and boldly move forward with him.
2) Keep Still!!! Too often we don't slow down enough or get still enough to hear the voice of God. It is in the stillness and quiet that God wants to talk to us and tell us that the battle is his. How often are we trying to fight the battles of our lives on our own strength. We even become angry with God because we want to tell him what to do or how we want things to be done. He is telling us to stop it -- be quiet -- let him fight the battle.
3) God will provide. I read the other day that the average American eats one ton of food a year. One ton!! That's a lot of food and yet, all of those Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years and didn't have to carry any food with them. God provided food every single day. If we did the math on how much food that was we would be astonished. It is beyond our comprehension and in many ways it doesn't even make sense. However, that's the way that God works. He provides when we trust in him. The math doesn't always seem to work out, but Gods math is higher than our math, so let him at it!
4) God adds to the kingdom. One of the most important phrases here in Acts is that the Lord added to their number. This was not the result of some strategic planning session which happened in the upper room on the part of the followers of Christ. What happened on the day of Pentecost and thereafter was beyond their imagination. They were simply obedient and walking on in faith and God did his work.
The whole lesson here today is that our responsibility is to be in a faithful relationship with God. We must be confident in that relationship and boldly live a life of faith, believing and trusting that if we are faithful -- he really will do the rest. This, however, is where we are like so many that have gone before. We want to take control into our own hands, but that is simply not God's plan. Instead, let us try going out in faith today.
Lord, too often I want to do things on my own. May today be a day of total and complete trust in you. Amen.