Thursday, March 31, 2016

To God be the Glory even in our times of trial...

Long time, no blog.  What can I say?  Life interruptus.  Can it be any simpler than that?  Mike mentioned a few days ago that I really should pick up journaling again and I agreed.  I know I should.  It helps me sort out the thoughts that are tumbling around in my head.  Maybe I'll catch up on some of the things that have been happening in our life, or maybe not.  One of the things that I do, that I have really enjoyed the past couple of years is lay counseling.  I am a volunteer for a local counseling center that trains people to become lay counselors and in return, after a year long of pretty intense training (we started out with a group of nine and only graduated three) we are asked to volunteer our time once a week for two years to this wonderful ministry.  We are under the umbrella of a licensed psychiatrist and God is at work on Thursday nights.  I love it!

Right now, I am going through a little book called The Red Sea Rules by Robert J. Morgan. It is a comparison of the trials we face with the trials the Israelites faced coming out of Egypt in Exodus 14 and giving 10 "rules" on how or why we face difficulties in our walk with Jesus. How to walk from fear to faith, the description says.

While I have done a lot of highlighting in this little book, there is one point I want to discuss right now.  It's been rolling around since I read it this evening.   The question asked is, "According to Exodus 14:3-4, why did God lead His people to the edge of the sea?"

I'll quote Exodus 14:3-4 so you have the context:
Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, "They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in."  Then I will harden Pharaoh's heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.
So God had His beloved nation between the proverbial rock and hard place.  He has the Israelites fleeing for their very lives and has promised to deliver them from Egypt.  Why in the world did he lead them to the edge of the Red Sea with nowhere to turn?    Not only that, He told Moses to have them go back and set up camp!  Really?  Set up camp with the Pharaoh's army hot on their heals?? Why in the world would God tell them to do that?  To test their faith or to use their hardship, their trial, to show His glory and His might to the Egyptians?

I had never thought of it in that context.  To be honest, I had never given it much thought before tonight.  God led them to the Red Sea, He parted the waters so that the Israelites could pass through and then, when they had gotten safely across, had the waters come crashing down on the Egyptian army.  Take that, Pharoah's army!  Israelites win!

After mulling on it, I think that though it was a test of faith for the Israelites, it was more for the Egyptians.  The Egyptian army knew they were closing in on the people of Israel.  I mean, God set a huge pillar of clouds in the day and fire by night for them to follow!  My guess is that they weren't that hard to find.  I can imagine them arriving with their 600+ chariots and all the might of the Egyptian army and overtaking this ragamuffin band of Israelites camping on the shore of the Red Sea.  Of course the Israelites were frightened and cried out to Moses who calmly stretched his hands over the sea and God split the waters, giving His nation safe passage to the other side.

Now, of course, the Egyptian army tried to follow, but mass chaos ensued.  Swerving chariot wheels, confusion, and all sorts of mayhem were set upon the army and once the last Israelite was safely across, the winds, holding back of the water, swept up and out of that channel and the waters came crashing back into place.

God's glory, power, and might shown to the people of Egypt.  Those who survived went back to their land with tails between their legs, but, oh, what a story to tell.  How could their many gods ever stand up to the might of the One God of Israel?  They couldn't.  God's glory prevails.  What a story!

How is God using YOUR story, your trials to bring glory to Himself?  Most of the times our trials are brought on by our own actions, but He can deliver us from them, teach us wisdom, and use them for His own glory.  Are you letting Him?

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