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Crossing the Red Sea

Then the Lord said to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall camp opposite it, by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.’ I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” And they did so. When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed toward the people, and they said, “What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?” So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his chariot drivers and his army; they overtook them camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.” The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” (Exodus 14:1-25, NRSV)

Why do we back off when the going gets tough with our faith?

Have you ever done that? Thought that God was calling you to do something and then the going got tough and so you backed off or you questioned what God was doing?

We can easily do something when we know how it is going to work and how things will happen, but when things go not according to plan and lead us to places we hadn’t expected most of us backpedal.

And why do we do this with God? Can we not trust God?

We are not unlike the Israelites. How can we better trust God and know God will always be with us?

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Paul in Corinth

Corinth: street

After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Rome. Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together—by trade they were tentmakers.Every sabbath he would argue in the synagogue and would try to convince Jews and Greeks. When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, Paul was occupied with proclaiming the word, testifying to the Jews that the Messiah was Jesus. When they opposed and reviled him, in protest he shook the dust from his clothes and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” Then he left the synagogue and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God; his house was next door to the synagogue.Crispus, the official of the synagogue, became a believer in the Lord, together with all his household; and many of the Corinthians who heard Paul became believers and were baptized. One night the Lord said to Paul in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will lay a hand on you to harm you, for there are many in this city who are my people.” He stayed there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. But when Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him before the tribunal. They said, “This man is persuading people to worship God in ways that are contrary to the law.”Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, “If it were a matter of crime or serious villainy, I would be justified in accepting the complaint of you Jews; but since it is a matter of questions about words and names and your own law, see to it yourselves; I do not wish to be a judge of these matters.” And he dismissed them from the tribunal. Then all of them seized Sosthenes, the official of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal. But Gallio paid no attention to any of these things. (Acts 18:1-17, NRSV)

Paul went where he could share the message of Jesus. And he would give it to whoever would listen. So when he met a Jew who had come from Rome and was living in Corinth and they shared the same occupation, he went with him to the temple. He told them that Jesus was the Messiah they were waiting for. And when they wouldn’t listen, Paul shook the dust off his clothes and left. He went to those who would listen.

And even then people stirred up trouble for Paul.

But in the face of everything Paul stood firm in his proclamation because he knew that God was with him,

Are you ready to walk the walk and go when God tells you, knowing He will always be with you?

 

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The Ark Returned

The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.Then the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us what we should send with it to its place.” They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and will be ransomed; will not his hand then turn from you?” And they said, “What is the guilt offering that we shall return to him?” They answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for the same plague was upon all of you and upon your lords. So you must make images of your tumors and images of your mice that ravage the land, and give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps he will lighten his hand on you and your gods and your land. Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had made fools of them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? Now then, get ready a new cart and two milch cows that have never borne a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them. Take the ark of the Lord and place it on the cart, and put in a box at its side the figures of gold, which you are returning to him as a guilt offering. Then send it off, and let it go its way. And watch; if it goes up on the way to its own land, to Beth-shemesh, then it is he who has done us this great harm; but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance.” The men did so; they took two milch cows and yoked them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. They put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the box with the gold mice and the images of their tumors. The cows went straight in the direction of Beth-shemesh along one highway, lowing as they went; they turned neither to the right nor to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them as far as the border of Beth-shemesh. Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley. When they looked up and saw the ark, they went with rejoicing to meet it. The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh, and stopped there. A large stone was there; so they split up the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to the Lord.The Levites took down the ark of the Lord and the box that was beside it, in which were the gold objects, and set them upon the large stone. Then the people of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and presented sacrifices on that day to the Lord. When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned that day to Ekron. (1 Samuel 6:1-16, NRSV)

The Philistines kept the Ark of the Covenant for seven months and all the time they had it havoc was over all their lands. So they called their priests and diviners and asked what should be done. And they were told to return the ark to the people of Israel but not to send it alone, but to send a guilt offering with it.

So they prepared the cart for the Ark and the guilt offering and sent it away.

And the people of the town it was last in offered burnt offerings to the Lord along with the guilt offering sent with the Ark so that God may find a little favor and ease the havoc on their lands.

Once again this reminds us that God’s will will be done and He is always with and for His people.

 

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shall not return…

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall be to the Lord for a memorial, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. (Isaiah 55:10-13, NRSV)

God’s word goes out and will not return empty. It will accomplish what God intended for it to accomplish.

Meaning, with you or in spite of you, God’s will will have the effect God was looking for.

So know that God’s word works in and through our lives and will accomplish what God needs it to and it will not return to Him empty or before it has accomplished what it needed to.

 

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the way

The fear of the LORD prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
The hope of the righteous ends in gladness,
but the expectation of the wicked comes to nothing.
The way of the LORD is a stronghold for the upright,
but destruction for evildoers.
The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not remain in the land.
The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.
(Proverbs 10:27-32, NRSV)

When we follow the path that God has set before us it may not be smooth. It may not be easy. It might go up and down and over some pretty hard terrain. But it is the easy path for sure.

The way of the Lord is a stronghold for life and in that way, we will not be removed and will be accepted because of God.

So walk in His way, and know He is always with you.

 

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stay

160726I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness; for you have exalted your name and your word above everything. On the day I called, you answered me, you increased my strength of soul. All the kings of the earth shall praise you, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth. They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD. For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly; but the haughty he perceives from far away. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve me against the wrath of my enemies; you stretch out your hand, and your right hand delivers me. The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. (Psalm 138, NRSV)

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you protect me.

Though I walk through uncertain times, you are with me.

Though I know not what is happening to me or around me, you give me shelter.

Though I turn away from you, you stay beside me.

Jesus has promised to always be with us, and the walk with us through everything that comes our way.

He will always be with us, through whatever life deals us.

Stay with Him, and He will never leave you!

 

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I will praise!

But I will hope continually, and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all day long, though their number is past my knowledge. I will come praising the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD, I will praise your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to all the generations to come. Your power and your righteousness, O God, reach the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my honor, and comfort me once again. I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, O my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have rescued. All day long my tongue will talk of your righteous help, for those who tried to do me harm have been put to shame, and disgraced. (Psalm 71:14-24, NRSV)

All the things the Lord has done for me are in the past, they are a memory, yet they make me want to sing His praises!

I want to sing of the praises of His righteousness!

Of how I was taught by Him in my youth to follow and adore!

How in my gray hairs I am still able to proclaim His wonders and love in the world I am in.

I remember how in my troubles and calamities He walked by my side and let me fall, but never out of His reach! He was always there to catch me and keep me going.

He brought me out of the depths and gave me life and love when I did not deserve them.

Oh How the love of the Lord for me makes me want to shout it from the roof tops and sing it to all the world!

 

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