Sermon delivered May 22, 1999

by Pastor Donald J Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version unless otherwise noted
New Living Translation - NLT
King James Version - KJV

Mobile Moses

It's raining outside. What a blessing to have the showers for our gardens. We pray that God will shower His Holy Spirit upon us as we worship, that our hearts may grow, that our lives may produce fruit for Him. Today is the last of a series of sermons on Moses. We're going to talk about Mobile Moses. He begins to move today and moves his people out of the land of Egypt. You may want to come over here to Exodus, the eleventh chapter and follow along in your Bible.

You know, moving day is always exciting. You've probably moved several times. I think I have moved nineteen times in my short life. Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee. And I've still got at least one more move that I know of, I don't know how many more. Hopefully we will all be in heaven some day soon.

God's people were packed and ready to leave Egypt. No cardboard boxes, no moving vans for these do-it-yourself type movers. But God was their leader. Moses the great mobilizer was ready for some high voltage action for Pharaoh.

Exodus 11:1,2 Now the Lord had said to Moses, "I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely. Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold." This was the first "Ingathering" campaign. What they did, they knocked on people's doors. Their neighbors said, "Oh we know you. You're the ones that do all the work around for the community. You just work like slaves. Of course we'll give. We'll be happy to give." And they did! God didn't tell His people why they were supposed to go out and get all this gold and all this silver. But they did it. Unquestioning obedience. I like that, don't you. That's the kind that we need. Before they left they needed to get their back wages from the Bank. God knew they would need gold and silver. God did not reveal the reason why and they responded with unquestioning obedience.

God said that at midnight all firstborn would die. You can read this whole story here in chapter eleven. At midnight the destroying angel would come and every first-born in the entire land of Egypt and the land of Goshen would die unless they did something. He would provide a way of salvation for His people. After that they would be mobile and free.

And God told them, "You take one lamb for each family, and you slit the throat of that lamb and you catch the blood in a basin and you liberally apply that blood to the posts of the door and the lintel that goes over the top of the door, and your first-born will not die." Now, how many of the Israelites did that? A hundred percent of them. We don't have a record that any of God's people died. Basically what you have here is a door surrounded with blood. Jesus Christ said, "I am the Door, I am the Way." And the way of salvation is through the blood of the Lamb, I will tell you that.

Now, it's not logical to paint your door with blood. Is that a logical thing? So, why do such a nasty thing? Because God tells you to do that. Why do we keep the Sabbath? Because God tells us. It's not nasty, I enjoy it. We live longer because we keep the Sabbath. Adventists live ten years longer because they don't eat certain things and they don't inhale smoke, and because we take one day off. But He said: "When I see the blood My destroying Angel will pass over your house and your first born will live."

Now let's go to Exodus 12:29,30 NIV At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. The first-born of everything. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. Now if that had happened in my house, we would have all been dead because all of our family are first-born. All my children are first-born, my wife is first-born, and I am a first-born. It would have wiped our family out. Some of our kids are adopted. My wife was adopted.

The Egyptians had slain the Hebrews' children, now God slew their children. They were reaping what they had sown.

Verse 31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. "Get out of bed! You get out of here! You leave! It's time for you to go! Scram! If you do not go we will all be dead. We will even help you pack your suitcases. We want you to go now! You can do whatever you want. Verse 36 They plundered the Egyptians When they left they were burdened down with traveling money. They had gold, they had silver, they had wealth. It was night when the Exodus began. In the dark. And the darkness doesn't bother you when you have the light of the world as your guide, darkness is no obstacle. Don't worry about the dark when you've got the light. They did not need a thick manual called the Exodus Guidebook. They didn't have any written instructions. They didn't even have a Bible. There were no maps, no guiding star in the Eastern sky. But what they had was God and His servant, Moses. They went out in faith. Complete trust in God.

Moses was now shepherding the largest flock of his entire ministry. Moses remembered to take out the bones of Joseph keeping an old promise that had been made to Joseph. Moses was a promise keeper. He kept that promise.

Look at this description of this over here in Psalm 105. Psalm 105:36-43 Then He struck down all the firstborn in their land, the firstfruits of all their manhood. He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold and from among their tribes no one faltered. Wasn't that neat? No one sick, nobody feeble among them. Egypt was glad when they left, because dread of Israel had fallen on them. He spread out a cloud as a covering and a fire to give light at night. They asked, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert. For he remembered His holy promise given to His servant Abraham. Psalm 105 describes that unforgettable escape. Psalm 105:36-43 NLT Then he killed the oldest child in each Egyptian home, the pride and joy of each family. But he brought his people safely out of Egypt, loaded with silver and gold; there were no sick or feeble people among them. Egypt was glad when they were gone, for the dread of them was great. The LORD spread out a cloud above them as a covering and gave them a great fire to light the darkness. They asked for meat, and he sent them quail; he gave them manna--bread from heaven. He opened up a rock, and water gushed out to form a river through the dry and barren land. For he remembered his sacred promise to Abraham his servant. So he brought his people out of Egypt with joy, his chosen ones with rejoicing.

They were thrilled to leave Egypt. They walked away in total freedom. They walked away with God as their leader. They left their brickyards. They left their enslavement. They had complete and total deliverance. Their deliverance came right after midnight. That's when it will come for God's people. Two million people were now free. Not one firstborn in all of God's people was dead. Every family had taken God at His word. Every family had obeyed God. They were all saved by the blood of the lamb.

Remember when you became free in Christ Jesus? You accepted Jesus as your Savior and were baptized. You left the things of Egypt behind. We're not supposed to take Egypt with us. You come out of the world. The world comes out of you. I will tell that God's master plan does not stop at getting His people out of Egypt. There's more to it. It includes getting you into His hand. Jesus will come into your heart. His will will become your will. Your character will become more and more like Jesus, more like His divine Image.

So off they went... Let's go back to Exodus 13. They left Egypt and as they left the Egyptians were having a million funerals. You know, the Moslems to this day bury their dead the same day they die. And they left among a million funerals. Exodus 13:17,18 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. They may have suspected that Pharaoh would try to come after them because they had told Pharaoh they would be gone for three days. They had full intentions of leaving forever. So they left.

Now notice Exodus 13:21,22 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. When we get to heaven will there be a difference between day and night? I think it will probably be daylight all the time. It's sort of like heaven here. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

    That pillar represented six different things. Let me list them to you.
  1. - Guidance - They didn't need a map. That pillar was their star. As the wise men followed the star. They followed this cloud.
  2. - Shade - When you're in the desert, what's the first thing you need? You need a moving umbrella. That's what they had: cooling shade, less water consumption, less sunburn, less heat stroke
  3. - Nightlight - God left the light on for them.
  4. - Protection - it was a barrier between them and their enemies
  5. - Symbol of Power - When you see a big thundercloud coming over Grindstone Mountain that's a lot of power there. Clouds are symbols of power. Also, clouds bring storms and rain
  6. - Warmth - When you're in the desert do you get cold at night? Absolutely. It's one of the coldest places you can be. That was their electric blanket. Less blankets required during the cold desert nights. Under the warmth of the fiery cloud.

Exodus 14:1-4 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites to turn back this is a detour here. Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and 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. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord." So the Israelites did this. They took the detour. You know, they had finally learned to obey. They had finally learned to trust God. And He said, let's take this detour. You've gone this far. Let's turn around and go back now. It didn't make any sense. Did you ever get to a place like that in your life? It doesn't make any sense. God is telling you to do it. And so you do it. And that's what they did.

Pharaoh's CIA learned that this was not just a three day campmeeting. Their prisoners were fleeing the country. They'd better get busy. This knowledge hardened the monarch's heart again. An all-out military strike was planned utilizing elite army chariots. This was their "tanks". This was the elite military "hum-vee" or whatever you want to call it. This was the best they had. And he got all that together. Chariots normally had three men each: one driver and two warriors.

Someone among the Israelites pointed to the West. They said, "Look over there at that cloud of dust! Do you know what that is? That's Pharaoh coming. Hear that rumble? That's all those thundering chariot wheels and horses. They're coming to get us! The Egyptians are coming! We have had it. They are coming fast with their bows and arrows, spears and shields. We are dead meat. We can't get out of here. There is no place to go." They were between a rock and a hard place. They were between the Devil and the deep Red Sea. They were pinned in! They were trapped!

Have you ever launched out to follow God's will only to get into a real jam? Maybe you were baptized, maybe you started to keep the Sabbath and suddenly you lost your job. Now what? You did what God wanted you to do and now you're in trouble. What did you do wrong?

Or perhaps you decided to attend a Christian college, and you enrolled over here, only to run out of money. Now what? You are in a corner with doubts about what to do next. What are you going to do? You followed God. If God leads you into straits He will rescue you.

Maybe your teenager just told you that he does not want to go to church with you. He is too old to spank, but you are his parent. You've got to do something. You have a terrible problem. You're in a catch-twenty two situation. If you do not say something you shirk your duty and if you say too much you risk alienating your kid. Maybe your home life is shambles. Maybe you're at the end of the rope financially.

Whatever it is, you need to listen to this story today! Look at Exodus 13:18. I want you to notice what God did. Pay very close attention. GOD led the people... and you look down a few words toward the Red Sea. Who led them into this predicament? Who led these people toward this trap? Who led these people into this predicament? God did! God may have put you in Southern Adventist University and maybe you ran out of money. And maybe God's hand is in that. Could that be? It could be. We don't know. Maybe the situation you're in is God's devising.

They were hemmed in. Death was only a matter of time. They had followed the cloud and it led them into a trap. Let me tell you, when there is trouble on every side, there is still one more direction you can look. And that's UP! And they looked up, and that is the direction from where their deliverance came. And I think so often we look around at every side and we need to be looking up.

They were helpless. Have you ever read in the Bible the line that God helps those who help themselves? Have you read that in Hezekiah? There is no book of Hezekiah. That's not in the bible. That may be true if indeed you can help yourself. But I will tell you the truth, God also helps the helpless! They were helpless, and you may be helpless in your situation. You may not be able to afford what you have to do.

They started looking for somebody to blame. Who did they blame here? Of course they picked on the preacher. How often we have roast preacher for our Sabbath casserole!

Exodus 14:11,12 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!" It's all your fault!

Most of us have had times that we have questioned whether the journey of faith is perhaps worse than "life in Egypt." We've thought about that.

Now, Moses knew God well enough to understand that even when it doesn't make sense, you keep trusting in God. Actually God had planned this trial for their benefit. Now, don't miss this point. God had planned the Red Sea experience for their benefit. Their prayers were so wrong. They were praying for something else. They were praying that God would remove the very thing that would strengthen their faith the most. The older I get the more convinced I am that our prayers, by in large, should be a surrender of our will to God's plan. That's what we really need to be praying about: the surrender of my life to God's plan. And I don't even know all the ramification of His plan, but I want to do whatever He wants me to do. That's the prayer we ought to be praying. The crossing of the Red Sea there in the Old Testament was a monument of a great event. A watershed event similar to the Resurrection in the New Testament. This was a mighty thing here. They wanted it to be removed.

Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.

    Notice what God says:
  1. - Don't be afraid. They were terrified. God begins quelling their paralyzed irrational emotions.
  2. - Stand Firm. There is no need to run. If God has placed you in your situation, you stay there until He tells you to move on. Okay? You may say, 'Why am I in this situation?' If you believe God led you where you are then stay put until you have additional directions.
  3. - Have Hope. God gives them two promises. You will see a grand deliverance.
  4. I will fight for you

You see, God wants to fight our battles for us. Never fight your own battles. All He asks is that we stand still and watch Him and trust Him. Never fight your own Battle. Turn your problems over to God. It's His problem. Our duty is to trust God.

Notice that the Israelites had finally done specifically what God wanted. They were in the center of a trap with four jaws. Now God is their only hope. And it is then that God can act mightily and everybody will know it is He who brings salvation.

Exodus 14:15 KJV And the LORD said unto Moses, "Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:"

Where Lord? Into the sea? We can't go forward. There's all that water. We can't do it. I will tell you that when there only seem to be oceans of insurmountable difficulties before you, and God says "Go Forward!" you need to put your foot out. Because God honors those who go when they can't see the end of where they're going, but they're following His will.

Let's suppose you live with the Egyptians, you eat like the Egyptians, you read Egyptian newspapers, you watch Egyptian TV. God wants you to come out of Egypt. God want you to be transformed into His image. To accomplish that God may allow a great crisis to come into your life. You may have a Red Sea trial that is facing you, and God allows that crisis. But if you can trust Him, you will be wonderfully delivered through that.

Now, the people had become willing to do as God asked. It was then that God acted. He put an Angel between them and their enemy. He relocated the cloud. The cloud came back around and hovered between the two groups. This blocked from view their troubles. I think we need to take our eyes off of our troubles and put our eyes on our Answer.

Now, notice what God did. God cause a great wind to come up. He divided the sea, opened up a path in the sea. Then God caused a mighty wind to come up like a celestial blow dryer it dehydrated the ooze and muck that inhabits sea bottoms so that by morning a dry path was prepared between the two walls of water. God got the river out of its bed, and allowed the people to walk through that bed. A dry path.

Now, all He had to do was simply turn the wind off and let the people escape to safety! When they reached the other side God took away the cloudy veil between His people and the Egyptians and the Egyptians suddenly saw their prey had slipped out of the noose and fled away. They saw how they had escaped. Here's this path, maybe a mile wide, dry, a wall of water on each side, standing up so high, and they thought, 'Huh, if they can get away that way we can chase them through that path. What was their escape, is our route to victory.'

So the unsuspecting idolaters with their zestful energy and murder in their eyes started down through that dry path. What was a way of safety for God's people is not a way of safety for God's enemies.

In the midst of their journey, the bible says, they had chariot trouble. All kinds of problems. Similar to flat tires, wheels falling off. Axles seized up and there were fender benders all along the route. Horses out of control. They just had all kinds of problems down in there. Wrecks and collisions, and there they were, mired in the middle of the sea.

Suddenly someone noticed at the end of the watery trough old Moses standing there raising his mighty rod high in the air. As he did that the sea walls caved in and the angry waves buried the whole army in a watery graveyard. It is probably still there to this day waiting for archaeologists.

Exodus 14: 30 That day the LORD saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.

God did it all without their help. What God wants is for us to step aside and trust Him to solve our impossible problems. Maybe your impossible situation is a wheelchair. I don't know what it is. You've got some impossible situation in your life right now that you're facing. They crossed the uncrossable sea because of their wonderful God. God operates the impossible shop. You bring your troubles to God and God will solve your problems. Our duty is to trust Him. Remember the battle is the Lord's.

God wants us in Canaan Land. We have too much of Egypt in us. Perhaps habits lurk in the depths of our hearts that are forbidden in the Promised Land. We must leave those habits on this side of the shore if we ever expect to be over there. If we ever plan on living there we must be changed, born again. Those people, as they went through the Red Sea, they were baptized in the sea. They had a born again experience there.

And you can read about this experience in Exodus 14:31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. They were born again in that place. When you trust God you are saved. They were safe, delivered by God's power.

Did you know that archaeologists have dug up and have discovered obelisks and records that indicate that the Egyptians for twenty years avoided that dangerous location after the Exodus. They wouldn't come near it. Scared to death. Something else might happen. Avoided that place.

You know, you can't escape all the problems of life, but you can trust in God to lead you through those problems.

Let's close by reading Hebrews 11:29. This has to do with the answer. Here is the answer, here is what enables God's people to pass through the waters of the Red Sea. By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

Friends, Have Faith in God,
    Who dries up the Red Sea of Life;
Have Faith in God,
    Who delivers us from all strife;
Have Faith in God,
    Who rescues us in every rife;
Have Faith Dear Friend in God.


Opening Hymn: #83, O Worship the King
Scripture: Psalm 95:1-7
Closing Hymn: #330, Take My Life and Let It Be


         AT THE PLACE OF THE SEA:

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life
Where in spite of all you can do
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord, with a trust serene

Till the night of you fear is gone;
He will send the wind and heap the flood,
When He says to your soul, Go on!
And His hand shall lead you through.

Ere the watery walls roll down;
No wave can upon you frown,
No mighty sea can drown,
The tossing billows may rear their crown

Their foam at your feet may break,
But over their bed you shall walk
In the path that your Lord shall make.
Beneath the lifted cloud you shall flock.

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