Matt Brady, senior pastor
Eastside Baptist Church, Claxton
This picture displays where the Jordan River enters the Dead Sea. This is the area where the Hebrew children crossed into the Promised Land. It is literally a place where life meets death. With the Egyptians bearing down on them and seemingly nowhere to hide, God told Moses to tell the people “Go Forward.”
The Church of the living God stands in a similar spot. The bondage of Egypt immediately behind them and no feasible way of escape in front of them. We read the book of Exodus and know the outcome. The question is; what will we do? Will we hesitate and let the enemy overtake us? Will we conform and capitulate to culture and our society and succumb to an earthly bondage? Or, will we trust God and go forward?
Fear, doubt, dread, confusion, anger, and excuses are all things that can slow or even stop our progress. None of these things have any impact on God. He is not prone to mood swings or questioning himself. He is God. He is our God. He is the same God that created the universe. He is the same God that led Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. I have no idea what this year will hold nor will I begin to guess. What I do know is that He is already there. He was with Moses in the bulrushes. He was in Midian. He was there when the plagues were unleashed on Egypt. And, He is here today and will be with us tomorrow.
The biblical definition for “go forward” from Exodus 14:15 means “to move ahead or, to start on a journey.” We must make a conscious choice in the face of our current reality to go forward without fear. Anything but ahead is going backward. Verse 13 of this chapter states “And Moses said to the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show you today:”
Moving ahead with God starts by leaving the past behind. Many believers are firmly stuck in the past because they think their sin is too great or that God’s forgiveness is limited. Carrying guilt is not rooted in humility but rather in prideful arrogance. God does not save us because of our goodness or works of righteousness. Therefore, we are not kept by our righteousness.
The Hebrews whined, complained, and compromised almost every time trials arose. God still had a plan and would complete it. God loves and forgives those who place their faith, hope, and trust in the salvific work of His Son, Jesus Christ. That which has been forgiven, has been forgotten.
Going forward with God means trusting in His Promise. God had made a promise to Abraham. He fulfilled it. He made a promise to Jacob and He kept it. God promised Moses in 3.7-8, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry…I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land…flowing with milk and honey.” The Bible is full of promises to the believer. We must read and remember what our God has said.
The old hymn says, “Great things He has taught us, great things He has done!” We cannot forget or ignore the great things God has done for us in our life.
From a burning bush to plagues to miracles, God has done great things. Why do we think He cannot or will not do them again? He truly is the I Am. Your life depends on Him!
Warren Weirsbe once said, “Fear energizes us to run or paralyzes us to freeze.” The Hebrew children had nowhere to run and if they froze in fear, Pharaoh and his army would have annihilated them. God told them to move forward. But how? We can read this and understand the miraculous parting of the waters and the crossing on dry ground. Imagine standing there at that moment. Moses told them to focus on the One who could save them. Much like a ship’s captain sailing across the vast oceans, we must focus on our instrument of direction. The presence of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life is there to seal, comfort, and direct.
We are living in unprecedented days. The news cycle changes by the minute. People are inundated by social media, T.V. news, and even sports have become a platform to spread fear and dissension. What are we to do? Stop listening to the gloom! If we are to go forward without fear, we must focus not on the storm but on the Creator of the Universe. We must begin our journey each day believing that no matter what lies ahead, God is already there.