January 29, 2014
Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“O God, be not far from me! O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be put to shame and consumed who are adversaries to my life…But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteous acts and of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is more than I know. I will come in the strength and with the mighty acts of the Lord God; I will mention and praise Your righteousness, even Yours alone.”
Psalm 71: 12-16, Amplified Bible
Today’s Study Text:
“Moses told the people, ‘Fear not; stand still – firm, confident, undismayed – and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians you have seen today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest.’”
Exodus 14: 13, 14, Amplified Bible
“There is never a fear that has not a corresponding, ‘Fear not’.”
Amy Wilson Carmichael
What is there in my life right now which is causing me to fear?
What would it mean to me, like God did for Moses, to have Him say to me, ‘Fear not?”
Do I believe God is the same today as He was in the time of Moses?
How do I believe God’s words, “Fear not,” apply to my life right now?
“If God can be found in all things, then there is nothing at all that can happen to us that we need fear.”
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship (daughtership). And by Him we cry, “Abba, Father,’”
Romans 8: 15, N.I.V.
For those of you who have come to Transformation Garden regularly for a number of years, you know that at times I have shared with you the fact that your responses to the daily devotionals, via your emails, have led me to spend extra time in prayer, asking for God’s heavenly wisdom and guidance as we study through His Word – the Bible.
As you are aware, we are studying the lives of all the women in the Bible as well as stories of the men whose lives are inter-connected with the women we learn more about.
But at times, we have detoured for several weeks, and the last four weeks, I felt impressed to tackle the subject of delayed and unanswered prayer because so many of you have shared with me the difficult challenges you’re facing right now as you feel as if your life is in a holding pattern as you wait for God to answer some personal desire which has enveloped your life – maybe for years!
It has been your overwhelming response during this series which substantially increased my confidence in the fact that God wants us to have more faith in His ability to answer our prayers – in His way and on His timeline. As I have continued studying God’s Word, with your permission, I want to spend several weeks, looking at two extremely vital elements of answered prayer that I have found critical in my own life and it is my prayer that as we study together, our fervor for communion with our Father everyday will only increase.
I hope you will take time to go back to the beginning of today’s devotional and reread the entire study text, for this passage from Exodus, will be the template for all our studies this week.
A little background would be helpful and will also explain to you why this text is so critical, especially when we face disturbing delays and unanswered prayers which cause us to doubt if God even hears us at all.
God had a special task for His chosen leader, Moses. This prince of Egypt and Shepherd of Midian was hand-picked by God to lead His chosen people, the Israelites out of slavery from their Egyptian taskmasters. This was no easy…or simple endeavor. Once out of Pharaoh’s control, I imagine everyone breathed a big sigh of relief. That is until a crisis so big hit this wilderness bound multitude that death seemed inevitable. Looking behind them, toward Egypt, an ominous cloud of dust, heralded the dreadful news. The Egyptian army, along with 600 chosen chariots, and “all the other chariots of Egypt,” were headed straight toward the Israelite encampment. The Bible tells us that Pharaoh came toward the Israelites “proudly and defiantly,” intent on their complete annihilation. What’s worse, Exodus 14: 9 explains that the, “Egyptians pursued them (the Israelites), all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the Red Sea.”
I’m thankful God’s Word is so comprehensive. We aren’t left to wonder how God’s children felt, watching this army come down upon them. Exodus 14:10 (Amplified Bible) makes the situation completely clear: “When Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked up, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and the Israelites were exceedingly frightened and cried out to the Lord.” In the King James Version of the Bible the words “exceedingly frightened” are translated “sore afraid.” In the Hebrew, the word “sore” means, “utterly, intensively, totally.” You couldn’t get much more afraid than this. I liken it to someone saying, “They were quaking in their boots!” Fear permeated every fiber of the Israelites.
The Bible says that God’s chosen children were so fearful and it helps me to understand that God doesn’t reject His children just because they are frightened. What’s more, the very first thing we are told happened when God’s fearful kids saw the Egyptians headed toward them with murder on their mind and the Red Sea on the other side of them, was that they “Cried out unto the Lord!”
Here’s the crucial point in this experience – just because God’s people became frightened at the moment when they were staring death in the face – God didn’t turn on them and say, “Well, you don’t have enough faith so I’m not going to help you – you faithless, and weak-kneed losers!”
This isn’t the way our Father works or acts. Instead, He took His precious children, as they were, where they were, and not only surrounded them with His protective love, but He gave them a very distinct plan of attack to assist them in the battle they faced.
This is important for you and me to comprehend today, especially right now when nearly every person I know is facing an “Egyptian” army on one side and the “Red Sea” on the other.
Over the past few months, the Red Sea that is drowning many of you is a wall of financial waves that are drowning you in “Red Ink!” and on the other side, many of you have been struck by marital infidelity or health problems, not of your own choosing or making. And please let me just add one other thing to this discussion, even when our own folly and errant judgment brings us into challenging circumstances, the Bible is filled with examples of how God comes to the rescue of His fallen children, when we don’t deserve His loving-kindness. And while there are often consequences as a result of our wanderings, God still renews us and does for us what we could never do for ourselves.
In a moment of terror, when fear reigned, when the Egyptian army had God’s children on the verge of being drowned in the Red Sea, or murdered in the desert, Moses, called aloud, ‘Fear not!” God’s message rang out over the barren wilderness. “Don’t be afraid! You can count on Me!”
God’s children found themselves in what you and I would call a tight spot. Cut off from any human assistance, their only reliance was on God. It is during times of complete isolation, when God is our only deliverer, that we find the words of David hold a meaning beyond any earthly thought: “Blessed be the Lord my strength…my goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust” (Psalm 144: 1, 2, KJ.V.).
The words below, penned by Matthew Biller, are a wonderful expression of the greatness of our God, who when we are afraid, has the power to divide the sea that impedes our way to the Promised Land. All we need to do is call out and pray to the Lord our God:
“God will answer when to thee,
Not a possibility
Of deliverance seems near;
It is then He will appear.
God will answer when you pray
Yea, though mountains block thy way,
At His word, a way will be
E’en through mountains, made for thee.
God who still divides the sea,
Willingly will work for thee;
God, before whom mountains fall,
Promises to hear thy call.”
“Fear imprisons, faith liberates;
fear paralyzes, faith empowers,
fear disheartens, faith encourages;
fear sickens, faith heals;
fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable
and, most of all,
fear puts hopelessness at the heart of life,
while faith rejoices in its God.”
Harry Emerson Fosdick
“Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go,
Anywhere He leads me in this world below;
Anywhere without Him, dearest joys would fade,
Anywhere with Jesus I am not afraid.
Anywhere with Jesus I am not alone,
Other friends may fail me, He is still my own;
Tho’ His hand may lead me over dreary ways,
Anywhere with Jesus is a house of praise.
Anywhere! Anywhere! Fear I cannot know
Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.”
Jessie H. Brown ,1861-1921
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.