Thus far we've looked at individuals here in the hall of faith - Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Moses. For a moment we turn our gaze to the covenant community - Israel.
We really should find great comfort and encouragement for our own sinful, weary, often faithless souls in the recording of these folks. Think about it - Noah got drunk, Abraham lied, Sarah laughed, Moses pitched a fit, and Israel - well, what didn't they do?!?! Yet it is their faith that is recorded. Oh, praise God for His faithful forgiveness.
- "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 Jn 1:9).
- "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us" (Ps 103:12).
- "For I will be merciful to their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more" (Heb 8:12)
In the recorded act of faith before us, Israel is between a rock and a hard place - literally they are between an enormous blood thirsty army and a raging river. Here's a great cliff hanger for a mini-series!
Allow me to paint the scene with some clips from last week's show. Moses has confronted Pharaoh to "let my people go." Repeatedly Pharaoh has refused. Plague upon plague upon plague has been sent to Egypt as judgment for Pharaoh's stubborn, hard hearted rebellion. The final plague being the death of all the first born sons. That was the breaking point and Pharaoh cries "uncle". Israel goes free - but not for long. That hard-hearted, wicked demi-gog Pharaoh changes his mind and goes after them. Now - back to our show.
The stage is set. The dust in the distance is steadily inching closer as Egypt's army approaches. The deep and wide Red Sea is Israel's only hope of escape - I suppose drowning may be a better option than being run through with a dagger!! What will they do? They will believe! Faith will conquer fear and Jehovah will remember His covenant promises to His people!
God parts the water of the Sea. It divides and miraculously stands up as a wall on two sides. The ground, which should have been a muddy muck is dry and all of Israel passes through without so much as a slip! Can you even imagine what that must have been like? Your darkest hour, your greatest danger, daunting doom staring you square in the eye? Suddenly - WHOOSH! - the sea splits in two and you are walking between the waters! I can't fathom it - but know it must have been forever embedded in the minds of many of those people. "Hey grandkids - did I ever tell you about the time...?" How powerful and protecting is our God!!
Israel was given safe passage. "Israel's danger was very great. Their deliverance was very glorious. The grace of faith will help us through all the dangers we meet with on our way to heaven." (Matthew Henry)
Egypt was doled out deserved destruction. "Their rashness was great, and their ruin was grievous. When God judges, He will overcome; and it is plain that the destruction of sinners is of themselves."
Egypt's army didn't have to perish - and they wouldn't have if they'd just stayed home and minded their own business instead of messing with the people of God. Presumptuous sin always leads to something bad!!
But faith is glorious! The Israelites had faith to walk between the watery walls! Saving faith! Faith in the mighty power of God to protect and preserve His people.
May I ask, how's your faith this day? What army pursues you? What sea lies ahead of you? Look to Christ your King. Fall upon His promises. Walk according to His word - and believe! Believe - even if He has you walk into the wet waters rather than the dry ground. His way is best - regardless of where it leads!
By faith, walking forward another day,
"When through the deep waters I call you to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow; for I will be with you, your troubles to bless, and sanctify to you your deepest distress.
When through fiery trials your pathway shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be your supply; the flame shall not hurt you; I only design your dross to consume and your gold to refine.
The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes; that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no never, no never forsake."
(Rippon's Selection of Hymns, 1787)