Saturday, March 12, 2011

40 Days of Lint, Day Four: Walking on Dry Ground

We all face situations where it seems like no matter what you choose, it’s not going to turn out well. We refer to them as:
·         impossible odds
·         between a rock and a hard place
·         up against the wall
I’ve been there, haven’t you? Parenting is riddled with decisions like that. If you train and discipline your children they don’t always appreciate it, and can make life miserable. But if you take the easy road and let them have what they want, they grow up spoiled and nasty, and they make your life miserable. See what I mean?

When God rescued the Israelites from their Egyptian slave masters, He took them into the desert toward the Promised Land. They immediately encountered an impossible situation. The Egyptians realized that without their Israelite slaves, they would have to do all their own work. So they jumped on their chariots to bring them back by force. Directly in front of the Israelites loomed the Red Sea. Let’s see…angry army on one side, uncross-able sea on the other. Hmm, not a good situation. But God opened an escape route:

“Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22).

An estimated 3.5 million Israelites and all their herds calmly walked (well, maybe hurried) across a dry sea bed. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, the waters closed in on them. For the next forty years God did miracle after miracle to demonstrate His love and teach His people. But when they reached the Promised Land they panicked. “How will we ever get across the Jordan River? It’s too big!” Once again, God made a path.

Now the Jordan is at flood stage all during harvest. Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away... while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground” (Joshua 3:15-17).

Notice that both times, someone had to make a move of faith before God opened the way. The first time, Moses held his staff over the water. That took guts. How stupid would you feel holding a stick over the water in front of everyone if nothing happened? The second time God told the priests to lead the way. They actually had to pick up the heavy ark and walk into the water before it stopped flowing.

It seems like an oxymoron to fear drowning in a desert, but in reality it happens to us all the time. When we choose to follow God we will encounter impossible barriers. We will face the temptation to go back to the slavery of our old way of life, or to stay just this side of the Promised Land. We’re in the desert; we’re parched and aching to rest, and yet we consider staying there because it’s familiar. It’s only when we overcome our fear of drowning in the unknown, and step out in obedience, that miracles happen. That’s when God makes a way through the sea.

Lint Removed: Fear of Drowning
Cleaning Process: Make the Move of Faith

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