International School of The Bible
[You may access all of our books and lessons at www.isob-bible.org. You may also listen to the audio for our Bible class at this web site, either online or through podcast.]
NEW CHOICES FOR AUDIO AND VIDEO - link for podcast or listen to audio
. ISOB curriculum and books link
LIVING IN THE HEALING OF FORGIVENESS is a monthly series written by Tracey Diaz, a sister from our local church,
Mount Paran North Church of God in Marietta, Georgia USA.
We intend to distribute Tracey's newsletters monthly
January 2008 Issue
"Do not be afraid. Stand still and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."
The Israelites were God's chosen people, mistreated and oppressed in Egypt for the duration of 400 years under the rule of Pharaoh , Egypt 's king. Through the persistent and faithful leadership of Moses and the ten plagues inflicted upon Egypt , Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt to go into the desert. Although they were physically free, they remained spiritually captive until they personally witnessed their deliverance at the Red Sea . Sometimes living in a vulnerable lifestyle for a long period of time has repercussions. The commonly accepted mentality is that there's no other way to live except in a condition in which one is accustomed. A lifestyle of continuous defeat can become a way of life. Even though we pray for deliverance or answers, it's not until we exercise our faith, that we shall we enter our promised land of freedom and deliverance in the Lord.
In Exodus 13:17, as the Israelites departed Egypt , the Lord did not lead them through a direct escape route. Traveling the shortest distance would have been fatal and devastating through the Philistine country, which had an army they were not prepared to face. The Israelites were not trained for battle; they had lived in bondage and subjection for over 400 years. Encountering the Philistines, the Israelites would have returned to Egypt as slaves. (Exodus 13:17)
Once the Israelites were in the desert, Pharaoh realized Egypt had lost their free manual labor. Also, having forgotten about the ten plagues and the loss of his firstborn son, at the hand of the Israelite's God, Pharaoh changed had his mind about letting them go free. He sent his armies with over six hundred chariots and officials to retrieve the Israelites. The minor detail Pharaoh was not privy to, was that the Lord was the Israelite's Head of Defense. The Lord of all creation had a detailed deliverance plan which was to destroy the enemy, and serve as a periscope for the Israelites to travel by day and by night. "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. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left is place in front of the people." (Exodus 13:21, 22) The pillar of cloud and fire were the Lord's presence and reassurance to his people.
Today, we have the Holy Spirit as our daily Guide, the living presence of the Lord within our hearts. Also, we have the infallible Word of God to light our paths. Psalm 119:105 assures us, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." The Lord leads us out of our own emotional, physical, and psychological bondage into our own personal spiritual promise land in him. However, it's often difficult to understand the reason why the Lord does not gives us the shortest route to our desired goal. Through experience, we learn to walk by faith, not by sight and certainly not by our own intellect. We learn to trust him even when we cannot understand what lies ahead. Proverbs 3:5, 6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." The key to freedom is accepting, trusting, and believing the Lord's promises.
As the Egyptian army approached, the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, "11Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? 12 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!" (Exodus 14: 11, 12) Moses answered, "Do not be afraid. Stand still and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today."(Exodus 14:13) He assured them they would never see the Egyptians again. He told them to have faith and believe.
The Lord told Moses to get moving and stop procrastinating, "15Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on." (Exodus 14:15) The Lord instructed Moses to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea to divide the water for the Israelites to pass through. The Lord's plan was to get the Egyptians to follow after the Israelites into sea. The pillar of cloud that was normally in front of the Israelites moved behind them standing in between them and Egyptian army. This cloud blinded the Egyptian army with darkness, yet provided light for the Israelites.
It's understandable how the Israelites were afraid. For some it's easier to trust the Lord when circumstances are favorable, instead of stretching their faith. It's our choice to believe. As we mature in Christ our challenges seem to become greater and require more of our faith in standing, waiting, and believing.
Home schooling my children is beneficial and yet expensive. Every year is a time of believing and expecting the Lord to provide. One of the home schooling curriculums that we have used for the past four years requires ordering early at the beginning of the summer to provide a significant discount. Faced with the decision to continue using the same curriculum or find a less expensive one, last summer was a challenge. The options were to put $2000 on a credit card or find a less expensive one. The decision was to pray and fast until the Lord answered and provided. June until July was a time of prayer and seeking. In the month of July there was fasting, praying, and waiting completely for the Lord's direction in which way to proceed.
The parting of the sea, for the Israelites, lasted throughout the night and into the next day, with a wall of water on their right and left. The Egyptians did exactly as planned; they pursued and followed the Israelites into the sea. From the pillar of fire and cloud the Lord caused confusion for the Egyptians. They tried to turn back and get away from the Israelites. Moses stretched out his staff over the sea and the waters re-emerged and flowed back over the Egyptian armies, chariots and horsemen. The entire Egyptian army was destroyed. Not one survived. From afar, the Israelites saw their former captors lying dead on shore from the Lord's strong hand. The Israelites feared the Lord and put their trust in him as they continued their journey into the Promised Land.
Although circumstances may appear devastating or even hopeless, the Lord has a plan of deliverance for each of us in our situations. We may not face armies against us, but all of us have been faced with needing a sea to open on our behalf. At the end of July, there was a release from fasting, although I continued to pray. The Lord answered and said that he would provide on August 10th. I stood still and waited to see the deliverance the Lord was going to bring. Of course within our minds, we play the guessing games and try to figure out how the Lord will provide. The morning of August 9th arrived and I reminded the Lord of the date and that school started on Monday, August 13th and my children had to have an education. Thinking that maybe I would find a blessing in the mail, or maybe a phone call from someone, or maybe even a computer error attached with a refund, nothing materialized. Friday's morning of August 10th arrived. Again, I said, "Lord, do you know what today is? It's August 10th. Did I hear you correctly about the date?" I began to doubt that I heard the Lord and the date. I can imagine how the Israelites must have felt standing in between the Red Sea and the Egyptians with no other place to go. However, I still continued to believe and said, "Lord you told me you were going to provide on this day and I believe you."
Later in the day, while out running errands, I received a phone call from my friend Olivia. She asked if I had received a letter in the mail about a new program just adopted that July, where the state of Georgia pays for a home schooling curriculum. I answered, no, as she continued to explain the details. When I returned home later and checked the mail, the letter was in my mailbox with all the registration information. The Lord had opened up the Red Sea of opportunity for us. He further exceeded expectations by providing a curriculum superior in content and quality to the one we were using previously. The Lord did not lead me the shortest route in providing the $2000 at the beginning of summer, because I would have made the wrong choice and missed his blessing. My prayer for you is that, if the Lord has promised something, stand still, wait and believe him. "Do not be afraid. Stand still and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today." (Exodus 14:13) You will walk through on dry ground just as he has promised!