29 It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.
Hebrews 11:29 (NLT)
Welcome to the twentieth installment on my study of faith from Hebrews 11. I can never imagine myself writing so much just on one chapter of the Bible. In fact, I learn new things only when I start typing. There are truths in my articles that I did not know before I wrote them. When I first started this blog, I was wondering how many articles I could write because I didn’t really know much about the Bible. Now, I realize that there is no limit on how much I can write about as long as I am trusting in and relying on God. What does this mean to all of us? As long as we choose to live by faith, there is no limit on what we can achieve.
Hebrews 11:29 speaks of the incident where the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground but the Egyptians were drowned when they did the same. Here is the background story.
After the last plague, Pharaoh had decided to let the Israelites leave Egypt. The Israelites not only packed up their own luggage, they obeyed God’s instruction to go to their Egyptian neighbors and asked them for their articles of gold, silver and fine clothings. God had given them so much favor that they got what they asked for. God made them rich. So, the Israelites left Egypt as free and rich men and women.
It did not take long for Pharaoh to break his promise. He must have felt his pride was insulted and he wanted revenge. So, he assembled his best army to pursue the Israelites either to kill them or to recapture them. If the Israelites were captured, I don’t think they were going to have much fun. The pursuit began.
As Moses lead them to the Red Sea, the Israelites found the Egyptian army closing in from behind and they did not look very friendly. They realize that the army was not there to bid them farewell. Suddenly they found themselves trapped. They had the Red Sea in front and the Egyptian army behind. There were no places to run or hide. The situation looked bad.
Have you been in a similar situation yourself? You cannot move on because there is a huge obstacle blocking your way. You cannot retreat because your enemies are closing in on you. If you allow the situation to be your God, you might behave like the Israelites.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord,
11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?
12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
Exodus 14:10-12 (NLT)
They started to complained and blamed Moses for leading them out. They even wished they stayed in Egypt as slaves. Have you done the same? When you faced some obstacles in your path, did you wish you had never started? If this has been your practice, you need to repent and stop allowing yourself to be dictated by the situation around you. There will always be obstacles in your path if you are doing the will of God. We should expect obstacles to appear and believe that our God is greater than these obstacles.
Why must there be obstacles? There is another entity called Satan. He wants to keep us oppressed and in bondage. Whenever he sees us moving in line with the will of God, he will create some obstacles and oppositions in hope that we will give up without a fight. Why do you think the preachers of the Gospel like Kenneth Copeland are slandered and persecuted? Satan is afraid of what will happen when people get to know the truth. The truth will set people free. This is why he mobilized his army of religious people to spread lies on the preachers of the Gospel. He was hoping that the persecution from his religious people could get preachers like Kenneth Copeland to give up preaching the Gospel and submit to religion. Thank God, it did not happen. Preachers of the Gospel had chosen to trust in God instead of submitting to the evil forces of Satan.
Likewise, we have to do the same if we want to see progress in our lives. There can be no neutral ground. When you choose to obey God to live the life of prosperity he wants you to live, you will be marked as the enemy of Satan. Satan will send his army of devils and religious people to oppress and persecute you in order to get you to give up. They will do the best they can to get you to give up. However, just because they are doing their best, it does not mean they must be successful. Do you know why?
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
1 John 4:4(KJV)
Your God who is in you is far greater than all your enemies combined. They can never defeat you. They are no match for you as long as you continue to rely on God and don’t give up. The only way they can win is when you give up. This means they can only win if you allow them to win.
Let us move on with the story.
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.
14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Exodus 14:13 (NLT)
Moses was smart. He did not know the way out of the situation but he knew God has the way. He told his people not to be afraid, stay calm and see the deliverance of God.
The second part of verse 13, says, “The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. “ How did Moses know? God had never told him about the splitting of the Red Sea. So he could not have known that the Egyptian army would be drowned in it. He must have spoken by faith. He used his faith to declare that his enemies would disappear from his life ever after. It works. Faith is meant to work.
What can we learn from here? We need to speak in faith. When we start to speak in faith, we can even throw mountains into the sea.
23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.
24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.
Mark 11:23-24 (NLT)
Jesus did not say you pray for God to lift up the mountain and throw it into the sea. Jesus told us to speak to the mountains directly and command it to be lifted up and be thrown into the sea. The power to move mountains had been given to believers. After all, we are born of God and we belong to the same species as him. (If you don’t understand this, please refer to my previous article entitled, “We Are Gods”). We were given all the power and authority we need to overcome any obstacle that the enemy can throw at us. We only need to use them. We activate our powers by speaking out in faith. This was what Moses had done.
I like Verse 14 too.
14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.
In other words, don’t allow yourself to be worried and stressed over your situation. Your God is more than capable to deliver you. All you need to do is to trust in him and be calm.
The Lord responded to them:
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!
Exodus 14:15 (NLT)
I like the King James Version more.
15And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
I like the “go forward”. I have written on this part before and this is the enhancement because like everyone else, I grow in the knowledge of God. I am looking into this verse from another dimension.
What is going forward? From the perspective of the Israelites, going forward means getting to the other side and onward to the Promised Land. They did not know about the splitting of the Red Sea at the time. So the only interpretation of it was to focus on the destination. It is to look beyond the obstacles that are right in front of you and focus on the Promised Land on the other side of the obstacle. This will help us to triumph over every obstacle in life.
Here is an example:
You were a high level executive in a multi-national company. However, for some reasons you were sacked from your job. You tried to find similar jobs but failed. All your job applications for similar post were turned down. It appeared that you can never be employed to the position you once held. Your days of glory are gone. What are you going to do?
If you allow the situation to control you, you will get depressed. You will start complaining over everything and do nothing. You might join some pity parties to talk negative. You might even get drunk to forget your sorrows. What will happen to you? Nothing. Nothing will happen because you are going backward. The only way the situation around you can improve is when you go forward.
To go forward, you have to start seeing the future that you want. You must have a vision of your own Promised Land that lies on the other side of the Red Sea you are facing now. It can be a higher position than one you lost or having your own business empire. The more you focus on it, the less you will dwell on your present problems. You will start to feel better and you will be in position to activate your faith. You will have joy in your heart and in a receptive mode for God. Then, God will be able to lead you to a better future and restore what you have lost.
Going forward also requires you to take up any legitimate job that is available to you at the moment even if it is selling burgers at a fast food joint. Why? First, when you have a job, you have income. An income will enable you to tithe and sow, which is crucial for your prosperity. Second, when you are working, you are in motion. You will not have the time to think negative. It gives you a sense of purpose. It serves as a jumpstart for your breakthrough.
Soon, you will find yourself more blessed than even before the loss because you are living by faith. This is the result of going forward.
As the Israelites went forward, God split the Red Sea for them to pass through. They walked through the seabed as though it was dry land. When the Egyptian army went through the same path, they were drowned. The Israelites saw their enemies for the last time. The confession of Moses worked.
Hebrews 11:29 credited the Israelites’ faith for the above event. Please note that the Israelites were complaining earlier. They were quite ungrateful and rebellious in Exodus 14:11-12. Yet God did not mention that in Hebrews 11:29. Do you know why? This is the nature of our God. He has selective memory. He chooses to remember only the good things in us.
So, even if you have made many mistakes in the past, you should not be ashamed of yourself. You can still lift your head up high because God is not ashamed of you. You may have done 99 bad things and only 1 good deed, he will remember the one good deed that you have done. This tells us how much he loves us.
Therefore, no matter how bad the situation looks like, we can always look forward for a better tomorrow because of his great love for us.