Posted by: Michelle Knoll | October 25, 2012

Thirty-One Days of Hearing His Voice {Day 25 } – When Things Turn Out but not Like You Planned, Part 2

Okay, a few days back we were discussing the answer to the question, “but what if God is silent, or the sea doesn’t part?  What then?”  And I gave you one reason I thought could be an answer: because you’re facing the wrong sea.

So let’s continue.

Another reason could be… you waited too late.

Now, this reason has two parts, and I want to cover them separately, though they are related.  And I ask you to please read this entire post before you make a decision on what I’m saying.  Okay?  This reason is not one that can be explained in short order.  This one is hard reading.  And it might rouse emotion in all you readers.  I say that because it arouses emotion in me just by writing it.

What do I mean when I say “you waited too late”?  Well, let’s take a look at one scenario so you can see what I’m talking about.

A person eats what they want, lives the way they want, decides to sit all day and get no exercise, even though he/she knows changes in lifestyle and eating habits need to be made.  And even though the doctor says “you really need to lose weight!” the person’s attitude is, “yeah, right, whatever” and goes on with life.  So this person is not paying attention to the warning signs.  Years down the road, the person finds himself/herself dealing with serious health issues, some so serious that the doc says not much can be done (damage has already been done to the heart, etc., so even if weight can be lost and life restored to some sense, not all can be reversed).  THEN… the person cries out, “Oh, God, heal me!” in a moment of fear and desperation.

Now, let’s get one thing straight: God does NOT respond to any of us with an attitude of “Serves ya right, buddy!”  That’s not how He works!  That’s not His way, not at all!  However, this person, who has lived carelessly for all these years, reacts to the bad news with fear.  Not with faith.  And what can God do without our faith?

So that’s part of the reason.  A person comes up to a “sea” that needs to be parted, and he/she needs it to be parted in a strong way.  Will God answer his/her cry for help, when that cry is based out of desperation and fear?  Will God miraculously intervene?  I can’t say He always will, and I can’t say He always won’t.

But here’s the real part of this reason: you’re approaching the sea with fear and not with faith.

Let’s look back at the story of Moses.  What exactly was said by him?  What exactly was said by God?  Let’s look at it all, okay?  (This is going to get kinda long, so if you need to get up and get something to drink, don’t worry, I’ll still be here.)

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”  (Exodus 14:1-4)

See, God had a game plan.  (God always has a game plan, and if we would just stay in close communion with Him, we would know it!  He doesn’t hide His game plan from us!)  And Moses thought, “Cool.  God’s got this.”  So he told the Israelites to do as God had commanded.

But what did the Israelites do, once they saw the Egyptians?  (I bet you can guess.)

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 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 14:10-12)

Yep.  You guessed it.  They were in fear.  F-E-A-R.  Not faith, but fear.

So now, let’s look at Moses again.  (Remember, he has God’s game plan in mind.)

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”          (Exodus 14:13-14)

Now, the next verse gives us indication that Moses struggled a little bit because God says to him, “Why are you crying out to Me?  Have the Israelites move forward.”  So Moses was believing God and using his faith, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have struggles along the way.

The same thing can be said for Abraham, as he was going up the mountain to sacrifice Isaac.  We know he had faith, because he had told the servants, “the lad and I will return.”  But don’t you think he was also struggling just a little bit with what was going on?  I can imagine him, walking up the mountain, talking to God about this little adventure all the way to the top.  I’m sure he was!  And it was probably something like, “Now, God, YOU said that Isaac was to be my descendant, and through him I would have many descendants.  You realize You’re asking me to kill the only son I have, right?  You do realize what You’re asking me to do, right?  I just want to make sure.  I’ll do whatever You ask, but… You do realize what this means, right?”

But let’s get back to Moses.  Yes, he struggled.  He struggled with leading this obstinate people.  But he also had faith.  You can have faith and still have struggles.  It’s when you have fear mixed with your struggles that you’re not going to see a breakthrough.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Back to Moses!  He’s standing in the water!

God says, “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.”  Okay, this sounds like a plan.  And Moses does what he is told to do.  And what happens?

Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

Then 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.

Did you see the words, “all night long”?  Did you catch that?  Moses was standing in faith, but it still took all night long for the waters to be parted and the children of Israel to get across.

Sometimes, getting your sea parted isn’t a five-minute thing.  We must, MUST, get past this “fast food” mentality that we have developed concerning life, and especially the things of God.  God moves on His timetable, not ours, and He requires that we stand in faith until the work in completed.

Are you still with me?  I hope so.  There’s a little bit more we need to discuss, and then we’ll be done.

The Israelites had another “sea” that needed to be parted.  Do you know what it was?  It was entering into the Promised Land.  They had traveled so far, and they had arrived at the outskirts of town, and they sent in spies to check it all out.  Remember the 12 spies that went?  Ten came back with evil reports, and only two said, “Look!  We can DO this!  Let’s go forward and conquer this land!”  And what happened?

Oh, it was a mess!  The people cried out (out of FEAR!), God got angry (“how LONG do I have to PUT UP with these people!?”), Moses took God to task for getting angry (“the Egyptians will hear that YOU couldn’t deliver YOUR people into this land!  And THEN what will You do?”), and Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who had faith, tore their clothes and got upset with the rest of everybody.  Oh, a mess.  A big, stinking, ugly mess.  YOW.  (I won’t type the whole chapter, but you can read it here.  It’s quite a chapter!)

The point is, they had an opportunity to face this “sea” with faith, and they missed it.  So what did they receive for all their fear?  Forty more years in the wilderness.  Forty more years to face struggles, and time to think about how they should decide that facing each and every struggle with faith is more important that running away from each and every struggle in fear.  And then, in the end, they were – guess what! – right back to the same place where they had to face the same “sea,” all over again.

So, let’s talk about this.  Are you facing a sea that needs to be parted?  What caused that sea?  Did that sea happen out of your own doing?  If it did, then were you rebellious?  Did you know what to do, and you just didn’t do it?  Did you wait too late?  Well, I’ve been there, so I know how unpleasant it is to face myself in such a situation.  It’s not fun, but that’s the time when you need to own up to what you’ve done, and repent.  It’s just that simple.  Have you not been submissive to God’s leading?  Well, repent!  And get back in fellowship with Him.  He’s waiting on you, and He won’t reject you.

But, if the sea that needs to be parted did not come out of bad choices you made, then recognize that God has a plan.  (Well, He has a plan, even if you did make bad choices.  He always has a plan.)  And if that sea isn’t parting, then you may not know His plan, or not know it fully enough.  So get in your prayer closet!  Find out HIS PLAN.  Even if you have to fast and pray.  (And if you fast, seek out the guidance of a good doctor who will support you in that.  It’s possible to fast correctly, for longer than one meal.) God gave the plan to Moses, right?  And He has a plan for you.

MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL:  approach every – EVERY – sea you face with faith!  God knows what you need, even before you ask.  You know, when He sent the children of Israel toward the Promised Land, He knew that there were giants in the land.  He wasn’t shocked when the twelve spies came back with their report.  He already knew!  The people messed up their lives for forty years, simply because they allowed fear to take control.

No matter what is said to you, and no matter who says it, stand firm in your faith that God is fully able to meet and exceed all your needs, for whatever sea it is.  Don’t forget, King Hezekiah was told he was going to die.  Right?  Read that here.  But he cried out to God in faith, and God gave him more years.  Right?  So no situation is impossible; God can still work in your situations.  He can, and WILL, part your seas!

So if it’s not parting, then you need some alone time with God.  He knows why.  He knows if you’re looking at the wrong sea, or you’ve waited too late (and He can still do things when we do that, but the parting may be rough, that’s His decision), or you’re not approaching it with faith.

And there’s one other reason I’d like to mention, but that one will have to wait until tomorrow.

Good night.

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