Go Forward – Fast 2016 – Day 11

Day 11 – Overtaken by Fear – 14:10

10a And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them, so they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.

 

Well, how quickly things change. Not saying that the Israelites did anything different than we would have done, but just what happened to their courage? You have to get the picture in your head in order to understand this verse. The Israelites were confident as God has led them thus far, but nothing much has really happened yet. They have been guided into a place nestled between some mountains and protected somewhat by the desert and the Red Sea. Feeling pretty safe in their situation they set themselves into battle lines and with courage prepared for the enemy they have by now heard that is on the way. All of this courage and preparation is of course until they actually see the enemy coming. But then…

Then they laid eyes on the enemy.

You know the feeling. All is great when you are sitting in the pews at church or as you read your favorite encouraging Bible verses. But then comes Tuesday (or whatever day it happens to be). All of the sudden the reality of the struggle for your soul becomes all too real as you first lay eyes on the enemy. Then the enemy’s opening salvo is a quick shot of fear right across the bow. The natural reaction is to look with your own wisdom, evaluate your chances of victory and then you must make a decision.

1) Cut and Run! The Word says that they were “very afraid.” Of course they were very afraid, what they were looking upon was one of the most frightening sights they have ever seen. They have known generations of the painful results of being held as slaves which always comes with forceful intimidation and oppression. Now those whom they were subject to have been angered. It seems that everything has just gotten worse.

2) Cry – and to add effect, cry like a little baby girl. Not to impugn any of you females but just to put a very vivid picture in your mind. They simply cried. Maybe they sat down in the sand and cried. Maybe they dropped their swords and cried. Maybe they just stood there and began to weep at the thought of utter defeat.

Because we know how this portion of the story ends we also know that their fear is unwarranted. Yet they stand and their hearts are quickly melting at the sight of the Egyptians. The point for today is that everything you see does not really mean sudden destruction and doom has descended upon you. We must come to the point that, based on our relationship with Christ, we know that the greater the battle before us the greater the opportunity for God’s power to be seen. Take a quick look at your battles and try to see the size of the deliverance of God in the details. And, oh yeah, no crying!


Go Forward – Fast 2016 – Day 3

Go Forward! – Fast 2016 – Day 3 – Prepare for War – Exodus 13:18b

18b … And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.

This is a very curious statement to end the verse. It tells us that God led the nation away from the Philistines because of their possible aversion to war and the reality that the threat of war would send some running for the hills, at least running back to the leeks and onions of the Nile River basin. Slaving away making bricks with mud and straw would seem like a very good option (one they will consider way later in their trip) for the weak. This verse tells us that they were organized and at least to some extent equipped for making war with any that would oppose them. They were placed into marching columns and rows in such a fashion so as to quickly go on the attack or to be prepared to defend themselves. Shortly after this verse we will see that that readiness breaks down a bit, but that is for another day. The point for today is that they had made the necessary preparations for the battles that were sure to come before them and they were, at least in theory, ready.

Application warning! Yesterday we looked at the wilderness road which lay before them (and you) and saw what a dangerous and volatile route this manner of pursuing God can be. But just as God “led” them into the wilderness He will help prepare you for the battles you will face as well. Just as in the physical world there are preparations which can be made for the challenges of life, there are also checklist items for your spiritual journey.

In the few days following Christmas Day here in the state of Arkansas, there were many intense storms which were accompanied by torrential downpours. The end result of this series of storms was widespread flooding. Some of the worse hit places saw record floodwaters. For several days following the storms the local news stations would show footage of the devastation left behind by the waters. It became evident that some of the people living in the flood prone areas had taken the time to prepare by filling bags with sand and making or reinforcing barriers around their homes. Some had obviously not. It was somewhat reminiscent of the Bible story of the wise man who built his house on the rock and the foolish man who built his house on the sand. The wise man thought ahead and made great choices, and the foolish man, well you know how that ended.

As you are just now really getting into this prayer and fasting journey it would be wise for you to take a few moments to stop and make proper preparations for the coming battles. Some preparations are simple and mechanical. If you are fasting all sweets then take the time to get rid of all the Snickers candy bars from the house. Some are a little more difficult like making sure that you have selected and prepared a time and place for yourself to meet with God each day during this journey. Grab your Bible, this Fasting Guide, and a notebook and spend some time getting ready to face your battles so that you might come out more than a conqueror – all of course through the name of Jesus!