Impossibilities: Compounding Troubles

By the grace of God, we experience times of joy and moments of celebration. But no one lives in a state of happiness all the time. That’s a social media myth. 

Life happens in seasons. There are also times when life is hard. These challenging moments can create a sense of impossible circumstances we can’t overcome. 

Maybe your impossible circumstances:

  • Are an unexpected medical diagnosis. 
  • More bills than you have money in the bank. 
  • Tension and division in the home. 
  • Controlling habits that seem impossible to break. 

These moments can challenge your faith, lead you to question your beliefs and make us wonder whether things will ever change. Whatever impossible circumstances are in front of you, they are no match for God. 

These are defining moments. You must suffocate your doubt with an extra dose of hope and faith! Consider the following.

  • How would you see God’s unrivaled power in your life without facing impossible situations? 
  • If God silenced every storm before the wind blew, how would you ever know Him as the one who calms the storms?
  • If God provided for you before a need was known, how would you know God as your provider? 

In Exodus 14, we read about Israel’s departure from Egypt. In verse 4 and later repeated, we hear God say, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” Before we move on, let’s address this matter.

What does this mean? What about free will? Is it fair that God would harden Pharaoh’s heart and then punish him for his actions? 

When God says, I will harden Pharaoh’s heart; it is an indirect action/consequence of Pharaoh’s free will. 

In verse 5, Pharaoh regrets allowing the Israelites to leave. Pharaoh’s heart continues to harden because of his unwillingness to let them go, which is God’s will. Our hearts grow hard whenever we refuse to follow God’s instructions. It’s a choice. 

God did not do something against Pharaoh’s free will. Pharoah made his choice, resulting in his heart being hardened towards God. 

In our main text, God’s people are experiencing the transition between happiness and hardship. Quickly their joy turned to fear as they saw the armies of Egypt in pursuit of them. Compounding on the fact that the Egyptian army was rapidly approaching from behind, three more circumstances were piling up, reinforcing their fears. 

#1 They are encamped at Pi-hahiroth, which means “mouth of the gorges.” They are in a canyon surrounded by rock walls. That’s not where you want to be if you’re trying to escape an army with 1.3 million exiles.

#2 Before them is the Red Sea blocking their escape route! They are trapped.

#3 This area is known as the land of Ba’al Zephon. In these days, idols or false gods were territorial. It was believed that specific gods had geographical power over particular territories.

Ba’al Zephon was also known as the protector of maritime trade and was the Egyptian equivalent of the Greek god Zeus. 

Pharaoh must feel very confident that he would catch and retrieve his property. Israel’s impossible circumstances caused them to respond in three ways; fear, complaining, and a complete revision of their past. 

Fear, worry, and anxiety can cause us to think and act without faith. That’s why the Bible commands us not to fear, not worry and cast our anxieties on Him. 

To make a fearful decision is to ignore faith. 

  • It’s surrendering to our circumstances before allowing God to act. 
  • It’s to profess that God’s promises do not apply to you. 
  • It’s conceding that you’re beyond God’s power. 

The end game of fear is to take you out of God’s will. Fear is always on the opposite side of God’s will for you. 

Next, the people complained to Moses, asking if there were not enough graves in Egypt that he had to bring them to the desert to die. 

To complain when we should be praying is glorifying our negative circumstances instead of glorifying the One who is greater than our circumstances. 

Complaining reinforces our hopelessness when we should be speaking to God, who has the power to work out all things for good, to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. 

Then the Israelites began to revise 400 years of history when they were enslaved and under the brutal, murderous abuse of the Egyptians. They rationalize the oppression and brutality of slavery. That’s the irrationality of fear. 

“And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.” Exodus 14:13

God’s deliverance may not happen when you want it or how you expect it, but it will come as you stand firm and trust God. 

God will deliver the people in the most amazing fashion, quenching every fear. God instructed Moses to extend his staff over the Red Sea, which appeared to be an impassable obstacle. 

I have a theory about this which is based on how God uses our circumstances meant for our destruction for our good. The canyon (Pi-Hahiroth) the people walked through that compounded their fears created the perfect condition for God to funnel wind through to divide the sea and open the door for their escape no one saw coming. 

By parting the Red Sea, God demonstrated His supremacy and authority over the god Ba’al Zephon, who appeared to have trapped them.

And within the miracle, we may overlook this one truth. God did not remove the Red Sea; He parted it. God may not remove the impossible circumstances around you, but He will make a way through!

He will take everything that attempts to suppress your faith and compound your troubles and flex His power to show that He is the One true God. 

There’s nothing you’re facing that God cannot make a way through.

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