THE PATH TO A NEW LIFE [11/21/20]

In the story of the Exodus, the land of Egypt is a representation of the evil sinful and ungodly way of life, and when God delivered His people, the Israelites, it is recorded that “God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter.” <Ex.13:17 (NIV)>, so He led them by the desert road by way of the Sinai Peninsular to their promised land of Canaan.

When we are saved from a life of sin and its oppression, God does not immediately allow us to experience the difficulties of serving Him, but He leads us in the quietness of the desert-way so that we can be instructed by His Holy Spirit in living the life of a Christian. The road through the Philistine country would be a picture of travelling through the habitation of all of Satan’s demons, as this route to Canaan was the main highway that would have been guarded by Egyptian fortresses. The desert road however, would be the way of all pilgrims then and now, for it represents the journey that besets us all as God’s children; it is the way of fear, uncertainty, grief, anger, doubt, discouragement, and temptation (A Way Through The Wilderness, by Jamie Buckingham); Moses and the Israelites faced these difficulties, and you and I face them constantly as we journey on with God through our wilderness life. Our wilderness life is God’s tutoring where we learn to deal with all the above through the teaching of The Holy Spirit <see Jn.14:26; 16:13-14>.

Here we see the promise to every believer in Christ that God will never leave or forsake us as we seek to follow Him, He will constantly lead us just as he led the Israelites; “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 its place in front of the people.” <Ex.13:21-22 (NIV); Deut.31:6; Heb.13:5b>. There will be frightening periods in our life where we are faced with difficulties so great that we are overcome by fear, but God encourages us <Ex.14:10,13-14> and protects us from Satan’s attacks <Ex.14:19-22>, and provides us with an eternal protection from the attacks of Satan <Ex.14:26-31>. How does all of this translate to our Christian lives? Paul, the apostle, in writing to Christians addressed this by teaching us, that there is no condemnation (judgment) to those that follow Christ <Rom.8:1-4>, and that we will never be separated from Christ <Rom.8:31-39>. Just as God led His people through their wilderness journey, He leads us today through our wilderness journey. For forty years of their life God led the Israelites through the desert, through many differing circumstances, teaching them His way; and for us He will do the same until we reach our promised land – heaven, for this is His promise <Jn.14:2-3>.  

God made the freedom of the Israelites complete in all His dealings with them in their wilderness journey, they lacked nothing that was needed <Deut.2:7>, God had delivered them from their life of slavery; and God has delivered us as Christians from our life of slavery to sin and will one day allow us to enter His eternal rest <Gal.5:1; Heb.4:1-3>. How is your wilderness journey going? Another lesson to be learned from the Exodus is that of separation, the Israelites were separated from their captors by the crossing of the Red Sea, and this is God’s design in Salvation. God saved the Israelites from their slavery and immediately separated them from the influence of Egypt by leading them through the Red Sea into the desert of Sinai; and in a similar manner God saves the sinner from the slavery of sin and its penalty through His death, burial and resurrection <Col.2:13-15; Rom.5:8-9; 2 Cor.5:17-19>, and separates (sanctifies) the individual unto Himself through His grace <2 Thess.2:13; 1 Pet.1:2>, and the work of The Holy Spirit <Gal.1:3-4>, and encourages us to live in His freedom a life of separation from the ungodly world systems <Col.2:6-8>. There was one problem for the Israelites that caused them to doubt and to disobey God’s commands throughout their wilderness journey, there were Egyptians that joined them in their Exodus. Later on they even intermarried <Ex.12:38; 9:20; Num.24:10>; they caused doubt and fear and rebellion among God’s people; and this is also a problem for Christians today. We have been warned by God’s Word that we should separate ourselves from this ungodly world and not to accept or be influenced by the social systems that encircle us, even to the point of marriage; so often we see Christian young people marrying unbelievers, and Christians involving themselves in other ways with unbelievers leading to their demise and a shattered testimony <see 1 Cor.10:1-6; 2 Cor.6:16-7:1>. Let us all as Christians take our journey through the cross of Christ (our Red Sea) and follow Him in separation and obedience <Matt.16:24-26>. “As the Red Sea rolled between the children of Israel and Egypt, so stands the Cross between the believer and the world” (From Egypt to Canaan by John Ritchie).

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DIVINE PROTECTION [9/13/20]

At the start of each day as we face our daily chores, whatever they may be and wherever they may take us, we face the dangers of travel, occupation or whatever duty we are required to perform. So, we have two choices, face the day with our own determinations or seek the providential safeguards of our God. When we make the choice to go on our own resolve, we face challenges and circumstances over which we have little or no control; however, under God’s guidance and protection He takes control.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT COURSE

“In December 1995, American Airlines Flight 965 departed from Miami on a regularly scheduled trip to Cali, Columbia. On the landing approach, the pilot of the 757 needed to select the next radio navigation fix, named Rozo. He entered an R into his navigation computer. The computer returned a list of nearby navigation fixes starting with R, and the pilot selected the first of these, whose latitude and longitude appeared to be correct.

Unfortunately, instead of Rozo, the pilot selected Romeo, 132 miles to the northeast. The jet was southbound, descending into a valley that runs north-south, and any lateral deviation was dangerous. Following indications on the flight computer, the pilots began an easterly turn and slammed into a granite peak at 10,000 feet. One hundred and fifty-two passengers and all eight crewmembers aboard perished. Four passengers survived with serious injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigated, and . . . declared the problem human error. The navigational aid the pilots were following was valid but not for the landing procedure at Cali. In the literal definition of the phrase, this was indeed human error, because the pilot selected the wrong fix… . .

The front panel of the airplane’s navigation computer showed the currently selected navigation fix and a course deviation indicator. When the plane is on course, the needle is centered, but the needle gives no indication whatsoever about the correctness of the selected radio beacon. The gauge looks pretty much the same just before landing as it does just before crashing. The computer told the pilot he was tracking precisely to the beacon he had selected. Unfortunately, it neglected to tell him the beacon he selected was a fatal choice.” [Source: Perfect Illustrations and More Perfect Illustrations by Christianity Today International.] How often people make similar choices in life, some deliberately, others because of what they believe to be a correct choice; and as the days and years go by, they finally comprehend they have been on a wrong course.

“There is a way that seems right to a man[person], but in the end it leads to death.” <Prov.14:12 (NIV)> This verse describes the end-result of those individuals that make the wrong choice in life, and we must understand that the use of the word “death” does not necessarily mean physical death but most certainly “spiritual death” or eternal separation from God. Every individual person born into this world inherits the sin of Adam our forefather <see Rom.3:9-18, 23> and where no repentance is evident will face the penalty for sin which is spiritual death <Rom.6:23>. God has given to each of us the freedom of choice, just as He did for His chosen people the Jews <see Deut.30:19-20> and the choice we make will determine our destiny, and since we are all under the same condemnation we need to turn to God in repentance of our sins <see Isa.55:6-7> for as in the illustration above, the pilot made his choice but he was on the wrong course.

We are therefore encouraged to seek Divine protection, not only from the penalty of our sins but also from the perils that we face on a day-to-day basis. God promises us safety in travel <Psa.121:8>; safety during the day or night <Psa.91:4-5, 9-11> and safety during perilous times <Psa.27:5>.

FACTS TO CONTEMPLATE

We have no right to put God to the test when requesting His physical protection when we engage in careless or unlawful acts, or by putting ourselves in situations of deliberate disobedience to God’s commands. Neither is it ours to dictate to God which method He should use to protect us; for it is within His power to suspend or to counteract natural laws, or to use supernatural means to protect when it is within His purpose. We should also understand that delays in His response may be because of His love for us as He is able to see what is not evident to us. We must also be aware of, and accept, the possible eventualities of our circumstance as it fits what will be God’s divine purposes and sovereignty.

So, we make our choice each day, and for each circumstance we face we must rest on on God’s ability to protect us, recognizing the fact that we are in His hands and under His control, He is Sovereign, Omniscient, and Omnipotent <see Psa.91:9; Mk.4:35-40>.

“We said a prayer that God would watch over us.” Sherri Conley, of Oklahoma, telling the “Daily Oklahoman” how she, her husband, and two sons had huddled in their hallway linen closet for protection from a deadly tornado. After the storm passed, she discovered the closet was the only thing left standing from the family’s home.” [Source: Perfect Illustrations and More Perfect Illustrations (Tornado Insurance) by Christianity Today International.]