The Master Strategist
Have you ever coached or played a team sport? Or perhaps you planned a major event such as a conference or wedding. Every detail required practice or planning. Some of us are better at these things than others. Did you ever consider that our God is the Master Strategist? The Bible records major events of history—and even records the future that’s been methodically planned.
Whenever I read Exodus 14, I get the same sense of awe I had the first time. Our God positioned all the key participants while they were completely oblivious to what was coming next. Every detail had been planned; every scenario had been covered. How great is our God!
In team sports, the coach works to prepare his team for all the possibilities. I remember being on a local swim team. Our coach made sure we swam lap after lap in preparation for the competitions. He tested us to determine our strengths and weaknesses.
Our God knows all about us. He knew Moses and the Israelites as well as Pharaoh and the Egyptians. More importantly, He had a plan that no one could have imagined. He had prepared for this historical moment.
Predictably, Israel feared for their lives when they saw the fast-approaching Egyptian army. Moses gave sage advice:
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 ESV).
God had already prepared Moses for this day through his execution of the 10 plagues while in Egypt. Those were like practice sessions for the big day.
May I be honest? At my first swim meet, I was terrified. It was amazing that I swam at all. I made a big splash when I dove into the pool. Once in the water, I swam, just like I had been practicing. God is good! And in case you really want to know, I did not win the race (shocker).
Moses had a staff in his hand. He carried the same staff that turned into a snake-eating snake. God did not ask Moses to do anything he could not do. Moses stretched out his rod over the water. Afterward, the angel of God shifted his position and went behind the people as a buffer before the Egyptians. Moses’ obedience set up the miraculous events that followed.
Pharaoh thought he had the victory but Exodus 14:28 tells us that not one of them remained. And in verse 29, we learn:
“But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.”
Do you need a miracle today? What do you have in your hand? Listen for and obey God’s instruction, and you just might see a miracle too!
Let us pray: Lord, take us by the hand and lead us to our Promised Land, in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Genesis 40:14 14But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.
41:1 1When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile,
Joseph had dreams from God that predicted his brothers and parents would bow down to him. The dreams and his father’s favoritism caused his brothers to envy him. The brothers sold their 17-year-old brother to slave traders. They concocted a deceptive story for their father saying that a wild animal had killed him. Meanwhile, in Egypt, Joseph was elevated to the chief servant over the household of his first master. When the master’s wife wanted him sexually, he would not betray God or his master by yielding to her. Her false accusation landed him in prison.
In time he rose to second in charge of the prison. The Pharaoh’s butler and baker were confined there, and Joseph interpreted their dreams. The butler’s dream meant that he would be reinstated, and so, Joseph uttered the above Scripture. But when the butler was restored, he forgot his vow to tell Pharaoh about this young man, now 28 years of age. He had served faithfully for years as a slave and for more years in prison. We never read one word of complaint. Just when there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, the butler forgot, and Joseph remained imprisoned.
The darkest hour is just before the dawn. I don’t think he ever doubted the God given dreams, but it sure must have seemed hopeless at times. After these 14 years of servitude, anyone would be discouraged. Yet, this was God’s college for kings. In one day, he went from being a servant of the jailer to the second highest position in all of Egypt, the greatest nation in the world.
Encouragement: Don’t give up on the vision and promises of God. He will bring them to pass in His time and His way. God’s ways are vastly different from mans.
Streams in the Desert – January 26
- 202326 Jan
I have begun to give;…begin to possess (Deuteronomy 2:31).
A great deal is said in the Bible about waiting for God. The lesson cannot be too strongly enforced. We easily grow impatient of God’s delays. Much of our trouble in life comes out of our restless, sometimes reckless, haste. We cannot wait for the fruit to ripen, but insist on plucking it while it is green. We cannot wait for the answers to our prayers, although the things we ask for may require long years in their preparation for us. We are exhorted to walk with God; but ofttimes God walks very slowly. But there is another phase of the lesson. God often waits for us.
We fail many times to receive the blessing He has ready for us, because we do not go forward with Him. While we miss much good through not waiting for God, we also miss much through over-waiting. There are times when our strength is to sit still, but there are also times when we are to go forward with a firm step.
There are many Divine promises which are conditioned upon the beginning of some action on our part. When we begin to obey, God will begin to bless us. Great things were promised to Abraham, but not one of them could have been obtained by waiting in Chaldea. He must leave home, friends, and country, and go out into unknown paths and press on in unfaltering obedience in order to receive the promises. The ten lepers were told to show themselves to the priest, and “as they went they were cleansed.” If they had waited to see the cleansing come in their flesh before they would start, they would never have seen it. God was waiting to cleanse them; and the moment their faith began to work, the blessing came.
When the Israelites were shut in by a pursuing army at the Red Sea, they were commanded to “Go forward.” Their duty was no longer one of waiting, but of rising up from bended knees and going forward in the way of heroic faith. They were commanded to show their faith at another time by beginning their march over the Jordan while the river ran to its widest banks. The key to unlock the gate into the Land of Promise they held in their own hands, and the gate would not turn on its hinges until they had approached it and unlocked it. That key was faith.
We are set to fight certain battles. We say we can never be victorious; that we never can conquer these enemies; but, as we enter the conflict, One comes and fights by our side, and through Him we are more than conquerors. If we had waited, trembling and fearing, for our Helper to come before we would join the battle, we should have waited in vain. This would have been the over-waiting of unbelief. God is waiting to pour richest blessings upon you. Press forward with bold confidence and take what is yours. “I have begun to give, begin to possess.”
–J. R. Miller
Marvellous increase of the church
By: Charles Spurgeon
“Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?” Isaiah 60:8
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 10:5-16
They were not doves by nature; they were ravens; but they are doves now. They are changed from ravens into doves, from lions into lambs. Beloved, it is very easy for you to pretend to be the children of God; but it is not easy for you to be so. The old fable of the jackdaw dressed up in peacock’s feathers often takes place now. Many a time have we seen coming to our church, a fine strutting fellow, with long feathers of prayer behind him. He could pray gloriously; and he has come strutting in, with all his majesty and pride, and said, “Surely I must come; I have everything about me; am I not rich and polite: have I not learning and talent?” In a very little while we have found him to be nothing but an old prattling jackdaw, having none of the true feathers belonging to him; by some accident one of his borrowed feathers has dropped out, and we have found him to be a hypocrite. I beseech you, do not be hypocrites. The glory of the gospel is not that it paints ravens white, and whitewashes blackbirds, but that it turns them into doves. It is the glory of our religion not that it makes a man seem what he is not, but that it makes him something else. It takes the raven and turns him into a dove; his ravenish heart becomes a dove’s heart. It is not the feathers that are changed, but the man himself. Glorious gospel, which takes a lion, and does not cut the lion’s mane off, and then cover him with a sheep’s skin, but makes him into a lamb! O church of God! these that have come like doves to their windows are trophies of regenerating grace, which has transformed them, and made them as new creatures in Christ Jesus.
For meditation: We should expect to be among wolves in the world, but beware of them when they are in the church, undetected and unconverted (Matthew 7:15).