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The God of Impossible Situations- Exodus 14

I am a Christian pastor who wishes to bring glory to God in all that I do, and to help people through my writing to know Him better.

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Introduction: God's Omnipotence

I read a cute story in the Magazine: Today in the Word. It goes like this:

"A young boy traveling by airplane to visit his grandparents sat beside a man who happened to be a seminary professor". The boy was reading a Sunday school take-home paper when the professor thought he would have some fun with the lad. "Young man," said the professor, "If you can tell me something God can do, I'll give you a big, shiny apple." The boy thought for a moment and then replied, "Mister, if you can tell me something God can't do, I'll give you a whole barrel of apples!"

The faith that this boy was displaying was in a specific attribute of our God; one that only He possesses. The attribute is sometimes referred to as His omnipotence. This word simply means that the Lord is all-powerful. He has absolute power to do what He pleases. We see this idea throughout the Scriptures. It was shown when Sarah and Abraham doubted that God would give to them a son. In Genesis 8:14 God tells them:

"Is anything too hard for the Lord? "

We also see it in Job 42:2, after God displayed His absolute sovereignty to the patriarch Job in his time of distress. Job then tells the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted."

In Matthew 19 the rich young ruler refused to give up what he owned to get into Christ's Kingdom. But he instead turned away from Jesus and left sadly. Jesus then told His disciples that:

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven."

With that the disciples wondered 'who then can be saved?' Jesus' reply was this:

"With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26).

And, of course, Jesus later, in the Garden of Gethsemane, before HIs crucifixion, cried out:

“Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me” Nevertheless, not what I will but what you will." (Mark 19:36,37).

But does Scripture mean by saying that all things are possible with the Lord that God can make a rock so big He can't lift it or make a square circle? I think we need to clarify the meaning of the God who can do the impossible. Theologian and author J. I. Packer puts it best in his book entitled: Your Father Loves You. Here is how he explains this great attribute of our God. He says:

"Does omnipotence mean that God can do literally anything? No, that is not the meaning. There are many things God cannot do. He cannot do what is self-contradictory or nonsensical, like squaring the circle. Nor (and this is vital) can he act out of character. God has a perfect moral character, and it is not in him to deny it. He cannot be capricious, unloving, random, unjust, or inconsistent. Just as he cannot pardon sin without atonement because that would not be right, so he cannot fail to be faithful and just in forgiving sins that are confessed in faith and in keeping all the other promises he has made. Moral instability, vacillation, and unreliability are marks of weakness, not of strength: but God's omnipotence is supreme strength, making it impossible that he should lapse into imperfection of this sort.

The positive way to say this is: though there are things which a holy, rational God is incapable of intending, all that he intends to do he actually does. "Whatever the Lord pleases he does" (Ps. 135:6). As when he planned to make the world, "he spoke, and it came to be" (Ps. 33:9), so it is with everything that he wills. With people "there's many a slip twixt cup and lip," but not with him."

We can thank God that He truly specializes in what we deem to be the impossible. No matter how "self-sufficient" that we are, there will eventually come a time when something will happen in our lives that we humanly cannot do anything about. Things like the death of a loved one, the loss of a job through no fault of our own, an accident, or an unexpected health issue. These things can literally throw our lives completely off balance and cause us to question ourselves and our faith. Some are tempted to abandon God because they feel that He has somehow let them down. It is then that we need to lean more heavily on the God of the impossible than we've ever done in our lives.

Nowhere is this seen more clearly in the Bible than Exodus 14 where the people of God, the Israelites were facing their own life-altering experience at the Red Sea.

I. A Red Sea Experience

There they were, the Children of Israel. After being captives for generations, they were finally free. Or were they? God had shown Himself mighty by sending 10 plagues upon the Egyptian people in order to persuade the Pharaoh to let them go and begin their journey to the promised land. And let them go he did.

However, the Pharaoh, after releasing the people, had a change of heart. He wanted them back. So, he sent his army after them. And they caught up to the Israelites. God's people were in an impossible situation. They were surrounded on all sides. On their left and right were a tower of rocks and a desert. In front of them was the Red Sea. Behind them was the entire Egyptian army. There was absolutely nothing they could do and nowhere they could run.

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What was their response? Not a very good one. They said to Moses:

"Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness." (Exodus 14:11-12).

The children of Israel did what many Christians do today when faced with impossible situations. They became afraid and started blaming others for their situation. In this case, it was Moses. They blamed Him for getting them in trouble.

When faced with our own "Red Sea" experience, it is so easy to respond the same way, isn't it? Much of the time we blame the Lord. We ask things like: "Why are you doing this to me?" or, "What have I done to deserve this?" It is tempting to get angry and to give up hope. But there is a better way to respond when the impossible situation happens.

II. A Positive Response to a Red Sea Experience

From Moses, we get the proper response to a Red Sea experience. He tells the people of Israel:

"Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace" (Exodus 14:13,14).

The proper response when we experience the impossible, is to stop being afraid and take it to the Lord and ask Him to handle it. After all, if it is truly an impossible situation, there is nothing we can humanly do about it anyway. Moses said don't be afraid and to stand still.

The prophet Isaiah may also be helpful here. He says

"Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary" (Isaiah 40:31).

It is during these Red Sea experiences that we need to heed, more than ever, Proverbs 3:5,6 which tells us to:

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths."

III. The Outcome of a Red Sea Experience

If you know the Scriptural account in the Book of Exodus, then you are aware that the people followed Moses' advice. They stood still and witnessed the salvation of the Lord. The Lord, through Moses, parted the Red Sea and all of the Israelites went through on dry ground. When the Egyptian army pursued them, the Lord closed up the Sea and the army all drowned. God took care of His people, leading them to praise His name in song (Exodus 15).

Now the Lord never promises that things will always turn out like this. Sometimes He chooses to allow us to experience tragedy. Sometimes loved ones die. At times jobs are lost, no matter how hard we pray. What God does promise is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He also promises that everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. In Romans 8:28, 29 he says:

"And we know that all things work together for good, to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren."

The wonderful thing is that God doesn't look down on your situation and say: "Woops! I didn't know that was going to happen!" He is in control of your life, and nothing can happen to you without His consent. You need to realize that if He allows it, it is to make you more and more like Jesus Christ and to prepare you for eternity. He turns an impossible situation into one that demonstrates His power and His glory.

Conclusion

I love the song entitled My God, because it encapsulates all that this message has been attempting to say. Here are a few of the lyrics:

"My God is so big
And so strong
And so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do

In the beginning
God made everything
God simply spoke
And the world came to being
He sent a flood
And made everything new
He parted the sea
And let His people walk through

He helped a boy
To bring a giant right down
Joshua marched
The walls fell to the ground
These acts of power
Are worthy of praise
But if you want to question
My God and His ways
(I'll look you in the eye and say:)

My God is so big
And so strong
And so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do

Though we are sinners
He still gave us worth
God sent His Son
To live here on the earth
He healed the sick
He made blind men see
He let the lame walk
And He set the world free

He died on a cross
And He rose from the grave
He conquered sin
He is mighty to save
He went to heaven
And He's coming back
God's word is true
But if it's attacked
(I'll look you in the eye and say:)

My God is so big
And so strong
And so mighty
There's nothing my God cannot do."

Today, I can tell you for certain that if you have not yet been through a Red Sea experience in your life, then it is an absolute certainty that it will come. In this sin-cursed world in which we are living, impossible situations are impossible to avoid if one lives long enough.

Some people experience many of these situations in their lifetime. In fact, they may experience so great a number that you might wonder how so many problems can happen to just one person. Others appear to go through life relatively unscathed. However, don't let appearances fool you. They may be experiencing things they are not talking about and that none of us but God and that person, and maybe a few close friends, will know anything about this side of heaven.

We all go through them. And no matter what, there is the one true God of the universe working His will and His plan through it all.

If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Savior today, then maybe your Red Sea experience is here to lead you to the one who died for you and rose again. If you haven't yet accepted His salvation, today is the day.

For those who are Christians, you need to remember the next time you face an impossible situation that you must not fear. You have to take it to the Lord and leave it there. Ask Him to take the situation and use it for His glory. That doesn't mean that you don't do everything within your own power to influence the outcome. It does mean that when you have exhausted all efforts and there is nothing else you can humanly do, then let God do the rest. You have to stand still and wait for Him to take action.

Further, one must remember that the things that are impossible with men are possible with God (Luke 18:27). God hasn't met a problem yet that He can't handle. And yours is no exception.

The God who parted the Red Sea is the God who has you in the palm of His hand today. May we all trust our impossible situations to the one who specializes in the impossible. And then we will see for ourselves, the salvation of the Lord!

© 2012 Jeff Shirley

Comments

Jeff Shirley (author) from Hesperia, Michigan on June 14, 2012:

Yes lifegate, it seems that the Spirit has used this passage many times through various preachers to talk about what God can do with impossible situations. Thanks for reading.

josh3418: Thanks for reading and for your comments as well.

Joshua Zerbini from Pennsylvania on June 14, 2012:

Great hub on the Red Sea, using it to apply to our struggles! Voted up, useful, and awesome!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on June 14, 2012:

I just preached on The God of the impossible using the Red Sea as a backdrop this past Sunday--we must be on the same wavelength.

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