Friday, August 05, 2005

A Chasm Wide

I'm baaaccckkk...... Been off to camp and had VBS the following week. Hope you enjoy this one. We have been having a lot of terrible life situations occuring in the lives of the brethren here so here itgoes....

A Chasm Wide
Exod. 14:8-14
I. Introduction
A. There is a great gulf fixed, Lazarus said to the rich man.
1. And so it is with certain times in our life - a great chasm (pronounced Kazim), a gorge, a deep impassable gully we will face and who will aid us in the crossing?
2. The known meets the unknown, the charted meets he unmapped.
B. Great gulfs are fixed for a purpose.
1. Paths of planets.
2. Childhood and adulthood - what if children were born knowing what adults knew?
3. Men and women - designed to help one another, - we will ever understand one another?
4. Corporate business and employees. Politics and religion. War & peace.
C. On a more personal note:
1. Good vs. evil.
2. Dying and living.
3. Humanity and God.
4. Heaven and hell.
D. A great gulf has been fixed. You have come to a wide chasm, an impassable valley. You can’t seem to see the other side.
1. Someone wrote, Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.
2. This hour I see many of us facing a great chasm, a very large ugly ravine has cut a swath in the middle of our lives.
a. Some are facing uncertainties concerning the state of their health.
b. Some are facing financial insecurity.
c. Some are facing the impending of loss of a loved one.
d. Others are facing uncertainty with the unity in the home.
3. Whatever be the chasm we are facing, though we may feel alone, we are not alone.

II. Exod. 14:8-14. - A great gulf fixed and we’re were in a pickle.
A. An army behind, a sea ahead.
1. The gods of Egypt has been exposed as powerless against Israel’s God.
2. Israel is tasting freedom for the first time in hundreds of years.
3. They are jubilant for their freedom yet filled with great anxiety as they receive word from the rear flank that Pharaoh and his mighty army is descending upon them.
a. They cry out to Moses, “You fool, you have sealed the fate of us all. We’re all going to die!”
B. The forecast of victory looked bleak, at least from a human point of view.
1. There they were facing the chasms of chasms. Like David, they were in the valley of the shadow of death.
2. But Moses had a view of God that the congregation in the wilderness did not, and because of his view, he could encourage them by saying, “Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord... and go forward (15).”
III. Those three points are so vital for us in crossing the many great chasms we face throughout life.
A. “Fear Not” Isa 44:6-8.
1. It was fear that caused them to wander in the wilderness (Numb.14).
2. Fear caused the Army of Saul to stop dead in its tracks before the Giant.
3. Fear caused the one talent man to forfeit his opportunities for greater gain.
4. Fear caused Peter to sink.
5. Fear made Israel think that God could not deliver them from this predicament.
a. But you see, God had planned this all along. (14:3, 4).
b. The Israelites were worried, troubled, yea, despondent at this their apparent doom. So God turned their desperation into dependence. Psalm 139:7 “Oh where can I go from your spirit, or where can I flee your presence.”
6. This tells me that God is constantly working behind the scenes and we may not know why a terrible travesty is happening to us, why this great chasm is before us, Why is this valley so wide? But could it be that this is God’s way of reinforcing our dependency upon him? (Prov. 3:3-5).
7. They needed not to fear - because the battle was the Lords.
a. He troubled the Egyptians as they entered the sea (14:24, 25) then the enemy became afraid.
8. He was the water that destroyed an army, he was the rock that slew the giant, he was the chords which held the mouths of hungry lions shut, he was the firewall to the three Hebrew children in the blazing furnace, he was the key that freed imprisoned apostles, he was the light that blinded a raging persecuting Saul of Tarsus. On a global scale, he crushed Rome, toppled Papal power, ground up Hitler, blew up Imperialism, and is fighting against terrorism. Our God troubles those who troubles his people (2 Thess. 1:6-9).
9. On a personal scale he is feeding the hungry by helping man produce more, healing the sick by assisting man in the knowledge of the human body, comforting the downhearted through the preaching of his gospel.
10. Sometimes it appears that God is not doing much, but he is always busy bringing to pass that which should be.
11. And right now God is fighting for you in your behalf. If you are a person of faith, he is in your corner. Let your desperation be turned into dependency....and when that occurs one can.....
B. “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Since the battle belongs to the Lord, lets let him do his work.
1. All Moses had to do was raise his rod over the sea, and the great chasm disappeared. What a sight to behold. What relief must have come over that terrified congregation.
2. We see God moving to the rear of his people and stands between the enemy and his chosen ones (14:19-21). May I paint a picture, I see God stepping over his people, getting between that which would destroy them, and stretching out his hands, brushing back the waters of the sea, and blows with his mighty breath drying the ocean floor. All the while he is casting a great cloud of darkness over the enemy and in the meantime illuminating the path for Israel to follow through the sea.
3. Yes, God did it all. But for God to do it all, Moses had to trust, and obey. There would be no Israel, had Moses not raised his staff.
4. And by one person the multitude was saved. And by ONE person, the world - is - saved.
5. Sometimes the only thing we need at the moment is not the saving of life, but the saving of our soul.
a. Is your heart weary from sin? Do you doubt your salvation? Has Satan tempted you to the point of falling?
6. Though our story concerns with saving the lives of the people, God’s ultimate plan is to save our eternal soul.
a. It wasn’t the paralyzed man’s health in which Jesus was most concerned (Mk. 2) for he said, “Son thy sins be forgiven thee,” before he made him whole.
b. It wasn’t reclaiming stolen property that Jesus sought in Zaccheaus
(Lk. 19) “Today salvation has come into this house.”
c. It wasn’t clean feet that Jesus fretted over when the woman washed them with her tears (Lk. 7) “Her sins which are many are forgiven.”
d. And Jesus didn’t request the nails to be removed from the penitent thief hands or feet, but said, “Today thou shall be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23).
7. The chasm that Jesus so desires and helps you forge across is from a life of sin and darkness to a man of purity and holiness. You can’t do this by yourself (Eph. 2:4-8).
Say, Where art thou O my soul;
On the banks of the sea as Israel of old?
Cloud of darkness, cloud of light
Demons which taunt you in all their might?
Rest assured, God will prevail;
See, he has selected: three - rusty - nails!
Alas! Shame and darkness behind thee,
Light of the cross before me. (Kirk White 8/4/05)
8. The cloud of shame and darkness behind me, the light of the cross before me occurs when I surrender to the gospel call. To have faith in the Lord Jesus, to Repent of my sins, to confess his name before man, and to be immersed for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
See the salvation of the Lord!

C. As we see the salvation of the Lord we should be encouraged to Go forward (14:15).
1. No chasm can be crossed in just a couple of leaps, but if that is all we take, we are destined to fail.
2. So here Israel travels all night long, being led by the light emanating from the cloud astern. The chasm that seemed to doom them was well lit. The command to go forward was heeded and in the morning, they watched the lifeless bodies of their enemies, washing ashore because
God held his breath and raised his hands letting the walls of water consume them.
a. When Korah and the rebels rebelled against Moses, God gathered the rebels together, pressed his finger into the earth and the earth did consume them permitting the nation to go forward in truth (Numb. 16).
b. When God chastised the children of Israel for Idolatry and other sins, he sent them away into captivity so the righteous remnant might go forward with truth and integrity.
c. When the church was persecuted as saints were cast to the lions, tortured and imprisoned, He paved the way for truth to go forth by ending the great persecution.

IV. So there you stand at the precipice of your grand canyon.
A. Shall I not ask you, “Why?”
1. To stand means you are living in fear. To go back means you have forgotten your salvation.
2. Decisions, decisions, you are at the valley of decisions. Shall you decide to go back to Egypt or enter the valley with the rod and staff as your guide?
3. Enter your chasm in faith, “For though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me!”

A. It is said that poetry bridges the gap which organizes unfamiliar experiences and information.
B. I suppose that is why there is so much poetry in the Holy Scripture. This book bridges the gap of unfamiliar territory and helps us understand that God has done his part in giving good directions, even when we do not know the reason he told us to do it such and such a way.
C. Now when the direction takes us to some great divide in which we are left seemingly alone and afraid, across the way a voice calls out, Do not fear, see the salvation of the Lord and go forth!
D. Go forth to your doctors, to your counselors, to your jobs, to your death beds armed in the strength of the Lord, for the battle is his!

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