While The Enemy Pursues You, God Pursues Him
Yesterday in prayer the Lord spoke to me to read Exodus 14. What’s interesting is that I had no idea what that chapter was going to entail before I went to it. What’s amazing is that I have been under heavy trial and stress identical to times past when I was on the crest of great exoduses of dramatic change. What’s incredibly powerful and prophetic is that Exodus 14 is about God leading Israel to the Red Sea, Israel crossing it, and the Egyptian army drowning in the Red Sea.
I was awakened at 12am today to get up and pray. The Lord directed me again to Exodus 14 after some time. And now at 1:30am, I share this word He has given me to encourage you. “While the enemy is pursuing you, God is pursuing him”. What does that mean? It means that God is a master at setting up traps for our enemy, the devil. Just when it looks like all of hell’s demons are about to rejoice over your downfall, there comes the upper-cup of God’s mighty right hand. The ultimate demonstration of this is revealed in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For now, let me give you the Old Testament example.
1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ 4 Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. (Exodus 14:1-4 NASB)
There is so much here that can be missed without the aid of outside resources. To begin with, I normally study the bible with the aid of www.blueletterbible.org. It just so happens that today i decided to test drive the Blue Letter Bible Beta Version. I have to say that this was by divine leading. I got distracted by the new layout and eventually navigated towards the miscellaneous aids for Exodus 14:2 (tools>misc>related maps/images). I stumbled upon the map image of the “route of the exodus” found on this link: Israelites route to Red Sea. As I observed the map, the thought came, “It would have been easier if the Israelites had journeyed to the right, on the other side of the water, when they were near Goshen”? If they would have gone that route they would not have needed a miracle at all to cross the Red Sea. They would have simply avoided it altogether. Then, I thought, “why would God take them down on the left side of the Red Sea and then to the right, at Baal-zephon? I would have went around it at the top”. That’s when God nudged me, and showed me I was thinking like the Pharaoh in verse 3.
“For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ (Exodus 14:3 NASB)
You ever feel like your aimlessly wandering? Nothing going right? Trials and distractions? It just so happens that the condition of my car is reflecting one of my trials that is causing great stress. My vehicle is a manual transmission. The transmission is slipping in every gear. That is the equivalent of pushing on the gas while the car is in neutral. We have a saying for that, “Going nowhere fast”. The foot is on the gas to accelerate, but it is all noise and no motion. It may appear that way to you and the devil, but God is actually up to something.
“Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. (Exodus 14:4)
Hear the Word of the Lord. You may feel like you’re being chased, but the real chase is on. And it will be a Romans 8:28 moment in the end. If you continue reading Exodus 14, you notice that Pharaoh responded the way God wanted him to.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?”6 So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him; 7 and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. 8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly. 9 Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. (Exodus 14:5-9 NASB)
And here is where God wants to correct our response in trials. Many times we react like the Israelites did in their situation.
10 As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:10-12)
If we don’t have God’s perspective we will end up shipwrecked in fear and discouragement. That will lead to murmuring and complaining. And I have had my great share recently. But God is faithful. He has better plans. What God said to them, He says to us.
13“Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. 14 The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.”(Exodus 14:13-14 NASB)
Did you catch that? “While you keep silent”. ‘Oy vey!’ is right. That’s Yiddish for ‘woe is me’. However, over the years I have learned and reaped the benefits of instruction and obedience. Honestly I agree with Job:
Job 23:1-12 NLT (focused emphasis on v.10-12) 10 “But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold. 11 For I have stayed on God’s paths; I have followed his ways and not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from his commands, but have treasured his words more than daily food.
In the end, the Israelites did not get destroyed by the Egyptians. The Lord spoke to Moses and told him to stop crying and to part the Red Sea. You don’t believe me? Well, here it is.
15 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward. 16 As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall fngo through the midst of the sea on dry land.(Exodus 14:15-16 NASB)
So, now i have the mind of Christ (understanding into the mystery) on why God would lead the Israelites to the edge of the Red Sea. It is not so that they could cross over to the other side. They could have done that at the top of the map near Goshen. No, He has much better plans than that. He has great plans for you. While the enemy is pursuing you, God is pursuing him. And God will lead you to an impossible crossing in order to destroy your pursuer. The Lord is after him, more than the enemy is after you. He is going to let the devil know that his rebellion cost him and God will be glorified.
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. (Rom 15:4 NLT)
I encourage you to stay the course until the end of the chapter you’re in, so that you might see the same results as the Israelites did in their story.
30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses. (Exodus 14:30-31 NASB)