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088 - A Friend in High Places

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
April 8, 2022 9:05 pm

088 - A Friend in High Places

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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April 8, 2022 9:05 pm

Episode 088 - A Friend in High Places (2 April 2022) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City

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You pick up your Bible is more is there something here for me.

I mean it's just words printed on paper right it may look like just print on the page but it's more than Inc. join us for the next half hour, as we explore God's word together as we learn how to explore it, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages welcome to more than yourself stuck rock hard yeah were there is nothing you can do an everything looks horrible. There is no escape escape and you totally outnumbered the time. I think maybe God forgot this is all a mistake and it's an accident for God brought you there on purpose. On purpose today on more than 12 wonderful, good morning to you on Dorothy and excited. We were excited with us today because we are in a great spot in Exodus the big crossing happens every spot an exit is known for high drama and images of drought and flashing in her mind that's kind of where we are today very dramatic camping going on today. In the book of Exodus, everybody has a mental image of what this looks like the derived along the line leader, Bill looks like, but it's interesting. There's enough narrative in here that even parts of what Cecil B DeMille did in his movies, you know, like with the water and stuff it is actually written. Says to write the second is it's very interesting.

So anyway, yet we are and we are halfway through chapter 13 of Exodus and and just to recap slightly so the people of Israel have gotten out of Egypt. There, now is 2 million people plus all her animals are trudging across out of Egypt out of Goshen and there on the way to the promised land and in so no word turns into kind of an on the road story from this point on, but it's actually on the road story for the next four years but there was this little insertion at the beginning of chapter 13 about the dedication of the firstborn, and we will take a lot of time to review at but but it's important to instruct the Israelites right there at that because it's so fresh in their mind what God is just done yet.

I am thinking of going Egypt any life events that we go through. You need to stop and say you know there's some there's some important things to note right here are forget, just go past it. So we rarely go past it and in particular should Israelites here was the firstborn in the unleavened bread so these have special importance there not just part of a story that happened in those aspects will carry forward forever to go back and read it to go back okay sorry chapter 13 and were starting in verse 17 and we come across this bizarre thing in the field. There were these pillar of cloud and fire siliceous want to start reading force will pick it up right is 17 okay yeah there's a scraping summary statement here. Starting in verse 17 when Pharaoh let the people go guy didn't leave them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near. For God said, let's do people change their minds when they see war and returned to Egypt, but God led the people around. By the way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea and the people of Israel went up out of the land of Egypt equipped for battle. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him for Joseph had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear saying God will surely visit you and you shall carry out my bones with you from here and they moved on from Sukkot and camped at Ethan on the edge of the wilderness was sent. Thank you. Okay, yeah, the pillar of cloud fire.

Yes, this is a summary statement where we are, you know we we left Egypt and he tells us that instead of going what would be the natural route right comfortable route from Egypt, Israel, which would be along the Mediterranean coast, which also by the way, has Egyptian outposts because it was a well traveled route radiators and stuff like that, as well as bad guys close well-traveled trade route. Yeah so yeah and and so God knew that they would come up against the have to fight their way through that area.

So instead of natural route which is the mentoring coast. We head out into the desert of sorts encourage you listeners to get a map so you can see very clearly that that that comfortable, easy route would have been just a track along the Sea of the Mediterranean up toward Israel… Says deliberately. God did not do that.

That's a huge important statement right on this summary. God did not leave them that way. He took them another way right. So God is the one who is directing God's direction they take and not Moses. By the way, but God is a wondrously which is fascinating because in almost every tale of nations or armies or orgies you got the king of that nation who leads out in front and is in charge and by saying that God is the one that's leaving.

It's as though God is the King of these people, which is an exit so is interestingly that here it says that they went out equipped for battle. But God doesn't want them to encounters or just yet. Yeah, because I'll start wanting to go back to write it too close to easy to get back to exactly exactly. So that's you got understands art of his people, but it is interesting especially to play the stock casino could be that God takes us into situations that are not easy as to what looks like to us. The most obvious path forward where I take this in a way that at the time ago. What is this well that's what's happening here. What is because God has a superior understanding of not only your own heart, but of the nature and circumstances that you're aiming into that. You don't know about God's ways are, and what he intends to show you were to do and that becomes very clear in this story when God corners them between the Red Sea and the armies of Pharaoh we have gotten there yet, but we well so I just want to point out that that this little statement about Moses carrying bones of Joseph is not only statement that's right right that's how the book of Genesis and with Joseph St. his brothers. Now when you go up from here take my bones and Joseph was involved in putting a coffin in Egypt but everybody knew where his grave was and they took him they took his remains with them when they left at quarter because either says because it was, he believed that they would go and that God would give them that land and he wanted to be buried. Yeah, I think. What incredible long-term testimony was the people of Israel in their captivity 400 years 400 years, those bones testified to her will someday were going back because Joseph said when I go take my bones, and so I guess were going back someday. But that is not today but in the story.

Right now it is today. Interestingly, say were going back because yes, there they are, our forefathers came from there right there.

All the tribes of Jacob, but but you know this generation had never been there. Didn't know what was there. So for them it wasn't really can feel like going back.

It was going forward into an unknown territory, but they knew believing Egypt is just seemed more more possible. As the years went on, but there's the bones of Joseph. The bones are Joseph are still here were going back someday were taken with this it's amazing I made me think to is is is think about who were God's taking them what to what looks like an impossible situation situation you can escape from it reminded me of first Corinthians 1013 says you know I got God provides a way of escape. You know he doesn't he doesn't put on you more than you can handle, so, so even there. Paul tells us you got to get this all wired together. He knows how this is working. He knows the situation you're going into your not telling them anything new when you when you cry out to about your situation or about your inability to handle. He knows all that stuff.

And sure enough that's exactly is doing is really interesting to me that you should cite that here that first Corinthians 1013 passage because the context of that is, Paul is saying and has been saying in all of chapter 10 first Corinthians all that happened to them for our benefit and for our instruction, so that we would not do what they did and so that tells us this is a really important story, not just for the real people who lived it.

But for all of us who are looking back on it.

For those of us that are reading it today. That's right, there is something here for our instruction for our benefit so that we'll know that if it looks like that is backed us up against the Red Sea, God has a way of escape, that only he can provide exactly will this push I push on so this is such a part of the logistical handling the God does for them in a gracious wing just stated so simply and the Lord went before them by day and a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, did not depart from before the people's letter repetition and that little but just a couple verses you say to yourself why what is going on here you know if you've ever if you ever walked in and expose place like a desert.

It's a tremendous problem because you know I can walk in the heat of the day, you know, noon because the sun is just so little on your Messiah is brutal and that of course I know you can't see we are going to both of them are hazards and so here God provides us with one full wonderful thing where he says would be there. I'll be a cloud to should shield you in the daytime right shield the sun from you. While, really, and at night since will travel at night which most desert travelers travel at night because there's no sun out so this allows them to travel both during the day and the night and without media map. All you have to do is follow. So it's one phenomenon and daytime. It was cloud of smoke and in the nighttime. It was pillar of fire.

Now if you know if you have a camp to have a smoky fire you know that in the daytime. You see the smoke you don't see the embers but in the nighttime. You see the embers and you don't see the smoke yeah but this is such an interesting visual image radical crowd is visible but you can't grab it right. You can't hold onto it. It can conceal something. It can also reveal something and is moving this cloud moves with them yeah yeah and that pillar of fire says it gave them light at night will lie discomforting fire also consumes a fuel right is burning something but when this phenomenon. There's no visible source for the smoke where the fire moves with them. They didn't have to build the fire and sale go that direction right so that it had to trudge the desert with torches and eating and how tall would it have to be for 2 million people to see the direction Yahweh had to be a tremendous relief to the to the nation is there out there they can look right in the middle of nowhere but unity say well I but you know we got this cloud we have the visible presence of our right and we have this light, which allows us to travel by day and by night. This is this is the visible practical presence of God in their midst, and in this cloud/pillar of fire will be will be a persistent character all the way through Exodus all the way through the wilderness and then we'll see the cloud, all only through Scripture characterizes indicates to us the visible presence of God visible presence of right when they built the tabernacle, the cloud descended on it when Solomon built the temple. The cloud descended on it. Jesus at his Transfiguration we saw the cloud all the Gospels record this and when Jesus said when I'm coming back every eye will see me coming in the presence of God. So when you read across this term.

The cloud watches sometimes a very few times it just means the weather was floating in the sky but most of the time. When you run into the cloud, all only through the Bible is indicating something to you about the presence of God. Yeah, it is significant that it's a pillar is not pointed out very much but it extends from the ground column straight up in the air and the common notion of where God was. As I said I election shows as well you know me to lead you on Michelle to you and the and the source of it is heaven itself is were so is just a great picture of God's nearness in his presence and his practical care for them just so wonderful thing okay so we have that established and we jump in a chapter 14 should I read yeah you okay chapter 14 verse one then the Lord said to Moses tell the people of Israel to turn back and camp in front PFP oath between big dullness see in front of bowels, a fun and you shall encamp facing it by the sea by the sea for Pharaoh will say to the people of Israel there wondering in the land and the willingness to shut them in and then I will harden Pharaoh's heart and he will pursue them and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host and Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, and so they did so the camp there okay so that's really important. That said, the reason I've led you adhered back to up against the sea is so the get the glory over Pharaoh and the Egyptians will know addiction. I'm the one that did this right side first. They misinterpreted their loss there wondering they been savage to say Doc yeah maybe there God is suddenly an company doesn't always do is load them up against water. If you remember back in chapter 9 the Lord had said now for this reason, oh Pharaoh I let you remain in order to show my power in order to proclaim my name through all the earth, and that everyone will know that I am the Lord reigns so you know this is like the ultimate statement of that I will finally get the glory over Pharaoh yeah you you wouldn't think this is necessary because after the 10 plagues I'm gonna don't we know who God is and what is like in his power.

The extent of his power, but this is kind of this kind of the last of it all.

This is this is it.

II will get glory over Pharaoh. While I don't think I mentioned this last time, and correct me if I did, but this word glory in Hebrew always means heavy, so it's a wait wait yeah and if the weight is on you with that sexy translate is a burden but if it's the weight of something in your presence is with our closest equivalent is the elephant in the room there's some kind of big thing here.

That's the idea here with this glory, God's gonna say that that I'm bigger and I'm heavier on weightier than Pharaoh himself.

Well, in a sense the way of God is going to continue to come down as if it hadn't already straight through the plagues on the home country. The result is that all the Egyptians will know who I am. So even if it from the very beginning of this process. It's all been about no Pharaoh sitting back in chapter 5, oh I don't know your God what you want me to do what you're saying. Well after this, there won't be any doubt in anyone's mind.

God is all Egyptians or in the minds of the Israelites. Yeah exactly yeah yeah well it's push on. I see what happens so until he camp there actually you notice them in the freedom just read it looks like they've cut shot past. It would pass at a turn come back to a particular spot ambled around and God said camp here so we got has set up the circumstances set up the place ready to go in their camp there numbers for okay verse five.

So when the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people and they said well as we've done that we've let Israel go from serving us, so he may ready his chariot. Many took his army with him and took 600 chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them in the Lord. Harden the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursue the people of Israel.

While the people of Israel were going out defiantly.

The Egyptians pursued them all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army and overtook them and camped at the sea. I pie half her oath and in front of bowels, a fun toy overtook them so they are literally trapped. They are backed up against the sea their back against the sea and in the looks like all of the Army of Pharaoh and all his chariots, including his 600 chosen chariots. Rex's elite force and all the rest the chariots and some people speculated.

Perhaps his entire army so well and these up tonight as a whopping because they've all lost a firstborn. What were we thinking about exactly they've all been through all of this and there like we are working to kill him yeah and this is this is a massive army. This is a matter this is the entire military might of Egypt, but there out to look to slaughter 2 million people. So they're going to go out there and work on it a go take everything they've got in there out there with the intent with the full army of actually taking up the entire nation that it's going to be a slaughter.

So there out there and they catch up to them where they are and Pharaoh according the beginning chapter 14 things that God's being silly and he's having them camp in a very vulnerable place. Which it is from man's perspective is a very vulnerable place.

You do not back yourself up against the wall like a C militarily.

That's silly. So Pharaoh goes after them and he does indeed will we get to verse to verse nine he does indeed overtake them in there. They are face-to-face was interesting that it says that the Lord in verse eight, the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that he pursued the people write this this event here chasing them out to the Red Sea is the last time we come across God hardening Pharaoh's heart. Now it's going to be referred to in chapter 14, but it's referring to this same event. God is taking credit here for Pharaoh's heart condition that because I'm getting do something on show myself, my glory will be unmistakably seen. Yeah, I find it to fascinating in a way how short Pharaoh's memory is from the 10 plagues for sale at ground verse five or six who said so thinking. Basically when we let them go. You know what reason did we have to let them go on what I can give you 10 good reasons why letting go of you forgot that already. Yeah, you know, this just drives home to me.

We talked a lot about the hardening of the heart that hardened heart is bent on its own way, even to the point of self-destruction and we see that clearly and Pharaoh right. His heart was hardened know whether it was attributed to Pharaoh or to God or its or passively just happened hardened heart resists the Lord and refuses to listen, and eventually drives out his word because hardened heart bent on its own way and it will ultimately wind up in self-destruction. Yes self-destruction which is a fascinating thing Egypt.

I think we've all experienced that kind of rage that he truly is just blind and just do stuff that I just determined to do what you're going to do just to kind. I will not be deterred to work it out. You just do it and in the summer so you know what you're doing is probably not in your best and you know exactly that's exactly were fairly greater. This is not best interest. You know you if someone was going to counseling. Maybe his counselors did they say look, it's in our best interest to just let them go because since we didn't do that. We suffered the death of our firstborn. All those plagues, you know, they're just bad business.

There was a time a couple chapters, back when the servers and Pharaoh said don't you see you've ruined is a real let them go.

Let them go. So you would think his counsel would be, you know, we just need to lick our wounds and let this go but but even in this hardening the heart uses your pride that persist after this and this hardening of the heart, for me at least, is closely tied to the idea of pride.

Something about when we overestimate who we are and why I'm doing this so you know, because it's the principle of the thing and alumni going to prove that I'm actually a righteous person, or something like that that that hardening ends up elevating us righteousness had anything to do in this case it was all power knows how are you being here here's reputations been soiled basically by what God is done to them. So this is a pride issue them in on previous plagues.

We talked about the pride issue and his pride comes up. I think this is last kind of corruption or pride in his life where he says he still has his army, his own powers as his country has been decimated but he still has his army and so so he does something that he even he himself should know is not in his best interest to me. What if God chooses to bring plague number 11 on them.

But it doesn't seem to register in his mind that what he's doing is chasing a guy who's proven himself to them already knows what God is like, why in the world. You do this and that's what a hardened heart.

That's what up right hardened heart does. It disregards what you know is true about God when you know it's true, but your consequences for the bad behavior it's a bad deal. So when we take home from this particular passage is this is a little bit of a short passage but introduces yeah next week. The crossing of the Red Sea that I will if you're waiting for us to read the crossing next week. I am walking away from this particular passage are two things one God had set this up right to live God deliberately brought the people into this quartered place where they could not rescue themselves and only God would be able to determine that powerless and then the third thing is, was way them was with them in this demonstrably visible way right in the cloud and the fire they could not deny that this phenomenon was with them going before coming behind making himself known making his presence known and were to see in the next chapter how he camps God camps between the Israelites and the armies of Pharaoh all night so nobody can go anywhere so you know brings us into a situation where it's very clear to us that we can't fix it ourselves, and only you can yeah and so do you find yourself in situations we seem powerless and does it seem powerless and that's what keeps you up at night because you realize how close you are to meet the situation. We you're in those situations and you and you then you often slip to the wrong conclusion which is maybe God doesn't know this is happening. Maybe this is accidental maybe got a little out of control right here paying attention – and someone says are you sleeping guy you and I and I think we often move into this area and this powerlessness to think were on her own room or suffer and fail and we have enough rationality and imagination to be able imagine how bad it could become it. So that's what we dwell on you know that the tip right here from here forward, even in the entire Old Testament is don't dwell on that. Dwell on what God has done and will do on your bed. That is a promise to do that. That's why this is a touch point. In many ways this is why God Costley reminds him on the one that got you out of Egypt. So when circumstances, you know what we what we call a living by site. We look at the side where I don't know when circumstances shout at you and threaten you do have a choice to either focus on them or to focus on the reality of the presence of God than they even had the advantage of having the cloud and the pillar there and so they could focus on the presence of God.

But we can focus on the presence of God to even in the midst of those kind of super, super, threatening circumstances, but just remind yourself God is not out of control, and in fact like what you just said or circumstance may indeed be deliberately determined by God so that he will be glorified brought you here to show you something you wouldn't see any other way right. This happened at the death of Lazarus and yet Jesus is excuses allowed them to be Heather back up against the wall with the death of Lazarus and Jesus says you know basically God will be glorified through this. But that means he deliberately allowed them to go through the trauma right he deliberately left and he could stop that.

But there was more at stake here than just saving a life that was about glorifying God. And that's exactly what happened with the death of Jesus, right exactly that that they were backed up against the wall. Jesus was dad at which sets the glory of action. Such stark contrast, God will be glorified and he demonstrates who he is without any kind of quality. The things he does and this was during what we are out of time and we left on a cliffhanger for next got her back up against the ocean. We got Pharaoh's armies facing the faith what's going to happen, who's going to hell to go to result. Do you know you know find out next week so glad you were this enjoys next to his resolve this dilemma back to the Red Sea on the next production of mainstream church is solely responsible for its content. To contact us with your questions or comments. Okay


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