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Encountering the Power of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
December 23, 2020 7:00 am

Encountering the Power of God

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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December 23, 2020 7:00 am

We expect God to be the one who gets us out of trouble, not the one who gets us into it. But in this lesson, Dr. Tony Evans will tell us why, sometimes, thats exactly what happens.

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Faith often has to operate when fear is present. Faith does not automatically eradicate fear.

But Dr. Tony Evans says it can do something even more powerful. Faith, when it is operating, overrides fear because fear immobilizes. Faith moves. This is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. When we're up against impossible circumstances, it's perfectly natural for what we feel to contradict what we believe.

But Dr. Evans says our emotions aren't as important as what we choose to do next. You'll want to turn to Exodus chapter 13 as he explains. Today I want to look at an encounter with God's power.

And this encounter with God's power comes in the context of a dilemma. Moses has come through the ten plagues and he's now leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. Pharaoh has responded now finally to Moses' call to let my people go.

And so the people now are on their way out from slavery to freedom. They're excited. They're looking forward. They've been told that there's this promised land, this purpose of God that God is going to take them to, and things are looking rosy. As they leave, on their way out it says in verse 17 of chapter 13 that God did not leave them by way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near.

I want you to catch verse 18. It's God led them. Their dilemma is going to come about when God is leading them. Their dilemma is going to happen when they're in the will of God. Their dilemma is going to occur when they're being obedient, because it says God was leading them. Not only was God leading them into what would be a dilemma, it says God led them the long way around. And so they find themselves in a bad scenario where God is only option and this all takes place when they're in His will.

Because when God is getting ready to let you see Him in a way you've never seen Him before, expect that you will be in a situation that you can't handle. Verse 8 of chapter 14 says, the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel. Come on, God, why can't you just leave the people alone?

Just leave them alone. So now they see they're camping by the sea in verse 9. So they can't go that way, but Pharaoh's heart has been hardened and God has said go after them. So they can't go this way. So they're either going to drown or be slaughtered.

That's called a dilemma. There's no salute because there was no other direction to go in. As Pharaoh said, they are shut in. We got them now.

We own them. As Pharaoh drew near, verse 10, the sons of Israel looked and behold the Egyptians were marching after them. So they do what many Christians do. They cry out to God, help!

Help! While simultaneously complaining to man. Verse 11, 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? 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. So the conflict that they are in, the Red Sea and the Egyptians, produces a spiritual conflict within them. Because on the one hand it says they cried out on to God, but then on the other hand it says they complained to Moses.

So I'm calling on God, but I'm blaming man. So Moses says to the people, do not fear. Stop worrying. Be calm.

It's going to be okay. Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord. So he brings in a spiritual perspective to their human dilemma. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. You are complaining about a situation God put you in, but you're so focused on man you don't see that. You do not see that this is the divine action.

You only see the human participants. He's not talking about lying about a situation. There is the Red Sea and there is Pharaoh's army. It's not the be silent part. The be silent part is missing the spiritual in the midst of the circumstantial. They were now in the position of submitting the spiritual authority. You must have spiritual authority in your life.

Spiritual people to whom you can appeal when you don't have spiritual answers yourself. And all you can see are the circumstances. Ah, verse 15. Then the Lord said to Mo, why are you crying out to me?

Tell Israel to go forward. Now the problem with that verse is there's nothing stated about Moses crying out to him. There's no statement about Moses crying.

It's that the people cried out, but then God turns to Moses and says, why are you crying out? Because even leaders sometimes get shaky. Even leaders sometimes have their faith challenged about the very thing they're preaching. So Moses is up here talking about God's going to fix it. He's going to fix it.

He's a way maker. He's going to fight for you. And at the same time mumbling under his breath, going, God, come on, God, you better hurry up and do something. He says, what I want you to do is tell the people now it's time to move. Tell them to move forward.

Now here is a principle. He had just said, stand still. Do nothing. But now he gets another message that says, tell them now to go forward.

So here it is. When God puts you in a dilemma and there is nothing that you can do or should do, you do nothing. When God hasn't given you something to do, that means there is not something he wants you to do yet. But now he tells them to move forward. It says by faith they cross the Red Sea. Remember, faith is in your feet, not in your feelings. So I don't care how faithless you feel if your feet are not moving, when God has given you instruction to move, you are faithless while feeling full of faith. On the other hand, you can feel no faith at all but be full of faith because you're walking in faith contradictory to your feelings of lack of faith. Because faith is not in your feelings, faith is in your feet. So even those who are doubting, once their feet started moving, Hebrews 11 29 says they did it by faith because faith often has to operate when fear is present. Faith does not automatically eradicate fear. But faith, when it is operating, overrides fear because fear immobilizes. Faith moves even when you are fearful. They're scared because in every direction it's death.

Now here is the secret that you have to know. Until God sees faith, you don't see God. Remember Hebrews 11 6, without faith it's impossible to please God? You will see over and over again God not working until people did something.

So a lot of us are waiting on God when God is actually waiting on us. Because we talk in a good faith game but our feet haven't moved. We haven't operated in what He has told us to do. When He's not giving you anything to do, you do nothing.

But when He gives you something to do, you move. He says, tell the people to move, and so the people move. Moses, lift up your staff.

He lifts up the rod, now called the rod of God. He says, I will, again this word in verse 17, harden the heart of the Egyptians. I'm going to make them harder. I'm going to make them hate you more.

I'm going to make them come after you worse than before. So that they will go in after them, and I will be honored through Pharaoh and his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. So Moses stretches out his hand with the rod, verse 21, and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong wind all night and turned the sea into dry land so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through, verse 23, then the Egyptians took up pursuit.

Okay, now, you're an Israelite. You see this sea out there. Only when they start moving, something happens. The first miracle was the opening up of the Red Sea, the opening up and two walls of water creating a pathway. That's miracle number one. Miracle number two says they crossed on dry land. Well now, if you're at the bottom basin of a waterway, the land's not dry. You got mud.

You got a muddy basin. That's why he let the wind blow all night until it dried out the basin so that now they could walk and not get muddy. They could, horses and mules could pull and not get stuck in the mud.

The wheels of the wagons that they carried wouldn't get trapped. So God not only opened up a way, He made the way doable. So there were two miracles, not one. When Dr. Evans continues our message in just a moment, he'll talk about the miracles we can expect to see in our own lives when we start moving by faith.

Stay with us. As we turn the page on 2020 and get ready to step into a new year, the world is looking for answers. With so many reasons to be hopeless in our media-crazed society, you can help bring messages of hope and life with your year-end gift today. As our thanks, we'll send you Dr. Evans' 20 most popular sermons on CD and MP3, as well as his devotional book, Called for a Purpose. Visit for details. Remember, you'll get a total of 20 of Tony's most popular messages focusing on the keys to spiritual growth, biblical ways to beat worry and anxiety, how to know God cares about you personally, and much more. So get in touch with us today, make your generous year-end contribution, and let us send you The Best of Tony Evans 2020 and his popular devotional book, Called for a Purpose. Make the arrangements at or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222.

Team members are standing by to help you day and night. Again, that's 1-800-800-3222. Well, right now, Dr. Evans is back with more of today's message. But many Egyptians, you've got to be out of your mind to see a sea open up, the water wall on both sides, this whole army of almost 2 million people walking through, and you go in there after them. You've got to be crazy. But they were made crazy by God hardening their heart. So God may be hardening the heart of your coworker, making them treat you bad, worse. He may be hardening the heart of your boss, making him treat you worse, or that person in your life, or that circumstance. See, that's why you've got to be in the will of God, because when he makes it worse, he's using it.

I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and the Egyptians will come after you. Psalm 77 verses 17 and 19 goes into it more. It tells you it was thunder and then lightning, and it was all kind of meteorological activity taking place during this event.

So it wasn't just this quick read here. The psalmist says all kind of stuff was going on. Psalm 77, 16 and 19, rainstorms and earthquakes and all kind of things were part of this scenario. What was God doing? He was letting you see who he is. The result of all of this is in the last verse of the chapter. It says in verse 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. Why does God put you in a dilemma when you're in his will?

So you can see something. See, some of us ought to be tired of other folks' testimony. Some of us ought to be tired about other folks telling us what God can do. God wants you to see it for yourself, which means you need your own dilemma. You need your own set of circumstances that you can't fix legitimately. You know if you've got to be illegitimate to fix it, you're out of the will of God. And if God hasn't allowed you to fix it, he doesn't intend for you to fix it.

In fact, he may be making it worse on purpose so you see something. It says when they saw the power of the Lord, they encountered God's power. You know what those people were saying? They said, take us back to Egypt. You know what God was trying to do?

He was trying to deliver them from something in their past. But you can get so used to yesterday that when the day goes bad on you, you want to go back. He says, I'm going to deliver you from yesterday because I have a different tomorrow. But for me to deliver you from yesterday to take you to a different tomorrow, I'm going to create confusion today. So I want you to look at your dilemma that you're either in or that you will face differently. If you're not in the will of God, get in the will of God so that he can turn it into something he can use. If you're not walking by faith but only walking by sight, begin to walk by faith and no longer live a life of complaining, acknowledging the reality but not blaming man for something God has done. Because you now have this bigger view of God who wants to show you his power so that he can blow your mind in a catch-22. Some of you have heard this story because you've been here for a while.

But the newer people may not have heard the story. And so I want to conclude my time with telling you one of my dilemma moments, one of our dilemma moments. We were meeting at a school in the early days of our ministry. We did not have a permanent home at that time.

We were meeting at this school, and the school board said we could no longer meet there. We would have to, in a couple of weeks, find another place to have worship. But we didn't have a place to go.

We probably had 150, 200 folks at that particular point at the end of the 70s, and that was all we had. We had no place to go, and we couldn't find a place in two weeks. And so we were in a catch-22.

The authorities said, you have to leave. But we had no place to go that could hold 200 people. We had scoured. We had looked.

We found no place, and the clock was ticking, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. We were in a catch-22. We were in a dilemma.

What would we tell the people? We went back to the school board and asked them for an extension of time. They said they do not think we can get it because there were too many board members with this whole thing of church and state that were against the church meeting in a school. But then they said, but we will have a final official vote, but the person who we talked to said, let me tell you now, there are too many people against you. We were between a rock and a hard place, and there was no human solution. All we did was call on God to intervene and to do something that was out of our hands. It was now the day of the vote, and we knew the votes were against us.

We had been told that by an insider. The meeting was supposed to happen at a certain time, but the time went on and on and on. I guess we're sitting out there close to two hours when it should have been finished in 30 minutes waiting for a decision. Finally, a lady comes out of the meeting. She says, I am sorry it's taken so long, but two of our board members are missing. So we tried to wait for them so we could have a full council vote, but they have not showed up, and we have decided to go ahead with the vote. We went ahead with the vote, and by one vote, you have gotten approval to stay in the school.

By one vote. When she finished coming out, the two who were missing rushed in. The two who were missing rushed in, but the vote had already been taken.

Oh, but that's not the good part of the story. The good part of the story is why they were late. These two decided to ride together. When they decided to ride together, they got off of Polk and 67, and there was an accident at the light. The accident at the light held up traffic for almost two hours where the traffic could not move.

So within that two hours, the vote was taken. So by the time the traffic got cleared away and they rushed in, it was too late, because God had already set up a block. The story in Exodus chapter 18 says that the cloud and the pillar of fire went from in front of the Jews and went to the back of the Jews to create a block so that Pharaoh's army could not get to them until they crossed over. So what God did was He took the angel of the Lord and He left from in front of old cliff.

He went to the back of old cliff. He went down to Polk and 67, allowed an accident to occur at just the right time for just the right amount of cars in order to block what God's purpose was. He created a dilemma.

Now the good news of that for you is that I have never forgotten it. So any time now we run into a dilemma, I remember what happened at the end of the 1970s. Any time we run into a problem, I remember that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I remember to tell you, let's move forward when God says, move even though we don't see how it's going to work out because the God who can create an accident at just the right time can do whatever He decides to do in the dilemmas in our lives as long as we are in the center of His will. The biggest dilemma in human history is how sinful people like you and me can ever be reconciled to a sinless God. It's a problem we could never solve on our own. But fortunately, Jesus solved it for us.

Here's Dr. Evans to tell us more. If you want to know for certain that you're on your way to heaven when you die, then I invite you right now to go to Jesus Christ and let Him know that you believe He died for you, that you believe He arose for you, and that you want to put your trust in Him alone for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of eternal life. If you really want to go to heaven, He'll give you a free ticket there, but you must go to Him for it and believe Him to give it to you. If you do that, you'll be saved right now.

Find out more about what it means to be a real Christian. Visit and follow the link that says Jesus. There, Tony will explain everything you need to know, and you'll find some free resources to get your new life started right. is also the place to go to get the special resource package I mentioned earlier, The Best of Tony Evans 2020. For a limited time, this giant audio collection of his most requested messages of the year is available as our gift, along with his popular devotional book, Called for a Purpose, when you make a year-end contribution to help us keep his teaching on this station. Get more details and make the arrangements today at And be sure to take time to browse through our huge collection of CDs, DVDs, books, Bible studies, and more. Again, that's, or call our resource center at 1-800-800-3222. Team members are standing by to help with your resource request day and night.

So dial 1-800-800-3222. The well-known Christmas carol, Deck the Halls, proclaims, "'Tis the season to be jolly," and there is a lot to be cheerful about during the holidays. But Dr. Evans wants to make sure that amidst the food, fun, and family time, we don't miss the key reason to celebrate. I hope you'll join us for that tomorrow. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is made possible by the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-12 13:51:13 / 2024-01-12 13:59:55 / 9

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