“Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left” (Exodus 14:21-22).
This is one of the greatest manifestations of God in all of world history. No event recorded by humankind has ever matched this one as a picture of God’s glory. Try to imagine it: towering walls of water that grew higher by the minute, dividing a sea in two.
The Israelites crossed over on dry land to the other side. Once they were safely there, they turned back to see their Egyptian oppressors crushed by the towering waves crashing down on them. God had miraculously delivered his people to victory, and now they danced with joy and shouted with praise.
“Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously! … The Lord is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation; He is my God and I will praise Him; my father’s God, and I will exalt Him’” (15:1-2).
So what followed for Israel? Unbelievably, three days after their incredible victory, they were utterly discouraged. They thirsted for water in the wilderness and God had led them to the pool at Marah. But the water was bitter! “Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter” (15:23). And as the people spat the water out of their mouths, their faith was shattered. In just three days’ time, they had gone from the greatest mountaintop victory of all time to the lowest valley of despair.
What was going on? At the Red Sea and at the pool of Marah, God was proving his people: “There He tested them” (15:25). Simply put, God was with his people in their spiritual high, yet he was with them just as much in their low time. They just had to keep following the Lord until they finally made it to the Promised Land.
God is telling you in your dry spells, “I want you to learn to move on in faith because I am leading you somewhere!”
“Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down” (Isaiah 24:1, KJV). The prophet Isaiah warns us that in the last days God is going to “turn the world upside down.” According to this prophecy, sudden judgment is coming upon the earth, and it will change everything in a single hour. Within that short span, the whole world will witness fast-falling destruction upon a city and a nation, and the world will never be the same.
“The city of confusion is broken down; every house is shut up, so that none may go in … In the city desolation is left, and the gate is stricken with destruction” (Isaiah 24:10,12). Isaiah prophesies that the city is under judgment and cast into confusion. Every house is shut up, with no one coming or going.
What good can come of prophetic messages? Be reminded that Jesus warned Jerusalem of sudden devastation to come upon that city. It was going to be burned to the ground, with over a million people murdered. Christ explained his warning: “I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe” (John 14:29). He was saying, in essence, “When it happens, you’ll know there is a God who loves you and forewarned you.”
In days of prosperity, nobody wants to hear a message like Isaiah’s. But we cannot ignore it because it is here at our door. In such times, Paul says, when we have knowledge that sudden destruction is coming, we are not to tremble or sorrow as the world does. Instead, we are to comfort one another in faith, knowing that God rules over every aspect of our lives.
“Be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). Paul instructs, “Arm yourself with faith build up your belief now, before the day comes. Learn your song, and you’ll be able to sing it in your fire.”
This is the hope of our most holy faith: our Lord causes a song to come out of the darkest of times. Start now to build up your holy faith in him and learn to praise his majesty quietly in your heart. When you sing your song, it will strengthen and encourage your brothers and sisters. And it will testify to the world: “Our Lord reigns over the flood!”
We all fail, and we will continue to fail. But many in the Body of Christ think of themselves as total failures in everything. They feel they can’t do or say anything right and they condemn themselves repeatedly.
These burdened believers go to church hoping to hear something they can latch on to that might heal them of ongoing failure. But we don’t have to “get fixed” in order to earn his blessing. He has already blessed us! Jesus says, “You toil and spin in a way that flowers never do — yet God graces even plants with beauty and life. Don’t you know you’re infinitely more valuable in the Father’s eyes? You don’t have to worry and strive to please him. He enables you to be exactly who he wants you to be — because he loves you” (see Matthew 6:28-30).
Paul saw the Galatian Christians laboring under this kind of burden. He wrote to show them how God’s way is with his children: “God sent His Son … to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, ‘Abba, Father.’ Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir” (Galatians 4:4-7).
We are not slaves to any system of performance. Instead, Paul says, God has drawn us to himself tenderly, as his “own child.” Plus, Paul uses a word for “adopt” here that has two meanings. One meaning is strictly legal. But the other means “to put into place, to cause to belong.” Our heavenly Father doesn’t just legally adopt us, showing acceptance and approval. He gives us his attention, his affection, even his authority. And he blesses us with his own nature: “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” (1 Peter 1:23).
When Jesus went to the cross, it was a demonstration of his great love for us. He stood in our place because we’re so valuable to him. God wants to show you how powerfully you belong in his family. He has made you an heir not to an earthly burden, but to a great heavenly inheritance!
Jesus was performing amazing miracles! He cast out a legion of demons from a demoniac; a woman was instantly healed of a hemorrhage that had plagued her for years; a twelve-year-old girl, the daughter of a Jewish ruler, was raised from the dead. Whenever Jesus performed such mighty works, he told those he delivered, “Your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 7:50; 8:48; 17:19; and 18:42).
Jesus had lived for the first thirty years of his life in Nazareth and he went back to be among his own people. But in his hometown, he was met with the worst kind of unbelief. They all knew of Jesus’ great works, yet to them, such things happened elsewhere —in other cities, other places, other communities — not in Nazareth.
Elsewhere, people were rejoicing because of Jesus’ wonder-working power and there was great excitement. But the people of Nazareth could not receive for themselves. Why? Because they were spiritually dead. True, they were sincerely religious, and they knew Jesus and his family as good people. But they would not acknowledge Christ as God in flesh.
Beloved, this is the tragedy of many Christians today, as well as many churches. They hear of great moves of God elsewhere, with many mighty works being done and multitudes experiencing deliverance. But no one asks, “Why not here? Why not now?”
An entire generation of evangelicals has grown up acknowledging Jesus the man but they don’t acknowledge Christ as God here, God now in their own lives. Scripture tells us the Lord is no respecter of persons and he desires to do for anyone the same great works he does “elsewhere.” Yet, wherever faith wavers, God’s hands are tied: “[Jesus] could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them” (Mark 6:5).
Make no mistake: God’s power was readily available in Nazareth. Jesus stood in their midst, full of might and power, wanting to deliver, heal, revive and do mighty works. But, he declared, “I can’t work here.” Why? Because of their unbelief (see 6:6). Jesus was shocked at his own people, but he moved on.
The Lord chooses not to respond to unbelief. But the Lord is loving, full of mercy, and anxious to help you in your time of need. So just say to him, “Lord, I see what you have done in the lives of others so do it here also, not just elsewhere.”
The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works” (145:8-9).
If asked if you are a merciful person, you would probably answer, “I think I am merciful. To the best of my ability, I sympathize with those who suffer. I try to help others and when people hurt me, I forgive them and don’t hold a grudge.”
All true Christians have a good measure of mercy for the lost and hurting, certainly, and that’s something to be thankful for. But the sad truth is, there are biases in our hearts running like deep rivers, and over the years they have carved out borders of prejudice.
From what Scripture says, we know that our Savior would never turn down the desperate cry of a prostitute, a homosexual, a drug addict or an alcoholic who has hit rock bottom. Christ’s mercies are unlimited: there is no end to them. Therefore, as his church — Christ’s representative body on the earth — we cannot cut off anyone who cries out for mercy and deliverance.
All over the world, God’s people are experiencing suffering, afflictions and torture more than ever in their lifetime. And there is a divine, eternal purpose in the intensity of these spiritual and physical battles now being endured in the true body of Christ. “His tender mercies over all His works.”
Jesus never established vengeful, hate-filled armies; he used no carnal weapons. Instead, he pulled down strongholds by his mighty lovingkindness. Our Lord has but one battle plan: tender, merciful love. Indeed, love drives all his works on earth. He is the full expression of God’s love: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3).
The darker the days become, the more the world is going to need consolation, hope and love. People will need to see that others have been in the battle of their lives and were brought through. We need to be able to say, “I have proven the Christ I serve to be merciful and kind. He has loved me through everything, and his love and mercy can be yours, as well.”
No matter how hopeless things seem, he has tender mercies for you, to bring you through.