He looked out at the impossibly deep sea that stretched out in front of him and had to ask if somehow he had misread the instructions from earlier on his journey that now led him here.
"Was it His voice in my spirit, or was it my own thoughts that I heard?" he thought to himself as his hands nervously clutched the rough wooden staff close to his chest..
Less than a mile behind him, was well over one million people that had left everything that they knew to be familiar in favor of following Moses and God's voice that he heard.
Behind them by only a few hours, was the army of a Pharaoh that had decided to renege on his ruling to let Moses and the children of Israel go free.
You know the story. The world knows the story and as much as anthropologists and scholars work to create documentaries disproving this event, they cannot explain why Egyptian chariot wheels are at the bottom of the Red sea, and even more incredible is that they try to say this event took place at the "Reed sea" which was only 12 inches deep.
Tell me how an entire army drowns in twelve inches of water again? I guess both versions of this event require massive amounts of faith after all.
It was the Red sea that they crossed and as I was reflecting on this year past and the year ahead, I wanted to share something that God put on my heart.
The red sea in this story is a symbol, to me, of barriers that stand between us and where God leads us in life.
The barrier is in fact a barrier because it appears to be uncrossable and for many, those barriers become stopping points.
Moses had a lot of words, but was not words that parted the red sea for Moses. It was an action based upon faith.
Last year may have brought you to a barrier in your life and just because the calender changes years, the barriers of last year can remain just as daunting in the new year.
It may be financial, health related, relationship difficulties, personal heartbreaks or even feelings of hopelessness that seem to stop you in your tracks but I want to encourage you with something that stood out to me in this story and what I have decided to take as my theme for this year ahead.
Go back with me to Moses' beginning in his relationship with God. We talked about it in "Hunk a hunk o burnin love"(Click here), and we pick it up here. In chapter 3, God gives Moses his purpose in life.
Identity always brings purpose (Click here) and when you discover who you are IN Christ, the purpose He has for you becomes clear.
God showed Moses why the events of his life took place the way that they did, and He explained moses' purpose to him. Lead my people out of bondage into what I have promised to them in their relationship with me. Moses had some objections, but notice what God gives him to work with. I want to give you 3 things to remember going into your new year that will determine what happens with you and your barriers.
"And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee. And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it. And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee." ~ Exodus 4:1-5
"What do you have Moses?"
He just had a staff. Moses had no clue on the day that he thought he was selecting a staff to heard sheep with, that he was in all actuality picking up and becoming familiar with the very thing that God had selected to overcome every obstacle Moses would face ahead. Long before the fourth chapter of Moses' story, the solution for his fourteenth chapter was already being prepared.
1. THE GOD WHO SPOKE TO YOU IN THE FOURTH CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE IS THE SAME GOD WHO PROVIDES IN THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE.
God does not change between chapters and His purpose for your life does not change. His gifts and callings are without repentance. He has called you to speak a message to the world and to the spirit of others. This is the fourth chapter of your life and this does not change because of the barriers that arise between the fourth chapter and the fourteenth chapter of your story.
I love that at each barrier, God reminded Moses by way of a question, "What is in your hand?" The stick. Look at the barrier of the fourteenth chapter.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen." ~ Exodus 14:15-18
2. GOD HAS GIVEN YOU EVERYTHING THAT YOU NEED IN ORDER TO UTILIZE THE VERY THINGS THAT HELD YOU BACK, TO GIVE HIM MAXIMUM GLORY.
The staff was the gift that God gave Moses. The size of the staff seemed insignificant in the face of the barrier, but it was God and not the staff all along. The staff (gift) was meant to demonstrate the incredible and inexhaustible strength of the God behind it.
What gifts has God given you?
I am quite sure that the reason God instructed Moses to use raise the staff is because Moses was not thinking of his gifts in the barrier moments. It takes God to remind us of such gifts and if you are facing a barrier today, ask Father to remind you of the ways that He has equipped you to overcome that barrier.
I promise you that He is bigger than the barrier and that His plan is bigger than a permanent stop.His purpose for you is MASSIVE!!! ( You had it all the time: Click Here)
What has He called you to do? What message has He given you to speak? What topic or line of truth always seems to dominate your conversations or thoughts?
"And 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 dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left." ~ Exodus 14:21-22
This past spring, I felt stirred to do something that I had never done before. I felt stirred to create a 13 week devotional book that was able to teach others what Father had been teaching me in my study time. Who I was to Him and who He was to me.
He used the Song of Solomon to throw the roof off of my understanding of His love for me and I began to write a devotional for each passage of that book. When it was done, I had 90 love letters from God to me, and had written 90 love letters back to Him. My relationships here and expectations of those relationships began to change and that is when I knew He wanted me to put this book to print. I knew it needed to go out because the book changed me.
I began to pray for the right publisher and the Lord made the choice very clear to me in a publisher that would not only help with the book but also with the direction and writing platform for this blog. I finished the manuscript after a summer of writing and when I looked at the cost of publishing and realized that this would be a barrier.
I look at what I need to accomplish this and what I have and the difference seems staggering, especially for a single income family.
I had to go back to the chapter four of this journey with my Father and rehearse His purpose that He spoke into my Spirit. (We all need to do this at the barriers we face.)
It was there in chapter four of this Journey with Father that I heard Him ask me, "What is that in thine hand?"
I have a blog that I truly love writing and through it, helping people see Him through it. I love to draw and create ant it was then that I saw what I was supposed to do.
3. HOLD OUT WHAT YOU NORMALLY WOULD HOLD BACK.
I love this passage in the barrier moment!
"But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: "
Hold out what you would normally hold back.
I'm holding what God has given me out and watching Him use such a seemingly small thing to do something that will impact more than just the one holding out the gift.
The gift was never for us to begin with. It was always about bring Him glory.
I know Moses took the next day off of work after this one!
He holds out, in the fourteenth chapter of his story, what God had given him way back in his fourth chapter and God did something incredible!!!
I began to draw art pictures and post them on social media and people began asking to purchase them. Each sale brought the barrier smaller and smaller bit by bit. This has truly been awesome to watch happen and I am excited to see how Father brings this dream to a reality!
Most of us hold back on the gifts that God has given to us, and parting with original artwork seemed like a horrible thing, but you have to ask, "Do I want the stick, or do I want the barrier open?"
I encourage you at your point of barrier, to look to the chapter four of your journey with God in this and rehearse what purpose He placed on your heart. Do NOT give up and do NOT settle to just sit at a barrier when your purpose calls you to go beyond it. It was not just Moses' barrier that He faced , other people depended on that barrier being overcome.
Your purpose is too great to quit, and your message needs to be heard! What has God given you to work with?
Size of gifts or talents matters not, God only uses them as an instrument of demonstrating His power to others!!!
"Hold out what you would normally hold back and watch Him move the sea!"
This is my motto for this new year and I am looking forward to seeing God prove Himself!
Climbing with you,
*If you would like more information on the upcoming devotional, it's progress or even ways that you can help in this project, please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org