A New Beginning
A New Beginning
By: Stephanie Adams
As human beings, we are all creatures of habit. We like to do things a certain way, live our lives a certain way, and we get really uncomfortable when something happens to cause change. What if someone came along to shake things up? Thatís exactly what happened with the children of Israel when Moses came to tell them of Godís promise for them. God had sent Moses to lead His people out of the slavery of the Egyptians. They were reluctant to listen to Moses at first, and Pharaoh wasnít willing to set them free at the command of Moses or God. Then after witnessing signs & wonders, plagues & death, the children of Israel were ready to be set free and Pharaoh agreed to release them. Choosing freedom wasnít easy. They had to leave behind the only way of life they had ever known. Even though they had been slaves, they found a sense of security in knowing exactly what to expect. In their decision to leave Egypt, they had faith enough to believe in something they couldnít even imagine. FREEDOM!! But, what did that mean? They were not only slaves, they had adapted to the Egyptian way of life. They followed their customs, and worshipped their gods. They had a belief in what they could see and touch. (Exodus 3:7-8, Exodus 4:29-31)
In the same way, in the New Testament Jesus came to shake things up for this chosen people. He too was sent on a mission with a promise for His people. He was the Messiah. The one they had been waiting for, and yet they didnít recognize Him when He was among them. They were expecting a king not a servant. When He wasnít what they had expected Him to be, they rejected Him. They mocked Him. They despised Him. They had Him crucified. The rejection of their Messiah opened the door for a Gentile nation to also receive the promises of God. A new beginning of what is known as the Christian faith. Please follow me in the comparison of the children of Israel and the birth of the Christian faith. (Ephesians 3:6)
EXIT FROM EGYPT/THE CROSS (CHOOSING FREEDOM)
The children of Israel made the choice to believe in the promise of God, and to be free. Though they didnít know how to be free, they had taken the first step toward the promise. They chose to believe in a God they couldnít see or touch. Leaving behind what had been their lives, they had to learn a whole new way of living. They had to learn about this God who had made this promise of freedom. They had found that trust, but they had to trust Him completely. (Exodus 12:35-38)
When Jesus died on the cross, it paved the way for freedom from sin for all who would believe. Belief is always the first step to a new beginning. At the cross, we choose freedom from sin. This is the place where we find forgiveness through repentance, salvation through grace, and redemption through mercy. This is the place where the old man dies. We have to get to know this God who provided salvation (freedom). Now, we have to learn to trust Him completely. (Hebrews 10:10 & 18, John 15:16, Galatians 5:1, Proverbs 3:5-6)
THE RED SEA/THE RESURRECTION (PRESSING FORWARD)
In Exodus, the children are standing at the Red Sea, and they know the enemy (the Egyptian Army) is behind them, and the Red Sea in front of them. In that moment, they feel trapped in a situation and allow fear to override their faith. They are ready to go back to being slaves. Rather than keep pressing forward in faith. God made a way of escape. He parted the Red Sea and every person with them made it to the other side, and they watched as the waters swallowed their enemies. The door was then closed on their past. They were now even closer to Godís promise. (Exodus 14:21-31)
For us, after receiving forgiveness at the cross, we too come to a Red Sea. With the enemy following behind us reminding us of our past, and an ocean of un-sureness in front of us. Standing there we ponder about whether to go back to the life we used to know, or keep pressing forward to the promise. He will always part the Red Seas in our paths, because itís in the pressing forward that the new man comes to life. (Luke 24:26, 46-49)
THE WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE (FAITH OVER FEAR)
The children of Israel had seen what God could and would do for them, and still they doubted. The wilderness was a place on the way to the promise it was never intended to be a dwelling place. It was supposed to be a time of learning to trust God no matter what. Though God provided their every need, they complained and they still doubted. They held on to a part of the past, relying on their own strength to get to the promise. Their complaints and lack of trust only delayed the promise. Some only got to see the promise from a distance but never got to walk into it, including Moses. (Exodus 16:8, Deuteronomy 32:10, Deuteronomy 32:52)
After we become born again, the trials and tests of this life come at us from every direction. We can determine how long this experience will last by choosing faith over fear. Just trusting that God will provide whatever we need when we need it. By choosing to trust Him completely, staying in prayer, and believing in the promise. We have to know that if God makes a promise, He will lead us to it. He will provide our every need in the wilderness. (Hebrews 3:7-15, 1 Corinthians 10:11-13)
A TASTE OF THE PROMISE/ THE UPPER ROOM (LEARNING TO RECEIVE)
When the children of Israel finally reached the promise, some of them still feared it would not be theirs. God told Joshua what to do and exactly how to do it, they fought the battle and they won. God never promised them it would be easy, he just told them it would be theirs. Jericho was the first city, the first taste of victory. They had to continue winning battles, believing God for the full measure of the promise. If their faith had failed them, they wouldnít have been able to pursue the rest of the land. (Joshua 6:21, Acts 7:44-45, Hebrews 4:8)
In the same way, we have battles to fight to get to the promise for us. In the upper room experience, the followers of Christ received the Holy Spirit. They spoke with new tongues, and received power and gifts through the Holy Spirit. They had the Comforter to be with them through every trial and circumstance. We too have the Comforter. We too have the power to make it through the trials of this life on our way to the promise. Keeping faith in the One who made the promise, we will be able to endure. (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:1-1-5)
THE PROMISE FULFILLED
For the children of Israel, taking the Promised Land was a tough trial, but they did it. They believed they could and they did. After the walls of Jericho came down, their faith was strengthened. Stepping into the fullness of the promise God had given them was the reward for obedience. Remember, there were many who never got to step into the Promise because of their attitudes. (Joshua 24:18)
In the same way, we have to stay in faith to receive the fullness of the promises God has made to us. No matter the trials and circumstance of this life, we have to hold on to the promise God made so many years ago. Jesus is gone to prepare a place where we will spend eternity with Him. He will return for His bride. (The Church) When things get difficult, we have to remind ourselves of the times when God brought us through against all odds. We have to keep believing in the promise, or we will never walk in the fullness of it, but only get to see it from a distance. (Hebrews 10:32-39, Hebrews 11:37-38, Revelation 22:7, 12, 20)
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Great message, very interesting, and encouraging, thank you.