TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2011
THE GREATEST TEST OF ALL
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 (Exodus 14:21).
Before the Israelites was a path that would lead them to safety. In this crucial moment, God wanted his people to look at those walls and believe he would hold back the water until they arrived safely on the other side. Simply put, God wanted his people to have a faith that declared, He who began this miracle for us will finish it. He has already proven to us hes faithful.
As we look back, we see that all our fears were wasted. We shouldnt have been afraid when we saw the Egyptians coming. God put up a supernatural wall of darkness to protect us from them, and we shouldnt have feared their threats through the night. The whole time, God provided us with an illuminating light, while our enemies were blinded by darkness. We also wasted our fears on those fierce winds, when all that time God was using them to make our way of escape.
We see now that God desires only to do good to us. Weve seen his power and glory on our behalf. And now we are determined to no longer live in fear. It doesnt matter to us if those walls of water collapse. Live or die, we are the Lords.
There was a reason God wanted this kind of faith for Israel at this point. They were about to face a journey through the wilderness. They would endure deprivation, danger and suffering. So He said, I want my people to know Ill do them only good. I dont want them to be afraid theyre going to die every time they face danger. I want a people who arent afraid of death, because they know I am trustworthy in all things.
A true worshipper isnt someone who dances after the victory is won. It isnt the person who sings Gods praises once the enemy has been vanquished. Thats what the Israelites did. When God parted the Red Sea and they arrived on the other side, they sang and danced, praised God and extolled his greatness. Yet, three days later, these same people murmured bitterly against God, at Marah. These werent worshippersthey were shallow shouters!
A true worshipper is one who has learned to trust God in the storm. This persons worship isnt just in his words, but in his way of life. His world is at rest at all times, because his trust in Gods faithfulness is unshakable. He isnt afraid of the future, because hes no longer afraid to die.
Gwen and I saw this kind of unshakable faith in our twelve-year-old granddaughter Tiffany. Sitting at her bedside in her final days, we beheld in her a peace that surpassed all our understanding. She told me, Grandpa, I want to go home. Ive seen Jesus, and he told me he wants me to be there. I just dont want to be here anymore. Tiffany had lost all fear of death and deprivation.
That is the rest God wants for his people. Its a confidence that says like Paul, and like Tiffany, Live or die, I am the Lords. This is what makes a true worshipper.
I pray that all who read this message can say in the midst of their storm: Yes, the economy may collapse. Yes, I may still be facing a dark, stormy night. But God has proven himself faithful to me. No matter what comes, I will rest in his love for me. David Wilkerson