03/05/Th – Whom Shall I Fear?

Exodus 13:17-14:31; Matthew 21:23-32; Psalms 27:1; Proverbs 10:26

OT: “When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about the people and said, “What have we done? We have released Israel from serving us.” So he got his chariot ready and took his troops with him; he took six hundred of the best chariots and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, with officers in each one… As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and there were the Egyptians coming after them! The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation that he will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet.” …Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left.” (‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:5-7, 10-14, 21-22‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

The Bible records that Israel was camped between Migdol and the Sea. Historians believe that Migdol was located at the southern most point of the Sinai Peninsula. If that is the case, then the Israelites would have been backed into a corner with no way to escape. Behind and beside them were mountains, and in front of them was the Gulf of Aqaba, part of the Red Sea. The only way out was blocked by over 600 of Pharoah’s best military warriors on chariots. It was an inevitable blood bath… a completely impossible situation. No wonder the Israelites were terrified. No wonder they were accusing Moses of leading them to their death. But Moses didn’t lead them there – the Lord let them there, and the Lord was about to make an example of the Egyptian elite. So Moses told the crowd, “Stand firm, shut your mouths, and watch what the Lord will do.” Sometimes that is what we need to do when the Lord leads us into impossible situations: we need to stand firm in faith, stop the whining and complaining, and watch the hand of the Lord make a way where there is no way.

NT: ““What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go work in the vineyard today.’ “He answered, ‘I don’t want to,’ but later he changed his mind and went. Then the man went to the other and said the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he answered, but he didn’t go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.”” (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭21:28-32‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

While Jesus was ministering in the Temple, he was surrounded by all the religious leaders and they began to try to intimidate Him by questioning His authority. But Jesus, completely secure in Who He was and the authority He had, didn’t let the intimidation threaten Him. Instead he turned their question around on them. When they refused to give Him a direct question, He told this parable. Jesus was basically telling the Pharisees that they were the son that talked a good game, said what he was supposed to say, but was rebellious in his heart. The tax collectors and prostitutes that they considered scum would be allowed into the kingdom before them, because, although they rejected God’s word at first, they were now believing it and responding to it. The Pharisees had no real authority because they were all talk. Even the tax collectors and prostitutes would be given more authority than them because of their faith and obedience. Having the right words to say means nothing if you don’t back it up with action. ”Faith” without works is dead, because without the works, its just empty words and philosophy. Jesus was not full of empty words. He backed up His words with demonstrated power and authority, and would not be backed into fear by anyone.

Psalms: “The Lord is my light and my salvation — whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life — whom should I dread?” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:1‬ ‭CSB‬‬)

If the Lord, the God of all Creation, the author of the laws of nature is your light in the midst of dark times – if He is your sure salvation in impossible situations – if He is your impenetrable fortress, then who in the world would you fear… who would you allow to intimidate you from walking out His plans and purposes? As Paul wrote in Romans 8, if God is for you, then who could possibly stand against you? If we are submitted to God and under His power and authority, then we are in the safest and most secure place on earth.

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