Devotion 8: “Go Forward”

April  17th – 21st,  2018

Dr. Allen Roberts, Pastor
Euclid Avenue Baptist Church
Bristol, Virginia

In those times when we are facing our greatest challenges of faith, the cry of the human heart tends to center upon the following type of question:  “Where is God when I really need Him?”

This was precisely the type of situation we find the Israelites confronted with in Exodus 14.  They had just experienced deliverance from the cruel hand of Pharaoh’s bondage by the redeeming power of the one, true and living God.  Shortly after leaving the land of Egypt, though, they found themselves having to deal with their first test of adversity.  In front of them laid the impossible obstacle of crossing the Red Sea, while Pharaoh and his elite army rapidly approached them from behind.  There seemingly was no hope for escape for the Israelites.  They were in desperate need of a God-sized miracle.  Even greater than the need for a miracle, they were in dire need to learn that God alone was worthy of their trust in the face of every challenge and every trial they would experience.

Exodus 14:15 reads, And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me?  Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”  Take note of the last phrase of this verse, “go forward.”  The Hebrew word from which this phrase is translated literally means, “to pull up the tent pegs.”  The lesson to be learned here is that God expected the Israelites to move forward in obedient faith as they faced one of their greatest obstacles (cf. Exodus 14:15 – 18).  That generation of Israelites was to “go forward” based upon the…

  • the promise of God— “I will certainly be with you” (Exodus 3:12);
  • the presence of God— “I AM WHO I AM,” YHWH – Jehovah (Exodus 3:14);
  • the priority of God— “And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD” (Exodus 7:5 & 14:17 – 18).

We are arguably facing our most significant spiritual crossroad in our history as a church family.  We face the need of having to build a new structure that will cost a great deal of money; one which will demand a long-term commitment from all of us to see this vision become a reality.  What response are we willing to make as we face our own “Red Sea” dilemma?

The response I believe God is waiting for us to make is the same one He expected from that generation of Israelites He had delivered from Egypt.  The present needs of our facilities are undeniable, even multiplying.  The need for more efficient and effective facilities for future ministry is urgent.  I am convinced that the Spirit of God is prompting us to “pull up our tent pegs” and prepare to move forward in obedient faith.

Will we choose to respond with a renewed courage of faith and “go forward” with God to glorify Him?  Will we do so for the sake of preparing ourselves for a new future in reaching our community and city more effectively with the Gospel?

We are in the early stages of evaluating and assessing how this vision to build a new structure can possibly become a reality.  Are there weighty questions which still need to be asked and answered?  Let’s be honest; yes, there are.  Are there concerns regarding the financial cost of pursuing this vision?  Absolutely.  Do the obstacles we face from our limited, human perspective seem to be insurmountable, even overwhelming, to us?  At times, they sure can.  The weight of all these things can press hard against our will to trust God and respond in obedient faith.

But, I believe the weight of our questions, our concerns, and the obstacles we face make us prime candidates for one of God’s miracles!  So, would you join me in personalizing the following prayer as our own for a time such as this?

“Father, by Your grace and strength,…

  • move me out of my comfort zone so that I will know what it means to genuinely trust You over what I may see or feel or think as we face the challenges before us?
  • do not allow me to be satisfied in this journey of faith with a spirit of mediocrity and lukewarmness.
  • grant me the measures of faith I need to see Your greatness and faithfulness in renewed ways.
  • grant me the courage of faith I need to embrace Your “promised land” plan for  Euclid Avenue Baptist Church, my family, and even my life.  Amen.”

Church, let’s “pull up our tent pegs” and take “our step forward” for the glory of our God and Savior.

Scripture passages for reading and meditation:

  • Exodus 14:1 – 31
  • Jeremiah 33:3
  • Psalm 37:3 – 6
  • Proverbs 3:5 – 10
  • Hebrews 11:1 – 40
  • Nehemiah 2:17 – 20

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