What do you do when trapped between hell and high water? That was the question asked and answered in part 8 of the Out of Exodus sermon series. The children of Israel were free but not delivered completely.
Rewind to Exodus 13:17-18. Here we learn that when you leave Egypt, you need to be armed for battle. Egypt doesn’t give up without a fight. The demons that have held you in bondage always make a “last stand.” (See Luke 11:24-26.) That’s why we’re to put on the full armor of God, so we can take our stand against the devil and hold our ground. (See Eph. 6:10-18.)
The Lord led them by day in a pillar of cloud and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light. There wasn’t a time when God’s presence wasn’t with them. Here, then, is another important lesson about leaving Egypt: When you leave Egypt, you’re never left alone. God is with you always. He never sleeps; He never slumbers. Twenty-four-seven He watches over you to give you guidance in the daytime and light so you don’t stumble at night.
But Pharaoh doesn’t give up that easily! The king wanted his slaves back and was angry he had been humbled by the God of Israel. Pharaoh marshalled an overwhelming show of force intended to dominate the fleeing slaves (Ex. 14:9). It was high drama, but that’s the way God likes it. Rewind to Romans 5:6. When was the “right time?” When we were powerless. When you’re powerless between hell and high water, that’s the right time for God to do something great.
For a moment, it seemed they were better off in Egypt than they were at that moment trapped between hell and high water. We sometimes feel we were better off in sin because of the trouble that following God brings. But we are never better off in bondage to sin. When you leave Egypt, it takes courage to be free but the alternative is hell.
“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still,” Ex. 14:13-14. With these words, God shows us all how to face fear when you’re between hell and high water.
- When you’re between hell and high water, “Do not be afraid.” God is love. There is no fear in love. Perfect Love casts out all fear. To abandon fear is to trust God’s word over our emotions.
- When you’re between hell and high water, “stand firm.” If you believe that where you are now is where God has led you, stay put. If God led you to it, He’ll lead you through it.
- When you’re between hell and high water, “you will see the salvation of the Lord.” This is a promise that comes in response to casting off fear and standing firm. By being obedient to God, you will view with your own eyes the salvation of God.
- When you’re between hell and high water, “The Lord will fight for you.” (See Isa. 49:25.) The battle is the Lord’s.
- When you’re between hell and high water, “Be still.” (See Psalm 46:10; Isa. 30:15.) If everyone right now would just be still and know God, a spirit of confession and repentance would transform our nation.
The cloud that had been in front of them, goes behind them between the chariots of Egypt and the people of God. (See Ex. 14:19-20.) When you’re between hell and high water, remember, God’s got your back! Once again, the presence of God makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel—between the children of Light and the children of Darkness. Don’t you try to erase the distinction! Quit trying to be like the world. They’re groping in the dark. Bring the light, yes, but don’t turn off your light to join the darkness. Stay in the light!
God makes a cut in the waters exposing a land bridge over which the trapped Israelites could escape. Would they trust God enough to cross over? It was a life or death commitment. Imagine those huge walls of water on either side—hell on one side and high water on the other. And God says, “Do you want to be free? Follow me!”
With the cloud above them and the sea on both sides, the Israelites were enveloped by water when they passed through the sea, and in this sense were baptized. (See 1 Cor. 10:1-2.) It was an all or nothing commitment that represented cleansing from their past allegiance to sin in the darkness of Egyptian bondage, and a pledge of loyalty to God through His appointed representative, Moses.
Just as it was necessary for Israel to be baptized in the Red Sea in order to experience deliverance, it is necessary for us to be baptized to experience the same. In John 3:5: Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit” (John 3:5).
Into the sea they went…on dry land! The Egyptians eventually pursued them (14:23) but God overthrew their chariots and made the wheels come off. The Lord caused the waters to return as they were and swallowed the entire Egyptian army. Not one of them survived.
Through that Red Sea baptism, the issue of ownership was forever settled. Egypt was forsaken and consumed in the waves. “And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him.” (Ex. 14:31) They were under “New Management.” No longer were they the property of Pharaoh, they were now the Lord’s and the baptism in the Red Sea marked the transition of ownership.
Every time a soul is baptized it is a judgment on the “gods of Egypt.” Baptism is a declaration that the issue of ownership in my life is settled. I’m through shopping and not taking any more offers. It’s “closing day,” and when I come up out of the water, like a newborn baby, I’m under New Management. I receive the “keys” to a new life. The old has gone, the new has come.
When we pass through the waters of baptism, we make a public declaration to God and to every principality and power in the spirit world that we are choosing to die to Egypt and live to God. And there’s no turning back! Full deliverance requires full commitment, because it required a full commitment on the cross to purchase our full deliverance.
As the Israelites came up out of the water onto the opposite shore, what do you think they did? They helped the others. When you leave hell and make it through high water, you help others make it out. When you leave, bring your children and families with you!
“And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’” (Acts 22:16). You know the truth. You know it’s time to change ownership. God says, “Trust me! Follow me in! Why are you crying out to me? What are you waiting for? Get up, go forward, be baptized and wash your sins away.” Is there a decision you need to make today in obedience to God? I encourage you to “Go forward.” Deliverance is just a decision away.
Pastor Randy Maxwell