He said to them, Because of the littleness of your faith [that is, your lack of firmly relying trust]. For truly I say to you, if you have faith [that is living] like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to yonder place, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. -Matthew 17:20 AMPC
Last time I wrote I said we would pick up where I left off. Little did I know it would take me over 5 weeks to “pick up” again.
I am sure you need a little refresher- after all it has been 5 weeks… We talked about dead-ends and how God deliberately allows our journey to include dead ends as part of His perfect plan. We were using the account in Exodus 14 as our study guide. If you would like to reread the post you can do so here.
When the Israelites got to the dead end, God told them to retrace their steps and then He gave very specific instructions. They were to “turn around and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea.”
Allow me to explain the significance of their location. God told them to camp facing Baal Zephon. Baal Zephon was a cult mountain of worship. Baal Zephon was the false god of the storm and sea. People gathered to worship and offer sacrifices to this false god, and many truly believed he was the god of the sea. Anytime you see Baal in the Bible it is referencing a false god. There are thousands of false gods that people had, and continue to worship in the world. This one just so happened to be the God of the storm and sea. So God has the Israelites camp facing the Red Sea as they stared at the mountain of the false god of the sea on the other side of the sea.
When the Egyptians come after the Israelites, they are cornered. They are backed against the Red Sea and the mountain of the false god of the sea is in front of them, staring them in the face. And here comes the entire Egyptian army, including hundreds of chariots. The Israelites go into panic mode. They are crying out to Moses saying “Why did you bring us out here to die? It would’ve been been better for us to serve the Egyptians than coming out here to die in the wilderness!” Moses is trying to calm them down and then God speaks to Moses and says “Why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel to move forward towards the sea”.
Can I just stop here for a moment and say I am not sure why God tells Moses to stop crying out to him. I don’t read anywhere that Moses cried out to God. I have looked at over 15 translations and they all say the children of Israel were crying to Moses and Moses was calming them down when the Lord spoke to Moses. If any of you have any understanding or revelation on that please let me know as I am still puzzled by it. Perhaps the Lord was reading Moses’ heart at the time and even though Moses was trying to calm the others down, he himself was freaking out as well.
So God tells them to move towards the sea while staring at the mountain of the false god of the sea. They may even have been able to hear the worship and sacrifices occurring on the mountain. He then instructs Moses to lift up his rod and stretch it out over the sea to divide it. As Moses does that the Angel of God moves from the front of the camp to the back of the camp standing in between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front of the camp to the back of the camp so the Egyptians could not see anything.
I know this is a lot of Bible talk, but we need to see the significance in the details because whether we believe and accept it or not, our faith journey closely models that of the the Israelites, including the things they did wrong.
You see, in the midst of the moment, the Israelites failed to remember that the Lord Himself was WITH THEM. He was with them in the pillar of fire. He was with them in the cloud. He had also assigned the Angel of God to lead and go before them. Despite this provision and protection, when trouble came they freaked out. They were more aware of the situation around them and what they could see, then they were of God’s presence.
I don’t know about you, but I often find myself acting like the Israelites. I see the situation. I see the problem. I see the mountain in front of me and the enemy behind me. I cry out to God, not with faith but with a “why did you bring me here to die in this place?” mentality.
That’s where I have been for the last 5 weeks in fact. I have been camped out in front of my false god mountain. I didn’t know what the mountain was at the time. All I knew is that I was stuck and staring at a mountain, unable to move forward.
Camped out. Staring at the mountain. Crying out to God to deliver me out of the hands of my enemies. Getting angry when nothing changes. Crying more. Crying louder. Getting angrier until finally I am out of tears and exhausted. I give up. I move to plan B which is trying to ignore God. After all, if He isn’t going to answer me, I am going to ignore Him. Hey- I am being transparent with you because it’s What Real Women Do…
My Bible time is flat. My prayers are half-hearted. My frustration and my excuses increase. I am in pain. My heart is breaking. Why do I have to believe there is more for me? Why can’t I just be content with the fantastic life I have? Why am I compelled to share the love of God but have no idea where, when and how I am to do that? Why can’t I just be happy watching tv and living a life of distraction like many people?
God is good. His Word is true. He says he will never leave us or forsake us. He says he pursues us daily with his goodness. It’s true. In the midst of me running from him he pursued me. He woke me up two days ago at 4am with a vivid image of the mountain I was facing. The name of the mountain was FEAR and I had allowed it to become real in my life. Fear of failure. Fear of missing it. Fear of trying again. Fear of stepping out. Fear of not being able to survive one more disappointment. Fear of dying in the wilderness and never crossing over into my Promised Land. FEAR. FEAR. FEAR.
I would like to say I jumped out of bed ready to face my fear, but I didn’t. I stayed in bed drifting in and out of sleep still arguing with God that I was too tired to fight anymore. I didn’t care. I have a good life and I am going to learn to be content with it. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone…
I don’t know why I bother arguing with God. Never once have I won. The last two days have been horrible. I have tried so hard to ignore the mountain that was revealed to me. I have kept busy. I have distracted myself. But God is relentless. Everywhere I turn I see the mountain. I hear God whisper things like “Speak to it”. Yesterday He brought me to Deuteronomy 2:2-3“You have skirted this mountain long enough; turn north”. I tell you, He is relentless in His pursuit! He will allow you to be miserable until you listen to Him!
We may not have the rod Moses had. The rod of Moses is the one thing Amazon doesn’t sell (I just checked :). We have something better. We have the Word of God. It is a living Word. When we believe that our words carry the same Authority that Jesus carried (He tells us that many times yet we don’t truly believe it), we can speak to the mountain and tell it to move.
So here I am. Staring at the mountain of fear in front of me. Fear that says I just wasted two hours of my day writing this. Fear of lost time. Fear of hope deferred. Fear of people thinking I am a weirdo. Fear of being misunderstood. Fear of another disappointment and dead end.
Despite that stupid mountain I choose to believe God’s Word that says all I need is a MUSTARD SEED of faith. I have that. I have a mustard seed’s worth of faith. Not in me, but in God’s Word. I speak to that mountain of fear and say “MOVE!” I am no longer staring at you. I am turning north. I am looking to Jesus, the Author (love it) and perfecter of my faith.
I share this Word with you in hopes that you too will face your mountain. We all have them. But we don’t need to be ruled by them any longer. It’s time to wake up to who we are. It’s time to speak to the mountains and may MOVE- FROM HERE TO YONDER- MOVE OUT OF MY WAY!
Heavenly Father, I thank you for your relentless love. Forgive me for my fear, doubt, and unbelief. Forgive me for running from you. Thank you for pursuing me daily with your love, mercy, goodness, and grace. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for your Promises. Holy Spirit I ask you to reveal any mountains in my life that have dominion over me. Teach me how to use my rod, your Word, to declare and decree that the mountains in my life MUST MOVE and yield to the plan and purposes you have for me. Thank you for never leaving me or forsaking me. In Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!