REBUILDING A SHATTERED FAITH –based on Exodus 14:5-31
Israel’s faith was completely shattered. They went from the highs of Joseph to the lows of slavery in a period of 400 years. What caused their faith to shatter?
Bondage–They were under the complete domination of Egypt. When Moses initially asked just to take the people to worship in the desert, Pharaoh responded with even harsher quotas of bricks, and provided no straw to make them! The bondage was so severe, the people lost hope and could not believe it could change. Their faith was handcuffed by the slavery they were in!
Discouragement–After this episode, when Moses and Aaron tried to encourage them, the people did not want to hear. Why? If God cared, then why were they in the position they were in? Wouldn’t God have set the people free by now? Maybe the gods of Egypt was more powerful than the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They lost faith in the power of God because of their circumstance. They were discouraged.
Fear–The nation was afraid of Egypt. Even as they witnessed the ten plagues, and were allowed to be set free, they still were afraid of Egypt. As soon as they saw the army in pursuit, they lost heart and attacked Moses. When we are afraid, we go into fight/flight, a self-preservation mode. We take matters into our own hands and do irrational things. Fear took the legs out from under Israel, that they simply wanted to just die in bondage!
Adversity–Israel was trapped with no apparent way out. The Red Sea was in front of them, and Egypt was behind. Every path appeared to be a lose-lose. And in the end, Israel grumbled against Moses and God.
Have we ever felt this way? Have we experienced our Rocky 3 moment, where we have gone from proud champion to standing on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, ready to throw in the towel? Have we seen our faith shatter?
Do we live in bondage? Have we bought into the lie that our lives can truly never be set free from that which controls us (drugs, alcohol, pornography, gambling, abuse, debt, weight, etc.)? Have we given up hope that life can change?
Do we live in discouragement? Have we come to believe that God is no longer who the Bible says he is? Have we allowed circumstances to discourage us (sickness, loss, setbacks, bad news, pain, broken relationships, financial struggles, unanswered prayers)?
Do we live in fear? Have we been so consumed by fear that we aren’t willing to trust God? Do we feel the need to stay on the sidelines?
Do we face adversity? When we are in the midst of it, are we blind to the working of God behind the scenes? Or do we become so stressed that we try to take matters into our own hands?
If we answered yes to any of the above, then we understand a little bit how Israel felt and their faith was shattered. But I have good news friends! By the end of Exodus 14, the people went from having a shattered faith to, in Exodus 15, singing songs of faith and encouragement! How was their shattered faith restored?
First, God is always with you. In the midst of the nation’s lack of faith, God took the first step. The angel of the Lord and the pillar of cloud/fire moved from in front of the nation to behind the nation. God himself came in between the nation of Israel and Egypt, providing light to Israel and darkness to Egypt. Even when we are at our lowest point in faith, God will remind us of his presence. He will show us he has us in his hands!
Second, God wants us to lift up our hands in surrender. When Moses inquired of the Lord as to what to do, God asked Moses to lift up his hands. Moses then encouraged the people to do the same–not literally with the staff, but with their attitude. The people were encouraged to stand firm and be still. Literally, in Hebrew that meant to drop all of their cares and acknowledge their need of help. It was an act of surrender, to stop striving to find a solution and get themselves out of the way. In other words, sometimes all we need to do is say, “God, we need help!”
Third, God will reveal the path. God will make a way when there seems to be no way. He caused the water to part, but not instantaneously! It took all night for the water to separate. But in the midst of bondage, discouragement, fear, and adversity, God began to reveal the way forward. God is working on your behalf!
Last, we need to be willing to take the next step. God parted the sea, but the nation had to go through and walk the path. We have to choose to remain either where we are or take the road that God has opened for us.
God is working wonders! Egypt also had to make a choice–to either turn back, or continue the pursuit and go against God. But when our enemy continues to pursue us, God will have the victory!
Questions for reflection
1) Which of the four areas that can shatter our faith–bondage, discouragement, fear, and anxiety–do you struggle with the most?
2) Take the time to prayerfully reflect over your life. Do you recall a dark season in your life where you saw God intervene, even though you were not necessarily expecting it? What did that look like?
3) Why is it difficult to truly surrender?
4) Why is it so difficult to be patient when in the midst of adversity?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Rebuilding Series with the sermon titled, “Rebuilding One Nation, Under God,” based on Joshua 24. How could Israel become one nation, under God again? What are some of the difficult things we need as a nation to address? And how can we at Beaver Creek lead the way? Come Sunday and find out!
Daily Bible Readings for April 28 – May 4
April 28: Acts 8:9-25 What happened when Simon was not connected to the Holy Spirit?
April 29: Acts 8:26-40 What happened when Philip was connected to the Holy Spirit?
April 30: Acts 10:9-23 What happened when Peter was connected to the Holy Spirit?
May 1: Romans 8:1-27 What will happen to us if we are connected to the Holy Spirit?
May 2: Galatians 5:16-26 What will happen to us if we are connected to the Holy Spirit?
May 3: Isaiah 37:1-20 How did Hezekiah help rebuild one nation under God?
May 4: 1 Kings 18:16-46 How did Elijah try to bring Israel back under the domain of God?
Beaver Creek will be closed through June 10th, in keeping with Executive Order 53 and the recommendation of the Shenandoah District and the Leadership Team. Should the governor move his timeline, the Leadership Team will reconvene and act in accordance with the information and current guidance.
There will be a Zoom Bible Study on the Parables of Jesus on Wednesday at 7pm. If you were participating in the Bible Study and are not able to meet on Zoom, do not fear; we will get you caught up! The link is available from Pastor Ryan.
Although Spring Festival is postponed, there are still two fundraisers that are COVID-19 safe to help support the camp at this time:
1) Hike-in-place-a-thon: Even though you cannot go to camp and hike, you can still hike in place for camp! If you would like to participate in this fundraising effort, please email Pastor Ryan or call the church office, and I will get you a form. Likewise, if you would like to sponsor Katie or Samantha, who will both be doing the hike in place, please email me as well and let me know how much you are pledging. You can simply mail the donation to the church office and mark “hike-a-thon” and we will collect it.
2) Dunk the Dunkard: Instead of a dunking booth, you can “dunk” Pastor Ryan ALS ice bucket challenge style! If you would love to see me with a bucket of ice water dumped over my head, please email and sponsor! The goal is at least $200 for camp. If we can get over $200 for camp, Heather will record it, and we will upload the video to the website for all to watch! Again, you can mail the money also to the church, label it “dunk the dunkard”, and we know it will go to camp.
All money for Brethren Woods for the hike-in-place-a-thon and dunk the dunkard need to be in by this Sunday! Also, the First Sunday Offering, which will be collected over the next several weeks, will be toward Brethren Woods.
Four Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Direct Deposit–form available on the website
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) New online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
Accordius Nursing Facility— (Carolyn Wine). Prayers for healing and protection!
Becky Whitmore–Baby is due (April 27th).
Charles Wright–(health; see prayer chain)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB