Sermon Info:

Responsive Reading:  Luke 9:51-62
Key Verse(s): Luke 9:56
Background Scripture:  Exodus 14:13, 21-31

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“For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them,” Jesus says of Himself in our key verse for today.  I am left with a feeling of great joy in my soul every time I read these words from Christ.  Some will not understand the reason for my great joy but it comes from a place of understanding that I could have been lost and destroyed a long time ago.  Yet, I stand and rejoice today because God has made a way for me.

God, I want you to know today can be and is our way maker; through all of your burdens, trials, and tribulations, the Lord can make a way for you.

56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.


Your Way Maker

Over the past couple of weeks we have seen that God is always at work on our behalf.  The Lord, we have seen, works in the invisible arena – that arena of things that goes far beyond our power and control.  In that arena we know that the Lord is working with all power and control over all things, which even includes the hearts of mankind.

We also know that God is at work by watching over and keeping His flock.  God is our good shepherd and He tends to our every need around the clock.  No matter which direction our enemies come from to bring harm our way, we know that the Lord shields and protects us.  Again, this should all be very reassuring to those that genuinely believe in the Lord.

However, not all have such faith in God to believe that He has their back or to the fact that God can make a way for them.  This sentiment tends to be born from a place of circumstance.  For example, as I have said in the past, people tend to look at where they are in life and if they do not like where they are, they tend to blame God.  Non-believers will question the mere idea of us saying that God is our way maker.

For those that would bring into question the way that God sets, they may suggest that the way of God seemingly leads to nothing but hardships with no payoff or profit.  Some may even suggest that the path that God sets is a path that only leads to doom and destruction for anybody that goes down it.  Now, these sentiments are not brand new as there were many that lived during the days of Jesus that shared similar views and chose not to follow Him.

We must answer this question today:  Does the path – the way – that the Lord set lead to anyone’s doom and destruction?  The sentiment behind this question is false so let’s take a moment to show how it is false so that doubters can learn to trust the way that God sets for them.

Hesitant to follow the way maker

To the disciples, Jesus, again, made it very clear in our key verse that He did not come to destroy people’s lives.  In John’s gospel, Jesus backed this thought up when He spoke about being a disciple – a follower – of His.  Jesus said of those who would choose to follow Him and abide in His word that they truly are His disciple.  His true followers would know the truth, and the truth would make them free (John 8:31).

So, let us understand that when you choose to follow the path that Jesus sets for you, it is a pathway to liberty!  Liberty, freedom, though it may be a difficult path to walk down and receive, it is a blessing once received; by no means does liberty speak to doom and destruction!

The freedom Jesus spoke of was freedom from the heavy burden and guilt of sin.  With this freedom, those that follow Christ no longer suffocate under the weight of sin!  No, with this freedom, we breathe in the life that Jesus freely gives.  This life sustains us so that we can keep on enduring and making it while we are on this journey.

Now, there always seems to be a bit of hesitation in trusting in the Lord to go before us on our journey.  In Luke 9, we find two examples of how we often hesitate in following the Lord.  In the first example, one desired to wait for his father to pass away so that he could be there for his family (Luke 9:59).  Another wanted to first take time out to tell his loved ones goodbye before he followed Christ (Luke 9:61).

The two mindsets shown here are a “let me wait to see how things go” mindset and a “let me do something for myself first before I follow” mindset.  To one, Jesus explained that heaven should be the first (or top) priority when He said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God (Luke 9:60).”  To the other, Jesus said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).”

As we know, God is always moving to make a way for us and the expectation for us is to follow Him with no hesitation and without straying off course for your own desires.  You see, our desire should be to desire what God has for us!  Through the prophet Isaiah, we have heard that the Lord says that He is currently doing a new thing for us.  The Lord declares to us that He will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert (Is. 43:19).

The question that we must answer today is whether or not we will trust the course that God is setting for us?  Yes, the path may be one that seems to be both narrow and treacherous, but will we trust that God is our way maker?  Will you trust that the path that God is making for you is one that leads to your next blessing?  We truly answer these questions by the actions we take – will you pick up your feet and follow God’s path?

Following Our Way Maker

In last week’s message, we took a look at the children of Israel as they stood “trapped” between Pharaoh and his army, and the Red Sea.  In this week’s message, I want to continue taking a look at the children of Israel as they stood “trapped” at the Red Sea in Exodus 14.

No such thing as being trapped

Now, I am using the word “trapped” very loosely here because I don’t  believe the children of Israel were trapped at the Red Sea.  You see, when something is trapped, that means that escape is incredibly difficult or essentially impossible.  By no means were the children of Israel trapped with no escape.

Let us remember that the Angel of God was with and watching over the children of Israel as they were making their way to the Promised Land (Ex. 13:21).  Yes, at that very moment, we could certainly consider the Red Sea to have been a barrier that sat before the children of Israel with Pharaoh and his army to their being another obstacle.  However, what were these barriers – these obstacles – to the Lord?

Is there any barrier or obstacle that can stop the Lord?  In his letter to the Romans, Paul asked, “If God is for us, who can be against us (Rom. 8:31)?”  Paul wondered who or what could separate us from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:35)?  Paul then said that he was persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, principalities, powers, height nor depth, nor any other created thing could separate true believers from the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).

For the children of Israel, they had just watched the Lord demonstrate His power and authority over all things with plague after plague in Egypt.  We know that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent – He is sovereign and rules over all things. So, there is no barrier or obstacle that can stop the Lord!

Yes, there are situations that we often find ourselves in where circumstances may seem dire and we may even feel trapped.  Yet, I say to you today that we are never trapped because God watches over us and is with us.  By no means will those who follow the Lord ever find themselves stuck or trapped if they remain faithful and follow Him.  It is only when our faith stops that we either get stuck or get lost – remain faithful!

One direction to go

While standing before the Red Sea, in order to reach the blessing of the Promised Land, there was only one direction for the children of Israel to go – the way that God was taking them in.

When God begins to take us in a certain direction, we often question and believe that there are other ways we can go in order to reach His blessing.   It is odd that we do this because the Lord knows exactly where the blessing is and He’s taking us directly to it.  So, why would we ever question Him or move like we know a better way to get to His blessing?

For the children of Israel, getting to the Promised Land seemed impossible with the Red Sea being before them and Pharaoh’s army behind them.  Yes, there are times where God shows us a blessing, and it seems practically impossible for us to reach what He’s promised, but I tell you that trust (faith) in the Lord is required.  Let God take you directly to that blessing.

At their very first obstacles they faced on their journey, the children of Israel acted in a manner that is very familiar to us.  The children of Israel, we see in scripture, began to panic and to question Moses; this meant that they began to question God and His direction.

They asked out of their panic and fear, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness (Ex. 14:11).”  Now, I want to remind you that the children of Israel were initially thrilled to have been leaving the bondage of Egypt as they carried away with them all kinds of riches from the Egyptians.  You know, the start of a trip or journey is always exciting at the start but along the way but sooner or later you hit a wall.

With Pharaoh at their back and the Red Sea sitting before them, the children of Israel hit a wall and they felt hard-pressed on every side; they felt as if God had delivered them to their death and destruction.  Their faith in the Lord, I want you to understand, was greatly lacking.

Do not be afraid

Again, I want to remind you what Jesus said in our key verse – “the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”  Let us understand that this has always been the Lord’s mindset towards mankind – He does not desire to destroy us!  I believe proof of this is shown to us through the Great Flood.  There are several times throughout history where all could have been lost yet, we are all still right here with the same opportunity of being able to follow the Lord to His great blessing of eternal joy.

We must learn to trust where the Lord is leading us rather than to question Him or to feel like He is leading us to our destruction.  Remember what the Lord said through Jeremiah when the Lord said that His thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace, a future, and hope (Jer. 29:11).  Therefore, the Lord’s actions – the way He moves – for us is to give us that peace, future, and hope.  Do you believe in this?

At the Red Sea, Moses believed that God was his way maker; he stood as the example of the kind of faith that you and I should have when it comes to trusting God to make a way out of no way for us.  Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid.  Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.  For the Egyptians who you see today, you shall see again no more forever.  The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace (Ex. 14:13).”

This was an encouragement for the children of Israel and it is an encouragement to all of us today – stand still and see the salvation (deliverance/liberation) of the Lord!  This was and is an encouragement to have faith.  I want you to understand that Moses said this in a moment that I do not feel the words of scripture can fully encapsulate for us.

Again, the children of Israel were in a full on meltdown as thousands of voices were screaming and shouting in great fear.  I picture this moment as a moment where Moses essentially had to tell the people to shut up for once and to let God be their way maker – let God go to work.  I genuinely believe that a lot of us need to have someone say to us at times to shut up and let God be our way maker!

Walking down His set path

Moses, we will then see, stretched out his hands over the sea and the Lord then caused the sea to go back and made the sea dry land as the waters divided (Ex. 14:21).  Notice that the Lord was literally doing what He said He would do through the prophet Isaiah; God was making a road in the wilderness for the children of Israel.  Again, there was only one direction to go to reach God’s blessing and God was taking them in a direction that seemed impossible but it was a direction to lead them directly to the blessing.

As God did back then, He still does the same for us today.  Yes, the enemy did pursue the children of Israel from behind and yes, the Red Sea was before them but look at how the Lord moved.  As we saw last week, God protected the children of Israel from their enemy while at the same time, lifted them over an obstacle that seemed even more impossible.  There is nothing too hard for the Lord (Jer. 32:17; Luke 1:37)!

The children of Israel, we will then see in scripture, went into the midst of the sea on dry ground between the walls of water (Ex. 14:22); they were moving in the direction that the Lord was leading them in.  Now, notice in the next verse that though they were going in the direction that God was leading them, the enemy still chose to pursue after them into the midst of the sea (Ex. 14:23).

I often begin to wonder why the enemy is like this – why can’t the enemy let us go with God in peace?  The enemy refuses to let us go with God and will do whatever is possible to try and keep us in his shackles.  Think about this for a brief moment how the religious leaders were seemingly everywhere Jesus was when all He was doing was sharing His Father’s message with the world.  This is how the enemy moves – always trying to hinder and keep us from happiness and following the Lord.

Reaching Our Blessing

What I want you to know today is that when you follow the Lord, you have no need to fear anything because God is going before you and He is setting your course.  There is no need for you to hesitate or to even be concerned because God is not leading you to your destruction nor is He going to let anybody or anything destroy you.

Troubling the enemy

As we see here in scripture today, it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and troubled the army of the Egyptians (Ex. 14:24).  Scripture tells us that the Egyptians found it rather difficult to pursue the children of Israel into the midst of the sea as the wheels of their chariots fell off (Ex. 14:25).

The enemy, as much as he desires to attack you, will find it quite hard to have any true success against you.  Why is that the case?  As we saw with Job, the Lord has a hedge built up around all of those that belong to Him.  The enemy can seek to destroy us but because God is our way maker, we will make it to our blessing just fine.

Things had become so difficult for the army of the Egyptians that they chose to flee from Israel because the Lord, they finally realized, fought against them (Ex. 14:25).  Through thick and thin, God is always there for us yet, I feel I must ask, will we follow Him through thick and thin?  My answer to that question is that we should certainly be willing to follow God anywhere regardless of the circumstance.

God is our way maker

We do not follow a pillar of cloud and fire today because the Holy Spirit dwells with us and leads us.  Our enemy may try to trouble us but the Spirit strengthens us and we will endure.

Through all my trials and tribulations, I rejoice because God clearly moves on my behalf; no matter what I am going through, the Lord delivers me unto another great blessing over and over again.  I tell you today that when you follow our way maker, you will always make it to your blessing.  I encourage you again today to rest assured that the Lord is going to make a way out of no way for you.

I encourage all of you to go forward with your arms stretched outward, fully trusting in God to carry you over all barriers; when we do this, we will be just like the children of Israel.  When they made it to the other side of the sea, Israel looked back and saw their enemies lying dead on the seashore; none of their enemies remained (Ex. 14:28,30).

To all of those that love the Lord, God does not lead us to our destruction.  No, the Lord makes a way for us – God saves us.  When we reach our blessing, we will look back and see every obstacle knocked over; we will see pathways made in places that seemed impossible to traverse.  The Lord will have brought us through – God is our way maker.


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