Over this break, I helped somebody tear out the laminate flooring in their home. The house is not what it was; it now has only concrete flooring. It also is not what it will be; since new flooring isn’t installed yet, it is not very comfortable. Similarly as a church, we are not what we were, but not yet what we will be. We are in the process of transition. We are not what we were in the past as Living Water and Blanchard. We are also not yet what we are to be. But as we launch into 2017, I invite you to move FORWARD into what God has us to be. Exodus 14:13–16 paints a picture of how to move forward. How can we do so in 2017?
First we must move forward from fear into faith (Exod 14:13–14). Fear comes from the problems that we see. As the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his armies marching after them, they were filled with fear. Similarly as we see our problems in our lives personally or the challenges that we face, we can also be filled with fear. But faith comes from the Word that we hear. Moses speaks in the face of their fear, saying, “Fear not; stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today” (Exod 14:13). Their fear is replaced with faith as they hear the Word that Moses brings.
Similarly our fear is replaced with faith as we listen to the Word that God brings. Our fears for our children are alleviated by the promises of God to keep our children “to a thousand generations” (Deut 7:9). Our fears for our finances are replaced by the God who “will supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19). Our fears for our future are alleviated by the promise, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and everything else will be added to us as well” (Matt 6:33). What fears do you carry? Articulate the areas of your fear, and mediate on the promises of God to allay those fears. Move forward from fear into faith.
Second we must move forward from anxiety to authority (Exod 14:15–16). Anxieties come from the inadequacies that we feel. Moses struggled with feeling inadequate to speak or lead the people. As he saw the Egyptians coming he cried out to God because of those anxieties. But God moves him from anxiety to authority as he commands, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea…” (Exod 14:15–16). Authority comes from what we have been given. Moses has a staff of God’s authority, and that authority was greater than the anxiety and inadequacy that he feels. As a result, he could part the Red Sea. God would not do it for him; Moses was already given authority to do it himself.
Similarly we move from anxiety to authority as we use the authority that God has given us. He has seated us with Christ in the heavenly places (Eph 2:6), far above all authorities in heaven and earth (Eph 1:20). Therefore we have great authority. Instead of dwelling on our inadequacy, then we can make use of his authority to overcome in any and every situation.
When we move forward from fear to faith and from anxiety to authority, then we encounter his glory. Moses led God’s people to see God’s glory (Exod 14:17) and his power. Similarly this year as we move forward, we will also encounter God’s glory. So let us move forward together in this coming year and encounter the glory of his power more and more!