HOW I CAN KNOW IF GOD IS GUIDING.
Exodus 13:17-22 &Exodus 15:1-6
(NASB)
(17) Now it came about when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, "Lest the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt."
{18} Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.
{19} And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God shall surely take care of you; and you shall carry my bones from here with you."
{20} Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness.
{21} And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
{22} He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

Exodus 15:1-6 (NASB)
(1) Then Moses and the sons of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and said, "I will sing to the LORD, for He is highly exalted; The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea.
{2} "The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him.
{3} "The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His name.
{4} "Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea.
{5} "The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone.
{6} "Thy right hand, O LORD, is majestic in power, Thy right hand, O LORD, shatters the enemy.

Introduction

Some times we have specific guidance from God's word. Some times we must interpret the prompting of God's Spirit through circumstances and the actions of others. I want us to look at an experience in the life of Moses and gleen some guidance for our lives in discerning how God may guide us.

I. When God guides it may not be the SHORTEST WAY. v 17-18
II. When God guides it will be in a SOLEMN WAY. v 19-20
III. When God guides it will be in A SECURE WAY. v 21-22



I. When God guides it may not be the. . SHORTEST WAY. v 17-18



A. Because of the TIMIDITY OF OUR FAITH. v 17
(17) Now it came about when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, "Lest the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt."
1. God knew the . . Scheme of Pharaoh. v 17 a
2. God knew the . . Strength of the Philistines. v 17 b
3. God knew the . . Sway of the People. v 17 c

Illustration:
During World War II, a military governor met with General George Patton in Sicily. When he praised Patton highly for his courage and bravery, the general replied, "Sir, I am not a brave man -- the truth is, I am an utter craven coward. I have never been within the sound of gunshot or in sight of battle in my whole life that I wasn't so scared that I had sweat in the palms of my hands." Years later, when Patton's autobiography was published, it contained this significant statement by the general: "I learned very early in my life never to take counsel of my fears."

B. Because of the need for the TRIUMPH OF OUR FAITH. v 18 a
{18} Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.

1. A Triumph ARRANGED by God.
2. A Triumph ARRAYED by God.
a. THEY LOOKED LIKE SOLDERS -- - NOT SLAVES

Illustration:
General Jonathan Wainwright was captured by the Japanese, he was held prisoner in a Manchurian concentration camp. Cruelly treated, he became "a broken, crushed, hopeless, starving man." Finally the Japanese surrendered and the war ended. A United States army colonel was sent to the camp to announce Japan had been defeated and that he was free and in command. After Wainwright heard the news, he returned to his quarters and was confronted by some guards who began to mistreat him as they had done in the past. Wainwright, however, with the news of the allied victory still fresh in his mind, declared with authority, "No, I am in command here! These are my orders."

"Have you been informed of the victory of your Savior in the greatest conflict of the ages? Then rise up to assert your rights. Never again go under when the enemy comes to oppress. Claim the victory in Jesus' Name."

C. Because of the need for the Training of Our Faith. v 18 b 15:1-6

1. They needed to see the Power of God in the SEA ROUTE.

2. They did not need to see the PLEASURES of God in the SHORT ROUTE

Application:

When God guides it may not be the SHORTEST WAY.

The plans of this church for a building program have certainly not been determined in the shortest way.


II. When God guides it will be in a . . SOLEMN WAY. v 19-20


A. A Solemn Respect for the . . PROMISES OF GOD. v 19 a

"And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear,. . . "

1. The promise Recognize by Joseph.
2. The promise Required by Joseph.

B. A Solemn Respect for the . . PERFORMANCE of GOD. v 19 b

". . .God shall surely take care of you; and you shall carry my bones from here with you."

1. The Performance Predicted by Joseph.

2. The Performance Produce by God.

C. A Solemn Respect for the . . PLEASURES OF GOD. v 20

{20} Then they set out from Succoth and camped in Etham on the edge of the wilderness.
1. The pleasures of God in the Station. v 20 a "camped in Etham"
2. The Pleasures of God in the Scenery. V 20 b "the edge of the wilderness. "
a. Poem Nazareth was a little place.

Illustration:
A picture called The Pursuit of Pleasure hangs in London. It is one of the most tragic pictures ever painted. It portrays the last rough slope of a mountain leading to the edge of a precipice at the foot of which one catches a misty glimpse of a graveyard.

A crowd of men and women, some in evening dress, some in the garb of toil, some in rags pack the slope, all struggling for a foothold on the highest point and tearing at and treading upon one another. They are gazing upward where the filmy, beckoning, mocking figure of pleasure floats out of reach.

On that grim, ghostly sunless canvas the artist has not painted one happy face; not a smile, not a flicker of gladness; nothing but fear, hatred, selfishness, and pain is seen. That picture tells the story of the world's pursuit of joy. Jesus tells us joy is not found there.

Application:
On one occasion I remember leaving the millions of people in the Los Angeles Metroplex and going up to look at a retreat sight. When we got up to the retreat sight I noticed a quite and serenity I had forgotten.

When God guides it will be in a SOLEMN WAY.


III. When God guides it will be in A . . SECURE WAY. v 21-22


A. SECURE IN THE . . PRESENCE OF GOD. v 21 a
"And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, . . . "

1. Yesterday God's Presence in the Pillar of Cloud and Fire.
a. This is a one time experience.

2. Today God's Presence is in the Pillar of Scripture - Person of His Spirit.
a. The same for everyone.

B. SECURE IN THE . . PURPOSE OF GOD. v 21 b
". . . that they might travel by day and by night. . . . "
1. There was a purpose to the Pillar of cloud.

Illustration:
A little girl listened attentively as her father read the family devotions. She seemed awed by her parents' talk of God's limitless power and mercy. "Daddy," she asked, placing her little hands on his knees, "how big is God." Her father thought for a moment and answered, "Honey, he is always just a little bigger than you need."

C. SECURE IN THE . . PERSISTENCE OF GOD. v 22
He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
1. God will be persistent in carrying out his plan.

Illustration:
An ancient tale from India tells about a young man who was seeking God. He went to a wise old sage for help. "How can I find God?" he asked the old man. The old man took him to a nearby river. Out they waded soon the water was up just under their chins. Suddenly the old man seized the young man by the neck and pushed him under the water. He held the young man down until the young man was flailing. Another minute and he may well have drowned. Up out of the water the two of them came. The young man was coughing water from his lungs and still gasping for air. Reaching the bank he asked the man indignantly, "What did that have to do with my finding God?"

The old man asked him quietly, "While you were under the water, what did you want more than anything else?" The young man thought for a minute and then answered, "I wanted air. I wanted air more than anything else?" The old man replied, "When you want God as much as you wanted air, you will find him."

Application:

How will God Leads Us?

I. When God guides it may not be the. .SHORTEST WAY. v 17-18

II. When God guides it will be in a . . SOLEMN WAY. v 19-20

III. When God guides it will be in A . . SECURE WAY. v 21-22

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