Exodus 18: Heart Felt Prayer
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
It’s easy to think of the deliverance from Egypt as something that we all know is important. We all
realize what a big thing it was until you get to the point where it almost becomes passé; it almost
becomes simply something that we know about along with the ten plagues and all that kind of thing.
You get to the point where you take the miraculous in a casual way. It’s probably good for us to
remember, in connection with today’s study, that there’d been virtual silence of God’s voice for 430
years. Isaac and Jacob were the last ones to whom God spoke when he said, “I’m going to take you to
a promised land.” Then we need to remember there was 430 years of virtual silence.
So it’s as if today, in 1988 that it was in 550, around Shakespeare’s time, God spoke and then
there’s been no voice of his for the past 430 years. Now of course the situation with the
Israelites was that all they were was a little Hebrew tribe that had now become the minions of
Pharaoh king of Egypt; they were now his slaves. They were a part of probably many others who he
had conquered in different battles and had brought in as his slaves and who were also aliens in the
land of Egypt. We tend to think there were two million Israelites, whereas only a matter of 70 or
so entered Egypt 430 years ago, and yet they were but two million among millions of others and they
were little nothings. So it’s maybe good to remember the true situation.
This was not the great Israelite nation that had passed through the Jordan, that had taken over the
land of Canaan that had had David as their king, and Solomon as their king. It was not the nation
who had conquered many nations; the Jebusites, and the Philistines, and all that. It wasn’t. This
was a little tribe of Hebrews who last heard from their God 430 years ago. If we had never heard
from God, that 1605 Geneva Bible that we have, if that was the last time that God spoke to us, we
would have forgotten all about God by now. Certainly not only the little children, but us, and our
fathers and mothers, and our grandparents would have never heard of Jehovah. So they were a little
nation of slaves in Egypt, that was the real situation and we need to remember that that was it.
When God actually spoke to Moses and said, “I’m going to use you to deliver the people out of the
hands of the Egyptians,” you remember Moses’ first attempt; how he tried to kill an Egyptian with
his own hands, and then ran the risk of being betrayed by him so went off to the backside of the
mountain and came back at the age of 80 to this little tribe of people who were slaves of king
Pharaoh. And yes, they had heard of God recently but it had been a disaster. It had been the
prince Moses who had tried to do something, and he had been, in a sense, exiled. So that was the
situation when we begin to come across the plagues.
The reason for reminding us about all of this again is that the first plague was actually the
serpents. It was when he cast his staff down and it became a serpent; that was a miracle that God
did right there. That was something that God changed in the physical world and he did it by the
power of Calvary. It was because the lamb was sent from before the foundation of the world and
because when the lamb was slain the world itself as we know it, was crucified. This fallen cosmos
was crucified, all its laws were destroyed and new laws, spirit laws, were put in their place. It
was because that had all happened that Moses was able to cast his staff down and it became a
But we need to see that the victory of Calvary actually affected the staff in that way and changed
it into a serpent. And we need to see that the second plague was just as great. And maybe it’s
good to turn to Exodus 15 which is the chapter that we’re studying and it has this triumph song in
it of Moses where he celebrates what happened. And maybe you begin to see the importance of what
we’ve said so far when you realize that it was important that he celebrated it. It was important
that he wrote this poem and that he sang it before God with all the Israelites because it was very
important that they all realized what had happen.
This was a miraculous deliverance; this was not just a normal thing. And that actually could be one
of the tricky things that we all may be faced with in Sunday school in various ways. Sometimes it’s
easy to tell this story in such a casual way that the child almost gets used to this fairy story
mythical land where flies appear all over Egypt, or the rivers all turn to blood, or all the first
born die. And they get this spooky idea that the teacher obviously teaches this as normal so this
must be normal in this strange world of the Bible. So it seems quite important that whenever we’re
explaining them to children that we impress upon them “Now, have you seen a land covered in flies?”
“No.” “Well, this was a miracle.”
It’s important to say that because I remember at Sunday school there was a tendency for the teachers
to feel that of course God can do this, so it’s no big deal, but the child never got hold of that
idea so they thought it sounded strange. They’d never seen all those flies or all those gnats, but
they believed because of what they were hearing that it must happen in this strange world. And that
catches hold of us too so that we read this and think “that was the plagues and it happened then.”
What we need to see is that God makes that happen whenever it needs to happen, so it’s important to
see all of the instances. I wrote them down because I can’t remember them all; the serpents, then
all the rivers and the water turned to blood, and then there were frogs all over the place, and then
there were gnats. And then there were flies that got into the eyes of the cattle and everywhere.
And then there was a disease upon the cattle. And then there were boils, everybody was covered with
boils. And then there was tremendous hail that destroyed everything. And then there were locusts
that suddenly came and ate up everything. And then there was the death of the first born.
So it’s important for us to see that that was the first time that God in that century, virtually 430
years after he had appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it was the first time that God said,
“These Hebrews are not just little nothings. They’re not just another part of your slave empire
Pharaoh, and they’re not just a little nomad tribe. These people are mine. This is my nation. I
am going to protect them. I am going to defend them. I am going to work with them. This is my
nation and I have power over every other god. Your magicians can do their miracles or their magic
tricks but I can do greater. I am God not only of these people but I am God of all gods and I am
God of all the heathen.”
That is what the deliverance from Egypt was about and it’s important for us to see it; that it was
God glorifying himself as the God not only of the Israelites, but the God of all gods and the God of
all heathen, and the great superpower in the whole universe. It was God declaring that. And in a
sense, though he had declared that to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob individually, it was a private kind
of thing as you remember; whether it was at Penile or somewhere else, it was always very private or
within the family. But this was his declaration to the nations and to the most powerful heathen
nation in the world, “I am the God of the universe and this is my nation and I’m going to protect
them.” That’s what the deliverance from Egypt was all about; it was God declaring he will look
after his own people and he will protect them, and he will do whatever is needed to do that. That
may include absolutely astounding miracles like putting gnats all over the land, but he will do
whatever is needed.
Now this is why the song is so important, because the song of Moses is not only saying, “This God
did all this for us,” but this is the song of the church of Jesus Christ, or this is the song of the
people of God; this is the song of all of us who believe in Jesus, that this is our God and he will
do these things for us. This is the way he operates; he will stand by his children, he will protect
his children, and he will do whatever miracles are needed to deliver them. It’s very important for
us to see that not only in regard to the lady who is sick or the customer who has cancer that we
talked about praying for, but in regard to our business, and in regard to our radio broadcasts.
There comes a time when God expects us to move forward in full faith and confidence that he will do
whatever is needed to forward the vision that he has given us. So there is a time for meekness and
humility before God when you’re seeking and searching for him, then there is a time when you know
what he’s given you to do and there’s a time to start standing up and going forward strongly.
That’s why I will always joke with you when you look at what other people seem to have compared with
you and then you say “I’m a little nothing.” That is dastardly. I don’t blame you because I’ve felt
the same, but that is dastardly. We are not “little nothings” at all. We’re not unimportant.
We’re not little boys that are born in Belfast or little girls that are born in Minnesota, we’re
not. We are God’s own children and God, as we saw in Exodus 14:14, “the Lord will fight for you”
all you have to do is be still, but the Lord will fight for us. This God who brought the flies, and
the gnats, and the blood, and the boils upon the Egyptians will do the same thing for us. If you
say to me, “Will he bring boils on my customers?” Well he would if it’s needed and the fact that he
doesn’t do this, or hasn’t done it here in this situation is because it isn’t appropriate in our
society and wouldn’t help our crazy society if he did that kind of thing. You know what they’d do,
they’d all bow down anyway and say, “Oh wonderful,” and two days later they’d have forgotten it all.
God will do whatever miracles are needed and whatever is appropriate in our situation. So when we
read the song of Moses in Exodus 15 we’re really reading the song of the church of Jesus Christ.
It’s our God who will do these things. It’s important to see that God has done it. It’s important
to see what God has done and to recognize that he has done it. It’s almost some trick that Satan
plays with your mind and memory over the things God has done for you. At the time something happens
you think it’s remarkable the way this money came in or the way this customer bought things that you
didn’t expect or the way you had you’re largest sales every last week. We need to write those
things down and remember them before God. We need to praise him for those things and thank him. God
has a beautiful way of blotting out the bad things in our memory over the past years so that we
remember the good things, but Satan has a way in the nearer range of blotting out the things that
God did for us last week or the week before or the month before.
We need to ask the Holy Spirit to bring back to our remembrance the things that God has done,
especially at the moment when we’re meeting exactly the same situation, because how many of us in
this room have said, “Look how often I’ve met the same thing and fallen the same way.” We need to
ask God to bring back to our remembrance, at the moment of challenge, that he won this battle two
weeks ago for us — the same battle. So there’s a great place for this song of Moses, this
remembering what God has done. And of course, there’s a great place for us casting out of our minds
the casualness with which we’ve come to regard the deliverance from Egypt and the story of the 10
plagues. There is a great need for us to see these were mighty miracles that God did for a little
people that hadn’t heard from him in 430 years, and this is what God was saying he would do for all
his people all the time.
So let’s look at the basis of it which is in Ephesians 1:18-23. This is really why God was able to
manifest this in the visible world, because it has already taken place in the eternal invisible
world in Jesus. Ephesians 1:18, “Having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what
is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the
saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the
working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made
him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and
dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to
come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the
church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
Now verse 22, “and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things
for the church, which is his body.” We are his body and we are the church and God has put all
things under Jesus’ feet and has made him the head over all things for the church and we need to see
that refers to our sales, and it refers to our radio ministry, and it refers to our literature
ministry. God intends us to take authority over those things in the name of Jesus who was the one
who brought the plague of gnats, and flies, and boils. God will do the same mighty miracles for us
in the realm of sales and in the realm of radio and the realm of literature.
It’s very easy for us to come into an egotism that we misunderstand as humility. It’s very easy for
us to say, when we see someone like Jimmy Swaggart and his rather tearful appeal again to get enough
funds to keep him on television, “That’s where you go when you’re successful and it’s dangerous up
there; God doesn’t work through that kind of thing any longer.” Well, it’s not the success that God
doesn’t work through; we know that actually it’s the unfaithfulness of those whom he prospers,
that’s what makes it impossible.
But God is well able to bring the same kind of victory in our situation as he brought to the
Israelites. The Israelites would never have got out of Egypt if God had not done those miracles.
Now it’s very easy for us to think, “We do it, but without miracles.” That’s how “humble” we are;
that’s how “little and unimportant” we are. That’s how much we believe that God doesn’t work in the
sensational any longer, we’re prepared to do it just by the sweat of our brow.
Now it is important to be prepared to work by the sweat of our brow, but primarily so that God can
make us like Jesus, not primarily so that by the sweat of our brows he can prosper us, but so that
while we sweat and while we work he is making us like Jesus. But over and above that we need his
blessing. [Watchman] Nee said, “If the blessing of the Lord is not upon you, nothing will come
about.” So after we’ve done all that we’ve done, we have to have the blessing of the Lord. We’re
utterly dependent on his miracles and we can go forward absolutely confident that he has put all
things under Jesus’ feet and has made Jesus the head over all things for us.
That’s why we are not just fighting other jewelry designers and we’re not just competing with other
jewelry companies and we’re not just fighting other people who have silver at the same price.
That’s reducing everything to the level as if Moses was saying to the people, “These Egyptians have
600 chariots, and they have so many soldiers, and they have weaponry, and we’re just a bundle of
little nothings with children and woman making up half the crowd that we have, and we have all kinds
of heavy old carts to move. How are we going to do it?” You hear of none of that with Moses. But
that is equivalent to us saying, “Well this company is out there, and that company is out there and
they have better this and they have better that.”
God is able to prosper us. Actually, we know it from another angle. Some lady will object to the
sets of five and then she’ll order 10 of our most expensive bracelets or most expensive necklaces.
People are not logical, and that can be used in our favor, but people are not logical and we know it
ourselves; everybody does not actually know what another designer’s collection costs. Every store
owner does not know the price that they can get this for, so even on a purely human level that
doesn’t hold. Even on a purely human level we should see Satan is trying to get us to fear because
other companies are out there with silver at a lower price. Thousands of our stores don’t know
that, so even on a purely human level Satan is bluffing.
But most importantly, even if everybody knew that, God is still able to give us favor in their eyes
the way he gave the Israelites favor in the eyes of the Egyptians so that they gave the Israelites
the jewelry that they asked for before they left. God is able to bring boils, he’s able to bring
flies and gnats; he’s able to do whatever is needed to prosper and move us forward, and we probably
need to get hold of that strongly as we go into the stores.
The last thing we need to do is go into the stores as some little rep of some little unknown
company; that is never the position of God’s children. You remember that book that somebody wrote
in the hippy days, King’s Kids? One doesn’t like the phraseology too well but still, we are
children of the king. We belong to the richest Father in the whole universe and he will do the same
miracles for us as he did for the Egyptians and that’s what the song is about.
It’s there in Ephesians 1:18-23 and Colossians 2:15 and when the big buyer from some large store
like Belks, or the big buyer from The House of Frasier is standing there and is backed by all kinds
of false principalities and powers that have created a sense of self importance in them, and has
created in them a trust in the strength of their own right arm, it’s good to remember Colossians
2:15, “He,” Jesus, “Disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them,
triumphing over them in him.” He has disarmed them. He’s disarmed them so that we can go in and we
can overcome by the power of his might on Calvary.
Now that’s what Exodus 15 is about, “Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord,
saying, ‘I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has
thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is
my God,” and we need to say that, “this is my God,” the one who cast the horse and the rider into
the sea, “and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war;
the Lord is his name.” And it’s necessary for us to see that the Lord is a man of war and the Lord
is his name. And you get it again in Psalms 144:1, “Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my
hands for war, and my fingers for battle; my rock and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge, who subdues the peoples under him.”
We’re so brainwashed with peace today that everybody misunderstands “the Lord is a man of war.”
They think it means military battle in spite of Jesus’ statement, “If my kingdom were of this world
my disciples would fight” and they fail to see that there is a more important war than simply a
military struggle between human beings. The Lord is a man of war, and he has called us to war and
its good for us to see that we are at war.
Some of the things that you mentioned about the present state of the world, it’s obvious that we’re
at war. The bulk of the world is following after the evil one and the bulk of the world is filled
with confusion and chaos and self, so we are at war with that world. When we go out, even to sell,
we go out to war.
Not against the dear innocent buyers, because they don’t know what is using them, but we’re going to
war against the spirits and powers that govern them, against the fears that govern them lest they
lose their job, the fears that they have of the people above them if they make a mistake in their
purchase, they’re warring against all of those. When a little soul says they have to get approval
for the order and then they end up not getting approval, its half the time because they’re afraid to
make the approach to the person above them. So there are all kinds of spirit powers, and those are
what we’re warring against.
I think at times you can feel that this [job of selling] is no picnic. You have to get up and get
out in the car, and drive, and go to strange stores and you have to keep moving, so it isn’t a
picnic. But you at least hope you’ll have nice people to deal with, so there creeps in a feeling
that even though you know it’s no picnic, you feel that at least some of it should be. That at
least you should have nice people to deal with and nice people to work with.
I’d remind you of our predecessors in Matthew 10:16 because our predecessors, of course, are the
disciples that Jesus sent out two by two. In Matthew 10:16, does it say “Behold, I send you out as
sheep in the midst of other sheep.” No? Then “I send you out as sheep in the midst of other
shepherds.” No again? Then “I send you out as sheep among friends.” No, it reads, “Behold, I send
you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of
men; for they will deliver you up to councils.” In other words they will tell you, “No, I don’t
want your jewelry it’s rotten stuff.” Well, I bet the disciples would have been prepared to take
that as it’s easier than a whip across the face. “For they will deliver you up to councils, and
flog you in their synagogues, and you will be rejected.” No, they could have taken rejection; “No,
I don’t want anything today. No, I’ve got all the jewelry I need. No, I’m not interested in your
jewelry.” That wouldn’t have hurt the disciples.
Verse 18 “And you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before
them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you
are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak,
but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and
the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you
will be hated by all for my name’s sake.” Well, we’re not hated. “But he who endures to the end
will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next,” our position is heaven
compared to these men. “When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly, I say to
you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes. “A
disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master; it is enough for the disciple to
be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house
Be-elzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. So have no fear of them.” No
fear, you see.
This is our Lord telling us that avoiding fear is not just good psychological practice; avoiding
fear is obedience to our master. “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be
revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and
what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but
cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two
sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will.
But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” I’ve counted them, “Fear not, therefore; you are
of more value than many sparrows. So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will
acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny
before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think,” and this is it; God is a man of war, “Do not
think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I
have come to set a man against his father and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law
against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. He who loves father
or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not
worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds
his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.” And we are in that
That is why we’re going out; we know it in our hearts, and God knows it, and Satan knows it; we’re
not going out just to sell jewelry, we’re going out to express Jesus and we’re going to come up
against the same things his apostles came up against and yet our difficulties are nothing compared
with theirs. But we are called to go out and war and we need to go out with faith in the God who
did these things.
In Exodus 15:4, “Pharaoh’s chariots and his host he cast into the sea; and his picked officers are
sunk in the Red Sea. The floods cover them; they went down into depths like a stone. Thy right
hand, O Lord, glorious in power, thy right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy. In the greatness of
thy majesty thou overthrowest thy adversaries; thou sendest forth thy fury, it consumes them like
stubble.” That’s what God does. “At the blast of thy nostrils the waters piled up, the floods
stood up in a heap; the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I
will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my
sword, my hand shall destroy them.’”
That’s the determination of the enemy to destroy and it’s the same determination of somebody not to
buy jewelry. It’s the same thing. Verse 10, “Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them;
they sank as lead in the mighty waters. ‘Who is like thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like
thee, majestic in holiness, terrible in glorious deeds, doing wonders? Thou didst stretch out they
right hand, the earth swallowed them.’” So these are the things that God did when he delivered the
Israelites from Egypt, and it’s good for us to remember that he actually affected physical gnats,
physical boils, physical blood in the water, physical death of the first born, by the victory of
Jesus over the world on Calvary. God is able to touch those things and he’s able to touch our
jewelry, and he’s able to touch the customer’s bodies and their minds. But it means that we have to
remember Moses’ song and remember that we go forward with that kind of faith.
Now, it will be unto us according to our faith. If we believe for a million dollars, or whatever it
is in sales, that’s what God will respond to. But if we go out believing also for the customers,
and if we go out beginning to believe God to touch them and to stir their hearts and their spirits,
that’s what will happen. If we begin to note down in our notes not just how much jewelry they
bought, or what kind of store it is, but if we begin to note, “Seemed to be troubled, seemed to be
worried. Mentioned she goes to church.” If we put down little things like that and begin to pray
for God to work in those things, God will be faithful to us. It will be unto us according to our
So it’s the same situation as here; God will work if he can find even one Moses, even one old 80
year old who will believe him and who will stretch his hand out. That’s why I said to you about the
lady you mentioned, and about going and finding her and putting your hand on her because you’re
declaring to God, “Forget what she thinks.” I mean, obviously if she says, “No, I don’t want you to
pray for me,” you can’t. But it’s declaring to God, “I believe you Lord. I’m not just doing this
as a ceremony but I believe that you will hear my prayer and you will answer according to your own
will and wisdom.”
It’s interesting that the song then goes on to celebrate prophetically the things that God is going
to do because you see in verse 13, “Thou hast led in thy steadfast love the people whom thou hast
redeemed, thou hast guided them by thy strength to thy holy abode.” And of course they just had
managed to get out of Egypt at that moment so that was prophetic, it was looking forward to the time
when he would bring them into the land of Canaan and especially into the holy mountain, Sinai, where
he would give them his commandments. “The peoples have heard, they tremble; pangs have seized on
the inhabitants of Philistia. Now are the chiefs of Edom dismayed; the leaders of Moab, trembling
seizes them; all the inhabitants of Canaan have melted away.”
Well actually there is indication that when these peoples heard of the destruction and the
deliverance that had taken place in Egypt, they did tremble; they were fearful because they heard
that these Israelites were coming their way. “Terror and dread fall upon them; because of the
greatness of thy arm, they are still as a stone, till thy people, O Lord, pass by, till the people
pass by whom thou hast purchased. Thou wilt bring them in, and plant them on thy own mountain,”
Sinai, “the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thy abode, the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy
hands have established. The Lord will reign for ever and ever.” And so ends the great triumph and
song and then it’s tied up with the actual events of that it describes.
“For when the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, the Lord
brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the people of Israel walked on dry ground in the
midst of the sea. Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and
all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing. And Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the
Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.’” Always
you’ll find the next event following; it’s the old story, “Then Moses led Israel onward from the Red
Sea, and they went into the wilderness of Shur; they went three days in the wilderness and found no
water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter;
therefore it was named Marah. And the people murmured against Moses.”
So it doesn’t matter; the most wonderful miracles can be done, but a couple of days later, “The
people murmured against Moses, saying, ‘What shall we drink?’” And then it’s very easy for us, as
Moses, to say, “Boy aren’t they dreadful? Aren’t they hideous? They have no faith. Look what God
has done for them. Aren’t people terrible today, they don’t believe this and they don’t believe
that.” You can spend your time doing that or you can do what Moses did, you can cry for the Lord
right then and you can express your own faith.
It does seem there’s great need, and probably you come upon it in the stores because I’m sure there
are many people who say, “Oh isn’t life terrible today? Isn’t the world going to pot? Isn’t
society just falling apart?” And it’s easy to join in with the general sorrow and the general
apparent grief, which usually has a good deal of self-righteousness in it anyway. Or it’s possible
to immediately say, “But there are amazing things that happen; the sun rises every morning
beautifully and bright, and have you ever noticed the swallows in the morning; they’re always so
happy — it does make you feel that God himself is apart from all this, doesn’t it? And that he has
something going for him that is bigger than this world, and that he will do something about it.”
There are ways in which you can either use those words or use words that God inspires you with.
But that kind of thing can be used by God to startle a person into a change in their own thinking.
Undoubtedly many of them will look forward to your coming next time and of course, we’ll be ready
for some arguments, but at least they’ll be awake and aware. You need to know when to do it; I agree
with you, you can’t fight every conversation. Sometimes you go with the clichés and the jargon
because it’s not appropriate. I mean, they’re only passing the time of day to get you out the door,
so you go with it. But there are other moments where there’s this little thing in your spirit that
tells you, “Boy I’m just joining the crowd here. Sure it is a terrible world, but God told us it
was going to be a terrible world.” And it’s easy to say, “Yes, it is terrible. But then of course,
I don’t know what you think of the Bible, but undoubtedly the Bible indicates that things are going
to go from bad to worse, but that eventually it’s all going to be turned around in an amazing way.”
And they stare at you and say, “Oh yeah, that’s true.” Or they say, “Oh, really? How’s it going to
be turned around?” And then you go right in.
But it does seem there are certain moments when your spirit tells you that it’s right to speak a
word of witness and it doesn’t have to be very spiritual; it can be very down to earth and very
straight. But it’s important to see that that’s what Moses did; he cried to the Lord, he didn’t
say, “Oh you’re right; here’s bitter water and we just got out of the wilderness, we just got out of
Egypt.” Instead, “And he cried to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, and he threw it into the
water, and the water became sweet.” Again, the victory of Calvary is able to touch jewelry, able to
touch water, touch wood. “There the Lord made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he
proved them, saying, ‘If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that
which is right in his eyes, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put
none of the diseases upon you which I put upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord, your healer.” And
it brings to our minds McMillen’s book None of these Diseases and you remember the heart of the
whole book is that the works of the flesh; envy, strife, jealous, pride and anger bring about the
contraction of the muscles which happens when you get nervous, and your muscles tighten up. And of
course it tightens up muscles in your stomach and affects your digestive system and causes all kinds
of stomach troubles there.
Or the secretion of fluids; where fear can cause the release of the adrenaline and the adrenaline is
not used for anything so it just adds to the general acidity of the stomach and causes all kinds of
problems. Or it can affect the contraction of the blood vessels, where the blood vessels tighten up
and tense up as the opposite happens when you’re embarrassed. You blush because it releases blood
into the cheeks and so the opposite happens in certain situations when you’re very nervous in front
of a crowd of people and you mouth goes all dry; it’s because the fluids, the secretions there, have
dried up. So it’s obvious that all kinds of wrong feelings and attitudes affect directly your
physical body. And of course McMillen’s whole presentation is that the fruit of the Spirit affects
it in a healthy way.
The whole reason for enjoying the fruit of the Spirit is because that’s the way we were made to live
and that’s what Jesus died to bring about in us, but obviously one of the byproducts of living in
love, and joy, and peace, and long suffering, and gentleness, and goodness, and faith, and
temperance is that you’ll live longer; that the body suffers much less strain. And of course it
applies to you very much in your job on the road because every time you tense up, some of your
muscles contract and to some extent the flow of blood or the operation of the body is affected,
especially in regard to this business of Sunday nights when we need to get a good night’s sleep. We
need to pray for each other and we need to rejoice more and more in Jesus and ask him for light from
the Holy Spirit to see why we wouldn’t sleep well on Sunday night, because God wants us to be
healthy and wants us to experience none of the diseases that he put upon the Egyptians.
I think you’ve heard me say it before, but it seems to me so obvious and maybe it’s just a trick of
entomology of the English language but disease is obviously not-ease. “Dis” means – the Latin
prefix dis always means not and so you have ease, preceded by dis and its not-ease. Disease is a
lack of ease. It’s a lack of ease in your physical body and a lack of ease in your whole emotional
and mental life, and finally a lack of ease probably in your spiritual life. Jesus says, “Come unto
me and I will give you rest,” even give us ease. So of course God’s will is that we would know that
the Lord will fight for us.
If you don’t believe that, you end up trying to influence people by your own strength and effort and
you end up in dis-ease anyway. You don’t fret people into the kingdom of God. It’s faith or fret;
do you carry on your ministry by faith or fret? You carry it on by faith if you remember Moses’
song of triumph.
Shall we close.
Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with
us now and evermore. Amen.
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