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  • Writer's pictureWilson Lim

Trusting God Through Impossibilities


Have you ever been in situations that simply looked impossible to get out of or to deal with?  Have you have felt like in-between a rock and a hard place? You are not alone.  Many have been in such situations, and have been overwhelmed by it. Yet the Bible helps us to understand that God can have His purposes during such times.  These can be times to grow spiritually, and it can be times of incredible victory too.

 

In Exodus 14:5-31, we can learn some key principles of trusting God through impossibilities.  For the Israelites were stuck in an impossible situation. 


Traditionally, the exodus route was assumed to cross the Red Sea at the western side of the Sinai Peninsula that is the Gulf of Suez, a shallow area.  However, I think there is more weight of evidence from recent discoveries for the eastern side as per map below.


It is crucial to realise that the Gulf of Aqaba is the Red Sea of the Bible, as noted in 1 Kings 9:26 (NIV) “King Solomon also built ships at Ezion Geber, which is near Elath in Edom, on the shore of the Red Sea.”  Why?  Because it is known that Elath is located on the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba (see map above).

  

The distance from Succoth to Nuweiba at the Gulf of Aqaba is almost 300 kilometres.  Was it possible for a whole nation to travel at that pace through the desert?  Possible, if God was providing shade through His cloud during the day! And v21 implied they travelled hard, both in the day and in the night.

 

It is likely they reach Wadi Watir, a large beach at Nuweiba. Large enough to hold 2 million people.  Today there are hotels and a village there.  The path to the Wadi was a meandering path between canyons. In Exodus 14:3 (KJV) “…They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.” The Israelites would have felt totally “hemmed in” at the beach.  They could not turn inland, nor go north because there was a 3 storey Egyptian fortress there.  There was no way to run.  The situation looked impossible. 

There are some evidence of barnacle encrusted remains of chariots and human bones at the bottom of the Gulf of Aqaba near Nuweiba.  This lends credence to the theory of this crossing.


So what principles can we learn from this passage?

 

NEVER LOSE YOUR NERVES: STAND FIRM

 

Exodus 14:5–12 (NIV) 5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds… 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. 10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

 

The Israelites were overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation.  For Pharaoh had come pursuing them with the full force of his army.  Pharaoh had with him the 600 elite chariots plus many thousands of other chariots.  It is likely that these 600 charioteers had a fearsome reputation and merited such mention.  V9 states that Pharaoh went with horsemen and troops as well, likely an army of thousands of chariots, many tens of thousands of horsemen and troops.  In fact, Josephus the historian recorded 50,000 horsemen and 200,000 foot soldiers.

 

The Israelites had over 1,000,000 people, outnumbering the Egyptians, but these had many women, children and seniors.  Very few would have been trained in warfare as they were slaves.  Faced with Pharaoh’s well-equipped and trained army, it could be a massacre.  Fear gripped their hearts and they panicked.  Would you have panicked?


Fear is the cousin of unbelief.  Fear and doubt drive out faith and ushers in unbelief.

 

When faced with an impossible situation, it is crucialnot to lose our nerves.  To be overcome by fear and to panic is to lead to certain defeat.  The impossible situation will simply eat us up alive.  Fear is the cousin of unbelief.  Fear and doubt drive out faith and ushers in unbelief.

 

Matthew 14:28 - 31 (NIV) 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”  When Peter walked on water by faith, it was fear that brought in doubt.  Causing Peter to waver in his faith and to sink into the sea. 

 

Despite seeing God’s powerful hand deliver them from Egypt, the Israelites’ only response was fear, whining and despair. Where was their trust in God?  Fear tends to cloud our judgment and in panic we can no longer think clearly or objectively. Instead of looking to God, we tend to jump at the nearest compromise solution.

 

Once in my home, a little mouse had somehow entered and scurried across our family area.  Immediately my wife and another girl who saw it jumped up unto the sofas and chair with great fear. I chuckled at them and tried to explain that they weight hundreds of times more than these little pests.  If they were to accidentally fall on these mouse, it would be killed. The mouse should be far more afraid of them, not the other way around.  Obviously, it did not allay their fears.  I had to deal with the intruder mouse myself.

 

By focusing on God’s faithfulness in the past, we can face crisis with confidence rather than with fear and complaining.  The attitude of thanksgiving and gratitude is a good place to start when we are feeling fearful.

 

NEVER LOSE HEART: PERSEVERE


Gaining a divine perspective helps us see as God sees it. An opportunity rather than impossibility.

 

In the midst of impossibilities, the enemy would try to make us first lose our nerves. Then to cause us to lose heart ie to stop believing that we can succeed or go through it. An important step in trusting God through a seemingly impossible situation is to gain a divine perspective on the situation.  That is why Moses urged them, “Do not be afraid!”  We must stay calm in the face of impossible odds and begin to see it through the eyes of God. Gaining a divine perspective helps us see as God sees it. An opportunity rather than impossibility.

 

How do we do this?

 

Believe in God’s deliverance

 

Exodus 14:13–14 (NIV) 13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”


With an impossible situation, human solutions will not work.  We need God-solutions.

 

When faced with an impossible situation, human solutions will not work.  We need God-solutions.  We should determine to turn to God for help! We are not in control of everything, but God is!  God is sovereign over all matters. Why not turn to God in such times and seek His face. Quit worrying!

 

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace.  They looked upon God for deliverance. Daniel 3:17-18 (NIV) 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

 

They did not lose heart but placed their complete confidence in God to save them!  Their entire lives were placed in God’s hands.  What trust!

 

Seek for divine guidance

 

Exodus 14:15–16 (NIV) 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.

 

Godly solutions must be carried out according to God’s ways and instructions. Our part is to seek God for His specific instructions.  We must be patient in listening to God.  Often, our own thoughts cut off God’s divine thoughts because we are so busy seeking for the solutions ourselves rather than seek God. Or we are too distracted by our entertainment devices to hear God!

 

When God gives us instructions, we should obey God who knows better. Isa 55:6, 8-9 (NIV) 6 Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

 

Let’s seek God until you find guidance!

 

Discern God’s purposes

 

Exodus 14:17–18 (NIV) 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”


God has a purpose for every situation.  We need to figure out what God is trying to teach us each time.

 

God has a purpose for every situation.  We need to figure out what God is trying to teach us each time.  Rather than fighting God all the way, why not start asking God, “What would you like to teach me through this circumstance?”  To be able to do so, we need to seek God and trust Him.  Do not allow doubt to come in and pull you apart when the situation gets worse or does not seem to improve. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.

 

Persevere for God’s deliverance

 

Exodus 14:19–20 (NIV) 19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.

 

Finally, at the eleventh hour, God intervened.  Just in time, the divine column moved to stand between them and the Egyptian army. Hebrews 10:36 (NIV) You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

 

God will turn up.  Eventually.  Sometimes at the 13th hour!  It is almost like you have reached the edge of a cliff, pushed over the edge and as you are falling, God turns up and asks casually, “So what can I do for you?”

 

George Muller was an evangelist and founder of the Ashley Down orphanage in 19th century Bristol, England.  These orphanages were not funded by the government and had to rely upon donors.  By faith, Muller determined that they were not going to solicit for donations, instead trusting God for His provision.  They saw many incredible provisions by God. 

 

Muller shares the story of a time, when the orphanage had totally run out of funds.  There was nothing left to provide even a meal for the many orphans.  Nevertheless, he had them all sit down at the dining table with empty plates and began to give thanks to God for His provision.  Just as he finished giving thanks, there was a loud urgent knock at the front door.  A delivery truck had broken down in front of the orphanage.  The driver told them that he was to deliver food to a shop, but it would all go to waste now.  So would the orphanage like to have it?  That day they had one of the most sumptuous meals ever!

 

It is crucial that we persevere in waiting for God’s intervention.  If we simply seek a human solution, it may end up an Ishmael.  James 5:11 (NIV) As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.

 

Job is a good example of a man who was faithful to God, trusted God and persevered through whatever situation had happened to him.  In the end, he received God’s best for his life.

 

NEVER BACK OUT: WALK THROUGH

 

Impossible situations require impossible solutions.

Sometimes, impossible situations require impossible solutions. A natural response to a seemingly impossible solution is, “I can’t do this! It is impossible!” Yet nothing is impossible for God. Matthew 19:26 (NIV) Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  So how do we walk through impossible situations?

 

Exercise faith according to the rhema word

 

Exodus 14:21 (NIV)  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided,


Faced with an impossible situation, human solutions will not work.  We need God-solutions.

 Moses heard from God in the midst of the impossible situation as we saw in v15-18. The key step is when he acted in faith according to the rhema word that he received.  When we are faced with an impossible situation, human solutions will not work.  We need God-solutions.

 

Do you want God-solutions to your situation? Then you need to respond with faith when God releases His rhema word!  Moses acted upon the rhema word, so must you!    

 

Rise up to the fearsome solution

 

Exodus 14:22 (NIV)  and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

 

To escape from the Egyptian army, the Israelites had to walk into the depths of the Red Sea with only a divine wind holding back the sea on both sides.  The only thing separating them from death in the sea was an invisible hand of God holding back the sea!  

 

We know that God caused the sea to close back at dawn and we know that the sea was parted sometime at night.  It is very possible that they had several hours to cross the Red Sea. It is likely that they had to walk several kilometres across the bed of the sea to reach the other side. If the site is as proposed, it is a walk of about 13 kilometres.  Sonar studies has revealed an undersea ridge, as shown below. It is about 300m deep and the land bridge was about 900m wide. The sides fall off to over 1,000m deep.  The slope down and up the land bridge is a gentle 6 degrees! 



Imagine if you were walking through the Red Sea.  In the dead of the night with howling winds holding back some 300m of sea water, that towered over you as you journeyed down the land bridge.  Perhaps some large sea animals might bump along this wall of water as you passed by.  You hurry across as fast as you can because if this invisible wall of wind failed to hold, it was the end. 


Taking hold of the impossible solution requires courage.

 

At times, impossible situations require impossible solutions. And taking hold of the impossible solution requires courage. Courage enough to walk in it.  Challenging us to the limit of our faith.  Sometimes the solution may be almost as fearsome as the crisis.

 

The Bible recorded for us the story of Daniel whose enemies plotted to kill him.  God delivered Daniel from his enemies, but it required him to first be accused of disobedience to the King’s orders and being thrown into the lion’s den.  We know the final outcome and how God protected him.  Yet imagine if God’s solution to our biggest problem is to be thrown into the lion’s den!  Perhaps we might reject God’s solution!


The problem is the lack of courage, the lack of faith in God to walk in the solution. 

 

One key reason why many Christians fail to break past the impossible situation is not because of the lack of a God-provided solution.  The problem is the lack of courage, the lack of faith in God to walk in the solution.  And we cannot argue that the solution was beyond us to bear. 1 Cor 10:13 (NIV) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

 

We must take heart in the knowledge of God’s promise that He would not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear.  The problem is not about exceeding what we can bear but our premature giving up!  So let’s rise up to the fearsome solution!  Rise up in faith and walk through the impossible situation by taking hold of the God-solution. 


We must maintain faith as we walk in the impossible solution! 

In Apostle Peter’s case, where he fumbled when trying to walk on water, it was because he did not persevere in faith.  It was not a lack of courage to walk through an impossible situation.  He cast His eyes away from Jesus, so he was unable to maintain faith through the impossible situation.  We must maintain faith as we walk in the impossible solution!  Don’t think, “Surely I can’t be doing this! It is impossible.  Nobody has done it before!”

 

In the Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back movie, Luke Skywalker found Yoda, the tiny, old Jedi master.  During his training, Luke discovered that his space craft had sunk to the bottom of the swamp.  He was devastated.  Yoda challenged Luke to lift the craft out with the Force.  Luke tried his best but failed and gave up despondently, believing it an impossible feat.  Yoda then calmly used the Force to lift out the entire craft and gently laid it on solid ground.  Luke was stunned by the tiny Jedi master’s incredible feat. Luke exclaimed in amazement, “I can’t believe it!”  And Yoda’s reply was simply, “That is why you fail.”

 

Believe God, trust Him!  Have courage to walk in the fearsome solution!

 

CONCLUSION

 

As the Israelites trusted God, God fully delivered them in a supernatural fashion that sealed the devastation of the Egyptians as recorded in v30-31.  When we trust God in an impossible situation, it will lead to a supernatural victory and lead us to a deeper place of trust in God. God’s name will also be glorified.  In trusting God, we must never lose our nerve.  Never lose heart and never back out.


 

Copyright©️2024 by Wilson Lim. All rights reserved. Materials are free to be distributed in whole or part as long as proper acknowledgement is given to the author and not sold for profit.

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