“A HILL TOO HIGH”                                     By Pastor YAU

Text: Exodus 16:1-12.                                      January 4, 2009.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   A modern day phenomenon: Dave Branon, one of the writers of Our Daily Bread, wrote that he and his wife liked to rollerblade. Near the end of their favorite routes was a long uphill. When they first started taking that route he tried to encourage his wife by saying, “Are you ready for the hill?” just before pushing their way up. But one day his wife said, “Could you please not say that? You make it sound like a huge mountain and that discourages me.” It is better for Sue to face that hill one push at a time instead of seeing the entire steep hill at once.

2)   An ancient time phenomenon: A few weeks after their joyful exodus from Egypt and the oppression of slavery, the people of Israel was in the middle of the desert without food. They began to complain against Moses and Aaron and said that they rather stay in the land of slavery than being starved to death in the middle of the desert. (Exodus 16:1-3) Imagine what Moses may think: “I have to feed these millions of people for who knows how long and where do I get that much food for them?” But God took care of Moses’ mountains of problem. He gave them Manna in the morning and quail in the evening each day.

 

ONE DAY AT A TIME: A better way to handle everyday life.

1)    God created in days: Read the first chapter of Genesis and see how God created the universe, the world and everything in it in six days. With His omnipotent power, no one will doubt that He could do it in one day or the blink of an eye if He so chose to but He did not. Have you every wonder why didn’t God do it that way? Could it because He wanted to show us that there is no need to do all things in one day? He may want to show us that things need to be done in sequences. God may also want to show us that He has all the plans in His mind and there is no need to rush to completion in one day. We don’t know all the answers and we don’t need to. All we need to know is that God took time to finish a great job one day at a time.

2)    God cares the days: Besides the fact that God created everything in days, He really cared for the days. At the end of each day in His creation, God blessed each day with His approval: “God saw all that He had created and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning.” This same blessing was given to each of the six days in the creation story. That doesn’t mean God didn’t approve things created the day before. But it means God has special interest and approval of things He did on that day: one day and each day is important in His eyes.

3)    God loves us each day: In Lamentation, Prophet Jeremiah was kept prisoner because of his faithful service to the Lord. In the dungeon of hopelessness, he wrote “Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for His compassion never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (3:22-23) No matter where we may be or whatever circumstance we may be in, God’s love and compassion will pour on us each morning everyday. His faithfulness will never fail.

4)    God provides us each day: When Jesus delivered His Sermon on the Mount, He emphasized on the faithful provision of God on our needs. In Matthew 6:24-33, Jesus assured us that God would provide all our needs each day as He did for the birds and the lilies. Then He concluded his teaching on the providential care of God “Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them, and all these things will be given to you. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of it own.” (6:32-34)

 

THE JOURNEY OF LIFE: (Exodus 16:1-20)

1)    A time to rejoice: A few weeks before problem of life came to the Israelis, they had just celebrated the crossing of the Red Sea and the destruction of Pharaoh’s army. Moses even led the people to sing a victory song and Miriam, his sister, led the women in joyful dancing. (14:1-15:21) There are moments in life things just going well and we rejoice and celebrate what the Lord has done. God is being praised and everyone is happy and life seems full of wonderful trimmings.

2)    A time to complain: Not too long after the Israelis were full of dreams of a bright future, they traveled for 3 days to the Desert of Shur where they couldn’t find any water. When they came to Marah and found some water but they could not drink it because it was bitter. So they grumbled against Moses who was their great leader only a few days ago. If you are a leader and you depend on the reaction of the people to judge your degrees of success, you are in risky business. Their mood or approval rating on your leadership changes at the blinks of an eye.

3)    Then comes the blow: Six weeks after they left Egypt on their journey to freedom, they found themselves in the middle of the Desert of Sin. Then the whole congregation grumbled against Moses because there was no food. We all understand that no one may survive in a desert without water and food. These are not luxuries. They are basic needs. Some of us, if not all of us, may face times that are so difficult that we are in danger of running out of basic needs of survival.

4)    Here is the blame game: The Israelis did what they did the best during the journey of the exodus: complaint. They complained against Moses their greatest leader whom they praised and danced only 6 weeks ago. They even grumbled against God who initiated the exodus. They wanted to die in the land of slavery with their mouth full of meat instead of a trip to freedom and dignity. They had lost the direction and purpose of their life. They want to trade something of eternal importance with something that only last for a day: food in the stomach.

5)    Can God do a better job: Some may argue why didn’t God lead His people to the Promised Land with roses and red carpet all the way from Egypt to Canaan. Well, He is God after all and He can do that if He wanted to. But they forgot that a wilderness is a wilderness. Red carpet and roses in the wilderness won’t help the Israelis learned how to handle hardship in real life. Before they entered into a land flows with milk and honey, isn’t it good for them to learn the other side of life? The flip side.

6)    God knows what He is doing: Did God know the Israelis need food in the wilderness? Can He provide what they need? What do you think? He provided them food morning and night, each day and everyday. He did not provide them food once for every six weeks or months. But He did provide them every morning and evening: one day at a time. With the extreme temperature in the wilderness, any kind of food will certainly spoil overnight.

7)    Trust God, not yourself: Some of the Israelis trusted themselves more than trusted God. They tried to collect more than what God allowed them to. Either way, their extra collection didn’t increase their possession but turned spoiled the next day.(18-20)

 

NO HILL IS TOO HIGH: Some suggestions for 2009.

1)    Time to remember: One of the bad habits the Israelis had was they never remember what God did in the past: the plagues to humble the Pharaoh, the dividing of the Red Sea, the joy of salvation and the gift of strong and faithful leader Moses. When they face a difficult situation, they forgot what God had done the day before. We need to remember all the blessings God has bestowed on us in the past and remember His love and power in doing that. He did it before and He will do it in the future.

2)    The ups and downs: No life is filled with all the ups or downs. It alternates from one side to the other just like the pendulum. No need to be panic when God allows us on the wrong side. He will soon move us to the right wide. Roses are beautiful, but they won’t look as good if there were no green leaves around them.

3)    On step at a time: All great races were won not with a few super jumps but with persistent steps: one step at a time. Great books were written one word and one line at a time. Don’t look at the summit and get discouraged by the seemingly insurmountable heights. Look at the small distance you put your steps on. No hill is too high if you keep your steps persistent and going forward. Life is very much the same way: one day at a time.

4)    Give us our daily bread: This is one of the sentences Jesus taught His disciples in the Lord’s Prayer. He didn’t ask God to give us bread for a week, a month or a year or many years down the road so we may feel more safe and secured. We want to see how our future may look like. We want to be able to know our future is secured and safe months or years ahead. But God has His own way: he will open the window of heaven to provide us just enough grace one day at a time. Why? Because He wants us to believe in Him, not the bread He provides.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    What may our future hold? As we face the uncertainty of our future of 2009 and all the years ahead, all we need to know is our God has all in His hands and He will lead, provide, direct and take us through whatever it may be. No hill is too high and no road is too long when we walk closely with God and allow Him to hold our hands.

2)    Life is made of days: If there were no days, there won’t be years and if there were no years, there won’t be life. It is the days that make the years and the years that make life. We need to go back to the basic of life and that is the days. If we take good care of each day, the year will be rich and meaningful. When the years are rich and meaningful, life is rich and meaningful. So, give each day to God’s hand, live with His guidance and strength and you will see all the days are in His blessing.

3)    The best insurance policy: Want to be sure of 2009? Get a good insurance policy. The best one is from God because He knows everything that may happen in 2009, the good and the bad and everything else in between. When your life in 2009 is in His hand, you are save. Don’t just sit there and guessing something you don’t know and have no control. Trust your future in the one who created days, months and years and that is God. Today is the best day, the New Year Sunday, to put your trust and faith in God. Just do it and you will be fine.