The morning meeting was led by Major Judith Payne, assisted by the CO, Major Ian F Payne. This is quite a rare happening but for three weeks Major Judith will be preaching to us.
The theme of the series is called ‘On the beach’ and Major Judith explained that the beach she had chosen for her message was Moses at the Red Sea. Exodus 14:13. ‘Don’t be afraid! Stand your ground and you will see what the Lord will do to save you!’
The opening song (SASB 378) Lord, I come before your throne of grace was sung before we were asked to think of three things for which we were thankful. This was a practice to be regularly encouraged as it resulted in positive thinking and relaxation before sleep (not in the meeting) at home. SASB 364 ‘Give thanks with a grateful heart’ was part of the opening prayer time. A children’s chorus (with video) ‘How did Moses cross the Red Sea?’ gave a link to the storyline which was enhanced by a video of Exodus 14 being read. The Singing Company, although depleted in number, sang ‘I’m in His hands’ and the Songsters ministry was ‘Grace Alone’.
Bible readings from Isaiah 40: 26-31 and Exodus 14:14 were read by Major Ian before the singing of SASB 402 ‘God will make a way’.
Major Judith, in her message, said that ‘Some people think of the story of Moses and the Israelits crossing the Red Sea as a fairy story but research has shown that the ‘sea’ was not the Red Sea as it is known today but another sea between Egypt and Saudi Arabia where pictorial carvings have been found on a column and coral covered wagons are under water there. Saudi Arabia would not want people visiting their country to check these out – hence the lack of publicity. It is also known that if the ‘East wind’ blew strongly at a certain time the waves would be hindered in their flow. So, have faith that God’s word is true and nobody can change the knowledge in your life of God’s work based on personal experience.
Moses said ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand your ground. God will fight for you.’ The beach can be a difficult place for us and we can be stuck in many different ways. Life’s knocks can cause us to feel stuck and afraid. God being enough is true. He is eternal and awesome. Nearly 400 times it says in the Bible ‘Fear not’ or ‘Don’t be afraid’. Why is this so? It’s because there’s enough in the world for us to fear. It can undermine everything if it gets a grip. What did Jesus do when he felt fear? He went to a quiet place, took his friends and spoke to the Father. Fear of God is a different kind of fear. It’s reverent awe, respect, trust. God is almighty and will fight for us.
Moses had to tell his people to stand their ground. The desert is a fertile place in which to complain – and this they did, many times as listed in Numbers 11. They were reasonable but what they did wasn’t reasonable. We need to trust in God Proverbs 3. ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart’. The people of Israel failed to stand. Everything is given by God. He will provide for all your needs. Don’t be afraid. Stand your ground. He will fight for you. He will make a way. This was a transformational process for them. 3,500 years later Israel is still a nation. Persecuted on a regular basis. In Numbers 17 Moses came to the end of his tether and had a rant to the Lord. It’s OK to make a rant to the Lord. The arm of the Lord is never too short. It is big enough for anything. The hard times when we suffer are when we grow. God does good in these times to make us stronger. Romans 8:28 is good to remember ‘And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.’ We can’t always choose what happens to us but we can influence how we respond. Stand our ground. God will fight for you. He is for you. Isaiah. Time to wait for the Lord – it takes great effort to wait. Wait in the stillness of the arms of God.
God is Almighty. He is fighting for us. He will never let us down. ‘Be still and know that I am God’.
The meeting finished with the singing of SASB 393 ‘Tell out my soul’ and a Benediction.