Re-Route the Unexpected Road

Exodus 12- 32

Does it seem like your life hasn’t turned out as you planned? Do you wonder why God seems to take you the hardest possible route sometimes?  In our fourth message of Through the Bible in a Year, learn principles to trust in God’s sovereignty.

Opening Welcome: Good Morning and Welcome to our members and visitors here at the Sandpoint Seventh-day Adventist Church.

I also want to welcome our friends who are watching our livestream online here in Idaho, from another state, and those watching around the world. We are thrilled you are joining us

And a very special welcome to those tuning into our local North Idaho radio station 97.7. We are broadcasting right here from Beautiful Sandpoint — and if you’d like to visit us for a live worship service, you can visit every Saturday at 10:50am — The address is 2235 Pine Street in

Sandpoint Idaho.


Sermon Introduction:  

This morning we continue our Journey through the Bible in a year — and can you believe it we’ve finally hit the second book of the Bible. If you’ve been following our Bible reading plan, we are now in the book of Exodus and at the story of the Exodus, and the Exodus is one of the moments that will forever be a marker in history as a defining moment for the nation of Israel, much like the Declaration of Independence was for the United States of America.

It was July 4, 1776 that the nation altering “Declaration of Independence” was written — It’s only a piece of paper written by some men in a room. It was just a Thursday like any other Thursday. But on this day a declaration was written and a decision made to forever sever the connection of the thirteen colonies with the British crown and to self-govern as a free people. And that decision made almost 248 years ago, has forever defined us as a Nation. You will recognize these words, but they are the heartbeat of America — the core of our identity:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.

What the 4th of July & the Declaration of Independence is to the American — The Exodus is to the Jew! It’s woven into their eternal memory, and the story of the Exodus is recounted by them in a daily Mitzvah, twice a day. Like the declaration of Independence, it marks the moment when after 400 years of serving an Egyptian tyrant they finally broke from that Monarchy to live under the freedom which God gives.

But that freedom didn’t come easy…

The Bible tells us that it took ten plagues falling on the Egyptians before Israel finally went free! Those ten plagues were necessary for both the Egyptians and the Israelites:

  1. For the Egyptians: They worshipped nature, and had a mystical religion filled with dark magic and it was God’s purpose to counteract their dark magic, their superstition, and to abolish their worship of nature.

We see this from the very beginning of Moses encounter with Pharaoh:

[Exo 7:10-12 NKJV] 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, just as the LORD commanded. And Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 11 But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. 12 For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. Notice that the Magicians of Pharaoh tried to work their magic, and also made serpents appear, but God revealed that their magic was only a counterfeit of God’s miracle. Aaron’s rod made a serpent, swallowed up the other serpents showing the inferiority of the power that Egypt worshipped.

Next, the Lord commands Moses to meet Pharaoh at the river in the morning. The morning was when Pharaoh came to offer his devotion to the Nile river and worship it! Egyptians believed that life came from the river but God would reveal to the Egyptians that true life does not come from the river, but the one who made the Nile river. God said:

[Exo 7:15-17 NKJV] 15 “Go to Pharaoh in the morning, when he goes out to the water, and you shall stand by the river’s bank to meet him; and the rod which was turned to a serpent you shall take in your hand. 16 “And you shall say to him, ‘The LORD God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, “Let My people go, that they may serve Me in the wilderness”; but indeed, until now you would not hear! 17 ‘Thus says the LORD: “By this you shall know that I [am] the LORD. Behold, I will strike the waters which [are] in the river with the rod that [is] in my hand, and they shall be turned to blood.

And throughout the land of Egypt, the water turned to blood. The plagues continued in Egypt:

Frogs, Knats, swarms of flies, The death of livestock, An epedemic of painful boils, Destroying Hail, A plague of Locusts, and Darkness over all the land which was a final show of power against the supreme god of the Egyptians — The Sun god Ra.

The Egyptians believed that Ra was the Creator and the one who made all the other gods. So when the sun was prohibited from shining upon Egypt, and darkness covered the land, the spell of Ra was broken. The ten plagues was a war on the gods of Egypt so that finally, all of Egypt could see that there is one who rules, the true Creator of heaven and earth.

[Num 33:4 NKJV] 4 … Also on their gods the LORD had executed judgments.

[I just want to insert a brief note here to say, that sometimes God allows disaster to come upon us, so that our trust in the things of this earth are broken — for God knows that until we lose our trust in earthly powers, we will never fully trust in heavenly powers]

Now in the story of the Exodus we see Israel as God’s people, and Egypt as the enemy of God’s people, right? But hold that thought for just a moment:

[Isa 19:25 NKJV] 25 whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, “Blessed [is] Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israel My inheritance.”

We are conditioned in our mind to see the war as between flesh and blood in the story of the Exodus, but the Bible tells us that the real war is not between humans on earth:

[Eph 6:12 NKJV] 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual [hosts] of wickedness in the heavenly [places].

Who are you fighting with this morning? Who are you at war with this morning? May I share with you a secret to victory in Christian warfare? If you fight against your husband or wife, if your war is against your neighbor or boss, if the controversy you face is just a controversy with flesh and blood in your mind — You are going to loss the real war!

The truth is that there is an enemy, a devil behind the scenes, who is working to bring destruction both to your life and destruction to the other persons life — and the story of the Exodus reveals a God who cares not only enough to save a persecuted people, but a God who is mighty enough to save even the persecutor from his own destruction.

You say, but the Egyptians were destroyed!

But wait, it wasn’t just Israel that came out of Egypt — Not all the Egyptians were destroyed, it was only those who refused to place their faith in God — there was a group who was converted and came out with Israel.

[Exo 12:38 NKJV] 38 “A mixed multitude went up with them also…”

Who was in this mixed multitude? Oh, I’m sure there were those who just wanted to escape the plagues and destruction of Egypt. But there were also Egyptians who had been fully converted to the Lord when they saw that the dieties they worshipped were powerless to the true Creator


[Col 2:15 NKJV] 15 [God] disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Notice what the book of Revelation says about Babylon at the end of time:

[Rev 18:2-4 NKJV] 2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” 4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.

How God dealt with Egypt, is how He will deal with those who may find themselves surrounded by evil at the end of time — but before total destruction, God always makes an effort to save — and even in the place that the Bible calls “The dwelling place of demons”  — God has HIS people — those who will see and respond to His call and come out in what we would call the

Final Exodus!

The Exodus is a reminder that God not only saves His visible church, but it’s a reminder that God is also able to save those we think are fully on Satan’s side. God’s goal is:

[Act 26:18 NKJV] 18 ‘to open their eyes, [in order] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’

It is God’s supreme will to have

[Col 1:13 NKJV] 13 …delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed [us] into the kingdom of the Son of His love,

How does God feel about the Egyptians? How does God feel about the ones who have wronged us, slighted us, misused and mistreated us? Oh, no doubt. The Lord hears our cry, and recognizes the injustice we’ve suffered, and make a note that God will fully deliver us as He delivered Israel from the bondage of slavery… God will vindicate the righteous publicly!  But sometimes we forget that the God who is powerful enough to save righteous, can also turn a Saul into an Apostle Paul… A sinner named Simon into a Prince of Preachers named Peter…. An insane demon possessed man described as a terror to all who passed by his home in tombs transformed into a man of dignity, sane, fully clothed, and an evangelist disciple of


We must never forget, that we serve a God who does not wish to destroy but to save

[Eze 33:11 NKJV] 11 “Say to them: ‘[As] I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!…

When God sent the ten plagues, He sent them to save Egyptians who would believe… But He also sent them to save the children of Israel who would believe— and to give them evidence of His mighty power before they left their place of bondage.

Now for those who are following the Bible in a Year program — you read Exodus 12-32 this last week, so you know what lays ahead for Israel. But Israel didn’t know all the challenges that lay ahead of them — God DID! What would they need to meet these challenges with faith not fear?  

They needed an experience with God! A catalogue of memories of God working mightily in their lives to save them the they could pull from when they faced the mighty obstacles in the path between Egypt and Canaan. The Ten Plagues which demolished the faith of the Egyptians in their gods, was meant to construct a faith for Israel in their God.

Have you ever faced a challenge in life, and the memory of a past victory gives you courage to press forward? Have you ever thought that when you face challenges in your life, that maybe God is trying to build a catalogue of memories in your mind? Maybe God is giving you the very experiences you will need to pull from in your journey to the promised land?

Just like Israel we can’t see the future, but God can — and the experiences He gives us now are the experiences needed for us to see the power of God to fix what we can’t fix, to deliver in ways we can’t deliver, to save in hopeless situations — and then to use those memories to help us remain faithful to God’s call in our life — especially when that call takes us down an unexpected road.

For this next part of the sermon I am going to need a volunteer parent and a child — Age 7-12, they’re going to need to navigate with someone’s help.

Object Lesson:

[Blind fold child  at back of the church, with parent at the end of the center aisle on the stage and a person leading the child with a string, tugging which way they should go. The child just needs to follow the leading of the tug.

once we put the blindfold on then I will have a group of Philistines block the most obvious path to his mother. And I will have the person with the string move to tugging in the direction that will take the child to their parent.

The path will lead them back into the foyer, to the right or left through the foyer, and around the hall inside one of the back side doors that leads back into the sanctuary. The child will be led blind folded up to a barrier of chairs near the front of the Sanctuary, will be carried/lifted over the chairs, and then placed close to their parent who will give them a big a hug. Then the blindfold will be removed.]

[Talk to the child — were you surprised at the direction that you were led? Why do you think you were led this strange direction? (take off blindfold and turn child around to see the Philistines in the road)]

Now, I needed you to see this re-route in action — because this is just what happened to Israel when they left Egypt.

Imagine in your mind, you think, finally we are leaving Egypt… For Israel it was a victory march out of Egypt… From the land of Goshen to the promised land of Canaan, the most direct route was only 160 miles — [From Sandpoint ID – Kalispell Montana] or [Sanpoint, ID to Spokane and back again].

If I were in Israel, I’d be thinking “This is it, out of bondage and in a few weeks or months I’ll be setting up my house in the land of promise!”— Nothing would indicate any other route than the most direct route… It’s clear — Just go east!  

But when God looked at the most direct route to the promised land, He saw Philistines and He also saw the heart of His people, and although they now had a catalogue of memories of God’s power in Egypt displayed in those ten plagues, God knew that the hardship of war would crush their faith — and they would not be able to endure the trial. In mercy, the Lord led them down an unexpected road.

[Exo 13:17 NKJV] 17 Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them [by] way of the land of the Philistines, although that [was] near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.”

I want to explain the terrain and the options for Israel to journey to the promised land…  

The most direct route was directly through the land of the Philistines — this was option #1. And option #1 meant war!!!

Option #2 was over the mountain ranges that flow down the center of Saudi Arabia… The problem is that you have a popular of 600,000 men plus women and children, flocks and herds, and carts being pulled with all their stuff… I’m reminded of Jacob’s journey across a rough terrain in Genesis:

[Gen 33:13 NKJV] 13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children [are] weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing [are] with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die.

So the mountains weren’t an option… that leaves only one option left!

Option #3 — The Dead End Path

[Exo 13:18 NKJV] 18 So God led the people around [by] way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.

[Exo 13:20 NKJV] 20 So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness.

Let me describe this journey… Instead of East towards the promised land, it leads south along the western edge of Saudi Arabia with the mountains on one side and the ocean on the other. It’s a narrow corridor that leads around the tip Saudi Arabia, and finally the corridor dead ends at a place called Etham. At this dead end place you have steep mountains in front of you, steep mountains on the side of you, the Red Sea on the other side of you, and the path you just came from behind you. You’ve now entered a 100% Geological Dead-End…  

The Bible describes this place by saying:

[Exo 14:3 NLT] 3 …’The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’

“DEAD END! I knew it… I knew I shouldn’t have followed that cloud… I knew that to leave my job as a slave, my home in Egypt, and all that was familiar would end in disaster… Just Look at us — a bunch of misfits, not knowing where we are going and how to get to the land of promise now stuck at a dead end… What are we supposed to do now?

So the Lord answers what next: “Turn Around”

[Exo 14:2 NKJV] 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea.

“Turn around, turn around and go where God? You want us to just camp here on the sea shore, and do what? None of us know how to swim!”

I don’t know how long they camped on the sea shore, maybe a day, maybe a week — but just when all hope was drying up suddenly someone sees a cloud of dust in the wilderness and they hear the Egyptian welp of chariot drivers driving their horses like mad…

Their worst nightmare has come true — An Angry Egyptian King with “All the Chariots of Egypt” is coming behind them… Thoughts of doubt, turn to anger!  

[Exo 14:10-12 NKJV] 10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because [there were] no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 “[Is] this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For [it would have been] better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

The first thing I want you to notice is that God is bigger than Israel’s emotions — You can almost see the sweat pouring down the faces of the men as they see there is no way of escape from Pharaoh. But God doesn’t cast Israel off because they are faithless and afraid… God doesn’t turn His back on them because they don’t understand His leading and even when their faith is shaken to it’s core God doesn’t abandon them…

[Psa 103:13-14 NKJV] 13 As a father pities [his] children, [So] the LORD pities those who fear Him. 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we [are] dust.

 The Bible says, they “Cried out to the LORD”… and there never was a cry that the Lord did not hear! when we are confused with His leading, grumble about the path we are on, and even wish for our former life of slavery — God does not give up on us! He hears our cry, and answers our cry. Why? Because we are loved by God and it is God’s desire to lead us to the promised land.

[Neh 9:9 NKJV] 9 “You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, And heard their cry by the

Red Sea.

The second thing I want you to see — is that God always leads us down the best path which often times seems like the foolish path.

[1Co 2:14 NKJV] 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.

Accept a condemned and crucified Jesus as your long awaited Savior? — Foolishness Move into the country when a home in the city is way easier and more profitable? —


Stand for God, rather than compromise on the Sabbath, risking your Job? — Foolishness

Give back ten percent of your income with no guarantee of a return? — Foolishness

Love your enemies, and do good to those who persecute you? — Foolishness

Lead 600,000 people to a dead end, and then while they are entrapped lead an angry Pharaoh to come up behind you threatening to destroy you — Foolishness

[1Co 1:25 NKJV] 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

What looked like to Israel a complete and total massacre, a failure on the grandest proportions — Was actually being orchestrated by God as the most magnificent victory against the most powerful nation on earth.

[Exo 14:15 NKJV] 15 And the LORD said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.

What? Go forward? Which way? The mountains, the Sea, the Army — Then God says,

[Exo 14:16-17 NKJV] 16 “But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea. 17 “And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen.

And Moses lifted his rod, and a mighty wind came and drove the sea apart, and Israel walked on dry ground.

Story: The young boy & the Atheist

There was a young boy who was smiling on a park bench one day and along came an Atheist. Why are you smiling said the Athiest — the young boy said, “I’m just thinking of a story from the Bible and how God led an entire nation to cross the red sea on dry ground… It’s absolutely amazing, I serve an amazing God.” — The atheist was smug, and he said to the boy… Actually, archaeologist have discovered the place where they crossed the red sea was only two feet deep. It would’ve been easy for them to wade across the red sea without any miraculous help. The boy looked puzzled and then downcast for a moment, and then broke out into an even more Radiant smile than ever before. Why are you smiling asked the Atheist… The boy said, “The story is even better than I remember it” God not only led Israel through the Red Sea, He drowned the entire Egyptian Army in only two feet of water!!! Appeal:  


Scriptures and Quotes

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