Preparation for a New Millennium 1/3/99

Exodus 14:13-16
(Page 102 Come Alive Bible)

JESUS CHRIST said to His followers: “Go into all the world and make disciples…” God’s people have always been under orders. His orders often involve the little word “go.” A vivid illustration of this is found in our text.

It detracts a bit from the story when you know the end from the beginning. To understand something of the emotion of the people involved in the epoch recorded in Exodus, remember they did not know the end from the beginning. They knew only that Moses had promised to lead them as Jehovah directed him. Their confidence was, at the point we pick up the story, at an all time low. They knew only that the moaning sea was before them and a raging army behind them.

They were right where God wanted them.

They were bivouacked between Pi-Hahiroth and Baal-Zephon. They were in a hopeless situation.

We see ourselves mirrored in them. God had blessed and cared for them up to this point. He had promised to give them a land flowing with milk and honey. However, many past blessings are forgotten in light of one present perplexity.

Pharaoh’s army had them hemmed-up in a narrow plain with mountains on one side, an expansive marsh on the other, and the Red Sea before them. Now note:

Moses and the people had been crying out to God. Mixed with their prayers for deliverance were cries of despair and derision. This added to their paralysis of fear.

In effect God said, “It is time to stop praying and start acting.” Christians today need to pray frequently and earnestly but there is a time to stop praying and start acting.

Moses had come to that time.

The sea would engulf them. The army would annihilate them. Neither posed as their greatest threat. Their greatest danger was to give in to the temptation to go back. They appealed to Moses to let them go back and serve the Egyptians voluntarily as slaves.

One of the greatest threats to the average Christian’s progress is the allurement to go back. A search for security and conformity defeats the cause of Christ.

We are one year from a new millennium. Do you suppose the calendar knows the difference in December 31, 1999, and January 1, 2000? Will the animal world and all of nature be able to tell the difference? Likely not.

There are persons capitalizing on the dawning of a new era. Scare sells and therefore it is being marketed. Some speculate it will mark the end of the world. Others declare it will be the occasion of the second coming of Christ. The last millennium resulted in the emergence of a number of cults proclaiming dooms day. Already they are emerging. In the next months expect to hear all sorts of scare stories that would make great science fiction movies.

There is however one new element in the mix of this millennium known as Y2K. It refers to computer crashes resulting from an encoded date preventing the computer from reading the year 2000. Alarmist say it will result in bank failures, loss of investment records, disruption of medical services, traffic gridlock, food shortages, utility failures, missiles misfiring of nuclear war heads, and many other dramatic disasters. It is a matter deserving serious consideration.

“Newsweek” carried a cover story stating, “The day the world shuts down.” The article called it “The event that could paralyze the world.”

“Computer World” stated, “The problem is far worse than even the pessimists believe.”

Senator Stephen Horn, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology reported on behalf of the committee that of 7,300 mission critical systems in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government only 50% are Y2K compliant.

It is estimated it will cost over $600 billion to fix the problem. That is one reason Greenspan has been lowering interest rates. It provides funds to make the repairs.

The Federal Reserve has already ordered the Bureau of Engraving and Printing to print and store $50 billion extra cash in the event misled or panicky people rush ATM’s or conventional banks.

However, there are optimists. Federal Reserve Governor, Edward W. Kelley, Jr. noted: “I would expect Y2K shock to our information and electronic control infrastructure is most likely to be short- lived and fully reversed.” Kelley said the greatest problem is likely the fear of the bug itself.

The impact is likely to be lessened because people who were warned appreciated the warning and have responded positively.

With such mixed signals what should a person do? Be prepared. Some are suggesting some practical steps that are good under any circumstance. Things such as: Get hard copies of vital records, such as, birth certificates, insurance policies, title deeds, investments, store several days of food and water in case there is an interruption of these services. The main thing is don’t panic.

A. Fear. Vs. 13, “Do not be afraid.” The expression actually means stop being afraid. Don’t ever take counsel of your fears. We should never fear to do God’s will.

B. Self-Assertion. Vs. 14, “The Lord will fight for you, and you should hold your peace.” Note, there is a two- fold involvement including God and man. God “will fight for you” conditioned upon you holding “your peace.” We are to confidently rely upon the Lord.

This expression is an encouragement to have faith.

C. Reluctance to Venture. We must venture or vegetate.

-Don’t let obscurities and enigmas stop you.

-Don’t ever think little steps are not important. We are to: “grow in grace” “add to your faith virtue” “change from glory to glory.”

This demands decision and energy. This is dependent upon Him. God is not a God who says “Go forward” without giving strength with which to go.

If we do what we know to do, He will then reveal what next we ought to do.

“When in trouble, when in doubt, Run in circles, scream and shout.” Going isn’t enough. Direction is critical. Many people go back or around and feel that motion is momentum. Spiritually we are to follow our beloved Lord forward.

Why were they to go forward? Was there less danger? Was it the path of least resistance? No! It was the path of duty in compliance with God’s command. All of nature goes forward. Rivers run forward, the wind blows forward, and the earth itself goes forward in its orbit. Philosophy, science, art, music and time go forward. It is presumption to think that Christians should not progress in their spiritual growth. We have an appointment in eternity; an engagement at the judgement seat. Therefore, we must move on toward it.

Our motto should be: “Excelsior,” or “Aundiamo,” that is “Forward.”

Missionary David Livingston wrote that He was willing to go anywhere his mission society sent him for God, “provided it be forward.”

God used the wind to plow a furrow through the sea once He saw their willingness to obey.

Indecision is decision. If they had demurred and delayed until tomorrow, they would have been defeated.

Be prepared. In light of the Y2K potential persons are being warned to be prepared. Most such encouragement has to do with physical planning. Be prepared spiritually by making the decision to let Christ be Savior AND Lord of our life.

God enabled them to emerge victoriously. The Book of Revelation speaks of the “song of Moses and the Lamb.” Moses’ song was a song of victory.