People Who Say Such Things: Make Camp in the Middle of Chaos


April 1, 2020

Exodus 14:1-4 (NIV)

Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.


I’m going to coin a saying as we begin today. We need the mind of Christ to think the thoughts of God. Try saying that with a bit of iambic pentameter (heart beat rhythm). We need-the mind-of Christ-to think-the thoughts-of God. 

Why? Because the thoughts of God are confounding to the minds of people. Look at today’s text. God wanted Pharaoh to pursue his people. Why would God want this? So he could defeat Pharaoh and his army. God’s strategy? Make it appear to Pharaoh that the Israelites were lost and confused. You know what that felt like for the Israelites? They felt lost and confused. It felt like they were doomed. Meanwhile, Pharaoh could taste the victory. It was literally a worst case scenario for the Israelites. Everything must have seemed so wrong to them at the time. Why would God put them through so much and bring them so far only to let them perish like this? Short answer: He wouldn’t. 

Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “Everyone who is wandering is not lost.” Israel proves the point. You may be in the midst of the lowest moment of your life so far right now. You may feel lost and confused and in despair. It may even feel like it’s all your fault. Renounce despair and look to God. He has a plan. 

Remember, the thoughts of God are confounding to the minds of people. How do we know this? First witness—Isaiah: 

“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. Isaiah 55:8-9.

Second witness—Paul:

For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. 1 Corinthians 1:25 

So back to our text of the day. Did you pick up on confounding absurdity of the instructions? 

“Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea.”

Translation: “Not only does it appear you are lost and doomed to certain destruction, I want you to make camp there.” 

In the life of following Jesus in pursuit of the will of God it can feel like a holy-ground burning bush encounter last week and a holy-hell house fire the next. Don’t forget—God has a plan. God can work his best magic in our worst messes. It takes growing up in our faith to grasp this. It’s why we must have the mind of Christ. 

Back to our saying: “We need the mind of Christ to think the thoughts of God.” What is the mind of Christ? The mind of Christ is a cultivated faith that trusts God with all one’s heart and leans not on our own understanding—even in the most desperate situations; no, especially in the most desperate situations. To gain the mind of Christ we must fix our eyes on Jesus. 

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

It can feel like making camp in the middle of chaos.

People who say such things. . . 


Father, I want to be a person who says such things. I confess that your thoughts and ways are higher than my thoughts and ways. I also believe you can give me the mind of Christ. Open my eyes to really see Jesus, in your Word and in the world. I want to think thoughts after you, Lord. I want your ways to become my ways. Come Holy Spirit, and train me to be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 


Have you experienced or witnessed one of these situations where the thoughts and ways of God were confounding to conventional wisdom? Are you in one of those situations now?  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt

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