“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7
In Part One of When God Steps In – A Prophetic Word, we considered just what “a prophetic word” is, as well as how to determine if “a word” is from the LORD. Then we looked in depth at 1 Peter 5:6-7, a verse the Lord impressed upon me as prophetic for our times. Now we will consider more aspect of God stepping in to our circumstances as we continue to string pearls of scriptural wisdom related to this topic.
When Does God Step In?
When does God step in? When does the Lord intervene? In our time; when we want? No! In His time.
- Galatians 4:4-5 – “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.”
The Lord steps in when for Him the time is full or right. That “time” often conflicts with our timing.
God Promises to Step In
God promises to step in. There are many of portions of scripture in which God promises to step in. For instance:
To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song For Alamoth.
1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.
God promises to step in; to get involved; to be our refuge. So, we should expect God to step in.
Can We Be Successful Before God Steps In?
Can we be successful before God steps in? There is a sense in which we cannot be successful before God gets involved. The Bible says very clearly, “Neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase” (1 Cor. 3:7). It states, “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11). Jesus said, “without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
But when we come to Jesus and are born again, the Holy Spirit dwells in us (John 3; 14:17). The Holy Spirit is our Helper from that point onward (cf. John 14-16). Therefore, with the help and empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can be “successful” (e.g. Acts 1-2; Eph. 5:18). Remember, we are speaking about a special time of God intervening in life when we speak of God stepping in.
Therefore, we can answer is YES!! to our question. We can be “successful” before God steps in. But what does such “success” look like? Is it BIG churches, BIG salaries, BIG cars, BIG fame? I don’t believe so. Though those things in the proper context are fine, they do not define success as far as God is concerned.
Faithfulness is God’s measure of success. We need to be faithful until God steps in. The Apostle Paul wrote:
- 1 Corinthians 4:1–5 – Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.
We shouldn’t be consumed with what other people think of us. We shouldn’t even be overly self-analytical. Faithfulness is the measure of godly success, not wealth, prosperity, popularity. Being faithful is success in God’s eyes.
Does God Stepping in Mean We Won’t Have Hardship?
Does God stepping in mean we won’t experience difficulty or hardship? No. Look what the Apostle Paul testified he experienced as he waited on the Lord:
- 1 Corinthians 4:9–13 – 9 For I think that God has displayed us, the apostles, last, as men condemned to death; for we have been made a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are distinguished, but we are dishonored! 11 To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. 12 And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.
“We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now” Paul said. God’s plans may involve we endure hardship and trials, confusion and conflict before He steps in. And if that is the case, then, like Paul, we must remain faithful and dependent on Him.
But When Does God Step In?
But when does God step in? When does God step in? What does the Bible reveal to us about the way God acts, about when He steps in? Here are some examples; some pearls strung together for us to learn from about when God steps in.
God steps in when there’s no way out. When at the Red Sea and it seemed like God has betrayed His people into a corner and put them on a platter for their pursuing enemy, God stepped in. The account of these events in Exodus 14-15 gives us great insight into when God steps in. Let’ s go through the chapters.
First, we need to understand that all of the Exodus began when Israel was oppressed and put in bondage and cried out to the LORD. Exodus is God’s response to their prayerful cries:
23 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
The best thing to do when you’re hurting and hopeless is to cry out to God. God is attentive to the cries of His people.
God responded to their cries by calling Moses as their leader (Exodus 3-4). Then through Moses God brought ten plagues upon Egypt and Pharaoh until the god-king finally gave in (Exodus 5-13). It is here that we pick up the story.
Exodus 14–15 (NKJV)
14 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 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.
God directed Moses and Israel to be exactly where they were. This was no mistake. God gave them the exact directions to be in the exact place where they would experience these apparent problems. Sometimes, in order for God to work a miracle or great work, He directs us in a course that looks threatening, looks like a dead end, but it is really the place of a mighty work of deliverance from an enemy and destruction of an enemy.
3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ 4 Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” And they did so.
The enemies of the LORD have no chance against God. God uses their own conniving and proud lust for power against them.
5 Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. 7 Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. 9 So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.
The Egyptians had all the best military technology and capability of the day. Their equipment was top of the line. What they didn’t have was the LORD to lead them. And that was their greatest deficit. The Egyptians second guessed what they had learned from the Ten Plagues God had brought upon them.
10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them.
The LORD allowed the Egyptians to get Israel seemingly right where he wanted them.
So they were very afraid,
The people’s initial reaction was fear.
and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.
Next, Israel cried out to the LORD. This is always a good thing to do.
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.”
In other words, the people of Israel, with no way out, and the Egyptian army, the best military force of that day, hot on their tail, told Moses, “We told you so!” Fear and prayer were followed by complaining. God had directed them to be where they were, and because everything wasn’t going smoothly, they were reduced to complaining.
How about you, do you complain when the LORD allows you to be in a situation where’s there’s no way out? Something to think about: For God to act in a mighty way, there has to be a mighty obstacle. Unless there’s a dead-end, there can be no deliverance. We pray for miracles and great victories. Well, for great victories there needs to be great enemies. Great victories come when there are great obstacles. And it takes faith to get us from the discovery of the obstacle to the deliverance from that obstacle.
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
Wow! What an incredibly reassuring prophetic word from Moses. Don’t be afraid. Stand still. Watch and see the salvation of the LORD that He is going to accomplish for you today. In other words, “The time has come for God to step in; you just watch and see.” All of this, even the danger and threat, were necessary in order for God to work a total defeat of their Egyptian enemy. And then these words, “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
William Carey, the father of modern missions, in a message on Isaiah 54:2-3 was used by God to spark that movement with the words, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” If we want God to work greatly, we must be willing to follow Him into the alleys of life and wait for Him to do great things.
15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.
In other words, God says, “Why are you crying? Just follow the plan I’ve laid out for you and move forward.”
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. 18 Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
What God says will happen, happens; always; never failing. All we have to do is follow His instructions. For Moses, it was “lift up your rod.” For the children of Israel, it was walk on through the Red Sea on dry ground. Simple!
19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.
I believe “The Angel of God,” is Jesus! (a Christophany or Theophany). Jesus was with them. Jesus promises to never leave us nor ever forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Jesus is always with us; especially when there seems to be no way out. And in those dark alleys of life where there seems to be no way out and all seems lost and we seem to be at the mercy of our enemies, that’s when Jesus moves before us and behind us. Jesus has our back!
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.
Do you know what the Hebrew term for “wind” is? It’s ruah. Do you know what else ruah can be translated as? SPIRIT! In the New Testament the same is true for the Greek term pneuma. “A strong east wind all that night” blew the sea aside so Gods’ people could pass through. The Spirit will move things aside and make a way for us to pass through! The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome obstacles in life (e.g. John 14-16; Acts 1-28).
22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
The Holy Spirit “wind” of God pushes obstacles aside and turns a dead end into a wonderful corridor of victory. The Spirit just pushes aside what is in the way.
23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch,
Now picture in your mind when this all comes down; “in the morning watch.” “The morning watch,” was sometimes between 3 am and dawn. The Bible promises: “He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3-4). Therefore, we, along with the psalmist can rest in the words:
A Psalm of David When He Fled from Absalom His Son.
1 Lord, how they have increased who trouble me!
Many are they who rise up against me.
2 Many are they who say of me,
“There is no help for him in God.”
3 But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
4 I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill.
5 I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people
Who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O Lord;
Save me, O my God!
For You have struck all my enemies on the cheekbone;
You have broken the teeth of the ungodly.
8 Salvation belongs to the Lord.
Your blessing is upon Your people.
Ah, such words of comfort! Have you been having sleepless nights over events of this past year? Are you awake pacing the floor, worried, anxious, overwrought with every imaginable possible negative and terrible possibility? Be restless no more. God to sleep! (Not now please.) But God never sleeps! And He is looking after us! He has a plan. Trust Him!
that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
In the middle of the night, just before dawn, the LORD looked down on those dirty old Egyptians and through His pillar of fire and “troubled” the Egyptians. “Troubled” (Hebrews hamam) means to put in commotion, to disturb, destroy, break, consume, crush, discomfort, trouble, vex. God looked down and troubled those Egyptians. He looked down and broke them down. He looked down on them and took off their chariot wheels; one of the greatest forms of technology of that day! God looked down on them and gave them a bad case of wobbly wheels. The LORD fought against them, and He never has, nor ever will, lose a fight. That’s our God!
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it.
How blessed must Moses have been to have God include him in this great victory. All Moses had to do was lift up his staff, no big deal, but just enough for him to be involved and play a part in this mighty victory of God. God loves to include us in His mighty works.
So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained.
Those who seemed so formidable, so mighty, so invincible, God made a thorough end of them. God covered them all in a watery grave. God put them all to rest in the deep dark Red Sea. That’s what God will do for you and for me.
29 But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30 So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.
Israel saw this mighty and incredible work of God. And it moved them to “feared” the LORD. “Feared” (Hebrew yare) means to revere, reverence, see as terrible in terms of awesomeness, to fear, be afraid. God so impressed Israel that they knew He was real. As a result, they, “believed the LORD and His servant Moses.” “Believed” (Hebrew aman) means to be firm or faithful, to trust, believe, to be permanent or quiet, to foster as a parent or nurse. When they saw what God had done, they rested in the arms of God by faith, like a nursing child rests in its parent’s arms.
God steps in when there’s no way out. He has a way of letting circumstances develop so that when He does step in, there will be no doubt that it is Him who is making a difference in our hopeless situation. And even if it is God’s will to allow us to endure trials and suffering, He steps in with His grace that is always sufficient. The fact that God steps in to affect our life to impact our life circumstances doesn’t mean we won’t encounter hardship. The reality of life is that Christians go through trials an even suffering. We may not want to hear that, but its true. In part three of this series that is what we will consider, along with more scriptural pearls of wisdom about when God steps in. Until then, keep praying. Keep trusting the LORD. And keep hoping with an expectant faith that God will step into your life circumstances.
Father, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I humble myself under Your mighty hand accepting You may, or may not exalt me. I cast all my cares and concerns upon You. Father, please increase my faith. Father, please help me to successfully faithful as You fulfill Your plan in my life circumstances. When there is no way out, help me to hope in you. Father, help me to rest in You. Make my sleep peaceful. Father glorify Yourself in my life by parting those Red Sea obstacles. In Jesus’ name, amen.