God to Moses:
"But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it." (Exodus 14:16)
God told Moses to divide the Red Sea.... Really?
This does not make sense at all. Five verses later it says, "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."
So who divided the Red Sea, God or Moses?
Before you answer too quickly, ask this question, "If Moses had not lifted his rod and stretched out his hand, would God have caused the Red Sea to go back?
I think not. In fact, later on there is the story of Moses, a rock, and need for water. And because Moses did not do exactly as God said, Moses was refused entrance into the Promised Land. It is obvious that obedience has consequences.
What some have made into the inexplicable theological argument of the sovereignty of God vs. the free will of man is not a conflict at all. In simple spiritual terms, God created man to be the instrument through which He would reveal Himself and accomplish His purposes for all eternity through a demonstration of the kingdom of God on earth.
God works in and thru us. It is a partnership... not an equal partnership, but a partnership none the less.
The more you read the Bible, the more you will see it. Through our dynamic intimacy with God, we discover a "working together" where God speaks, leads, and directs us to fulfill His plans. It may be an encouraging word that you give to someone, or a bold act where much faith is required.
I grew up in a religious mindset that portrayed a self-degrading atmosphere of false humility. In this culture, I could never take credit for anything. If I achieved something, and was congratulated or given credit, I immediately said something like, "Well it was the Lord, not me."
Yes, it is true that without Him, I am nothing. Even the breath that flows in and out of my nostrils came from God breathing His breath into Adam and Eve in the beginning. And we know that even the faith we have to obtain His grace came from God. But it is also true that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. "I can do all things..." states that I am a part of the process. Yes, the glory belongs to God. But the glory is in us!
Paul said it this way in Ephesians 3:20-21. "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen"
The power is His power to do the incredible. But that power is in us. The glory is His. But the glory is in His people.
Recently, I heard of someone giving their car away to someone else who really needed it. The person in need was praying for a car. The person giving it was praying for God to show them that this was the right thing to do. Looking from the outside in, no one would necessarily say that God was involved or would give Him the credit. So, on the one hand, is it fair to say that God provided the car? The person giving it knew of their need. It wasn't on the level of a biblical miracle or divine healing. And on the other hand, can the giver really say that they had a part to play in this, if, in fact God was telling them to do it?
Yes, God provided the car. Give Him the glory! However, He provided it through one person to another. Does that giving individual deserve any credit? Well, of course! Wasn't Abraham's faith accounted to him as righteousness?
When the person in need receives the car, they need to do two things: 1) Thank God for the provision, and 2) Thank the giver for their heart of generosity and/or obeying the voice of God. The giver should also do two things, 1) Receive the thanks from the receiver. "I appreciate that" would be entirely appropriate. We need to learn how to say "Thank You" when someone high-fives us. Not to do so is frankly quite rude. Then to say something like, "You know, I prayed about this. And I really felt that God was giving me the go ahead to do it. Isn't it amazing how He puts all of this together in and through us?"
The glory is God's. But the glory is in the church.
Who divided the Red Sea? Was it God or Moses? Well, it was God through Moses. After all is said and done, when asking "Who did that: God or us?", the answer should be "God through us".
Be careful though, to give the glory back to God. Like I said, it's not an equal partnership. Jesus is still Lord!