Overcoming Obstacles - Ten Tips for Crossing Seas

Bible Book: Exodus 
Subject: Obstacles, Overcoming; Faith; Persistence; Prayer; Determination

An old man who had overcome many obstacles said, "I always remembered a party I attended when I was six. The host announced that we would play, "Egg Hop." He placed eggs all over the floor, then took us younger kids into the next room. They blindfolded my best friend and told him he had to walk through the eggs without breaking any, then led him into the other room and closed the door. We heard howls of laughter from the older kids. I looked down at my new shoes and began to worry. I couldn't get egg yolk on my shoes, I just couldn't! The older kids came back for their next victim. More laughter from the next room. Another victim. More laughter.

When they came for me, I burst into tears, sat down on the floor and refused to budge. They finally gave up and led me into the next room to show me the floor; no eggs! All the fun had come from watching the blindfolded participants trying to tiptoe through nonexistent obstacles.

I realized that life is like that. We create most of our difficulties in our own mind. So, I've always viewed problems as challenges."

How did he learn to overcome obstacles? Are we like that? Well, unfortunately few people overcome real or imaginary obstacles successfully. Moses illustrates both positive and negative responses. Let's see what this Bible character can teach us about overcoming obstacles.

I. Prepare for the Future

First, We Must Prepare For The Future.

The Scripture says, "When (Moses' mother) saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son" (Exo. 2:2,10)

Moses' mother had foresight. His sister, Miriam, did her part and Pharaoh's daughter gave him care and training. That's the only way a Hebrew slave could have gotten the education necessary to achieve what Moses did.

Solomon said, "The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out" (Prov. 18:15).

In order to overcome obstacles, we need to plan ahead. So get informed; develop your skills. Prepare for the future!

II. Be Alert to God’s Guidance

 Second, We Must Be Alert To God's Guidance.

The Scripture says, "Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law . . . There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!' And Moses said, ‘Here I am.' The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt' " (Exo. 3:1-3,5,10).

Moses was industrious; but he didn't let everyday problems keep him from gaining insights. He saw the spiritual in the commonplace. When something unusual caught his eye, he stopped and paid attention. When we see needs or possibilities, we need to pay attention! When we see suffering that we can alleviate, it's usually God's will for us to do so.

Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God, and observe it" (Luke 11:28).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to see problems and evaluate circumstances. So, read the Scriptures, pray and meditate. Be alert to God's guidance!

III. Be Aware of our Strengths and Weaknesses

Third, We Must Be Aware Of Our Strengths And Weaknesses.

The Scripture says, "Moses said . . . ‘O Lord, I have never been eloquent . . . I am slow of speech and tongue.' " (Exo. 4:10).

Moses realized he lacked certain abilities. He wasn't overly confident or egotistical. We shouldn't try to be something we're not, or do something we're not equipped. to do. Peter said, "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others . . ." (I Peter 4:10).

In order to overcome obstacles, we need to find and fill our niche. So, use common sense. Analyze your aptitudes. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses!

IV. Do Not Make Excuses

Fourth, We Must Not Make Excuses.

The Scripture says, "The LORD said to him . . . ‘I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.' But Moses said, ‘O Lord, please send someone else to do it.' Then the LORD's anger burned against Moses and he said, ‘What about your brother, Aaron? . . . I know he can speak well . . . You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do' " (Exo. 4:11-15).

When Moses went beyond an honest expression of concern and began to make excuses, God reprimanded him. Paul said, "Do not neglect your gift . . ." (I Tim. 4:14).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to be willing to use our abilities.

So, take responsibility and work hard. Don't make excuses!

V. Use Other People’s Talents

Fifth, We Must Use Other People's Talents.

The Scripture says, "He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth . . ." (Exo. 4:16).

None of us can do everything. We need to cooperate. The writer of Hebrews said, "Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds" (Heb. 10:24).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to share tasks and work together.

So, accept help from others. Delegate some responsibilities. Use other people's talents!

VI. Confront our Problems

Sixth, We Must Confront Our Problems.

The Scripture says, "Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, "This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: `Let my people go' . . ." (Exo. 5:1).

There comes a time in everyone's life when evasion and waiting is over. We need to face reality. Solomon said, "Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will be your confidence . . ." (Prov. 3:25-26).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to show determination. So quit stalling. Make a commitment. Confront your problems

VII. Be Patient

Seventh, We Must Be Patient.

The Scripture says, "Pharaoh said, ‘Get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.' . . . Moses . . . said, ‘O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.' " (Exo. 5:17-23).

Things often get worse before they get better. Important achievements take time. Paul said, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Gal. 6:9).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to keep trying through bad times. So, be persistent. Be optimistic. Be patient!

VIII. Be Prepared for Opposition

Eighth, We Must Be Prepared For Opposition.

After the Hebrews did leave, Pharaoh's army followed. The Scripture says, "The Israelites . . . were terrified and . . . said to Moses . . .‘Didn't we say to you in Egypt, `Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!' " (Exo. 14:10-12).

You can't please everyone. People will turn on their benefactors and accuse and blame and criticize when things get tough. Paul said, "When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it" (I Cor. 4:12).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to be willing to stand alone if necessary. So, be strong. Be independent. Be prepared for opposition!

IX. Remain Faithful

Ninth, We Must Remain Faithful.

The Scripture says, "Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today . . . The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'

So the people were facing their greatest obstacle. There was no backing down. The Red Sea was before them and Pharaoh's army was behind. There was no other way but through. Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on' " (Exo. 14:13-15).

Faith includes having confidence. Certainly we should pray as if everything depends on God; but we must also work as if everything depends on us. God truly does help those who help themselves. Nahum said, "The LORD is . . . a refuge in times of trouble . . ." (Nahum 1:7).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to believe in God and do our part. So, never give up. Keep thinking positive thoughts. Remain faithful!

X. Be Appreciative of Victories

Finally, We Must Be Appreciative Of Victories.

The Scripture says, "Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: ‘. . . The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him . . .' " (Exo. 15:1-2).

It's okay to be happy. The Scripture says, "You and your families shall eat and shall rejoice in everything . . . because the LORD your God has blessed you" (Deut 12:7).

In order to overcome obstacles we need to express gratitude for victories. So, when you are able to surmount your difficulties, celebrate and give thanks. Be appreciative!

Many other Scriptures speak to the subject of overcoming obstacles:

The Psalmist said, "When I was in distress, I sought the Lord . . ." (Psa. 77:2).

Paul said, "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:21).

Then he said, "We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair" (II Cor.4:8).

Later he said, "Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand . . ." (Eph. 6:13)

Jesus said, "You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many . . ." (Matt. 25:23).


Obstacles are always a problem, but we can overcome them.

Annie Johnson Flint wrote a wonderful poem dealing with this subject:

Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where, in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back,
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord, with a trust serene,
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the winds, He will heap the floods,
When He says to your soul, "Go on!"
And His hand shall lead you through, clear through,
Ere the watery walls roll down;
No wave can touch you, no foe can smite,
No mightiest sea can drown.
The tossing billows may rear their crests,
Their foam at your feet may break,
But over their bed you shall walk dry-shod
In the path that your Lord shall make.
In the morning watch, 'neath the lifted cloud,
You shall see but the Lord alone,
When He leads you forth from the place of the sea,
To a land that you have not known;
And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed,
You shall no more be afraid;
You shall sing His praise in a better place,
In a place that His hand hath made.

A certain farmer was frustrated for years because every time he plowed he had to work around a big rock lying in the middle of his field. He would always mutter to himself, "Too much trouble to dig it up. It would take more strength than a man has."

Then, one day, he accidentally hit it. To his astonishment, the rock moved. He tied a rope around it, and in a short time, pulled it to the side of the field; permanently out of his way.

Now, this short-sighted man had wasted years, trying to avoid that rock instead of dealing with it. It is always wiser to confront a problem head-on than to step around it. We must overcome obstacles!