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« Beyond the New Birth | Main | Can I Get An Amen, Somebody? »

Where to Go When You Can’t Go Anywhere

Ex 14:15-18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine 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, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

Israel was in a dilemma.  They had just escaped the clutches of Egypt.  There were out of Egypt but under pursuit by Pharaoh’s army.  The Red Sea was in front of them, the Great Sea to the north, wilderness and mountains to the south.  There was no place to go. 

There are times when success looks a whole lot like failure!  (Building programs)

The first answer seems to be to back out of the dilemma.

Ex 14:10-12 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. 11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

Always, after the deliverance, comes the test.

  • You can’t do this. 
  • You’re a fish out of water.  
  • Living for God means too much pain.

But going backwards is not an option!

Heb 10:38-39 38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

There is nothing to go back to!

2 Peter 2:19-22 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Go back to what?

  • …the loneliness?
  • …the guilty conscience?
  • …thinking your losing your mind?
  • …the suffocating emptiness?
  • …the waves of remorse?

If you can’t go back, maybe you can go sideways.

After you find the truth, there is nothing else!  The Bible says, “Buy the truth and sell it not.”  This is where many people lose their focus.

  • Distractions
  • Spiritual boredom
  • Attitude problems.
  • Don’t lose focus

Several years after Sandy Koufax retired, he was interviewed by a young reporter. Koufax answered all the reporter’s questions willingly. As the interview drew to a close, the reporter said, “Just one last question, Mr. Koufax. What was your favorite pitch when you had the bases full behind you?” Mr. Koufax answered with a perfectly straight face, “My boy, I don’t recall ever having to pitch with the bases full.” You see, we’re better off if we focus on the positive details of the past, and forget the bad.

Tony Perrin story.  A young man who attends our Christian academy who saved his mother from a knife attack.  When the assailant asked him who he should kill first, him or his mother, Tony said, Kill me.  He then successfully fought off the man and saved his mother and baby brother.

When you can’t go back, turn right or left, one option remains – GO FORWARD!

Ex 14:13-14 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.

Moses did not upbraid the church. He knew that fear had gripped their hearts.

Stay in the church. It is your only hope.

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

  • Foundational truth: Upon this rock
  • Foundational person: I
  • Foundational intent: will
  • Foundational process: build
  • Foundational ownership: my
  • Foundational plan: church.

Move forward, even though their seems to be no place to go.  They had forgotten two things: The FIRE and the CLOUD.

Now, look at what God was doing in the midst of their dilemma.

Ex 14:19-22 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:  20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.  21 And 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 dry land, and the waters were divided.  22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

The angel changed places. 

  • First, the angel positioned himself between Israel and the Egyptian army and hid Israel from their enemies. (Hide you in the blood!) 
  • Second, God was issuing new instructions to Israel:  I was in front of you to lead you out of Egypt.  Now, you must step out by faith and I will back you up!

Finally, God looked at the enemy.

Ex 14:23-25 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.  24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,

25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 

Read “I have been a pew-warmer…” 

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