Summary: In this sermon, we learn some important things about what to do when we find ourselves in a predicament.
A. Have you ever heard the phrase: “between the devil and the deep blue sea”?
1. Wikipedia says that the phrase “between the devil and the deep blue sea” is an idiom meaning a dilemma—i.e., to choose between two undesirable situations (equivalent to "between a rock and a hard place").
2. The phrase was turned into a popular song in 1932 that was originally recorded by Cab Calloway and is now considered a standard, with recordings by many artists, such as George Harrison (Beatles fame), Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, just to name a few.
3. So we are calling today’s sermon “Between the Devil and the Deep Red Sea” because we are going to look at the predicament God’s people found themselves in when Moses led them out of Egypt.
B. Have you ever been in a predicament? I’m sure you have.
1. We Americans use a number of words and phrases to describe a predicament.
2. We might say we are “in a pinch” or “in a jam” or “in a pickle” or “in a corner.”
3. We might say we are “between a rock and a hard place” or “up against the wall” or “up a tree.”
4. Here’s an apt description of a predicament: A predicament occurs when a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice finds himself in need of medical attention. Now that’s a predicament.
5. Our predicaments might be related to our families (our parents, siblings, mates or children), or they might be related to our jobs, our health, our friends, or even our church.
6. We can learn some helpful things about how to deal with our predicaments from seeing how Moses and the Israelites dealt with theirs.
I. The Story
A. We noted last week, that the plagues had finally softened pharaoh’s heart enough that he allowed the children of Israel to leave.
1. The final plague, the death of the firstborn, was the straw that broke the camel’s back, just as God had said it would.
2. Pharaoh begged them to leave, and as the Israelites left, they did as God commanded, and asked their Egyptian neighbors for silver and gold, and ended up plundering Egypt by the amount they were given.
3. I can’t help but picturing the Israelites struttin’ their stuff a bit as they left – after all, God had protected them from the devastation of many of the plagues, and now they were leaving and were rich beyond comparison.
B. Keep in mind that not one of the Israelites who were leaving in the Exodus had ever lived as a free person, nor had they lived anywhere but Egypt.
1. There was much that God needed to teach them, so let’s turn to Exodus 13 and 14 and see how God taught them their first lesson.
C. The Bible says:
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle…
20 After leaving Succoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. (Ex. 13:17-18; 20-22)
1. Let’s notice a couple of things.
2. First, notice that God led the Israelites to the Red Sea.
a. God’s people are going to get into their predicament because God put them in it.
b. Their predicament wasn’t an accident, or a wrong turn, or a miscalculation, rather it was on purpose – God’s purpose!
3. The other thing I want us to notice was the way that God led them.
a. God led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
b. Pretty incredible, wouldn’t you say? How would you like God to lead you like that?
4. Imagine how much easier it would be for us if God lead us like that today!
a. Need to know what job to take, or what house to buy? Just wait and see where the cloud settles.
b. Need to know who to marry? Just look to see if there’s a little cloud hovering six inches over his or her head.
5. So that’s how simple it was for the Israelites when it came to following God’s leading out of Egypt.