Summary: This is part 8 of a 9 part series.

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Sunday November 3, 2002

Scripture Reference: Exodus 13:17-14:31


A. Have you ever been “in a pickle”, “Up a tree”, with your “Back against the wall”, “in a corner”, or “at your wits end”? We all have and therefore by definition we have all been in a predicament. The dictionary defines a predicament as, “A condition or situation that is dangerous, unpleasant, embarrassing, or even comical.”

1. In all likelihood there are more than a few of you sitting here today that are in a predicament.

a) Have you ever made a major purchase like buying a car or buying a home and then after you did you lost your job or had your income take a dive? If so then you know what it is to be in a predicament.

b) Have you ever made a job change and then after doing so you realized that things were a lot better where you were? If so you have been in a predicament.

c) Sometimes we find ourselves in a predicament by no fault of our own. Sometimes we get in a predicament because of poor decisions by others. [] Look at employees at such companies as Enron or World Com. or maybe we found ourselves at the wrong place at the wrong time.

2. Thomas Paine called predicaments, “those times that try men’s souls.”

a) Our secular world would probably say to us that it in these times that we discover what we are really made of. I guess there is some truth to that but I prefer to think of it a little differently. I prefer to see these trying times as the times when we discover, “WHO we are made of.” For those of us who call Jesus, “Lord” it is during the trying times of life that we discover whether or not we have been building our lives on Christ or on ourselves. It is at those times when we understand what Jesus meant when in the Sermon on the Mount he spoke to the wise and foolish man. The one who built his house on the rock and the one who built his house on the sands.

Trans. We have had to skip over a lot of the Israelites history to get where we are today but it was necessary in order for me to finish this series next week. We learned in the last two messages that even though we are Christians and even though we are fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives, that does not mean that life will be easy for us. In fact if we truly believe that there is a devil and that he is the enemy of our souls, then we also must believe that he will do everything in his power to destroy our faith in Christ if at all possible. That means that not only will we experience trouble in this life but we will also find ourselves with our “Backs against the wall”, or “At our wits end”. In other words we will find ourselves at times in a predicament. This is what happened to the children of Israel and Moses after they made their exit from Egypt. Let’s look at this event. Let’s look first of all at how they followed God right into a dead end.


Do I need to say anything to you about how utterly absurd that very statement sounds? If we were honest we would have to say that it totally contradicts what we believe about following God. But to understand what is happening here we need to consider:

A. The Hebrews Children’s History.

1. The bible tells us in Exodus 12:40 that they had spent the last 430 years in Egypt. None of these people who are now leaving Egypt had ever been any place else on this earth. All they knew were the habits and lifestyles of Egypt. We read in Numbers 11 where they still had Egyptian appetites even after they left Egypt. And we will see in a moment that they still somehow felt like even though life was not good in Egypt at least it was familiar. But if they were going to become the people of God then God was going to have to break them from some old habits, some old ways of living that were no longer a part of God’s plan for their lives.

2. We are really no different than these Hebrew children. Even if we have walked with the Lord for a number of years we can still be drawn into the lifestyles and habits of the world around us. Sometimes the best way to break a bad habit is to be backed into a corner where the only alternatives are to either give in to the enemy or given in to God.

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