Summary: Moses and the Israelites find themselves stuck in the middle between Pharoah and the Red Sea.
Stuck in the Middle,
Smack Dab in the Middle
Big Idea: Being stuck in the middle, smack dab in the middle sometimes is the best place to be to see God do his thing.
Introduction: Remember when you were a kid and you’d come home from school, throw your books on the floor, and head for the refrigerator and the cookie jar? You’d reach in and grab a hand full of cookies and a nice cold class of milk; sit down about two feet from the Television in the living room, even though you knew eating was off limits in the living room, and you’d sit and watch The Little Rascals, the ABC After-School Special, or your favorite Simpson show. Times were great as a kid. Seemingly not a care in the world until your mama came home and saw that you hadn’t finished your homework or done the chores, then you were in real trouble.
We all wish life were like a glass of cold milk and some chocolate chip cookies.
One thing I like about cookies (and chocolate chip are my favorite), is scientists (jokingly) or chefs continually create new kinds or blends of cookies. For instance, the chewy chocolate chip cookies, or the cookie bars, and now my newest favorite, the Chips ahoy Cremewhiches…They are fabulous. (TAKE ONE, DIP INTO GLASS OF MILK AND EAT IT IN FRONT OF CONGREGATION.) Cremewhich cookies are a lot like Oreo cookies (also my favorite… but you can’t eat them in public because they leave your teeth all black.) Anyway, Cremewhich cookies are great because they have chocolate chip cookies on the outside and delicious crème filling on the inside. THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS AS FAR AS I’M CONCERNED.
FUN FACT: Did you know for one person to eat all the chips ahoy cookies made in a single year, it would take 5927 years if they ate two cookies per minute. At this rate, if a person starting eating when the Great Pyramids were being built in 2,500 BC they would still have to eat for another 1,200 years.
WOW! I’d get sick even after 2 packages and I love cookies.
I have to say life sure was great as a kid, eating all those cookies without a care in the world. However, life isn’t like a glass of milk and a handful of cookies anymore, is it? For many of us bad days seem to be the norm. Work is a bother, Stock Market ups and downs, perhaps fighting with your spouse had taken a toll on your marriage, or the car breaks down, or you just get a flat tire and got laid off from your job all in one day. The reality is we feel squeezed in the middle, smack dab in the middle with all the pressures of life closing in upon us. SOUND FAMILIAR?
*(HOLD UP A COOKIE). I want to suggest that all of us today we can identify with the crèmewhich cookie – squeezed in the middle, smack dab in the middle. We know what it is like to be sandwiched between two opposing forces, seemingly with no way to break free.
We are not the only ones who have lived in similar situations. The Israelites in the book of Exodus encountered life just as we encountered it. Turn in your Bibles to Exodus chapter 14 where we pick up the story of Moses and the Israelites stuck in the middle, smack dab in the middle of Pharaoh and his army and the nemesis Red Sea.
STORY RECAP. God had told Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go. Through 10 negotiation meetings, Pharaoh decided to let the Israelites free to go with Moses. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and Pharaoh raged with anger that his son had died and the Israelites plundered their city of gold, silver and livestock. Now they were gone and Pharaoh was full of anger took off after Moses and the Israelites. Now God could have taken the Israelites the shortest distance but chose to take them toward the Red Sea. And here is where we come into the story. They were stuck in the middle, smack dab in the middle of Pharaoh and the Red Sea.
Now, they were truly stuck. To go back meant total annihilation from the army of Pharaoh and to go forward without a life raft or a boat with all there possessions meant that they would all certainly drown.
To be stuck in the middle, smack down in the middle is a terrifying place to be.
I want to share three (3) things we need to know when seemingly there is no way of escape from our current situations.
Point 1. Know the Opposition
Knowing whom the opposition is is crucial to every situation. Opposition used here is not necessarily a negative. Example: FOOTBALL A football team would never go to a football game without studying and knowing who the team is they were playing, the statistics of the team and who their players are, and their strengths and weaknesses. There are some of us here that know more about football, baseball, and basketball than we do about spiritual warfare. We sit on the sidelines and call plays for the coach hoping he will hear us and take our advice. I know because I’ve done it myself. But for some reason, the coach never hears me.