Nowhere to Go (When You Are at Your Wit’s End)
A Sermon on Exodus 14:1-14
Rev. Mike Meñez
Dealing with life’s difficulties is one of the most frustrating conundrums that has troubled many throughout the ages. Many so-called “experts” and “guru” from all sorts of philosophies and religions have come up with their respective brands of “problem-solving techniques”. There’s tapping into your “inner strengths”, mantra meditations, or promises of blessings in exchange for extravagant contributions to get-rich-quick schemes and 12-step programs. Yet, none has really given the lasting solution, confidence, and inward peace which the ones who battle difficulties desperately look for. Some of these solutions may help, but often, only for a brief time. As soon as it fails to sustain for the next life obstacle, then goes the “seeker” to the next ‘promising’ technique.
The questions that keep plaguing man are: “How exactly should we deal with life’s problems?” and “What do you do when there seems to be no way out and you are at your wit’s end?”
The Jews found themselves in such a situation in Exodus 14. Having been led by God through Moses, away from Egypt to journey into the promised land, they already found themselves in a life and death dilemma in just a short time. At the very beginning stage of their journey, many of them felt like God already forsook them. Let’s look deeper into the story and draw out some truths from the passage.
The Difficulties We Find Ourselves In
Sometimes, we find ourselves boxed in and nowhere to go. (verses 3b, 5-9)
A large army with horses and chariots were pursuing them. They had but the wilderness and mountains around them and the sea in front. There was nowhere they could go that can guarantee escape. The only choices they seemingly had was either to surrender, drown, or die fleeing.
Think: How many times have you felt like the Jews did at that time? How many times have you felt like everything seems against you and you can’t do anything about it?
Sometimes, it seems like God led you there to suffer. (verses 1-2, 4, 8-9)
The Jews knew God was leading them and directing their every move. Yet now, they find themselves facing this dilemma. This was a very puzzling predicament for them.
Think: How many times have you felt like God is against you? How many times have you thought that instead of protecting you or providing for you, you feel like He abandoned you?
The Response We Usually End Up Having
Oftentimes, we are riddled with regrets about following God. (verse 12)
The Jews were very vocal about their regret in following Moses. In the face of impending danger, they thought they’d rather remain slaves than die following God’s leading.
Many Christians have felt this way a number of times in their lives. Think: How many times have you regretted over comforts and liberties you’ve left behind ‘just’ to follow God? How many times have similar thoughts like that haunt you? How many times have you asked regretful “What if” questions?
Oftentimes, we complain and question God’s plans. (verses 10-12, 15)
The Jews weren’t the only ones complaining and questioning. Moses himself probably had some doubts and questions because God rebuked him in verse 15. The people’s negative and distrustful sentiment were quickly spreading and even the leaders were starting to catch it.
Think: How many times have you complained to God and questioned His workings in your life? How many times have you audaciously questioned the wisdom in the process He laid out for you?
The Care We Are Continually Blessed With
Despite our lack of faith, God remains true to His promises. (verses 15-18)
Imagine what would’ve happened if God required obedience from them first at that very instance. But God let that go because he loved them and He had another purpose for the situation. He wasn’t just humbling Pharaoh. He was also testing the Jews and they were failing so bad. But in spite of their reaction, God was, and will always be, true to His promises.
Think: How many times have you seen God’s promises as an answer to your dilemma but you had difficulty trusting Him? How many times has He delivered for you despite your doubts?
Despite our doubts and mistrust, God actively watches over us and keeps us safe. (verses19-20)
God was there all along, waiting for just the right time to show Pharaoh and the Jews that His people are protected and safe, despite how bleak the circumstances looked. He was watching over them even when they were complaining.
Think: How many times did you fail to see God’s active hand in your circumstances because you were busy complaining? Remember, we only need to be sensitive to His workings so that we can see that He is always there.
Despite our unbelief, God shows us great miracles. (verse 21-22)
The Jews were facing a scenario that was impossible to escape from. Their doubts and complaints were definitely digging them even more deeply into a pit of despair. But sometimes, that’s when God shows His hand in a most miraculous way.
Think: How many times have your doubts and reluctance gotten the worst of you, digging you deeper into hopelessness? How many times has God rebuked your unbelief by amazing you with His greatness?
Despite our lack of confidence, God solves our problems. (14:23-28)
Although the Jews finally saw their escape, the Egyptians were still after them. As doubting as they were at that time, they were probably still frightful of the possibility that the army might catch up with them. But God wasn’t just going to lead them away, He was going to save them from the Egyptians for good. He ended this particular problem in the most awesome way.
Think: How many times have you found some problems somewhat still hanging despite applying some solutions already? How many times have you felt like the relief you had is only temporary and yet to be followed by a more serious problem? But more importantly, how many times did God show up in a great and mighty way to end your particular problem for good?
Our difficulties are usually God’s opportunities to show to us who He is in our lives. They are reminders of how great and mighty He truly is. When we are at our wit’s end, that is usually God’s time to shine in our lives. So, trust Him and experience His greatness!
Finally, let’s go back to the 2 questions I put forth at the beginning of this sermon. “How exactly should we deal with life’s problems?” “What do you do when there seems to be no way out and you are at your wit’s end?” Well, instead of flipping through those “problem-solving techniques” being offered out there, why don’t we follow a simple yet tried-and-tested proposal from Scriptures:
“Trust God, rest on His promises;
and let Him awe you with His great and mighty miraculous power.”
photo 5: pexels