One of the things that amazes me about WWII, in May of 1940 the British army in the town of Dunkirk were trapped on the beach, between the German army and the sea. Winston Churchill began to prepare the nation that their entire army was about to be lost. There were over 400,000 British troops and their allies. They assumed they would lose the majority of the army. It all looked hopeless. The British would make it a priority to get their own troops off the beach as quickly as possible.
But something amazing happened. An armada of citizen ships, any boat that could cross the English channel, crossed and rescued in the course of 9 days; 332,226 people. When it was over, Churchill said…
"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: This was their finest hour."
As amazing as this event at Dunkirk is, a more amazing event happened when the Israelite nation was caught between the Egyptian Army and the Red Sea.
When you are caught between a rock and a hard place, it means that neither choice is good. Perhaps we’ve been in that place personally from time to time. We’ve all, at times, had to choose between the “lesser of two evils.”
Given the options some people complain, some give up, and some seek help. As Christians what is the right way to deal with problems?
We’ll use the illustration of Israel trapped between the sea and the army, to examine what we should do in our own lives.
Should We Complain in Times of Trouble?
- Exodus 14
The 10th Plague is completed, all of the first born of Egypt had died. Pharaoh tells Moses to get these people away from here.
- Exodus 12:29-32
Yet, Pharaoh changed his mind.
- Exodus 14:5-9
The Red Sea is wider than you can see across. They see the army closing in, they were trapped.
What did they do?
They saw the army and they were afraid. They said to Moses, wherefore has thou carried us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?
They compared slavery to being better than the situation they were in. Considering all they had gone through.
There were over 400,000 men of military age who were counted there. That’s not including the young men under the age of 20, and the old men, women and children. There were probably several million people there.
The Egyptians worried that this other people was going to overtake them. So they were having the young boys, 2 and under murdered. And that was before Moses escaped to Midian. And, during the 40 years he was away, the distress became all the worse.
Yet, even when something good came, they were downtrodden. They couldn’t accept that something great was happening to them.They were living it in real time. They complained because they couldn’t see what good lay ahead of them.
The OT was written for our learning.
- Romans 15:4
- Revelation 21:8
The fearful, not saying we can’t be afraid. But, we need to have a healthy fear of that which is powerful and harmful.
But, they weren’t just fearful in a healthy way. They were complainers.
- Jude 1:16
Complaining is not the right path to pursue. Perhaps they complained because of fear. They expected the next shoe to drop.
In Times of Trouble Should We Give Up?
Some people become fatalistic and expect the worse thing to happen.
- Exodus 14:12
This is one more example of letting fear rule the heart and not having enough faith.
"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself..." — Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Only those who have not given up will be rewarded.
- Revelation 3:5
He who overcomes will be rewarded. The churches that Jesus was speaking to were facing a severe time of trial and testing. He tells them they have to overcome those things. Giving up is the definition of not having faith in God.
- Hebrews 11:6
Giving up in the face of difficulty is the definition of a lack of faith.
The Only way to Face Difficult Times is to Seek Help
- Exodus 14:13,14
Moses sought help from God.
- Exodus 14:15
Moses cried unto God praying for help and deliverance. Moses placed his trust in the Lord to make a way of escape for them. God did make a way.
- Exodus 14:16
What a powerful help God is. He would part the Red Sea to save his people. He set an angel between the people and their enemy.
- Exodus 14:19-20
God set a cloud and pillar of fire between them. He dealt with their enemy.
- Exodus 14:23
The Egyptians pursued into the sea.
- Exodus 14:26-28
God dealt with their enemy, the enemy was drowned in the sea. The Lord overthrew the enemy.
Imagine, the Egyptians seeing this amazing event, the sea is held back, those they were persuing were on the other side safely, and they pursued.
God made a way for His faithful, but not for anyone else.
Turning to God is the Way
- Exodus 14:30-31
Their faith was strengthened. They face other trials and they complain and gripe. But, in this trial their faith was strengthened.
We read later when we get into Joshua, that the people of Jericho were terrified of God because they had heard the story of the Red Sea.
Seek the Lord’s Help
Is this the right way for New Testament Christians. Of course it is.
- 2 Peter 2:9
God knows how to deliver.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
These verses warn against standing on your own.
- 1 Corinthians 10:12
God will provide a way of escape.
- Proverbs 3:5,6
If we are faithful, and pray to God, He is faithful to help us through anything.
- James 1:3
He can help us to get through and overcome the temptations of life. God is greater than he that is of this world.
- John 4:4
Through Christ we can overcome all things.
The next time we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. Will we complain? Will we give up? Or will we turn to God?
"I know the Lord will find a way for me, I know the Lord will find a way for me, if I walk in Heaven's light shun the wrong and do the right, I know the Lord will find a way for me." — Song Lyrics, Author unknown
Before we can turn to God we must learn to obey His way. The children of Israel were born into God’s nation. We, however, must be born again, into His family. WE must become His child, we must believe that god is and a rewarder of them that seek him. We must believe that he sent his son Jesus to die for our sins. we must repent of our sins, and confess the name of Jesus. We must be baptized to have our sins washed away calling on the name of the Lord.
We must remain faithful, but if we have fallen away we must again repent and turn back to God confessing our sins and God is faithful to forgive.
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