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The familiar phrases “caught between the devil and the deep blue sea” or “between a rock and a hard place” suggest we must choose between two equally unpleasant alternatives. Ever been there? Moses and the Israelites were.


Through famine and events in the book of Genesis, the Israelites lived in Egypt. They became so numerous that the Egyptian king feared a revolt, so he put slave masters over them and subjected them to harsh labor. The captives cried out to God, and He heard. Remembering His covenant with Abraham, God sent Moses — a deliverer who commanded Pharaoh, “Let my people go.” Although the king refused, God had promised to lead His children out of bondage and into a place of freedom. Therefore, He made a way. Ten plagues later, the Israelites followed Moses to their Promised Land. I love that happy ending, don’t you?


Wrong. Life is never that easy. There’s more to the story. We can always count on the enemy to have an additional nefarious plan. Pharaoh regretted his decision to let the people go. Who would now do Egypt’s heavy lifting? He took all his horsemen, chariots and troops and followed the fugitives to their camp beside the Red Sea.


Can you imagine Israel’s surprise when they heard Pharaoh’s massive army descending upon them? They were terrified and cried out to God. I’d rather not mention the part where they harped at Moses, but I must. They said, “It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness” (Exodus 14:12 NLT). Really? Sounds like two equally unpleasant alternatives to me.


Moses tried to encourage the people. “The Lord himself will fight for you; just stay calm. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.” (v.14-15)


The ever-present angel of God and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of Israel’s army and stood behind them, throwing the enemy into darkness and confusion. “Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night, the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” (v.21 NIV)


The following morning, things didn’t work out as well for the Egyptians. When they pursued God’s children, the Lord told Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers” (v.26). Moses obeyed, the walls of water collapsed, and not one of the Egyptians survived. When the people saw what God did, they stood in awe and put their trust in Him and His servant Moses. Now, that’s a happy ending.


But what about us? Where are we camped out? Stuck even? Is it in lackluster jobs, challenging relationships, declining physical, mental or spiritual health, dwindling finances, discouragement, or negativity? What’s your sticking place? Add it to the list, then let’s learn from the Israelites and experience our happy ending. 


1 Corinthians 10:11 ESV says, “Now these things happened to them as examples, but they were written down for our instruction.” Israel’s experience holds the keys to getting unstuck. Try them on the door of your Egypt. Stay calm and stop grumbling. Pray. Move when God says move, but not before. Use the gifts and abilities God has placed in your hands. Do what God says do, but no more. Then, stand in awe of his acts, trust Him, and walk through the open door. Now, there’s your happy ending. 


Ready to get unstuck? Turn the key.