September 4, 2018

What to Do at a Dead End: Part 1

Then the LORD gave these instructions to Moses: ‘Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD!’ So the Israelites camped there as they were told.” Exodus 14:1-4 (NLT)

When Israel found themselves facing the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptian army chasing behind them, they had no where to go.  They were at a dead end – literally!  They thought they were done!  But their experience teaches us what to do when we are at a dead end.  The amazing truth from their story is that they were right where God had led them!  Sometimes, God will lead you around a problem or even take the problem away.  I love that.  But there are times when He doesn’t remove the problem.  He takes you through it.  When David wrote Psalm 23 he said,

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me.” Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

David is saying that if we want to get through even the darkest valley, the valley of the shadow of death, we need to just keep walking. Don’t stop.  It may appear to be a dead end, but dead ends are the final stage before deliverance!  That’s what we see in Israel’s experience at the Red Sea.  So, what do you do at a dead end?

1. Stop giving in to fear. You can’t help but be afraid when you hit a dead end in life.  But fear will cause you to lose perspective.  It will paralyze you and cause you to retreat.  Moses knew this and told the people, “Do not be afraid.”  Exodus 14:13a (NIV)  He knew that, if they gave in to fear, they would miss their destiny.  Fear would cause them to lose focus and settle for living in slavery when God had set them free!  In Exodus 14:12, we read that it almost happened.  The people cried to Moses,

“Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt?  We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”  (NLT)

Fear will cause you to settle for a life of slavery to old hurts, habits and hang-ups.  What are you settling for when God says there is so much more?  He has a hope and a purpose for your life – a divine destiny!  You may not help being afraid when you face a dead end, but you don’t have to give in to fear!  What should you do?

2. Stand firm on God’s promises. Moses knew God had called him to deliver the people of Israel from a life of slavery and lead them on to a promised land of blessing!  He knew that regardless of the circumstance, even if it was a dead end they were facing, that God would lead them miraculously.  He would make a way when there seemed to be no way!  So, he told the people,

“Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.” Exodus 14:13b (NIV)

Before we explore the other two directives we should take when we face a dead end, lets consider for a moment where you are today.  Have you given in to fear and begun to settle for less than God’s best in your life?  What promise has God given you that you need to stand on today?  Claim that promise and take your stand in faith.  Dead end is the final stage before deliverance.  Thank God that He has led you this far and He will lead you all the way home!  Don’t settle for a life of slavery to sin when Jesus has come to set you free!