Trapped. Hemmed in. And Nowhere To Run

After Moses brought Israel out of Egypt, God led them to camp next to the Red Sea.  They didn’t know it, but God had strategically placed them there.

I can see them, about 2 million men, women, and children spread out next to the waters, cooking, eating, visiting one another’s campsites, rejoicing in their newfound freedom from bitter slavery.

Then someone asks, “What’s that sound?”

“What sound?”

“Listen.  It sounds like thunder in the distance.”

Then someone yells, “What’s that cloud on the horizon?”  A hazy dust cloud is rising in the distance.

And before long they know.  The thunder is the rumbling of chariot wheels.  Egyptian chariot wheels. And the rumbling grows louder and the ground begins to tremble.

They are seized by panic.  There’s nowhere to go.  Nowhere to run.  They’re trapped.  Chaos breaks out.  Mothers and fathers gather up their children.  Where can we go?  What can we do?  Even if we could go to the right or the left, we’re 2 million people on foot.  No way can we outrun chariots and horses.  And behind us the sea.

People are screaming.  At first they cry out to God.  But quickly their cries are directed to Moses.  “What were you thinking, bringing us out here?  Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt that you had to bring us here to die?  Great job, Moses!  Well done!”

And Moses cries out, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord.”

God would say this to many of us today.  You feel trapped.  Hemmed in.  Nowhere to run.  There’s nothing you can do to change your situation.  Maybe you’ve tried every other solution, like the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe, who’d suffered for 12 years and spent all her money trying to fix her hemorrhage.  She was out of options.  That is, until Jesus passed by.

Maybe you feel trapped in a difficult marriage.  Or a painful church situation.  Or you’re stuck in a job with a tyrant for a boss.  Or you’re at your wits end with your teenager.  Or you’re single with no prospects.  You’re tempted to fear. Tempted to despair.  Tempted to give up hope.

Fear not.

Don’t be anxious.  I know, easy for me to say.  But I’ve been tempted to fear.  I’ve been downcast at times.  Wondered what’s going to happen?  Wished I could run away but couldn’t.  Don’t be anxious. Fear not.  Don’t let your mind run down every alley.  It’s ok to be concerned.  Ok to think about possible solutions.  But there comes a time when you’ve just got to stop trying to figure out how to escape, because there just isn’t one in sight right now.

Stand firm.

How do you stand firm?  By praying.  By looking to God.  By offering supplications with thanksgiving and letting your requests be made known to God.  By praising him that he has promised to be with you in the valley of the shadow of death.  By thanking him that his steadfast love never ceases and he’s promised to never stop doing good to you.  By thanking him that he purchased you with his blood and adopted you as his child and as a loving Father will take care of you.  By thanking him that his ears are open to your cry and he’s a sypmathetic high priest who is interceding for you night and day.

And see the salvation of the Lord

Israel wasn’t even thinking the Red Sea might split open.  That wasn’t one of their options.  Nobody was saying, “Wait a minute, don’t panic.  God might make a channel through the water and take us through on dry ground.”  No.  God has answers we can’t even imagine.  He can save out of nowhere. He can multiply a few loaves and fishes and feed a multitude.  He can put a gold coin in the mouth of a fish.  If we keep trusting him, sooner or later we’ll see his salvation.

The worse things look for us, the more glory God gets when he delivers us.  Israel’s jam was God’s opportunity to display his power.  Egypt thought they had Israel trapped; but God had Egypt trapped.

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord.

  • Frank

    Oh how I needed this today, thank you so much.

    • Mark Altrogge

      Great Frank. So glad it was helpful – thank you.

  • Caroline

    Thank you for this. Yeah I end up spending my time thinking of possible solutions, instead of going to the Lord in prayer.

    • Betsy St. Amant

      So tempting! I’m doing both right now. Gotta quit and just wait on the Lord. He is for me.

      • MarkAltrogge

        Thanks Betsy! God is definitely FOR YOU! Remembering that is another way to stand firm.

      • MarkAltrogge

        Amen Betsy! He is FOR YOU! Thanks for adding this.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Sure Caroline – thank you too!

  • oshea davis


    • MarkAltrogge

      Sure, Oshea, and thank you.

  • Betsy St. Amant

    Needed this too! So desperately. So amazing how God brings us to what we need. He is able and faithful and hasn’t forgotten me.

  • Elaine

    Great post, Mark!

    Yes, have experienced these feelings more than once and thankful His grace is sufficient. He has rescued more times than I can count but the feelings and doubts still come. Grateful my strength to stand firm is not dependent on me; He has ALWAYS proven Himself faithful.

    • MarkAltrogge

      Thanks for sharing Elaine! Yes, God is ALWAYS faithful. I\’m so glad you\’re in our church and can share God\’s faithfulness with more and more people.

  • lisa

    Great post, Mark! You reeeeeeeeeally need to write a book…. IMO, anyway. :-) (I'll proof it for ya!) :-)

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  • Christopher

    So encouraging, brother. Thanks for being a man of faith and for being faithful to His Word all these years. Been praying for you.

  • Art Costigan

    Mark, thank you for this. It's a great reminder, a great encouragement in a GREAT SAVIOR!

  • Stephanie

    Thank you for this encouraging,timely word. You have put in one post what God has been speaking to me thru His word. Also, I am praying for you. May God flood you with new songs to share with His people.