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Escaping From Tight Places Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
July 19, 2021 1:00 am

Escaping From Tight Places Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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July 19, 2021 1:00 am

They call it a "can't win" scenario. Pharaoh finally let Israel leave Egypt, but then pursued them in order to kill them. The people said, "we should never have left...bondage is better than death." In this message, we learn that the power of God is on display when we, like Moses, find ourselves in tight places.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.

They call it a can't-win scenario. Pharaoh finally let Israel leave Egypt, but then pursued them in order to kill them. The people said, we should have never left.

Bondage is better than death. Today, the power of God on display when we, like Moses, find ourselves in tight places. Stay with us. From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, increasingly, the Church in America finds itself in a tight place. Yes, Dave, the Church in America finds itself in a tight place, and the place is getting tighter. The good news is that the Church of Jesus Christ has been here before. It's always been an island of righteousness and a sea of paganism. And speaking of tight places, we even go back to the book of Exodus now, where Moses, leading the people out of Egypt, found himself in a very tight place.

The Red Sea in front of him, the Egyptians behind him, mountains on both sides, what was he to do? And I can't help but think today that there are those who are listening to this message who believe that that's exactly where they are, a tight place. You know, before we go to the pulpit of Moody Church, I want to remind you that I've written a book entitled Getting Closer to God, Lessons from the Life of Moses. It's actually based on this series of messages. So if you're blessed today, you might want a copy of this book for a gift of any amount.

You can go to or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us listen carefully as we learn about Moses in a tight place. I'm speaking today about tight places. For some of you, you're in a tight place because of financial difficulties.

You've lost your job and you're looking for work, but the bills have to be paid. Some of you are in a tight place because of health issues. The doctor has given you some news you hope to God you'd never have to hear, and so now you find yourself squeezed. You're in a tight place.

But the most difficult tight places are relational issues, aren't they? I think of a wife that I read about this past week who wondered whether she would ever have the nerve to ask her husband whether he had ever been unfaithful to her. And finally, after several years, she got up her nerve and asked, only to be told that the answer is yes, he had been unfaithful for years. And she wondered later, did I even want to know that? Shall I tell anyone she was in a tight place? There are some of you listening here today, some of you mothers, God bless you. There may be abuse going on in your home right now.

Your husband may be abusing the children and yet you want to just ignore it. You want to remain silent because if you say anything, if you go for help, the whole family might become unraveled and you wonder how you would survive. And so you're in a tight place. What is a tight place? A tight place is any predicament that we are in where there seems to be no obvious easy solution.

That's the tight place. Tight place is the question of, shall we keep it secret? Shall I not say anything or shall I say something and have the whole sock come unraveled? Man called me and said, you know, I stole something at work.

I'm as guilty as sin. But when they pinned me down, I lied my way out of it and I still have a job. I said, well, you have to go make it right. He says, if I make it right, I lose my job.

I have a wife and children to support. He's in a tight place. Tight place is do we return what is stolen?

Do we break a relationship that we know is destructive? I think of a young woman in an abusive relationship warned about this man, continually going back to him for reasons that will become clear in this message today. We're talking about tight places. And by the time 20 or 25 minutes is over, you're going to have an answer for your tight place. Aren't you glad you came here today? The blessing of all of this music and all of this worship. And now to hear from heaven, because God is going to talk to you about your tight place.

You're in the right place to hear about tight places. Fourteenth chapter of the Book of Exodus, Moses is in a tight place, specifically, Pharaoh put him into a tight place. Remember that the firstborn were killed in Egypt and Pharaoh finally relented and said to the people, get out of here. And so Moses and the people left, two million of them. You imagine them leaving for the desert where they had limited water and virtually no food, having to trust God. And while they're there, God speaks to Moses rather directly in chapter 14, verse two of Exodus, tell the people of Israel to turn back and in camp in front of Pi HaHiroth between Migdol and the sea in front of Baal-Saphon, you shall camp facing it by the sea. What is God saying? God's saying, Moses, do a little bit of wandering in the desert, change your direction so that you will entice Pharaoh to think that you're confused and so that he'll come after you because I want to destroy Pharaoh and I want to get glory.

All right, that's the agenda. So Pharaoh pursues the people. The scripture says in verse six that he took 600 select chariots.

By the way, the Egyptians already had iron at that time. 600 select chariots plus the rest of the chariots of Egypt and he got them readied with all of his officers and they began to pursue the children of Israel and the people saw a cloud of dust and they were terrified. It says in verse six, so he made ready his chariot and took his army with him and took 600 chosen chariots and the other chariots of Egypt and the officers and the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that he pursued the people. Verse 10, when Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them and they feared greatly and the people of Israel cried out to the Lord.

They did the right thing but they didn't wait for an answer. They were in a panic. Pharaoh was coming after them and so they cry up to God because the very next verse, verse 11 follows verse 10. As a matter of fact, it does that throughout the whole Bible.

Am I going too fast for some of you here today? Verse 10, they lifted up their eyes and they feared greatly. They cried to the Lord, verse 11, then they said to Moses, is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in this wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt? Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians for it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in this wilderness or desert. They're saying it would have been better if we had stayed in Egypt. Mind you, their memories were very much distorted because Egypt was no picnic. They were being beaten and they had to make bricks and then more bricks and they weren't given straw and it was no picnic at all, but they said even Egypt is better than our predicament here. The minute you begin to do what is right, you'll discover that sometimes it is easier to serve Pharaoh than it is to get away from him.

Sometimes it's easier to simply be quiet and serve rather than be delivered. I think of a nurse who was involved in some shenanigans financially with some other people in a hospital. And now because she's a Christian, she wanted to come clean on her side of the ledger, but she was threatened. You come clean and you will be dead. After all, Pharaoh so to speak is pursuing you and we've got the attorneys and we've got the connections and we can destroy your character.

We can ruin your reputation and if we want, we can kill you. So what does she do? Remain silent and serve Pharaoh or does she try to get away from him?

She's in a tight place. The people of Israel are in a tight place. There's no easy option here at this point, but the children of Israel, God bless them. They cry up to the Lord, they cry up to the Lord, and then they complained to Moses.

Why? They did not wait for an answer. Is it possible for you today to cry up to the Lord and to spare and not wait for an answer?

Absolutely. Israel didn't wait for an answer. They cried up to the Lord and they complained to Moses and said, why did you bring us here? It would have been better if we had stayed in Egypt, easier to serve Pharaoh in Egypt than to get rid of Pharaoh.

When you leave Egypt, some of you are in vocations that you should get out of, but you say, who's going to pay the bills? I have to serve Pharaoh. So the first snapshot that we've taken of this text today is that Pharaoh pursued the children of Israel and put them in a tight place. Second, Moses cried to God and believed God when he was in a tight place. You'll notice that Moses says in verse 13, he said to the people, 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'll never see them again. The Lord will fight for you and you only have to be silent. Moses said, I've heard from God.

We're in a tight place, but God is going to take up our cause. You feel sorry for Moses, don't you? Two million people mad at him. Two million people criticizing him. We get a letter of criticism and we as a staff read the letter and we wonder what in the world to do.

One little letter. Two million people pointing fingers at you and saying, why did you do this? It would have been better if we had stayed in Egypt. Your heart has to go out to Moses.

And there was no use looking at the right because there were some mountains and wilderness, mountains and wilderness to your left. The Red Sea is in front of you and behind you is the strongest army of the world at that time and the children of Israel had no weapons at all. What Pharaoh probably was going to do is to kill a whole bunch of them, to terrify them, and then bring them all back to Egypt and make them slaves, the likes of which they have never been before, to treat them more cruelly than he had ever treated them. So they were terrified and Moses knew that there was no use trying to check his resources against Pharaohs because the children of Israel had no weapons, they had no chariots, they had no horses. And so Moses is standing there and there's only one way to go for Moses and that is to God. Because Moses knew that there is no wall so high, there is no ditch so deep, but that you can cry to God in the midst of your despair. And Moses cried to the Lord and the Lord even said, now Moses you have cried to the Lord and you've listened for the answer.

So verse 15, why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. Lift up your staff and stretch over your hand over the sea and divide it that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground and I will get glory. God says this three times in this passage, I'll get glory from the Israelites and I will get glory from old Pharaoh.

Before he dies he's going to admit that God is on Israel's side. What do we do when we're in a tight place? We cry to God but we wait for an answer and we are willing to do whatever God tells us to do.

We're willing to do it. Could I say humbly, don't even cry to God if you have no intention of doing what he tells you to do. Because what you'll do is you'll cry to God and then you'll complain about your predicament. No, no, you cry to God and you wait before God until you know what to do. Now you say, well Pastor Luther, God doesn't really speak to us as he does to Moses, so what are we going to do?

Well, come on now, look into the white of my eyes if you can still see me, if your eyes are still capable of seeing me at this distance. We're having coffee together and you and I are just having a heart-to-heart chat. You're talking with your pastor and I'm going to talk to you plainly. In most of the instances, I would say 90% of the time we know right well what God wants us to do.

But we don't want to do that because the consequences are too terrifying and we're scared to death if we do it. Of course that woman who came to me, who said that she was manipulating the checkbook in such a way that she was stealing money from their joint account, and now she doesn't know what to do. You know, the husband might get mad, lady, are you sure you don't know what to do? Are you honestly telling me you don't know what to do? I don't even have to pray about that one. No use even crying up to God. Of course you have to confess it to him, make it right. God may have him find out some other way anyway. Better he hear it from you than from the bank.

And that man who said, you know, I stole this stuff and I don't want to confess it because I'd lose my job because I have a wife and children. Why is he even calling to me? He calls me on the phone. God bless him. That's the thing to do.

You should talk to your pastor, but sometimes the pastor doesn't say what you want to hear. You're in a tight place, aren't you? Yeah, tight place, very tight place. You know what you do? You do what is right and you let God take care of Pharaoh. That's what you do when you're in a tight place. He knew what he should do. And I suppose in 90% of the instances we know exactly what we should do.

My dear lady, if there's abuse going on in your home, you should go for help. All right? And down deep in your heart, you know that that's what you should do. You're in a tight place. Cry up to God and God will confirm it. And then you say, Oh God, it's up to you to take care of Pharaoh. Now there are some times when we really don't know what to do. We cry up to God and we seek God's face and God doesn't seem to be answering or the issues are so unclear. And at that time what you do is you go to somebody who has some biblical wisdom and ask them because there are situations, you know, that are very, very complex. Have you ever noticed that human beings get themselves into some very, very intriguing predicaments?

Have you ever noticed that? So what you do is you seek for wisdom, but here's the point. You go to God, you cry up to God and you're willing to do what God lays on your heart to do. Now God says to Moses a couple of things, Moses. First of all, the Egyptians are going to be wiped out.

Secondly, I'm going to get glory to myself and even Pharaoh before he dies, you can look at there in the text and I'm always assuming that you've read the text ahead of time. You'll notice that Pharaoh says in the last part of verse 25, let us flee from before Israel for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians. Even the Egyptians are drowning and they say God is God and God is getting glory by winning this battle.

God would fight for them. So the first snapshot that we've taken today is that Pharaoh chased the children of Israel, if we can put it that way, into a tight place. Moses believed God in the midst of the tight place and then God delivered them from the tight place. Scripture says that Moses put his hand over the sea, took the staff, the rod of God, and he put it over the sea and God divided the waters and you know what God graciously did for them is he moved the cloud.

I'm ahead of myself here because before they went into the sea, he took the cloud. He said, he said, Israel, I want to give you a good night's sleep before you go through the Red Sea. So in order to keep you from Pharaoh, what I'm going to do is to take the pillar that was leading you and I'm going to put it behind you so that it separates you from Pharaoh.

So Pharaoh is not going to be able to see you. He's going to be very confused as to where you are because this pillar of cloud, which is really me, God is saying, it is going to separate you from your enemy and there's nothing quite like an enemy when God has decided to fight him. And so the Lord says, have a good sleep, would you? Because I'm going to be your protector. I am going to fight for you.

Wow. When God fights for you, Pharaoh doesn't have a prayer. Isn't that wonderful? And so what God does is he confuses the enemy, then he destroys the enemy. And they have such a great victory that chapter 15 is the song of Moses and the song of the lamb. It is later on in the book of Revelation spoken of that way.

It is the song of Moses of triumph over God and the horse and his rider he's cast into the sea. Now let's talk about your tight place. What about your tight place? First of all, God leads us into tight places. Often God leads us into tight places.

I hurried over it, though I did read it chapter 14. It is God who says in verse two, turn back and change your course of direction and give Pharaoh the impression that you're confused in the wilderness. They did this, the zigs and the zags of the desert were ordained by God. They were in a tight place right in the middle of God's will, obeying him. Oh my friend, you're certainly going to have to listen to Running to Win next time to find out other lessons that Moses had to learn in a tight place, lessons that we also have to learn because I can't help but think that I'm speaking to somebody today who says, Pastor Lutzer, I'm in a tight place.

Well, as you know, the ministry of Running to Win exists to help us make it all the way to the finish line. I've written a book entitled Getting Closer to God, Lessons from the Life of Moses. Of course, it includes the message that you have just been listening to. For a gift of any amount, this book can be yours. And when you have these messages in book form, you can look at them again and again.

You can underline the pages to remember all that God wants to teach us even as we read the book of Exodus. So as I mentioned, for a gift of any amount, you can receive the book Getting Closer to God. Go to That's, or if you prefer, call us at 1-888-218-9337. As you think about your tight place today, know that God is here to help, and he uses the experience of Moses to teach us. Ask for the book Getting Closer to God.

Go to, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. We are here to enable you to make it to that finish line successfully. It's time again for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Dr. Lutzer, people listen to every word you say, and Diana in Connecticut takes issue with one of your comments, and here's what it is. I was disturbed by your recent comment that God is not safe. If God is not safe, then who is? Well, Diana, I'm so glad that you gave me an opportunity to clarify what I meant. You know, the statement that God isn't safe actually comes from the writings of C.S.

Lewis. He's talking about Aslan the lion, which represents Jesus Christ, and he's not safe. What Lewis means there is that God is also a God of justice and judgment. And furthermore, I would like to add that the reason that God isn't safe, I put that in quotes, is because we cannot predict what God is going to do.

I know, for example, in certain situations what my Father will do, but I don't know what my Father in heaven might do. So when we say that God isn't safe, we mean don't toy with God, because God is a God of justice and righteousness. Now having said all that, of course he is safe in the sense that we can keep his promises. You know, the Bible uses wonderful figures of speech like that we have come to trust him and that he hides us under his wings. At the end of the day, the promises of God are sure, but from here until we arrive at the heavenly city, many difficulties, many hardships, and we can never predict what's going to take place.

God is safe, if you look at it from the standpoint of his promises and ultimate grace. And that's some safe counsel from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Dr. Lutzer.

If you'd like to hear your question answered, you can. Go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer. Or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Today Dr. Erwin Lutzer began the story of Israel finally leaving Egypt in a message on escaping from tight places. This was message number six in a series of twelve about the life and times of Moses, a man getting closer to God. Next time, high drama as the Egyptian army is drowned when the Red Sea swallows them up. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-21 14:43:46 / 2023-09-21 14:52:52 / 9

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