Cul-de-sacs and Dead Ends

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“Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ — Exodus 14:1-3


Israel’s journey from Egypt brought them to the Red Sea shore, which was okay until the people realized that Pharaoh’s Army was in hot pursuit of them.

What were they to do? Which way were they to turn? Where could they go?

Israel could not walk back the way they came, nor could they move forward to pass through.

Israel had walked into a cul-de-sac, a wilderness cul-de-sac.

A cul-de-sac — a street or passage closed at one end[1]— a route or course leading to nowhere[2] — a dead end.

God’s people immediately concluded that they were going to die. They were mad and afraid at the same time.

How dare Moses take them away from a hard but familiar place in Egypt?

Moses, we told you to leave us alone and let us serve the Egyptians (v. 12). At least in Egypt, the Children of Israel felt they would have had a decent burial ground if they died. Thus, the fear of not clearly seeing God’s plan made them want to return to the former things.

However, death was not God’s plan for His people; neither was going back into slavery. Instead, God wanted to put His glory on display, and Israel needed to recognize Him as Lord. So, God, in His might and power, provided a miraculous way of escape for His people.

Israel’s enemy was defeated right before their eyes, and God was glorified.

Perhaps you can identify with Israel.

Maybe you’ve been in a situation where you have felt there was no way of escape. Or that your back was against the wall, possibly trapped in a cul-de-sac. In times like these, we need to put our faith and trust in God.

Just as God did for Israel, He will always open a passageway.

Deuteronomy 28:7 tells us, “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.”

Isaiah 59:19 reads, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

And then there’s 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

I can confidently say that no matter what your modern-day cul-de-sac may be, it is no match for God; He is a God of miracles.


“… Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today.” —Exodus 14:13



Join me next week for Coffee on The Couch.



[1] Dictionary, s.v. “cul-de-sac,” accessed October 10, 2022,

[2] Google search. Google. Accessed October 10, 2022.