Have you ever heard the phrase “between a rock and a hard place?” Someone typically uses it when there appears to be no good solution or correct choice at the time. Did you ever wonder where the phrase came from? The phrase was actually first coined in 1921 in the United States when miners in Bisbee, Arizona didn’t have their work demands met, but rather ended up being deported to New Mexico.
I couldn’t help but think of a segment of scripture the phrase applies to also. In Exodus 33:12-23 we find Moses and the Lord talking. Moses was complaining to the Lord because He called Moses to go to Egypt to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, but the Lord had yet to reveal to Moses who would go with him. The Lord had not taught Moses His ways. Moses was experiencing great frustration and let the Lord know it. He was expected to do something but didn’t see any way to accomplish what was asked of him. He knew he couldn’t return to his old way of life, but he didn’t know how to move forward. God told him it was his job to lead the people, but God wasn’t going with him. Moses was about to freak out. He was caught between his own rock and hard place.
When Moses didn’t know what to do or where to go, he just kept calling out to the Lord. He was stuck and he knew God had the answer. Moses was begged God to step in and help him. Because the Lord was pleased with Moses, He responded to him and agreed to go with the Israelites.
Most of us would have been thrilled with that answer. We would have turned and gone on our merry way because God was going to go with us, but not Moses. He didn’t just want God to go with them; Moses wanted to experience the glory of God. He boldly asked the Lord to show him His glory in vs. 18.
Verses 19-23 are hard to even comprehend. God agreed to reveal His glory to Moses. He placed Moses in the cleft of the rock and passed by, allowing Moses to see His back and experience His glory. A cleft of a rock is a split or indention of rock. There is a hard, unmoving surface on both sides. God placed Moses there and when Moses was there, he experienced the glory of God. He saw God’s back, thus allowing him to see where God had been, leaving Moses a pathway to follow.
Friends, we all find ourselves between a rock and a hard place at times and we cry out to God and ask Him to take us out of the situation. We need to learn two things from Moses’ story in Exodus 33. First, God placed Moses there. When we are in situations we may perceive as difficult, we need to realize God may have placed us there for a purpose we can’t see at the moment. Secondly, it was in that place Moses experienced the glory of God. When we are stuck in that difficult place, where no option seems good or right for us, we need to look for the glory of God in the situation and follow after Him.
The next time you feel like you’re in between a rock and a hard place, I want to challenge you to ask God to reveal Himself to you in the situation. Once you’ve discovered Him in it, pursue Him only and you will find the direction you need to be traveling.