Exodus 14:19-31 Romans 14:1-12
How does it feel to be stuck in the middle between two extremes? We understand because spatially and emotionally that is exactly where we are. Israel has packed quickly because the word has come down that Moses has negotiated their freedom from Egypt. As the long line of ex-slaves make their way in the direction of the Red Sea, Pharaoh is not sleeping well. His chief financial advisors, the people who are paid to worry about the budget, have told him the bottom line news. Without the slaves, the country will drop into a recession. Here comes the army of Pharaoh. Israel is caught between the army and the water.
September 18, 1862, General Lee and the Confederate Army are trapped with their backs to the Potomac River. General McClellan dithers, and Lee escapes. On May 27, 1940, the Allies are trapped at Dunkirk. The German army has them cut off, but a flotilla of hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, and lifeboats from England come to the rescue. The moral: caught between an army and the water, take the water every time.
The stories above are used as rhetorical devices to provide us with a spatial image of a people caught in the middle. We are to think of ourselves now as a people in the middle.