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moses red sea glassBy faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. – Hebrews 11:29

We have seen how God prepared and used Moses and his faith to raise up a leader who could free Israel from the bondage of slavery in Egypt. This last verse in the paragraph of text tells us about the faith of all of Israel as they left Egypt.

Before we get to the details of the conquest of the Promised Land we have first begun at the Exodus. The Passover and the death of the firstborn of Egypt and any not covered by the blood of the lamb led Pharaoh not just to free the Hebrews, but instead to order them out. To send them packing. He demanded that they leave and that the Egyptians give them provisions as they went. The Hebrews asked for these provisions and the Egyptians so wanted them to go so that no one else would die and there would be no more plagues that they gladly gave them silver, gold, and articles of clothing. The Bible refers to it as the Israelites plundering the Egyptians.

The Lord led the people with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, taking them to the region of the Red Sea. God was always before them and in the text we see here is where there is mention that they carried the bones of Joseph out of Egypt as he had requested.

As the people saw the power of God demonstrated and started on their journey to the Promised Land they did not get far before Pharaoh changed his mind. How hard a heart is that to have seen the plagues and the death even of the firstborn throughout the land even in his own family and yet to decide to pursue the Israelites? That is what he did. He decided to recapture the Israelites. He did so because this was what God had determined to have him do. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that He might show that He was God!

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 Zemphon; 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.’ Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. – Exodus 14:1-4

Pharaoh gave chase with his army and chariots. The Israelites seemed to be cornered with no way out. They thought they would be killed right there in the wilderness. All the army and chariots and Pharaoh would surely just ride over them.

But God

 What a phrase that is. “But God” had other plans. He would declare His glory. He would protect His people. He would yet perform a great miracle to deliver His children. Hebrews 11:29 tells us what happened. By faith, we read, they passed through the Red Sea. This is likely referring to Moses’ faith still, but as he led the people followed – this also took faith, in God and in Moses’ leadership. Just as there seemed no way of escape, God parted the waters. Listen to what happened:

And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

 

Faith, trust in God, trust in His provision and protection and in His will – here it is. Death or life depends on what happens next and Moses tells the people to see the salvation of the Lord. The Angel of the Lord defends them through the night, and the Red Sea parts, with water standing up as two walls on either side of the dry path through its midst.

Movies have tried to show us what this was like, but nothing can compare to being there I am sure. Can you imagine? The Red Sea parted. Just like the Bible tells us. The water “stood up” and made a path. The nation of Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. There just are not special effects or even words enough to make this real to us. But God did it.

When the Egyptians attempted to follow the whole army was swallowed by the Sea as it closed over them. There could be no doubt, the God of Israel was the Lord, He was God, He could not be contended with and His people could not be touched as long as He defended them.

The summary from Exodus 14 states, “Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.” Over and over again throughout Scripture we read about this victory and the great and mighty things that God did at the parting of the Red Sea.

We must never forget then why God parted the Sea and destroyed the Egyptians. It was not just to free His people. No. God did what He did for the same reason He does anything and everything He does – for His own glory. He proved beyond doubt that He was God, and as such, He can always be trusted.

(next: Faith and Conquest)

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