Summary of passage: God did not lead the Israelites out of Egypt on the quickest path for God did not want them to encounter enemies of Egypt and flee back to Egypt. So He lead them around a desert road to the Red Sea. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him as Joseph had requested. From Succoth they camped at Etham and then God led them always either in a pillar of cloud or fire.
Moses by Michelangelo
The Lord orders the Israelites to turn back so that Pharaoh will think they are lost and pursue them. Then the Lord will show Pharaoh once again that He is the Lord. Pharaoh did pursue them with all of his chariots. When the people saw the Egyptians pursuing them, they complained to Moses “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert.” Moses told the people God will fight for them if they are still.
God tells Moses to part the Red Sea, which he does. The angel of God and the cloud separated the two and allowed the Israelites a chance to escape. The Egyptians followed the Israelites across and God made the chariot wheels come off. Then He told Moses to close the sea again and the entire army of Pharaoh was lost at sea. Afterwards, the Israelites faith was strengthened and they trusted the Lord and Moses.
8a) Everything God instructed the Israelites to do was to strengthen their faith or to keep them safe or to keep them moving towards the Promised Land. He showed them He was in control and even the mightiest army in the world was no match for Him.
b) They would fear Him and put their trust in Him and in His servant, Moses.
c) Killing all of Pharaoh’s best troops, chariots, and horsemen showed the Egyptians and the world who was boss and would bring God glory. Remember at this time, the Egyptians were unbeatable, supposedly protected by their many gods. Being brought down by the God of Israel would bring him much praise and glory and converts perhaps.
d) Personal Question. My answer: I personally feel none of my circumstances have been “impossible”. With God, there is always a way. In my difficult circumstances, God has been by my side every step of the way and in my faith I hope I have brought glory to Him for others to see. Even in doubt, I have prayed. Even when I don’t feel like praying, I manage something. And I believe that to be the key.
9a) “The people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” Humility and praise.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I believe the same as the Israelites–stronger faith in Him to do it all. Greater reliance on Him. Greater praise and credit. Greater love towards all.
Conclusions: Thought 8 was a bit repetitive and the personal questions too close as well. For one of the most important and famous scenes in the Bible I would have liked to have spent more time on it and diving deeper. There are a lot of nuggets here to explore that we didn’t touch on. My favorite: the importance of being still, especially in this crazy, insane world. How encouraging to know if you are still, God will fight for you and don’t worry about the details–God’s got it. I would also have liked to explore Pharaoh and his connection with Satan more.
End Notes: The Red Sea here in the Bible is the modern day Gulf of Suez. It is not the thick part of the Sea but the beginning.
From Genesis, you may remember that Joseph was never buried. God had revealed to him that Egypt was not the Promised Land. Hence, it would have been relatively easy to carry Joseph’s bones back.
Pillar in Hebrew means ‘something standing’. Scholars say it was most likely a column. God was constantly present with His people and still they doubted.
God set a trap for Pharaoh for His glory and Pharaoh went for it.
How quickly Pharaoh forgets God’s power. How quickly do we?
This can apply to the devil as well. He pursues us just like Pharaoh does and we must be always wary.
Chariots at the time were the most advanced weaponry for fighting. Most battles involved chariots and foot soldiers and maybe some archers. That’s it. Charioters were valuable and were seen with honor in Egypt. Destroying them would hit both Pharaoh and his people a major blow.
God’s people were hemmed in–Pharaoh on one side, Red Sea on another. It was natural to be scared. But not natural to lack faith in God (whom you could see in a cloud by the way). Yet note they cried out to God–exactly what we are supposed to do when fear overwhelms us. And He answered. In a BIG way.
Man’s cruel nature is revealed here: Egypt, the king of burial grounds, and the Israelites use this to mock Moses. Sad, really. I see this in man all the time. People are mean and cruel and it saddens me.
What short-term memories! Not one week out of Egypt and the Israelites want to go back!
Moses responds in faith! He has no idea how God is going to save them, but he knows God will. He encourages the people and soothes them–the mark of a great leader.
When God is the only rescuer in a situation, we trust Him more. Like with an illness or addiction. Where we need faith is the daily little things in life. That is my prayer this week.
Note Moses incredible connection with God and advice: Be still. Don’t do anything hasty. Don’t panic. Just wait on Him.
Saying the Egyptians would not be seen again is both literal and figurative–not here or in heaven.
God answers “Why are you crying out to me?” Prayer and then action! By having Moses perform the miracle, God is strengthening the people’s faith in God’s chosen leader.
Who is the Lord? Pharaoh asked. God is still answering. God answers this question with everything in our lives. When we triumph, God’s enemy falls. We are a testament to His power every day.
God shielded the Israelites from their enemies. How often does God do the same for us?
The Egyptians could have submitted then and been spared. But they chose the dark side and judgment.
The Hebrew is “Reed Sea” so identifying the exact spot of crossing has been impossible. Modern scholars say modern-day Lake Sirbonis but recent research says Gulf of Aqaba. For me, this is a mute point. All that matters is God’s delivery of His people.
Nice Map showing Map of Exodus with crossing on Gulf of Aqaba: http://headwatersresources.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ExodusColorNotesFramedCC.jpg
Just to be clear: no one is for sure the exact route that Moses took or where the crossing of the Reed Sea took place. Every map I find online is different. I provide these so you can have a rough idea of what the Israelites went through and what land they crossed. God is behind it all. The details are left for when we get to heaven.
Psalm 77:16-20 gives more detail on the actual crossing. One of the “remembering” psalms, the author begins in despair, but remembers God’s great deeds and is strengthened in his faith. Powerful psalm for when we are lost and low.
God slows the chariots while Moses closes the Sea–again, using Moses as His chosen instrument.
Egypt with relation to Israel is now no more. Egypt does not bother with Canaan for most of the rest of the Bible. Seeing the dead bodies would have been final to the Israelites–no more slavery.
Interesting tid-bit: one scholar speculates that the Israelites may have pillaged the dead bodies and stolen weapons to be used against their enemies in Canaan.
God delivers us out of both love and glory for Him. The Passover and the Red Sea must happen just like the cross and the Redemption.