15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 17 And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
- Throughout scripture, Moses’ staff was used. The first sign he ever performed in front of Pharaoh consisted of the staff turning into a serpent. Figuratively speaking, staffs were a support of life or an extension of a person. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, you are the branches.” As believers, we are an extension of Jesus and a continuation of His ministry. I remember my friend, Angela, saying, “Even God can use a stick for His glory!” So true! May we all be useful sticks this week!
19 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. 20 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.
- The Angel of God (which is referring to God Himself) went from being a guide, to being a guard. Psalm 91 says that if you choose the Most High as your dwelling place, “He will command His angels to protect you in all your ways.” What a reassurance to know that our Lord watches out for us and is our Protector.
- It’s interesting how the cloud was light to the Israelites but darkness to the Egyptians. There are several great teachings we could glean from this one passage. Here is one in particular to ponder. First Corinthians 2:13-14 provides a New Testament parallel of light (the Holy Spirit’s teaching) v. darkness (man’s foolishness): “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” The Egyptians could not see the light because they could not discern that they were fighting against God!
21 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. 22 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. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
- I think a few of you are ready for your Red Sea parting, aren’t you? If you feel like you need that parting in your life – that true work of God – then don’t miss how He did it in verse 21. “The Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind.” Have you ever felt like you’ve got a strong wind blowing in your face? It can be so annoying when the wind blows fiercely, and it whips you around like a rag doll. But take heart! Those strong winds can have great purpose.
- Notice that they walked upon dry land. It was dry so the passage across would be smooth. The Lord didn’t want them contending with mud puddles or muck while traveling anywhere from six to nine miles across the Red Sea that night. I’m thankful for sure footing in the Lord, aren’t you? Psalm 69:14 says, “Rescue me from the mud and do not let me sink. Rescue me from those who hate me, and from the deep waters.” The Lord rescued the Israelites from the deep waters on this night!
24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
- At some point between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. (during the “morning watch”), chaos began for the Egyptians. According to Psalm 77, a severe rainstorm occurred and those chariot wheels began to wobble. When you feel like the world is coming at you with the steam of a thousand horses and in chariots ready to trample, take courage! The Lord has a plan, so trust Him. Psalm 20:7 comes to mind here: “Some boast in chariots, others in horses; but we will boast in the name of the LORD our God.”
- I’m sure the Egyptians thought they could tread on the dry sea ground, just like the Israelites. But the Lord protected the Israelites by having Moses stretch out his hands again and close up the waters. Those who had pursued, died that day, and as Proverbs 21:7 says, “The violence of the wicked shall sweep them away, because they refuse to do justice.” Pharaoh just couldn’t let them go! If he had just been obedient, none of these tragedies would’ve happened. I can think of many times in my own life when I refused to be obedient, and my situations worsened. We must learn to hope in Him and refuse to allow our deceitful heart to lead us.
30 So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 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.
- “So the Lord saved…” The word “saved” is almost a commonplace term when it comes to “church speak.” Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries offer a refreshing definition, though: to be open, wide or free. We often think of being “saved “as being saved from hell. And while eternal rest with Him is part of it, God desires more. Galatians 5:1 tells us, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery.” The Lord saves because He wants us to live in wide, open freedom – not a musty, dark jail cell. Amen.