EXODUS 12:1-3 Exodus 14:1 "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. 4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so."
Pharaoh had someone watching the two and a half million people
who left his kingdom in Egypt. He was probably expecting them to move through the land of the
Philistines. When they headed toward the Red Sea he thought they were lost and wandering
around not knowing where they were going. God had a plan. Everything that happens to us
happens for a purpose. We may not understand the purpose at the time and it may not always be
for our benefit, sometimes it is not about us at all but God has someone else in
mind! This time, He led the children of Israel toward the Red Sea for several reasons. One,
as we mentioned in
chapter 13, was to keep them from coming up against the Philistines who were great warriors,
another reason was God wanted to have his final day with Pharaoh. He would "be honoured upon
Pharaoh", and the Egyptians would once and for all know that He was Lord.
Exodus 14:8 "And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh
king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out
with an high hand. 9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of
Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside
Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up
their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the
children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. 11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no
graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt
thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in
Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to
serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness."
Exodus 14:8 "And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. 9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. 11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? 12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness."
Pharaoh still had not learned that God was stronger than he was. It is harder for some people to learn this lesson than others it seems. I think, though, that if I had been through what the Egyptians had I'd be thinking twice before I went chasing after these people of God's. The Egyptians went after the nation of Israel with 600 chariots. The Israelites were totally defenseless. They had no weapons and were not trained in warfare. But they had something greater than weapons. They had The Protector. When the Israelites saw Pharaoh was upon them they complained to Moses. They accused him of bringing them out into the wilderness to die. Our lives come to a standstill because we are afraid to move forward. Sometimes we need to just go to the sea and plunge in! God had to push the nation of Israel out of Egypt and now He would lead them to victory in a miraculous way. All they had to do was trust Him!
Exodus 14:13 "And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. 14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. 15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: 16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."
There is a song I like to sing called, "God Likes To Work When Nothing Else Will." It says, "God likes to work when your back's to the wall." The Israelites' back was literally to the wall. (The wall was just made from water!) God brought them here to show them and the Egyptians his awesome power. Moses told his people to "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." Why is that so hard for us humans to wait on God? We want what we want and we want it now. It is so hard for us to just let God take care of us. Moses told them that God was ready to fight for them if they would just hold their peace. Then God said something radical. He asked Moses why they were crying to Him! Why weren't they just going forward? Then He provided the way. Moses was to lift up his rod and the water would part so they could cross on dry ground! I LOVE THIS STORY!
Exodus 14:19 "And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: 20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. 21 And 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 dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left."
If you have read very many of my Bible Studies or Devotions, you know I am a strong believer in angels. Here, God places His angel with the cloud between the Egyptians and the Israelites. It gave darkness to the Egyptians but light to God's people. Some believe this angel to be the incarnate Christ. As Moses lifted his rod over the water, it parted on both sides and the people were able to cross on dry land. The Egyptians could not see this phenomenon at first. They had no idea of what was going on. When the cloud was moved the next morning and the Egyptians saw what was going on, they pursued the Israelites, going between the walls of water. There is no way I would have gone into the sea after these people. God had shown the Egyptians again and again how He separated His people from them and His people were protected while they weren't. Everytime I read this scripture I wonder, What were they thinking?
Exodus 14:24 "And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, 25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. 26 And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. 27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them."
So God got His "honor" upon Pharaoh. I have often wondered what Pharaoh's last thoughts were when the walls of water came crashing down on him. What a horrible way to die a needless death. And he took so many people with him, just as many evil leaders have down through the ages! Not one person that went into the sea came out alive. But the Israelites were all kept safe and arrived unharmed on the other side of the sea. The last verse in this chapter says that they, "feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses." But, as we will find in the following chapters, Oh how soon we forget!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The next time your back is to the wall stop and think about why God might have brought you to this point in your life. I'll guarantee you there is a reason, you just may not see it. There is always a path to take. It might be straight into the water or it could be around. You may even have to sit on the bank and wait for a boat. Whatever the way out, you can be sure God has made a way!
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