It’s time. The Exodus! This is such a spectacular event, with so much to learn about God…and about us.
Do you know what Exodus means? Merriam-Webster’s definition is “a situation in which many people leave a place at the same time.”
It’s time for the people of God, Israel, to depart from over 400 years of slavery. They didn’t just depart, they were delivered! Notice that is the theme of the Bible….Deliverance!
This journey begins after Egypt suffered 11 plagues for not listening to God. I wrote about that here. Exodus 13:17 tells us that there were two routes Israel could have taken (a short or long route). God took them on the long route because he knew that if Israel faced war when they were going through the Philistine country they might have changed their mind and chosen to go back into captivity in Egypt. Seriously, do you see that? After all that Israel had been through, and having been a people of slavery for 400 years, and having witnessed the plagues against Egypt, when in some adversity, they would have chosen to go back into captivity rather than trust God and live in the freedom He was trying to provide. That is just nuts, but it is so us!
A few verses later in verse 21 we see God is leading them, in the front as a pillar of cloud during the day so Israel would be able to see, and by fire at night, again, so they could see. Verse 22 says that the pillar of cloud and fire never left its place in front of the people. He was leading them. Just like if we are willing, He will lead us!
God tells Moses to have the people camp near the sea. Pharaoh and his army were coming. When Israel saw the army coming, what do you think they did? Do you think they praised God and asked God for help and protection? Do you think they trusted God because of all he had literally just demonstrated to them?
No, they didn’t do any of those things. They immediately feared. They immediately started grumbling to Moses asking why he had brought them out of Egypt, telling him, they could have just died in Egypt. Just pause for a minute right here. How many times do you do this? All the time, I would imagine. I know I do. The moment I face adversity, rather than look back at all God has done for me, I become fearful and feel some despair. That is my reaction. Sometimes it passes quickly and I remember just who my FATHER is, and sometimes it doesn’t. How pitiful of me!
Moses tells them in Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
You have something you are going through right now? You only need to be still, God will fight for you! Hand your troubles to Him.
God moves yet again in a simply miraculous event. I cannot even begin to understand or speculate what those folks must have been thinking….what Moses must have been thinking. Moses stretches out his hand, and the waters of the sea separate leaving dry ground right down the middle. Israel walked on dry ground between two walls of the sea, on their left and right. Imagine that next time you to go the beach.
What does Egypt do when they see this? They pursue Israel. Yeah, that’s right. The army of Pharaoh walks in to follow Israel. Um, can any of you separate the waters like that? Even with the most powerful force of air we can muster, do you think we can separate the waters like that? I certainly don’t think that is possible for us. God…yes. Us…no. And yet, Pharaoh thought he would overtake God???
So as the waters are separate in verse 19 it mentions (and I didn’t see this before so I am going to have to go back and re-read incase I missed it) the angel of God who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army withdrew and went behind them along with the pillar of cloud. So while Egypt is pursuing Israel, God is behind them to protect them. The cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other. God darkened Pharaoh’s path, and kept Israel’s path full of light.
So all night long Moses is standing there with his arm stretched out, and the waters remain separate allowing Israel to cross. Remember, there was 600,000 men, plus women, children, animals. All of Pharaoh’s army are trying to cross in pursuit of Israel. God threw Pharaoh’s army into confusion, the wheels of their chariots jammed, they had difficulty driving. God did that. The Egyptian army recognized that God was fighting for Israel against them. To God be the glory! After Israel had made it out to the other side of the sea, the waters were returned to their place, and all of the Egyptian army was destroyed, none of them survived. At this point, after all that had already happened, now Israel sees the power of God, and fears and trusts Him. You know that is not going to last long though, right?
What a stiff-necked people we are. We repeat the same mistakes as Israel today. Throughout all of time honestly, humans have done this over and over, and yet, He still loves us. He truly is, without a shadow of doubt, the best parent ever.
…to be continued…