The Parting of the Red Sea
Does anyone here know how many times waters are parted for people to cross over in the Bible? The idea of parting something, be it a body of water or a mountain, is given to show the power of God in a unique way. Whether God does it through a natural means or through a miracle which transcends nature, there is always the miraculous associated with it.
The reason is that when the Bible records such an event, it is done in connection with a need or desire of His people, and it is done at a time when it was necessary for that need or desire to be realized. Like the plagues on Egypt, God causes things to occur at specific times to show that He was behind it and it wasn’t just arbitrary.
The Red Sea’s parting is such an event and it points to other such marvelous events in redemptive history as well. These have been recorded in advance so that when they happen, the people will know that the Lord was behind it. This is the beauty of the Bible. It is a self-authenticating book, filled with wisdom and glory!
Text Verse: Then the Lord will go forth
And fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.
4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south.
5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,
For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.
Yes, you shall flee
As you fled from the earthquake
In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.
Thus the Lord my God will come,
And all the saints with You. Zechariah 14:1-5
The Red Sea is parted; the Mount of Olives will be rent asunder; and even the great chasm which stood between God and man, opposing our fellowship with Him, has been bridged. A highway has been made for God’s people to once again enter His presence.
Marvelous things keep repeating themselves in the Bible to show us that God had it under control, has it under control, and will continue to have it under control for all the ages which lie ahead. Oh,,, and the answer to the parting of waters is four – the Red Sea, the Jordon when Israel finished its wilderness wanderings, the Jordon for Elijah, and the Jordan for Elisha. Just so you know!
All of this wonder is to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. The Parting of the Waters (verses 21-25)
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea;
In obedience to the word of the Lord in verse 16, Moses complies and stretches out his hand over the sea. In his hand would be the rod of God which symbolized the power and authority of the Lord. As during the other plagues, the hand here is being used as the principle cause, whereas the rod is used as the instrumental cause.
In the intervening verses since the Lord told him to do this, there was no questioning the Lord or seeming hesitation in his actions. Instead, Moses simply complied. It shows a complete confidence in the fact that the Lord would do exactly as He said He would.
21 (con’t) and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night,
There is both the sense of the natural and the miraculous in this account. The natural however does not diminish the miraculous at all. And whatever the true location of this event by today’s maps, it was an event which cannot be as liberal scholars try to say. They say that it was merely a shallow lake that was crossed.
It very well could be in the region of the Bitter Lakes of Egypt today if they were truly once a part of the Red Sea. Or it could be at a place where the Red Sea itself is today. Either way, it is the Red Sea which was parted, not a shallow sea of reeds.
When the rod was stretched out, a strong wind began to blow, as it says, from the east. However, this could mean anything from a NE to a SE wind. The Greek translation of the passage says it was a southerly wind. Therefore, it was possibly a SE wind which pushed the waters away from a shallow area at Pi Hahiroth and which extended all the way to Baal Zephon.
This same effect can be seen out my back door a few times a year when cold fronts come through in the winter. The wind blows from the north and almost completely drains the bay behind us. What is normally a deep bay which is a mile across can be traversed without getting more than a foot or two deep. Under the right circumstances, an even more complete drying of a sea could occur.
There is no reason to think this account didn’t literally happen exactly as stated. The most miraculous part is that there is Israel, hemmed in from all sides and ready to face destruction, but a pillar of cloud and light kept the Egyptians away from them, the wind started blowing exactly when it was supposed to, the location where they were made it possible for the event to occur, and Israel was escorted to safety while Egypt was destroyed.
Regardless of how God does something, the circumstances around the event are often more miraculous than the event itself. But yet, as this account shows, it was miraculous in both the event and its surrounding circumstances. The wind parted the waters to the point where the grounds became dry. It is as if the winds licked up even the moisture from the sandy bottom as we now see…
21 (con’t) and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.
The word “divided” here is baqa. It is a common word meaning “to split” but it is often used in the most uncommon of passages. So far it has been used in the breaking open of the fountains of the great deep in Genesis 7 and in the splitting of the wood by Abraham in preparation for burning his son Isaac on the altar of sacrifice in Genesis 22. Now it is used in this third remarkable passage in the dividing of the waters of the Red Sea.
In the use of this word for the biblical events such as the one we are seeing come about, the HAW says, “…the burden of these passages is not simply that God is possessed of such terrible power as to split rocks and waters, etc., but that the possessor of such power is able to redeem a lost creation.”
And in fact, each of these accounts so far has shown just that. Noah was redeemed from the destruction of the earth by water; Isaac was redeemed from the destruction of fire and a substitute was given in his place; and now Israel is redeemed from destruction by Egypt by the dividing of the waters and Egypt being destroyed in their place.
It is fascinating how even one word, like this word baqa, can carry such immense theological importance in the overall biblical account. In this one, the waters have been divided, the land has become dry, and a highway has been opened for God’s redeemed to march through unto safety and freedom.
22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground,
Jewish tradition has it that Nahshon, the leader of the tribe of Judah, was the first one to enter into the path through the Red Sea and that the tribe of Judah was the first tribe to enter, leading the rest. However, Josephus, the great Jewish historian says that –
“When Moses had thus addressed himself to God, he smote the sea with his rod, which parted asunder at the stroke, and receiving those waters into itself, left the ground dry, as a road and a place of flight for the Hebrews. Now when Moses saw this appearance of God, and that the sea went out of its own place, and left dry land, he went first of all into it, and bid the Hebrews to follow him along that divine road, and to rejoice at the danger their enemies that followed them were in; and gave thanks to God for this so surprising a deliverance which appeared from him.” Flavius Josephus
Regardless of the truth, the Bible itself refrains from saying what occurred. It simply says that “the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea.” However, in this verse a different word for “dry” is used than in the previous verse.
In verse 21, the word was kharavah. It would indicate ground which is free from water, or drained. In this verse, it is yabashah. This comes from the word yabesh, meaning “dried up” or “withered.” Hence, it is saying that the ground was literally free from moisture, or completely dried.
The words have been used in a progressive sense to show the complete preparedness of the path for the children of Israel to make the journey. Not only would the ground be free of water as if walking on a beach, but it would be completely dry as if walking on a desert path.
22 (con’t) and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
Care needs to be taken on this portion of the verse to not diminish what it says, or to not make an unfounded deduction concerning what is said. The liberals at Cambridge note in their commentary that this is “A very summary poetical and hyperbolical description of the occurrence.”
In other words, they are saying this is just merely an exaggeration, nothing more. However, other scholars take it in another direction and say that the water of the sea “gave up its nature, formed with its waves a strong wall, and instead of streaming like a fluid, congealed into a hard substance” (Kalisch).
This adds into the account something that isn’t said. And if in fact the waters were hardened to ice, it would have said just that. The word translated as “wall” here is khomah and it means exactly that, a wall – such as in the wall of a city. However, it can also be metaphorically used to mean “protection.” One of many examples is found in 1 Samuel 25 –
“Now one of the young men told Abigail, Nabal’s wife, saying, ‘Look, David sent messengers from the wilderness to greet our master; and he reviled them. 15 But the men were very good to us, and we were not hurt, nor did we miss anything as long as we accompanied them, when we were in the fields. 16 They were a wall to us both by night and day, all the time we were with them keeping the sheep.'” 1 Samuel 25:14-16
Because of this type of metaphorical use of the word khomah, other scholars say that the waters were a metaphorical defense for Israel. To further strengthen their stand, Exodus 15:8 speaks of this same occurrence in the Red Sea, and says that the waters stood up “like a heap” using another word, ned which means a mound.
However, the fact that the word ned is used there doesn’t diminish what is said here. Instead, it bolsters it. There was no need for protection or defense on either side of Israel except for protection from the waters! The only defense they needed was taken care of by the pillar which stood between them and the Egyptians.
Therefore, unless one just dismisses this account as an outright fabrication, the only logical deduction is that the waters were actually a wall, exactly as described. They were supernaturally being held in place, not by a mere natural occurrence, but by that which transcends the natural.
The Lord has taken nature and worked within nature to a point to execute this miracle, but His work transcends the natural after meeting that point. It is truly a work of God in its most marvelous sense. And this brings us to the reason for this display.
In our sermon on the Feast of Unleavened Bread, it was noted that there are two holy convocations which bracket the Feast. One occurs on the first day of the feast and one on the seventh. They stand as representative of the entire period of the feast.
And this feast stands as representative of our time in Christ, from the day of our adoption until we go home to glory, this passing through the Red Sea on the seventh day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread symbolizes our passage from this life into the next.
There is an impossible gulf for us to cross over and yet the Lord has made that way possible. He has taken the natural and combined it with the miraculous in order to allow His redeemed to cross over to safety on the other shore where our heavenly home awaits. This is the symbolism we are given here.
It should be noted that by this time, the full moon of the first day of the feast has become a waning moon. The darkness would have been more pronounced, just as it is in our deaths, but there was still a brighter light to lead them. Matthew Henry notes that “…where God leads us, he will light us; while we follow his conduct we shall not want of his comforts.”
The path for our full and complete redemption has been paved through that impossible gulf, every drop of water has been lifted off it and despite the walls which will stand on each side of us, there will be safety as we pass through into His glory. Remember that on the other side of where Israel now stands, and to where they are heading, is a place called Baal Zephon, we can rest in ease. Baal Zephon means “The Lord is Watching.” And in fact He is.
The rapture is coming and He is carefully watching over His flock until that day. When the time is right, the infinite gulf will be parted and we, His redeemed, will pass through with ease and safety. However, there is another aspect to this path which will not end with the same results for all people…
23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
Since the beginning of Exodus, this dynasty of Pharaoh has pictured both the devil and the antichrist of the future. Egypt has pictured the world of sin. This wicked ruler wanted nothing more than to destroy Israel, the devil wants nothing more than to destroy God’s people, and the antichrist of the future – filled with the power of the devil, will want nothing more than to again destroy Israel.
The patterns of history repeat to let us know that the things which lie ahead have already been seen in the past. The army of Egypt now pursues Israel, even into the midst of the sea. There is a marvelous story of redemption which follows the same pattern, time and again.
In the case of Egypt, they foolishly decide to pursue Israel into the midst of the sea. The entire army of Pharaoh has failed to recognize the glory of the Lord who has thus far been slow to anger and even filled with patience and mercy towards the objects of His wrath.
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.
In verse 19, it said it was “the Angel of God” in the pillar. Now it says that it is the Lord. These words are used with specificity to show that the Lord is the Angel of God – He is the Messenger of God who works God’s miracles and wonders.
With a proper analysis of the Bible, one can come to no other conclusion than the fact that Jesus is God. Time and again, specific terminology is used to show us God’s progressive revelation of Himself, finally being realized in Jesus Christ. What a sad thing that people miss this, either through deceit or simply a lack of caring about spending time in His word.
From this verse, unless you understand that the Lord knows everything and is in control of everything, it might sound like the Lord wasn’t aware of the pursuing Egyptians until the morning time, but that isn’t the case at all. Rather, the Bible is including us in the narrative of the events as they unfold.
He has purposely allowed the Egyptians to pursue Israel into the sea. At the right moment, we are told that He “looked down” on them. This is a way of saying that their time of judgment had come. The Lord is in an elevated place and He can look down in favor or in condemnation. In Egypt’s case, it will be the latter.
This is called the “morning watch” which would be between the hours of 2am and 6am. It says at this time that He “troubled” the army of the Egyptians. The word here is hamam. It means “to throw into confusion” and this is its first use in the Bible. The confusion being spoken of here is described in the 77th Psalm –
The clouds poured out water;
The skies sent out a sound;
Your arrows also flashed about.
18 The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind;
The lightnings lit up the world;
The earth trembled and shook. Psalm 77:17, 18
Along with this confusion from the Lord came more trouble…
25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty;
This is one of those wonderful verses that comes up from time to time where translators seem to find pleasure in thinking up new ways of describing what occurred. The NKJV says, “He took off their chariot wheels.” Others versions say jammed, twisted, clogged, caused to swerve, took off, made wobble, overturned them grievously, overthrew, or turneth aside.”
The word is sur, which means “to depart.” It doesn’t seem that “took off” would fit here because of the next words – “so that they drove them with difficulty.” Rather, it is probable that the water from the rains described in the Psalm saturated the ground causing them to get muddy so that they veered off course because of it. What was a perfectly dry and easy passage for the redeemed has now become a impossible journey for the Egyptians.
25 (con’t) and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
With the din of the noise and the pursuit getting completely bogged down because of the situation they faced, the Egyptians are no longer the pursuers. Instead they realize that they are now on the defensive. The Lord defended Israel while at the same time He began an awesome work of war against those who wished them harm.
While the Lord protects His people
He troubles those who come to attack and destroy
Be confident you who worship under the steeple
That the Lord will deliver, great weapons He will employ
And though we may die in this temporary jar of clay
We have the surest hope of all, to be raised anew
The Lord will come for His at the rapture, some wondrous day
The Lord who is ever faithful and true
For those who wait for Him, the sea of death will part
And He will lead His people, guiding the way
On the other shore our new life will start
Oh! Even so, come Lord Jesus! Yes, make it today!
II. Not so Much as One of Them Remained (verses 26-29)
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea,
Just as he had been instructed at the beginning of this great event, he is now instructed at its end. God allows Moses the honor of being seen as the human redeemer of his people. It was thus intended that in their eyes he would be magnified and treated with the due respect he deserved.
26 (con’t) that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.”
These words form the center of a chiasm which spans verses 21-31. First, the Lord troubled Pharaoh’s army in verses 23-25, here Moses is told to take action which will result in their destruction. And finally, it will be fully realized in verse 28.
Exodus 14:21-31 – Stretch Out Your Hand Over the Sea (4/23/08)
The Great Miracle
a 14:21 LORD produced miracle through Moses.
b 14:22 Through sea on dry ground, the waters a wall to their right and left.
c 14:23-25 Army of Pharaoh troubled
d 14:26 “Stretch out your hand over the sea.”
The waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.
d 14:27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea
c 14:28 Army of Pharaoh destroyed.
b 14:29 Through sea on dry ground, the waters a wall to their right and left.
a 14:30, 31 Israelites saw the miracle and feared the LORD and Moses.
The attention to these verses is given for us to contemplate our own safety in the Lord. Think of the progression of thought. There was the Passover, and then there was the exodus and the Feast of Unleavened Bread with its beginning and ending convocations.
In Christ, there is our being passed over because of the blood applied to our lives. In that, our Exodus from the world of sin and death is granted. We begin our adopted life in Christ, symbolized by the first-day convocation, and we are brought out fully – with the enemies destroyed behind us, at the end of our time on this earth, pictured by the seventh-day convocation.
Everything fits because it is from the mind of God for His people to see and have confidence in. Chiasms like this short one give us hope that our trust in the Lord isn’t futile, and no matter how the devil rages against us, we are safe, secure, and cared for by Him. At the same time, the devil and his minions are destined for doom.
27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth,
Another portion of the miraculous is seen in these words. Moses stretched out his hand and the waters parted and he stretched them out again and they returned to their place. No ebb tide is so obedient as this, even though they are timed by the movement of the earth and the moon. This was a fitting end to a true miracle.
It must have been a long night for all concerned, but all would be freed from the anxiety of its events. Israel could camp on the other side of the sea, resting and rejoicing in the astonishing deliverance they had participated in. The Egyptians on the other hand would face a different type of rest… that of death.
When they are awakened from that, it will be for judgment and condemnation. That day is still ahead, but it is as sure to come as was the complete deliverance which Israel was granted.
27 (con’t) while the Egyptians were fleeing into it.
This isn’t the best translation of these words. The idea is that they were fleeing from the sea, not into it. The waters simply caught up with them and overwhelmed them. With a slight change or two, these words could be tidied up a bit. The idea when translating words like this is to add clarity of thought, not confusion. Read several other translations and you will see a better rendering of it.
27 (con’t) So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
Moses was asked to stretch out his hand over the sea in order to bring the waters back to normal. He did as instructed, and yet here it says, “So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians.” It shows a remarkable harmony between the two descriptions. Moses was given the honor in the sight of his people and yet the Lord is given glory over the entire account.
This is seen repeatedly in the Bible and in church history as well. Billy Graham preached the word of God according to the call of the Lord on his life, and yet it is the Lord who is glorified through the word that has been preached.
There is a harmony between the Lord and His chosen instruments where both are honored. It shows the amazingly gracious nature of the Lord upon those whom He favors.
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.
Flavius Josephus gives his commentary on what happened here –
“Showers of rain also came down from the sky, and dreadful thunders and lightning, with flashes of fire. Thunderbolts also were darted upon them. Nor was there any thing which used to be sent by God upon men, as indications of his wrath, which did not happen at this time, for a dark and dismal night oppressed them. And thus did all these men perish, so that there was not one man left to be a messenger of this calamity to the rest of the Egyptians.” Flavius Josephus
Many scholars claim that only the chariots and horsemen went into the sea and they argue over the wording of the Hebrew which seems to say this. They say that both the army and Pharaoh were actually excluded from the destruction of the waters, but this is probably incorrect.
The psalms seem to show that Pharaoh and all his army were destroyed. Psalm 106 says that the waters covered their enemies so that not one of them was left. Psalm 136 says that the Lord overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Therefore, there is no reason to doubt that this is not the case.
The reason why this is relevant is because of what it pictures later in the Bible. During the tribulation period, Daniel explains what will come concerning the antichrist –
“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” Daniel 11:40-45
Like Pharaoh and his armies, the anti-Christ will also go out to destroy and to annihilate, but he too will come to his end, and no one will help him. Revelation gives more insights into his end –
“And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20 Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.” Revelation 19:19-21
In Chapter 20 of Revelation, the end of the devil is noted with his being cast into the Lake of Fire. Like the destruction of Pharaoh, both the anti-Christ and the devil will be destroyed while the people of the Lord will be saved. History repeats itself, and each of those who think they can defeat God’s plans is, in the end, himself defeated. As Matthew Henry says about this –
“Men will not be convinced, till it is too late, that those who meddle with God’s people, meddle to their own hurt.” Matthew Henry
This is a truth which will be seen more and more in the world as we head into the end times, both those who persecute Christ’s church, and those who come after His people Israel, will find that their actions ultimately harm themselves.
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.
Repeated again in order to close out the chiasm of these verses, we are told here that Israel was kept safe on yabashah or perfectly dried ground and yet right in the midst of the sea. All the while the waters remained a wall on their right hand and on their left.
Judgment will come on all who have not received Jesus
God has offered terms of peace, but the time will run out
It is up to each and every one of us
To receive Him and His forgiveness, by faith – having no doubt
For those who fail to take hold of this offer
Only judgment and death is the option that remains
By nailed scarred hands the Lord has made the proffer
No other way will allow for the heavenly gains
And so learn the lesson of the armies of Pharaoh
Call out to Jesus and be saved by His blood
The path to the other side is exceedingly narrow
For those who refuse, over them will come the destructive flood
III. So the People feared the Lord (verses 30 & 31)
30 So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians,
Though they had observed the Passover and began their exodus from Egypt, it cannot be said that the Israelites were actually saved until this day. Both the Passover and the exodus implied that they were saved, but until they passed through the bonds of the Red Sea and the enemies of Israel were destroyed, there was still a work of salvation ahead of them.
And this is exactly where we are right now. We have observed our Passover in the death of Christ as noted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5. We are living in our Feast of Unleavened bread as he notes there as well, but we are still in this body awaiting our final deliverance which he speaks of in 1 Corinthians 15.
We are still living in the land of Egypt and we are affected by the spirit of Pharaoh as the world comes against us, but the Lord is with us and our day of deliverance is ahead. This is why Paul so often writes of our salvation as a done deal and yet he writes of it as a future event as well.
In the Lord it is a done deal, but as we wait on the Lord, we look forward to a future event with eager anticipation. This day of being saved out of the hand of the Egyptians was on the seventh day after their departure. It is the day the Lord set aside as their holy convocation to end the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Our day of departure is pictured in that feast, and may it be soon for all of the people of the Lord.
30 (con’t) and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
Like salvation, judgment belongs to the Lord. There are those who are His, and there are those who are not. The world needs to wake up to the fact that these ancient stories are given to show us what lies ahead, not just what happened in the past.
Death will come on a global scale someday for those who have harmed and harassed the Lord’s people and for those who have failed to give Him the glory He is due. According to Isaiah, man will become rarer than fine gold on that day.
In this verse, the fact that the dead Egyptians were seen on the seashore provides another level of credibility to the eyewitness nature of the account. It made enough of an impression upon Moses to include the fact which would otherwise be omitted by a later writer of the account. In an interesting portion of the writings of Josephus concerning this event, we read these words –
“On the next day Moses gathered together the weapons of the Egyptians, which were brought to the camp of the Hebrews by the current of the sea, and the force of the winds resisting it; and he conjectured that this also happened by Divine Providence, that so they might not be destitute of weapons. So when he had ordered the Hebrews to arm themselves with them, he led them to Mount Sinai, in order to offer sacrifice to God, and to render oblations for the salvation of the multitude, as he was charged to do beforehand.” Flavius Josephus
The reason we should pay heed to this as probably factual is that in the coming pages of the Bible, Israel will go to battle and they will continue in battles until and after they enter into the Land of Promise. It is these weapons which they would be able to use during those battles.
31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt;
This sentence must certainly be a fitting summary of the entire period of Moses’ leadership, from the time he first presented himself to them in Exodus 4 until this moment when the multitude of Egypt’s army lay dead at their feet.
Moses had shown them the three signs given to him by the Lord at the burning bush. He had taken them through 10 plagues which utterly destroyed the land. He had marched them out under the full moon while cries filled the homes of the Egyptians.
And yet, they had waffled, they had lost faith, and they had even cast accusations at Moses and thus implicitly upon the Lord. But with the parting of the Red Sea to deliver them and then its closing to destroy Egypt, they saw the “great work” or as the Hebrew reads, ha’yad ha’gedolah – “the mighty hand” of the Lord.
And with the events they saw, a new resoluteness came to them…
*31 (fin) so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses.
The “fear” spoken of here is not fear as in dread. Rather, it is a reverential fear. This idea of fearing the Lord in this reverential way is repeated numerous times the Bible. It is saying, “I know He loves me, but I know that His grace and mercy are unmerited. I receive that and return reverence to Him.”
It is like our own father. Even if we know he loves us, we will fear to let him down through disobedience. If we do, we would shame the one who loves us. This is the attitude that the Israelites now feel. They have previously let down both the Lord and Moses, but now they have learned to fear the Lord.
Further, they have come to believe in Him. Not only is He given the reverential fear of their hearts, but they have come to know that when He speaks, His words are true and reliable; they can be counted on. Likewise, because Moses is his servant, they have come to know that they can believe him as well.
Before, the two were mentally disconnected by the Israelites. The Lord was “a god” to them and Moses was a person claiming to represent Him, whether that was the case or not. Now, Yehovah is “the God” to them and Moses is His representative.
The entire process has been one which was intended to bring about this result. If only the people would stay as resolute in their thinking at this high point in their history at all other times. But Israel, like many today, believed for a while and then fell away. What we need is to ground our belief deeply in our souls so that we never fail to trust the Lord at all times.
But all trust must have a starting point. And maybe you have never taken the time to simply trust Jesus to deliver you from your present predicament. If not, today’s passage is simply a small reflection of a much greater story of redemption, one which you may participate in as well. And all it takes is a simple act of faith.
This is even what the ancients were noted for. In the great hall of fame of faith in the Bible, Hebrews 11, we are told that stepping onto a path in the middle of the Red Sea took real faith –
“By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.” Hebrews 11:29
In this act, Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10 that Israel received their baptism –
“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, 2 all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea…” 1 Corinthians 10:1, 2
If you haven’t yet placed your faith in Christ Jesus and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, let me tell you why you should and how you can, even right now…
Closing Verse: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13, 14
Just so you know. Another parting of waters is anticipated in Israel’s future. Isaiah tells us about it –
“The Lord will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt;
With His mighty wind He will shake His fist over the River,
And strike it in the seven streams,
And make men cross over dry-shod.
16 There will be a highway for the remnant of His people
Who will be left from Assyria,
As it was for Israel
In the day that he came up from the land of Egypt.” Isaiah 11:15, 16
Great stuff from a great God!
Next Week: Exodus 15:1-10 (The Song of Moses, The Song at the Sea, Part I) (42nd Exodus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
So the People Feared the Lord
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea
And the Lord caused the sea to go back as if derided
By a strong east wind all that night, one so mighty
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, one heaven sent
On their right hand and on their left, waters all around
And the Egyptians pursued and went after them
Into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen
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 bought the army of the Egyptians some real harmy
(Yes, I made that word up)
And He took off their chariot wheels
So that they drove them with difficulty
And the Egyptians said,
“From the face of Israel, let us flee
The Lord for them against the Egyptians He fights
For them this is their most terrifying of nights
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, so let it be
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 away, its waters over them reared
So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians completely
There it happened in the midst of the sea
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 to shoot an arrow
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, protecting them completely
So the Lord saved Israel that day
Out of the Egyptian’s hand
And Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore… hooray!
A mighty deliverance; ever so grand
Thus Israel saw the great work, promised by His word
Which the Lord had done in Egypt as the account closes
So the people feared the Lord
And believed the Lord and His servant Moses
What will it take for you to believe?
What is it that you have to see?
In order for the Lord Jesus to receive
When will you say, “It is sufficient for me?”
God has shown us so much love and care
Throughout the world His power is seen
His wisdom is on display everywhere
In the skies of blue and in the fields of green
And even more sure is His prophetic word
It is there for us to pick up, study, and believe
It tells us about our great and awesome Lord
Please search it out and then Jesus receive
He is coming again to bring His people home
To a place where there shall no more tears be
We will be content, never from His presence to roam
But walking in His glory for all eternity
Let us pursue Him now and give Him praise from our heart
Let it be today! Yes, it is a good day for us to start
Hallelujah and Amen…