Greetings in the name of the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.
“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.” (Exodus 14:13b)
Moses cried out to God with his contrite prayer because salvation only came from God. He saw the Pharaoh’s army’s chariots, horses, and soldiers armed with glittering swords and spears rapidly closing the gap. It was a matter of time before the fearful Pharaoh’s army reached the rear of the Israelites. They camped along the shore of the Red Sea. Moses knew he and his 600,000 fellow Israelites were trapped between the Pharaoh’s army and the Red Sea.
Even worse, Israelite leaders came to Moses and complained. They said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
They blamed Moses first because Moses led them out of Egypt, and they realized that they were about to die in the wilderness. They had already lost hope and given up completely. They indeed waited to be killed by the angry Pharaoh and his army. They put all blame on Moses because, from their point of view, all were Moses’ fault. Then they even praised life in Egypt.
Their minds started manufacturing something that did not happen in Egypt. Their blame for Moses was a part of their desperation, and they did not want to admit their poor decision to leave Egypt following Moses. In their mind, their slaughter by the Pharaoh’s army in the wilderness was not their fault but caused by Moses, who was stupid enough to bring them out to the wilderness and get killed by the Pharaoh’s army.
Is it true? No, leaving Egypt was what they truly wanted and their choice. Then should we judge the Israelites? No, because we would do the same if we got into the same situation. As we read what they did while sitting on a comfortable chair without fear of being killed, we might say how pity and little faith they had. Again how much will we be different under such a dire situation?
The Exodus from Egypt under Moses’ leadership was a moment a life-long yearning came true. All waited for the moment of freeing from slavery in Egypt for generations. Leaving Egypt, they thought it would end their miserable life. They would not see Pharaoh and the Egyptian slave drivers again forever. There would be no more worry and pain; from that on, everything would be rosy, and only good things would wait for them. All looked forward to being in the Promised Land where milk and honey flowed. Their feet were light, and they felt like flying. The terrifying memory of Egyptian slave drivers quickly became history and was buried in a forgotten memory.
Pharaoh’s army quickly closed on them with chariots, and horses, armed with glittering swords and spears. What a petrifying experience it should be! Who would expect to see the Pharaoh again?
Yes, all panicked. But Moses alone calmly. He looked up and prayed to God. The complaints from the Israelites were deafening, tearing off Moses’s heart, but Moses did not respond in the manner ordinary people would. Moses spoke in his faith in God,
“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:13b-14)
As Moses completed his faithful sentence in front of the panicking Israelites, the LORD God said to Moses,
“Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the LORD!” (Exodus 14:15:b-18)
God answered Moses. God saw Moses’s heart torn off by his fellow Israelites, but Moses persisted in faith and sought consolation from God. Moses believed in God. God also knew Moses would be 100% faithful under all circumstances because Moses firmly believed God would be with him always. Yes, God was with Moses at that very moment. Then God immediately commanded Moses not to stand still while worrying and fearing about the Pharaoh’s army rapidly approaching.
For Moses, was it easy to mobilize the Israelites and walk to the Red Sea? The Red Sea was an absolutely immovable impediment. There was no way to keep moving because the Red Sea would soon block their path. Even so, Moses ordered all Israelites starting to move to the Red Sea. Yes, to the Red Sea. What a crazy command it was! But Moses believed in God and trusted God 100% without any doubt that God would deliver the Israelites through the Red Sea.
Why? Moses clearly heard God’s promise and believed no matter how crazy God’s promise was – “Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground.” Had Moses ever seen the Red Sea divided and exposed the sea bottom? No. That was not all. God also promised Moses that God would let the Israelites walk on dry ground in the middle of the Red Sea. Unless a lunatic, no ordinary person would believe what God said while watching the immense water body of the Red Sea.
Could anyone drain the Red Sea? Even if someone could, could the person drain the Red Sea so quickly before the Pharaoh’s army got to them? The Pharaoh’s army was really close to the Israelites’ rear.
Let’s say someone drained the Red Sea and made a way in the middle of the Red Sea, but would the sea bottom still be muddy with lots of water puddles? It would make it easier for Pharaoh’s army would get them. Walking on the wet and muddy sea bottom would be truly messy, making their journey dreadfully slow through the sea bottom. However, God promised to prepare the sea bottom so the Israelites could walk on dry ground, and Moses believed with his immovable belief in God. He trusted God could and would do all for the Israelites no matter how impossible God’s promise was. Moses firmly believed in the end as God declared – “all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the LORD!”
The Pharaoh’s army was dashing toward the Israelites, and Moses mobilized the Israelites. The Israelites started moving toward the Red Sea, Moses was at the front, and the angel of God was leading Moses. The room between Moses and the Red Sea was quickly running out. Moses arrived at the edge of the land, and he had no place to go any further. Moses looked up and prayed to God, putting everything before Him in faith. Moses still firmly believed God would protect and save them by dividing the Red Sea and making them walk through the Red Sea on dry ground. The angel of God in front suddenly moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved and stood behind them. The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night. God saw the faith. Yes, God responded.
The Red Sea soon stopped Moses, and Moses stood alone at the edge of the land piece before the immense Red Sea. The leading angel of God was no longer with Moses because the angel was at the rear of the camp to protect against the Pharaoh’s army. It was a moment to test Moses’ faith truly. Moses realized he was so small compared to the Red Sea. He looked like one small dot right next to the immense Red Sea. With prayer, Moses raised his hand over the sea. Yes, Moses passed the test. Moses proved his faith in God. By the way, precisely speaking, God knew Moses would pass the test and wanted to let Moses see his faith in God. Moses did it, and God loved Moses. God was in great joy with Moses.
Then God opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! God promised something seemingly impossible, but God did it.
Something incredible was happening in front of Moses. Moses could not tell what was really happening, but the Red Sea started making a path. The Israelites walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Pharaoh’s army kept trying to catch up with the Israelites, but the angel of God blocked their way to the Israelites. God was with the Israelites, and the Israelites were in God’s loving good hand.
The Israelites walked toward the other side of the Red Sea, and the angel of God accompanied the Israelites. Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers — chased them into the middle of the sea. But just before dawn, God looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud. The Pharaoh’s army was getting narrowing the gap with the Israelites. The Israelites again saw the fearful Pharaoh’s army was coming. Some felt that they might die in the middle of the Red Sea. The people at the rear pushed the people ahead to make the distance as much as possible to protect them from the Pharaoh’s army. But nothing worked. The people at the rear started panicking again. How small their faith was!
It was the reality that the Pharaoh’s army was getting close and about to kill some of them. However, it is also true that they were in the middle of the impossible miracle – walking in the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground. They were experiencing God more than anytime before, but they again took off their eyes and fixed on the Pharaoh’s army. They were getting losing their battle against reality. Their faith was tested in the middle of God’s miracle, and they were failing sadly.
Here is the real beauty of walking with God. Because of walking with God, won’t anything fearful and painful come again? No. They will come. They will come into our lives even when we are in the middle of God’s miracle. Why? The world tenaciously attempts all things to make us panic by taking off our eyes from God and fixing on the world that is the source of our fear and pain in our lives.
However, we must believe God would not let it happen. God is the mast of the universe, including the world where we live, and all the world can do to us. The world would at most be a lion on a leash. It will not and cannot really hurt us because God holds the leash for us. However, if we change our focus from God and fix our eyes on it, we will fall into fear and pain that the world would eventually bring to make our faith fail to be given to prey of the roaring lion, the world. We have choices – fixing our eyes on God while trusting Him in all circumstances or fearing the world by fixing our eyes on the world and falling from the faith.
Moses did not take off his eyes and kept fixing on God. Then he calmly led the Israelites, although the Pharaoh’s army was about to clash down on the Israelites in the middle of the Red Sea. In faith, Moses saw God’s strong arm holding the massive two water walls on each side in the middle of the Red Sea. Moses reckoned. Was there any reason why God stopped protecting His people and letting the Pharaoh’s army attack and kill His own people, the Israelites? Moses answered himself. Absolutely not. Moses trusted in God, who rescued His people from slavery in Egypt first, and then led them through the middle of the Red Sea. Moses believed God would surely bring them safely to the other side.
Moses again saw the huge walls of water and the Israelites walking on the dry ground of the sea bottom. The scene itself was God’s glory and majestic power. Nobody had ever experienced the same miracles that they were witnessing. The massive walls of water could not stand by themselves. There must be God’s hand in action. He questioned himself, although he knew the answer, “who would have ever experienced God’s miracle like this?” Moses then saw the Pharaoh’s army dashing and crashing into the rear of the Israelites. Then Moses praised God, with him and the Israelites walking in the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground.
God saw Moses’s faith, and God was extremely pleased. God threw the Pharaoh’s forces into total confusion. He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here—away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt!” The Pharaoh’s army again met God, who loved and protected the Israelites, and His power was beyond their comprehension.
Moses kept leading the Israelites in faith. All followed because they saw what God did for them. No more panic among the Israelites. Some started praising God, and all followed. The entire Israelites moved calmly and orderly together in the faith of God till reaching the other side, while the Pharaoh’s army struggled to catch up with the Israelites.
When all the Israelites had reached the other side, God said to Moses,
“Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” (Exodus 14:26b)
So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but God swept them into the sea. Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. That is how God rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And they never saw the Pharaoh’s army again. God used the Pharaoh’s army to build their faith in God, and God displayed God’s glory to the Egyptians and the rest of the world.
And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the LORD had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in God and his servant Moses.
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD God:
“I will sing to the LORD,
for he has triumphed gloriously;
he has hurled both horse and rider
into the sea.
The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise him—
my father’s God, and I will exalt him!
The LORD is a warrior;
Yahweh is his name!
Pharaoh’s chariots and army
he has hurled into the sea.
The finest of Pharaoh’s officers
are drowned in the Red Sea.
The deep waters gushed over them;
they sank to the bottom like a stone.
“Your right hand, O LORD,
is glorious in power.
Your right hand, O LORD,
smashes the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty,
you overthrow those who rise against you.
You unleash your blazing fury;
it consumes them like straw.
The LORD will reign forever and ever!”
Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. And Miriam sang this song:
“Sing to the LORD,
for he has triumphed gloriously;
he has hurled both horse and rider
into the sea.”
What praise it was given to God by the Israelites! God is their Ever-Loving Father. His mighty arm protected His children, the Israelites. God was with them always, and the lips of the Israelites praised God’s faithfulness.
Moses endured in faith, and God answered with His miracle of dividing the Red Sea and making the Israelites walk on dry ground through the Red Sea. The same God who protected and saved the Israelites from the Pharaoh’s army is with us because we are His beloved children, as the Israelites were. Then why should we worry and concern when we meet the world attacking us? Rather than fearing the world, Isn’t it time to proclaim to the world, “Who can be against us if the almighty God is with us?” Praise Him because He is our shield and salvation. God is truly worthy of our praise ever and forever more.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)