Greetings in the name of the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit.
Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with the fullness of God.
With God’s power working in us, God can do much, much more than anything we can ask or imagine. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:19-21)
When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, They quickly caught up with the Israelites. When all the Israelites had reached the other side, God said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again.” 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.
And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that God had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in God and in his servant Moses.
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD:
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!
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.
Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”).
Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. So Moses cried out to God for help, and God showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.
Yes, God provided, not because the Israelites were faithful to God, but because God was faithful. What did they believe at that time? Didn’t they trust in their own eyes more than God?
How many days had passed since they had their lifelong unforgettable experience God graciously provided – splitting the Red Sea and letting them walk through the Red Sea while drowning the fearful Pharaoh’s army deep into the Red Sea? Only three days before, they complained to God.
By the way, it was not the first time they complained to God. Before crossing the Red Sea, they saw Pharaoh’s army chasing them, and they complained to God, who rescued them from slavery in Egypt. The Israelites thought they were completely free from their former slavery in Egypt, but it was not the truth. Pharaoh did not give up completely. After all, he reluctantly let the Israelites go in fear of God after losing his firstborn son from God’s tenth plague, falling on all Egyptians, including Pharaoh himself. None of the Israelites lost their firstborn son.
Pharaoh experienced the absolute power of God, but his fear of God soon subsided. And as a king, he had to do something for the country, and he was constantly getting pressure from the people around him. He heard complaints from his high-rank officials, and he saw his country on the brink of bankruptcy. The pressure was mounting, and he was getting forgetting the fear of God, which is human nature.
Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops. He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. The total size was 50,0000 horsemen and 200,000 footmen, all armed. Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, chased after the people of Israel with fists raised in defiance. It was not a month, even a week, but only a few days after losing his firstborn son and releasing the Israelites from slavery.
God prepared a special lesson for Pharaoh. Pharaoh did everything to make up for his mistake, made out of fear. Pharaoh pulled in his best army to chase down the Israelites, but God utterly destroyed Pharaoh’s best army by drowning the entire army deep into the Red Sea. None survived. All were dead as the water returned to their place, and their bodies were washed up on the seashore. Pharaoh finally saw his final defeat. Additionally, there was the Red Sea that separated him from the Israelites. An extreme fear fell on Pharaoh. Pharaoh was trembling in fear of God and returned to His palace empty-handed. The mighty Pharaoh’s army was no longer with him.
Let’s focus on the Israelites. Was their response to and behavior before God different from that of Pharaoh? Not much. The Israelites’ praise and joyful noise to God did not last long. It had quickly faded. Why? The world was too hashy to them. They got into a desert. Then they walked and walked. What they saw was nothing but desert.
What did the Israelites really expect after crossing the Red Sae? They thought they would arrive at Promised Land, where honey and milk flowed. The desert that they were traveling in was not even close to the Promised Land. The land was born dry, and the sun was hot. No water was found. They were initially wondered but soon concerned. Even so, they hoped while trusting Moses and God, but their trust quickly ran out as they walked through the harsh desert.
They only saw what they wanted to see – no water in the middle of the desert. They forgot all that God did and did not remember. They completely forgot their own praises, songs, and dances were given to God. Perhaps, after all, all they gave to God were more for them, not for God. Maybe, they just reacted by responding to their surrounding environment.
But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. (Psalm 1:4)
Yes, they were like chaff blown by the wind as the Pharaoh’s army rapidly caught up with them. They were not like the trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season, and their leaves never wither.
Both Pharaoh and the Israelites experienced who God was and God’s unparalleled power, but both of them quickly forgot this. Instead, they fixated their eyes on their own thought and feeling about the world surrounding them. Pharaoh was pressured by the people around him, and the Israelites were by the surrounding desert.
Both of them and we are the same humans who are equally susceptible to the surrounding environment. We are too. Thus, as we take our eyes off God, we quickly become like either Pharaoh or the Israelites.
Didn’t either Pharaoh or the Israelites know what they were actually doing? No. But they thought that they did. They believed they were making the most rational decision using the best knowledge, experience, and wisdom available, but the outcome was completely off from reality. Why? All the knowledge, experience, and wisdom used for their decision-making were of the world, not of God. The truth is God owns and governs the world.
Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. (Galatians 6:8)
Often we make a decision based on our worldly knowledge, experience, and wisdom, and sometimes we even think, “Oh, yes, I’ve made the best decision ever.!”
Please think about Pharaoh, who assembled his best army and left with fists raised in defiance. As leaving his palace, he looked around to see who was with him. His best army fought against and together conquered nations together was with him. The army was invincible. Every nation where he went with his best army knelt down before him. Pharaoh thought, “Why have I delayed my best decision so far? My army will solve my problem because mine is the best, and it has been that way as far as I can remember” What a stupid Pharaoh was!
Stop deceiving yourselves. If you think you are wise by this world’s standards, you need to become a fool to be truly wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,
“He traps the wise
in the snare of their own cleverness.” (1 Corinthian 3:18-19)
Then when had Pharaoh realized he was wrong and fooled himself? Only when God raised His hand to destroy the very center of Pharaoh’s pride and strength that Pharaoh trusted and leaned on – his earthly power and authority backed by his finest army in the world at that time. Before this, Pharaoh could not see how stupid he was. Then, finally, he saw the total destruction of what he trusted most.
He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!” (Job 1:21)
Job confessed his faith to God when he lost everything that he had. Job’s confession is the true wisdom that God wants us to have at all times, especially things that are crumpling down in our lives.
Then what’s true wisdom? When we have everything and are healthy, we acknowledge God that all that we have come from God and His. We also believe in God and even praise God when all things felter away and against us. God can take away anytime. Or God can give any time as He pleases. Let’s not forget. God owns all, not us, even our time on earth.
Who can be against God, who gives and takes away all that we have and see around us like God? No one except God. Remember that Pharaoh, the world’s most powerful man then, chased the Israelites, what he wanted most, with the finest and invincible army that destroyed all the nations against Egypt. Do we have such the world’s most powerful army that works for us? No. Then how stupid we would be if we behaved like Pharaoh while trusting what we have than God!
How about the Israelites? They complained to God only three days after crossing the Red Sea. And even before the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea, they also complained. The Pharaoh’s army caught up with them quickly, and they felt that they were doomed by being trapped between the Red Sea and the Pharaoh’s army. What did they really say to Moses then?
“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!'”
If you were God, how would you have responded to the Israelites, who blamed and complained to God while insisting their lives were better in Egypt? How many years did they want to be out of the enslaved life in Egypt? 430 years. It was the dream of the entire Israelites for generations, and they finally got the freedom they had yearned for many years.
Additionally, they saw God’s almighty hand that brought down ten plagues to the land of Egypt. All Egyptians suffered, but God protected the Israelites from the plagues. They saw and experienced God’s awesome power and His infinitely merciful hand on them ten times. But they complained to God as they saw the Pharaoh’s army quickly overtaking them.
By that time, had they understood what God could do for them and believed God would, again and again, protect them from Pharaoh while trusting in God? Yes, they should, but they didn’t.
For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. (Hebrews 6:13-14)
The Israelites were God’s children, and God protected them always and under all circumstances. When they got out of Egypt, God was with them. When they were chased by the Pharaoh’s army, God was there with the Israelites. When they complained to God, which they should have never spoken about, God was with them.
God had never forgotten or forsaken the Israelites, His beloved children. God heard all that they said, including what they thought in their hearts. God knew everything, including their sinful hearts, but God was with them.
Indeed, God loved His children so much that God let them complain to God. Surely God could make them prevent them from complaining forever, which was not God’s heart. God wants them to grow into a deeper relationship with God. Sometimes, God seems slow to act or respond. Not at all. God knows everything, and God can do all things. All things happen only when God allows them. If not, nothing will happen.
God had a special relationship with the Israelites, completely different from His relationship with Pharaoh. God used Pharaoh, but God loved the Israelites, which is the fundamental difference. The Israelites were just spiritually newborn babies who needed special care and God’s spiritual milk. It was why the Israelites could complain to God, and God gave His spiritual lessons to them to grow while following the paths of righteousness.
Yes, the Israelites failed before crossing the Red Sea, and they also failed after crossing the Red Sea. But God always provided. He provided before and after crossing the Red Sea. However, God punished Pharaoh and destroyed His most trusted and finest army. It is the difference that we should not forget.
On earth, surely we often (very sad to say) go astray from God’s will (which is sin by definition) by following our own earthly knowledge, experience, wisdom, wealth, power, and something that we are proud of, lean on, and trust. Even so, God will be with us always and guides us to experience and understand who God is personally in each of our lives so that we have a truly deeper relationship with God. It is what God truly wants from us and guides us today, tomorrow, and for the rest of our lives.
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. (2 Peter 3:9)