Thursday, August 16, 2012


Exodus 13:17-14:31 - The Exodus

The exodus in important.  Up until the arrival of Jesus on earth, the exodus was God's greatest saving act.  Not only did He rescue His chosen people from over 400 years of bondage, He made them a nation.  This was the time He displayed His awesome power to the world, showing that He is the only true God.  It was at this time when God began to prescribe commemoratives in the lives of His people and the actual beginning of the Levitican (or Mosaic) Law.  He also tells us that one of His standards is that it takes the shedding of innocent blood for true redemption to take place.  So when all of these things are considered, this is a very very very special time in the History of civilization, not to be
taken lightly by a student of God's Word.

Pharaoh had let the Hebrews go after the tenth plague. Vss 17, 18 are interesting.  The shortest distance to reach the promised land from Goshen in Egypt would have been to go through Succoth and on up along the coast of the Mediterainian Sea through the land of the Philistines.  But this route would have led the Israelites into heavily armed Egyptian forts, not to mention the troublesome Philistines who were always looking for a fight.  The Israelites were armed for battle, but they were not skilled, therefore God wanted them to stear clear of confrontation.  Additionally, we'll see in upcoming chapters that the faith in these people is fragile at best, and God knew they would be
inclined to abandon Moses and return to bondage in Egypt.  Remember, God always grants to us our free will, just as He granted the Israelites their free will.  Had the Israelites turned back to their former lives, God would not have stopped them.  God does not force His will onto our minds.  He just does not want it that way.

Vs 19 - A verse which makes us take pause.  This precious verse shows respect for the memory of a great man.  God had saved Jacob's family through Joseph when they came to Egypt during the famine.  Now, at the time of another great deliverance, Moses honored Joseph's request, and took Joseph's bones with them as they left Egypt.  {Perhaps Joseph was carried back as a mummy since he had been embalmed by experts.  Joseph was later laid to rest in Shechem in the Promised Land (Josh. 24:32).  It touches my heart thinking of Moses, in all this confusion, remembering my favorite patriarch Joseph.}

Vss 20-22  -  God promised Moses and the Israelites that He would guide them every step of the way.  Throughout the Bible there are described many different ways that God led His people.  But none is more impressive that the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.  Try to invision this.  It would have been a sight to behold.

Chapter 14  -  God turned them south toward the Sinai Peninsula.  {This is actually where Mt. Horeb is located, and Mt. Horeb is where God told Moses a long time ago that he would bring Israel to worship (Ex. 3:12).  Another name for Mt. Horeb is Mt. Sinai.}  Another reason God turned them south was to "hem them in", making Pharaoh think that they were trapped against the Red Sea.  Vs. 5 the Egyptian officials and Pharaoh realize they could not do without the services of the Hebrew slaves and decided to go get them back.  So they prepared their best military equipment and personnel to pursue and capture the Hebrews.  Actually, the Israelites had the numbers against the Egyptions, but again, they were not skilled warriors, as were the Egyptian military.  Israel now faced the first of many wilderness crises.  This first crisis came as a result of Pharaoh changing his mind and sent soldiers after them.  Vss 10-12 -  The sight of this army coming at them on chariots terrified the people of Israel.  At this time in the History of cicilization, Egypt had the mightiest military in the world.  A bunch of runaway slaves was no match for them.  {But those runaway slaves had a Ace in the hole: God.} 

In the 11th verse we see only one of a multitude of times the people will turn on Moses.  They were rather sarcastic in their comments to Moses saying "wasn't there enough space in Egypt to bury us?  Why did you bring us out here to die?  To paraphrase verse 12, they said "I told you so. You should have let us stay in Egypt".  Then Moses tells them to have faith.  God will deliver them.  {I want to be fair to the Israelites.  It does take quite a measure of faith when faced with such odds.  Moses must
exercise his power of persuasion when dealing with these people now and many more times in the near future.}
Vs 15-->  Moses doesn't just tell the people to stand still.  He told them to move forward, toward the sea.  God instructs Moses to stretch out his hand over the water to divide the water and Israel shall cross on dry land.  God goes on to say that He will gain glory with what He is about to do to Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.   Then in vs 19 it calls the pillar of cloud the "angel of God".  {Note: Angels can come in many forms.  This should be a comforting thought.}  And the pillar of cloud moved from in front of Israel to behind them.  This acted as an uncrossable barrier between the Egyptian army and the Israelites.  Throughout the night the pillar cast a cloud of darkness on the Egyptian army while at the same time it cast a pillar of fire toward God's people to give them light.  Then in verse 21, Moses stretched out his arm as God had instructed him.  The Red Sea was divided, just as God said it would.  They were able to cross on dry land.  I'm not sure how high the walls of water were on either side of them, but it would have been frightening.  And let's not forget about the roar of noise that the wind pushing the water would have made.  Vs. 22 the Israelites started across the Red Sea on dry ground,  The pillar of fire giving them light.  I'm not sure how long the distance across was at that point, but it was a long way, taking those 2 million people a long time for all of them to cross.  Vss 23-25 tells how God kept the Egyptian army at bay, keeping them confused and even locking their chariot wheels.  So miraculous was everthing in the sight of the Egyptian sodiers, that some of them even confessed to the power of God, knowing they were defeated.  (Good soldiers know when to cut bait.)  Vss 26-->  When the last of the Israelites across, Moses stretched his hand back over the Red Sea, and the walls of water came down on the entire Egyptian army.  It says
none of them survived.  This happened at daybreak, which tells me that it took about ten hours for all of Israel to cross with all their livestock and posessions.  That's a long time.

God has now miraculously rescued the Israelites in unforgettable fashion.  His people are now free and their enemies are dead.  They are on their way to the promised land, but we have so much to learn by following them in their journey.

Next  Post:  Chapter 15  -  Right Song Wrong Side

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