Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 7/21/2016
(edited January 2021)
Verses 1-2: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.”
In tonight’s study in Exodus chapter 14 we see that the Lord Himself is directing Moses and the People of God, who were fleeing from Egypt, right into a trap!
If you look at a map of that area sometime, you will see that there was plenty of dry land between them and Canaan, the Promised Land. They could have, perhaps, just marched right on into Canaan. But they were not ready to claim their Land at that point. For one thing, they would have had to have the trust and courage to fight their way through the ancient Philistine empire which sat just north of the Red Sea at that time. God knew they weren’t ready for that (not sure I would be either, to be honest!). So instead, they are taking the “long way around” by approaching the banks of the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army from Egypt hot on their heels. Reading on:
Verses 3-9: “For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.”
I think the Lord is using “tough love” on Israel right here. They wouldn’t voluntarily trust Him fully so He is allowing, shall we say, them to get into such a dire situation that they will HAVE to trust Him fully. Has this ever happened to you? The real fallacy is that we don’t always see that we need to trust God at ALL times, both good and bad!
Verses 10-12: “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”
Folks, my faith today is often no better than that of Ancient Israel. Not on my own, anyway. How about yours?
Verses 13-14: “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
What a positive note this is! Notice that despite the panic all around him, Moses is now fully persuaded that God will deliver them all out of Egypt safely! Moses, you see, had been spending a lot of “quality time” with God. Now this man the Lord has called and chosen to lead the People is ready to do it! Even if the People aren’t so sure. We today, so very much, need good Christian leaders. Those who will believe in the Lord, trust in Christ’s Love, and seek God’s Will for His Born-Again People today!
Verses 15-18: “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”
All Moses and the People needed to do was to obey. That’s the way is with God, then and now. We should obey, and just get out of His way. Too often I’ve impeded God’s work! I know I have and I know how I did it. It was by seeking my own “honor’ and glory from the Lord’s work. That’s just plain selfishness on my part. And it’s a sin. The Lord’s work among His People needs to glorify Him and Him only. That’s what builds our faith. And that is exactly what is going to happen here at the Red Sea:
Verses 19-30: “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.”
Don’t get distracted by the Angel or the actions of Moses. It was God, all the way. Ancient Israel beheld His Glory there and received total deliverance from their enemies on that day.
We should glorify God also for what He did there. He wasn’t just parting the waters. We know now, He was parting the pages of history by preserving the Nation through which Christ would enter this world. As they say, history actually is “HIS story.” Amen? And Jesus can be part of “YOUR story” today. And ALL that is only possible because of God. That’s why we can say “Glory”. Glory to the Father, Glory to the Son, and Glory to the Holy Spirit!
Verse 31: “And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.”
Are you cornered? Are you in a situation where, no matter what you do, you know you can’t deliver yourself? You may reach a point where you lack the strength to even resist your problems. Maybe, I sure hope not, but maybe even now you lack the strength to believe that even the Lord can deliver you from your problems or accomplish His will in your life. It happens. I don’t know your exact situation, but I know it can happen.
Are you asking, as I have sometimes, why, Lord? Why? Why me? As we close tonight, let's remember Moses and what happened that day at the Red Sea with the Children of Israel. God does not need our “help” to deliver us. If He isn’t doing things our way at this time, maybe there is a true need that He somehow get Honor from our circumstances. Be it our own need to trust Him more fully or a need to build the faith of those around us. I don’t claim to understand it all, or even at all. But I know I am looking out at some folks, right now, who are bringing honor to God, even through pain. And I hope you know that we love you and appreciate you. Let’s pray.