Exodus Chapter Fourteen

God Delivers

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In our study of Exodus chapter fourteen, we see that, no matter what we face, God delivers his people from the hands of the enemy.

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Exodus 14:1-4

ADONAI said to Moshe, "Tell the people of Isra'el to turn around and set up camp in front of Pi-Hachirot, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba'al-Tz'fon; camp opposite it, by the sea. Then Pharaoh will say that the people of Isra'el are wandering aimlessly in the countryside, the desert has closed in on them. I will make Pharaoh so hardhearted that he will pursue them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will realize at last that I am ADONAI." The people did as ordered.

In this passage we see an unexpected change of direction for the people of Israel and physically they turn and camp near the sea. We also see that Pharaoh had people watching Israel and, when they reported what was going on, Pharaoh thought that they were confused. They made camp where there was mountains on one side, a wilderness on the other side, and they were facing the sea with Egypt at their back. That position was about the worst military position that you can imagine and so Pharaoh thought that they were lost and confused. We see that the purpose for this is that God is going to once again reveal himself to the Egyptians in a mighty way.

Exodus 14:5-9

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people. They said, "What have we done, letting Isra'el stop being our slaves?" So he prepared his chariots and took his people with him - he took 600 first-quality chariots, as well as all the other chariots in Egypt, along with their commanders. ADONAI made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he pursued the people of Isra'el, as they left boldly. The Egyptians went after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, with his cavalry and army, and overtook them as they were encamped by the sea, by Pi-Hachirot, in front of Ba'al-Tz'fon.

The fact that the word "fled" is used implies a sense of fear and the Egyptians perceived that Israel was confused and afraid. When they thought about the financial losses that would be a result of Israel leaving combined with this perceived weakness, they decided to go and get the people and return them to slavery. Pharaoh looked at the vast army and weapons that he had assembled and was very confident of the outcome so they arrived at the camp of the Israelites.

Exodus 14:10-14

As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra'el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra'el cried out to ADONAI and said to Moshe, "Was it because there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we'll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians' slaves than to die in the desert!" Moshe answered the people, "Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how ADONAI is going to save you. He will do it today - today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again! ADONAI will do battle for you. Just calm yourselves down!"

In the original Hebrew text, the word translated here as "approached" actually means draw near and it is normally the word for sacrifice. In this we see that, as Pharaoh was opposing the will of God, he was actually serving and worshipping Satan. We also see that, when the Israelites saw this great army, they forgot about God's revelations and so they were afraid and cried out to God but they spoke to Moshe. Moshe was rock solid in his faith and told the people to watch to see how God would deliver them.

Exodus 14:15-18

ADONAI asked Moshe, "Why are you crying to me? Tell the people of Isra'el to go forward! Lift your staff, reach out with your hand over the sea, and divide it in two. The people of Isra'el will advance into the sea on dry ground. As for me, I will make the Egyptians hardhearted; and they will march in after them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, chariots and cavalry. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am ADONAI, when I have won myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, his chariots and his cavalry."

In the Hebrew text, God tells Moshe to not cry out instead of asking him why he was crying out. This is a reminder that with leadership comes responsibility for the spiritual condition of those under the care. Then, we see that God tells Moshe to raise his staff which is a visible sign to Israel as God is going to split the sea in two. Going into the sea would have been the most unlikely option that could have been imagined but that is how God is choosing to act in order to destroy the army of Egypt.

Exodus 14:19-23

Next, the angel of God, who was going ahead of the camp of Isra'el, moved away and went behind them; and the column of cloud moved away from in front of them and stood behind them. It stationed itself between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Isra'el - there was cloud and darkness here, but light by night there; so that the one did not come near the other all night long. Moshe reached his hand out over the sea, and ADONAI caused the sea to go back before a strong east wind all night. He made the sea become dry land, and its water was divided in two. Then the people of Isra'el went into the sea on the dry ground, with the water walled up for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians continued their pursuit, going after them into the sea - all Pharaoh's horses, chariots and cavalry.

This is hard to understand but the angel of God was a cloud between Egypt and Israel but was a pillar of fire in front of Israel so it was dark behind them and light in front of them. God worked all through the night splitting the sea and drying the ground to make a path for Israel. When Israel went into the sea, the Egyptians pursued them.

Exodus 14:24-28

Just before dawn, ADONAI looked out on the Egyptian army through the column of fire and cloud and threw them into a panic. He caused the wheels of their chariots to break off, so that they could move only with difficulty. The Egyptians said, "ADONAI is fighting for Isra'el against the Egyptians! Let's get away from them!" ADONAI said to Moshe, "Reach your hand out over the sea, and the water will return and cover the Egyptians with their chariots and cavalry." Moshe reached his hand out over the sea, and by dawn the sea had returned to its former depth. The Egyptians tried to flee, but ADONAI swept them into the sea. The water came back and covered all the chariots and cavalry of Pharaoh's army who had followed them into the sea - not even one of them was left.

We see that just before morning, God caused the Egyptians to panic by causing the wheels of the chariots to fall off. When the Egyptians saw that God was fighting for Israel, they wanted to flee but God caused the sea to return and cover them up.

Exodus 14:29-31

But the people of Isra'el walked on dry ground in the sea, with the water walled up for them on their right and on their left. On that day, ADONAI saved Isra'el from the Egyptians; Isra'el saw the Egyptians dead on the shore. When Isra'el saw the mighty deed that ADONAI had performed against the Egyptians, the people feared ADONAI, and they believed in ADONAI and in his servant Moshe.

When Israel saw what God had done to the Egyptians, they feared God and that is the only fear that is proper in the life of a child of God.

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