About Jesus      Steve Sweetman

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This Chapter 13:17 through end of 14 

Prrvious Section - chapter 13

Next Section - Chapter 15

 

Crossing The Sea (ch. 13:17 14:31)

 

In verses 17 and 18  we see that Pharaoh finally let the Jews go free, but we will see later on, the he tries to change his mind.

 

Also in these verses God told Moses to head towards the Red Sea to escape, even though it was a longer route.  God did not want to have Israel go through the land of the Philistines because the Philistines would have probably wanted to attack Israel , and God did not want Israel to have to fight right away in case they gave up and returned to Egypt.  This is somewhat strange because the same God that drowned the Egyptian army  in the  Red Sea could have also defeated the Philistine army.  Besides, we will see later, that for a moment in time, Israel did want to return to Egypt.  That being said, the drowning of the Egyptian army is what God wanted to do.  It was not the Philistines who had enslaved Israel for four centuries.   

 

When it comes to New Testament salvation I've seen something similar.  Many new Christians are free of trials for the first while of their new life.  When things get established, then God allows the trials to come that will test their faith, much like Israel in this situation.  This is the maturing process, just like any parent would do with their children.  You protect them at first, and then you begin, little by little, to let them experience life on their own.

 

In verse 19 we note that Moses took the bones of Joseph with them.  This was the request of Joseph a number of centuries past.  It is amazing that Joseph's request was remembered after so much time had passed.  I think the Lord had something to do with Israel remembering Joseph's request.      

 

In verses 20 through 22 Israel begins to move out.  We see the mention here of a pillar of cloud that led them by day and a pillar of fire that led them by night.  This is a miracle of God.  Liberal scholars try to explain this away as they do the event in the Red Sea that follows.  If you can't believe that God could do this, then you can't believe anything in the Bible.  The death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus is just as far out or unbelievable as this event.  The simple fact is that if God is who He claims to be, He can do anything.

 

In chapter 14, verses 1 through 3 God tells Moses to turn around a bit and camp at a certain place. The retreat was to make Pharaoh think that Israel was confused, and since he thought they were confused he could easily attack them. 

 

Once again, the text states that God made Pharaoh's heart hard.  Pharaoh was to experience one last and final judgment as seen in verse 4. 

 

Verse 4 tells us just why God wanted Israel to act confused.  It was so that Pharaoh would know beyond a doubt that God is the God of all there is, and that His glory would be seen in the destruction of the Egyptian army.  I remind you that I feel this whole event concerning Egypt and Israel is prophetic of the Great Tribulation that will take place at the end of this age.  For the same reason, God will destroy the armies of the world, so all men will see the glory of God in His people Israel.

 

I've also said this before, and that is, Israel came to Egypt as a family and leaves as a nation.  The thing that marked the beginning of the nation of Israel was God's drastic judgment of Egypt due to her treatment of Israel.  The thing that will mark the end of Israel 's time in this age is the Great Tribulation where God once again judges the nations of this world for their sin and also for their treatment of Israel.  Of course, after this age is over, Israel will still be in existence. The land of Canaan is symbolic of that.  It is amazing to me how God's judgment plays such an important part in Jewish history.

 

In verse 5 we see that Pharaoh and his officials change their mind about Israel once again.  They asked, "what have we done?"  They could not believe that they just let all their slaves go free.  This is amazing.  After all of the ten plagues, which included the killing of their firstborn sons, now they wished they had not let Israel go.  What short memories they had.  They were certainly a stubborn lot of people.  They same stubbornness is seen in the leaders of the world in the Great Tribulation.  They fight to the bitter end, and they fight against God, and, they know they are fighting against God, but they still fight.

 

In verses 6 through 10 we see the great army of Egypt, with all of its chariots and horses  This army would have made Israel look pitiful. 

 

The response by Israel as seen in verses 10 through 12 is amazing.  Fear filled their hearts as they saw this vast Egyptian army.  They had no chance in the world to survive now, or so they thought.  They asked Moses why he had led them out of Egypt in the first place.  They even reminded him that in the beginning they did not want this.  They asked Moses if there were not enough graves to burry them in Egypt.  Did he lead them into the desert to die where there would be lots of room for graves.  God never withholds times of testing from his people.

 

Verse 12 is the culmination of Israel's thinking.  They told Moses that they'd rather serve Egypt as slaves than to die in the desert.  How often have we seen the same sentiment among Christians.  So many people come to the Lord and think that life will be happy ever after, with no problems, but that's not so.  So, when the problems come, they want to go back to the world, and Egypt symbolizes the world throughout the Bible.  For Christians, this is a matter of trust in Jesus.  We trust God in the place He has put us, or we just go back into the world, as many do.

 

I've said this earlier in this chapter.  In New Testament times God often withholds testing for a while until our faith gets established, but if He does bring some test our way, He often provides miracles to help us through, as is the case here in Exodus.  I've often seen miracles at the beginning of one's new life with Jesus, but as time goes on the miracles become less in order for real faith to be formed within the person. 

 

Many sermons have been preached on Moses' response as seen in verse 13.  Moses tells the Jews three things.  He says, fear not, stand still, and see the salvation or deliverance of God.  The first thing the Jews, and Christians too, must do is "fear not".  Fear shows a lack of faith.  So often God tells His people throughout the Bible not to fear.  We have no need to fear because the God of the universe is in control.  Fear is a product of the fall of Adam and Eve.  Fear is inherent in humanity.  When Adam and Eve understood what they had done, they were afraid of God.  That is why they tried to hide from him.

 

The next thing Moses tells the Jews is to "stand still".  That's, do nothing but watch.  This is so important.  To often we don't want to stand still and watch. We want to get in the way and try to help God, but our help is futile.  We cannot improve on what God can do, especially when it comes to salvation.  Any attempt to improve on what God has done, as seen on the cross is blasphemy.

 

It is important for us to know that God includes us in His work to deliver the message of the gospel, but He does not include us in His work of salvation. Even at that, we mess up.  We mess up in the delivery of the gospel of Christ with our additions, subtractions, and humanistic way of delivering the gospel. 

 

The last thing Moses tells Israel is to see the deliverance God will provide for them.  All that Israel had to do was to watch what God did.  Beyond that, they were to spread the message of what they saw to subsequent generations.  That's spreading the gospel.

 

In verse 13 God says that Israel will never see the Egyptians again, just as the Jews at the end of the Great Tribulation will never see the armies of the world again.  Again, there are so many parallels between this event and the Great Tribulation.  Another parallel is seen in verse 14.  God told Israel that He will fight for them.  All they need to do is watch.  This is surely the case at the end of this age.

 

There is another parallel that is more spiritual.  God Himself has, and will, fight against the spiritual enemies, the devil and those with him.  All we need to do is watch.

 

In verses 15 and 16 God asks Moses why he is crying out to him.  Such crying is a waist of time.  God tells Moses to stretch out his hands so the waters of the Red Sea can divide into two, leaving a dry road in between for the Jews to walk on as they cross the dried sea bed. 

 

We waist way too much time crying and complaining, both to each other and to the Lord, something He is not very happy about.  Instead of crying and complaining we should be doing what He wants us to do.  The results are much better.   However, there is a difference between crying that is associated with complaining, and crying that is associated with intercessory prayer.   The latter is much more affective and important.  

 

In verse 17 God states once again that He will harden Pharaoh's heart so that he and his armies will follow the Jews and attempt to overtake them.  The verse also says that God's glory will be seen through Pharaoh.  God's glory is seen in His enemies.  When the Egyptian army is destroyed, all will see God's glory and power, and realize that only He is the God of all there is.  The same is seen in verse 18.  The outcome to all that has happened in the last number of chapters, right up to now, is the fact that God's glory is seen, but it is seen in judgment, something that is very important.  I've said this before, but God's salvation rises from judgment.  This is a theme of the Bible.

 

In verse 19 we see the term "angel of God".  We've talked about the term "angel of the Lord" before and noted that this was pre-incarnate Jesus.  I believe "the angel of God" is also pre-incarnate Jesus. 

 

We note from verses 19 and 20 that the angel of God and the cloud and the fire moved from being ahead of Israel to behind them, in order to protect them from the Egyptian army.  When it comes to the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire, some feel that this is symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

 

In verses 21 and 22 Moses stretched forth his hand and an easterly wind blew a dried path in the sea, with a wall of water on each side, so Israel could cross the sea, which they did at night.  Salvation took place during the darkness of night.  This reminds me of the darkness that sunk over the world when Jesus died on the cross. 

 

From verse 23 to 29 is the story of the fall of the Egyptian army.  They followed Israel onto the dried sea bed.  One miracle that is often forgotten about in this situation is that God made the wheels of the chariots fall off the chariots of the Egyptians. That meant they could not go anywhere very quickly Once that took place, Moses stretched forth his hand again and the walls of water caved in on the Egyptian army, killing them all.  No soldier survived.

 

Verses 29 to 31 end this chapter.  The Jews see the power of their God and they put their trust both in Him and in Moses His servant.  Of course, if you know Israel 's history, you know that this trust wavers back and forth all of the time, but for now, they do trust God, that is, until the next hardship comes.

Next Section - Chapter 15

Prrvious Section - chapter 13

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