Pharaoh and his army trailed Israel into the wilderness and overtook them camping by the Red Sea.
As the sound of crashing waves echoed in the ears of the lead Israelites, those in the rear heard only the pounding of hooves. Screams of “the Egyptians are coming,” rippled up to the front ranks.
With night creeping in, the ominous deep waters of the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army behind, Israel had nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. Terrified, the descendents of Abraham cry to the Lord, “Jehovah, save us,” and because our God sees all and His ears are attentive to our cries, He heard Israel.
Nevertheless, in their distress they lash-out at Moses accusing him of leading them into the wilderness to die. But Almighty God had led them to this place. In his spirit, Moses knew God would save Israel. Here God would show His magnificent power.
Answering their rebuke, Moses made an incredible proclamation of faith, we all need to hear and believe. “Do not be afraid,” he shouted. “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today…The Lord will fight for you…” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Immediately, the Angel of God and the pillar of cloud moved from the front to the rear. There He stayed between the Egyptians and the Israelites. To the Egyptians His cloud caused thick darkness, but to the Israelites, He gave light.
God commanded, “Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”
Go forward where? Into the sea? Yes, but first Moses must stretch out his hand and rod over the sea. All night long, the Lord caused a strong east wind to blow dividing the water.
In the radiant light from God’s pillar, Israel observed a corridor of dry ground between sky-high walls of water. Our great and glorious God had provided a miraculous way of escape and Israel crossed over through the midst of the sea on dry ground.
Seeing this but not comprehending the miracle, the Egyptian army pursued Israel into the sea. However, the Lord caused them much trouble by removing their chariot wheels. In their difficulty, they finally understood this awesome, all-powerful God fights for Israel. But it was too late. When they tried to flee, God again instructed Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea.
In the wee hours of the morning and with Israel safe on the opposite shore, God closed the waters. The sea returned to its full depth upon the Egyptian army and they all drowned.
When Israel saw this great work of God, they feared the Lord and believed. It was a time of wonderment and celebration, of understanding and acknowledgement. The God they had only heard of in the four hundred years of slavery does exist and He loves them.
On this day, Israel began to worship Yahweh (Jehovah) – The I AM WHO I AM, through a song of praise. In next week’s lesson, we will take a closer look. Stay tuned!