August 8-18, 1992
the power of God, vs. 15-18
At the very start of this chapter, we need to note the spelling of the word LORD. The spelling with a larger L than there is ORD means that it is an OT reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus delivered His people from Egypt, parted the waters, led them through the Red Sea and overthrew Pharaoh.
Joseph Parker has an excellent statement: "Did the miracles as here reported actually occur? Why not? You can only be puzzled by a miracle when you are puzzled by a God... No wonder men are troubled, even to perplexity and sore distress of heart, by so-called miracles, when they have not acquainted themselves deeply with the power and spirit and purpose of God." He goes on to tell us that we begin our study at the wrong point: man instead of God.
And the point worth starting with is the fact that Israel's deliverance is all by grace. They are not even out of the land and they start complaining and griping. But the Lord made a promise (Gen 12:1-5), and He is going to keep it in spite of the rebellious people. The grace of God is indeed amazing.
Vs. 1-4, Israel moves.
Israel is going out of Egypt but is still in the land. But rather than going straight out of the land by the shortest route, the Lord has them turn toward the sea where they stop. The Lord does this for a purpose: Pharaoh will think that they are confused. He will think that They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in, and think that they are an easy mark to reclaim as his slaves. Egypt had just lost 600,000 working men, a devastating blow on Egypt's economy. Furthermore, the Lord's purpose is to cause Pharaoh to pursue after them, so that the Lord can be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host. The result will be that Egypt and all the world will know that the Lord He is God.
1) Israel did not leave Egypt as a people fleeing for their lives. They left under the command of a Captain who knew exactly what He was doing. They left as a conquering army, not as beaten down slaves.
2) It appeared to everyone present that they were entangled in the land and that the wilderness had shut them in. The Lord knew what He was doing, but I doubt that anyone else did.
3) They were not entangled, nor were they shut in; it was a well-laid trap by their Commander and Chief to draw their enemies to their own destruction. Again I am reminded of Ezekiel 38, 39, where the Lord moves in the heart of the enemies of His people. He gives Gog and Magog (who represent His enemies world-wide) a false impression that His people are helpless. This false impression gives a false confidence to move against His people. But the Lord does it for a reason: to unite all the anitchirst crowd for their own destruction.
4) It is when all prospect of human aid and assistance is destroyed that God is honoured.
5) I am sure that if it had put to a vote, the people would have voted to honour the Lord, but they would have voted for some other way to honour Him. After all, the Philistines were on the other side of the boarder. Why not honour God with a great victory over them instead of being stuck here between an angry Pharaoh and the sea?
6) Keil points out that this was a very foolish way out of the land. And it most certainly was according to human wisdom, but the Lord has a way of turning the foolish things of this world into things which destory this world.
7) I think that it is very significant that Egypt worshiped the Nile river as the life-blood of their land. Now they are going to be drowned in water. The Lord could have killed the Egyptians by several means: He could have rained stones upon them as He did upon Sisera's army, Judges 5:20; He could have turnned their swords one upon another as He did the Midianites whom Gideon moved against, Judges 7:22; He could have caused them to hear a great army approachig as He did with Benhadad, causing the Syrian's to flee, 2 Kgs 7; He could have destoryed them with a plague as he did Sennacherib's Assyrian army, 2 Kgs 19:35 (killing 185,000 men). But no, the Lord chose to use one of their sacred objects, water, to drown them.
The application for our day is interesting. The very thing which the pagans are serving as their god will turn on them to their destruction. A would suppose the greatest modern false god today is money; the Lord will turn the monitary system upon those who are trying to use it to destory Chritsianity. Furthermore, only as God's people are free from coveteousness are they free from the destructiveness of this god.
Application: The Lord leads His people in some strange ways at times. It appeared here that He was leading His people into a dead-end alley with an angry thug on their heals, but this direction was needed, that He would be honoured in the manner pleasing to Him.
Many of God's paths for His people lead in a sometimes confusing and seemingness dead-end way, but He has a purpose. He is honoured when His people are brought to the place that they have no way to look but up. The place between a wrathful enemy and the deep blue sea permits the Lord to show Himself strong.
Referring to Joseph Parker again: "Suppose we set aside the miraculous incident for a moment and ask: What does the writer mean to convey by this high imagining? The means to convey this lesson, namely, that a way was found where a way was supposed to be impossible... This then is the true miracle; -that when our poor life has been driven up to a point from which there seemed to be no escape, God has shown an opening in the rock, or a way through the deep; and we who expected to perish because the way was ended have been enabled to enter upon larger liberties."
This whole situation with Israel at the end of its rope, the Red Sea, shows us that the Divine providence to God is active at all times. He has indeed made a way of escapt for His people.
Personal note: This seems to be the place we are in the printing of the booklets. There is a tremendous opening to get out the salvation booklet (10,000 in Spanish alone), but they must all be done by hand.
The Lord leads His people to where they have no place to turn but to Him. Then He can show Himself strong in a manner which gets even the world's attention.
Is this where He is leading His faithful people in general today. Pharaoh is mad and is in hot pursuit of God's people. What will the Lord do to honour Himself?
6) The real mirical in this chapter is that after the Lord had moved 10 times against Egypt in behalf of Israel, Israel still does not believe that the Lord can deliver them or that the Lord has dirrected them to this place for a prupose.
Vs. 5-9, Pharaoh moves.
Pharaoh is told that the people fled. They did not flee as we would think of fleeing: as one fears for his life. They left and Pharaoh is told that they are gone. The heart.. was turned, and God did the turning. Pharaoh and his servants say, "This is silly. Why have we let the people go who have served us all these years. Now we will have to do our own work." Pharaoh, at the command of the Lord, decides to force Israel back into servitude, so he gathers his army together to pursue Israel. The first time Israel came to Egypt, he was welcomed with open arms of joy; 430 years latter, Egypt is going to 'capture' Israel as slaves.
1) I know of no way around the fact that it is the Lord Who controls the heart of even the most wicked Pharaohs of our day. I went to Marion IL Wednesday to be with Bro Sileven as he reported to the Fed Pen (8/5/92). Bro. Dixon had a meeting for pastors to encourage Sileven before he reported, and Dixon said that it was the devil who was having his way in the situation. The word of God militates against any such idea. God controls the heart of the king, and He turns it wheresoever He will, Prov 21:1. I do not know why this obvious fact is so hidden from good man like Bro. Dixon, who love God. Clearly, far too much power and authority is given to the devil; he is no more than a tool in the hands of a Sovereign God; he does the Lord's will either willingly or unwillingly; he is not out from under the Lord's control for a the slightest moment (nor is any other part of creation, for that matter).
2) The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and caused him to gather his army together against the Lord's people. The purpose of bringing Pharaoh against His people was not so the Lord could destroy His people, but so He could destroy His enemies. This is Ez 38 & 39. God moves Gog and Magog against His people, so He, God, can destroy Gog and Magog.
As we mentioned above, is the current power of the antichrist crowd against the church for this purpose? Has God decided that it is time to bring the reign of the crowd who is against His law to an end? If so, the Bible says that the way He will judge their lawlessness is by bringing them against His people and then judging them for their evil against His people.
3) It is when the backs of His people is against the wall, so to speak, that the might of our God can be revealed.
4) Pharaoh gathered together all the best of Egypt, but it was not a drop in a bucket before the Lord of Host (the Lord of battle). In fact, He destroyed them with a mighty wind. The wind blew the sea back for His people, then released it upon His enemies.
5) It is a sign of the Lord hardening the heart for the wicked to their own destruction for them to have such hardness against His people. According to our thinking, we restrict the movement of the Lord to conviction of sin, but here His movement in history was the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. It looks like the Lord is very active today.
6) A high hand, ie. the high mighty hand of Jehovah God, not of Israel. Pharaoh, because of his supernatural blindness, did not see that it was indeed the mighty hand of Jehovah God which was delivering Israel until it was too late. Then Egypt said, the Lord fighteth for them, but it was too late.
7) What can we expect from the devil's crowd? Would we expect them to rejoice that one has been redeemed? Furthermore, we cannot expcet a newly redeemed person to step from his bondage to Egypt right to the throne of God when it took us 40 years to arive at His throne.
Vs. 10-12, Israel fears,
Only a few hours into their newfound freedom from slavery, Israel longs for the security and protection of slavery.
1) Upon seeing Pharaoh and his host of Egyptians, Israel was sore afraid. Not only is Pharaoh's heart hardened and blind, but so is Israel's. The Lord had just accomplished the greatest deliverance in the history of the world, the passover, yet neither Pharaoh nor Israel could comprehend what the Lord did. Forty years after their deliverance, Moses said, Deuteronomy 29:4, Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day, Deut 29:4. No matter where we open the word of God, we are confronted with the fact of the Lord's total sovereignty: Pharaoh pursued Israel because God hardened His heart; Israel feared and cried out against Moses because Israel could not see what God was doing.
2) The people cry out unto the Lord, but they murmur against Moses. Moses only went to Egypt to bring out Israel because the Lord left him no choice. With every breath, Moses had made it clear that it was the Lord Who was delivering them, yet at the very first sign of difficulty the people start complaining to Moses as though it were all his fault.
3) The hardness of even the people of Israel is difficult to comprehend. Over the past 9 or 10 months, the Lord had moved against Egypt in unbelievable ways, concluded with the death of Egypt's firstborn. Yet the people accuse Moses of bringing them out of bondage to kill them.
4) We do not have a record of the people saying v. 12 to Moses, but evidently they did. Here is recorded for us the worlds of a defeated people: It is better four us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. This sounds like the average "Christian's" theme today: "It is better that we be slaves to the world system , than that we should die or lose all we have."
This reminds me particularly of the situation over the corporation and many other things. The pastors would rather line up with public policy than take a chance of perishing in the freedom from that government control; they would rather take a license than fact the possible wrath of the kings of this earth. How many have told us (Bro. Dixon, myself and others) that they would rather remain a slave than take a chance on perishing at Pharaoh's hand.
Furthermore, I am also reminded of the DUMB DOGS of which Isaiah speaks. The pastors would rather remain in bondage to Egypt than take a chance on the armies of Pharaoh and Egypt being turned loose upon them.
5) The complaint of Israel against Moses is common today. God's man preaches the obvious truths of God's word; the people "take a chance" and do them; things don't turn out like they had hoped, so they fuss at the preacher: "If we hadn't followed your teaching, we would be OKay." We are even hearing of parishioners taking the pastors to court because of the Godly advise he gave, they followed it and things did not turn out like they planed.
I have no doubt that Israel, if they had had today's legal climate, would have taken Moses to court for not delivering on the promise of God's word as they understood him to say.
6) Vs. 11, 12, twice the people express their fear of death at the hands of their former masters. By saying this twice, we are shown the cowardly fear which had been instilled in them by generations of slavery to Egypt.
A) Consistently with Israel from the very first time Moses meets them, they express great confidence and faith in the Lord as long as things are proceeding good. But as soon as pressure develops, they turn against both Moses and the Lord in cowardly despair.
B) I am constantly amazed at the fear of the state expressed by supposed "men of God." It is one thing when men are unable to see the issues, but is quite another when they do see the issues, yet are afraid to take any stand because of the cost which might be involved. Such an attitude shows that they are unbelieving cowards at heart.
7) No matter where we pick Israel up from the first chapter of Exodus to the entrance of the new generation into Canaan, it is obvious that God delivered Israel only for His name's great name's sake; they were content with the security even though the bondage was difficult. See my notes back in chapters 1, 2.
Pastors all around us would rather capitulate to Egypt's demands than stick their neck out; it is sad, and it is bringing the judgment of God upon both "Egypt" and "God's people." I have no doubt that there are some very difficult days ahead for the whole world because God will not permit His people's current commitment to and love for bondage to the kings of this world.
(On the way home from the State Fair yesterday, 8/13/92, I was listening to a NPR program. They were interviewing three people concerning the upcoming election (Bush-Clinton). The interviewer, near the conclusion, made a statement: "Basically, all three of you want a more activist Government," because all three had expressed their confidence that the government should take a more active role in jobs, health-care, education &c. And all three responded that this is indeed what they wanted. They were going to vote for the man who promised the most "active" government. In other words, they were demanding more socialism; they wanted the government to take more responsibility for its citizens. The politicians know exactly what the feeling of the people is; therefore, no matter who is elected, we will get increased socialism.)
Personal note: I suppose the saddest thing about these 3 verses is that Israel, even while still in bondage, would have rather remained a slave in Egypt than take a chance on freedom and responsibilities. But the Lord is going to deliver His people in spite of themselves.
I am confident, based upon the Word of God, that the Lord will wean His people from their slavery. What will it take to make His people turn to Him instead of to man?
8) Joseph Parker again: "How we are like staves that break in the hands of those who use them! Thee is but a step between the truest friendship and the bitterest enmity. The brother who adores you to-day will hate you to-morrow, if you cross his will or stain his pride."
The Geneva Bible marginal notes here says:
In this figure [an artists perception of Israel crossing the sea] four chief points are to be considered. First, that the Church of God is ever subject in this world to the Cross, and so be afflicted after one sort or other. The second, that the ministers of God following their vocations, shall be evil spoken of, and murmured against, even of them that pretend the same cause and religion that they do. The third, that God delivereth not his Church in continent out of dangers, but to exercise their faith and patience continueth their troubles, yea and oftentimes augmenteth them: as the Israelites were now in less hope of their lives, than when they were in Egypt. The fourth point is, that when the dangers are most great, then God's help is most ready to succour: for the Israelites had on either side of them, huge rocks and mountains, before them the sea, behind them most evil enemies, so that there was no way left to escape to man's judgment.
It could not be more obvious that the reformers of Geneva were not believers in any king of escapism religion (rapture).
Vs. 13, 14, Moses' confidence
before the people. But he complains to the Lord, v. 15.
1) Moses exhibits total confidence in the ability of the Lord to deliver the people, and he encourages the people with his confidence.
2) Fear not.. stand still.. There are many fear nots in the Bible. I saw a calendar one time that had a "fear not" for every day of the year, 365, and one extra for leap year. So there are 366 "fear nots" in the Bible. Most of the time, though, God's "fear nots" include obedience in some kind of action. Here His "fear not" requires no action, stand still. The reason they were to stand still was to see the salvation of the Lord. Salvation is all of the Lord. This illustration of salvation from Egypt is rife with illustrations that salvation is of the Lord. 2 Chron 20:17, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord... Ps 3:8 Salvation belongeth unto the Lord... Salvation belongs unto the Lord, and all man can do is follow Him; furthermore, man can only follow the Lord in salvation as the Lord provides to him the grace to do so.
A) The Lord did not tell them to turn and fight; this Israel was incapable of because they had been slaves for so long. Rather, the Lord tells them so stand still and see the salvation of the Lord; He will fight for them. "Precisely the gospel that was adapted to their weak condition. If the command had been, "Rouse you; fight!' it would have been like asking dead men to fight those who were in the very bloom and pride of their strength. But the command is, 'Stand still." The adaptation of God's message to our condition is so perfect, so gracious, so sufficient. When we are weak and cannot fight he says, 'Stand still, and I will fight for you." When we have our energies in all their completeness, he says, 'Rise! fight' He meets us according to the condition that we are in. The Lord shall fight for you and ye shall hold your peace." JP
3) Fear not.. was a lot easier said than done, but the Lord had brought them this far, so they should have been confident in His continued care and deliverance. The Lord promises to complete the good work which He has started in us, Ph 1:6. That work started when He called us unto Himself and will continue until the day of Jesus Christ. Again, this is easier said than done, especially when the army of Egypt and an angry Pharaoh is hot on our trail. But there is no excuse for this fear; they had the assurance of God's presence, not only in Moses but with the cloud, 13:22.
This generation was controlled by fear and unbelief, even with the clear presence and leading of the Lord. Of course, we do not have the cloud with us today, but we certainly have the Lord with us in the form of the indwelling Holy Spirit; we have His presence in His revelation of Himself to us; the Scriptures. We, therefore, have no reason to fear what men can do to us. In fact, I believe we will be judged for our fear of men because it is a lack of faith in His promises and purpose.
4) There was a purpose in leading the people to a dead end against the Red Sea where they could go no further; there was a purpose in bringing out Pharaoh and Egypt after the people. Rom 8:28; 9:11, 17; Eph 1:11; 3:11; 2 Tim 1:9, &c, are clear: God works all things for a purpose, HIS PURPOSE. The people, weak in faith because generations of slavery had striped them of all self-responsibility, could only walk by sight; they had no faith. Moses was in the same fix up until the time of the bush. Unknown to them because of their weakness in faith, the Lord was working all things to His purpose.
5) Hold your peace... Three million people fearfully clamoring as they saw Pharaoh and the army closing in on them. Poor Moses!
Geneva Bible: v. 14, "Only put your turst in God without grudging or doubting."
Vs. 15-18, the Lord speaks.
1) Moses expressed total confidence in the Lord to the people, but evidently he was saying to the Lord, "Are you sure about this?" The Lord tells Moses to "hold his peace" move forward. So we see that even Moses was having difficulty in this situation. After all, the Sea before them and an angry Pharaoh behind them would be enough to concern anyone.
2) Evidently the Lord had already instructed Moses exactly what was going to happen in everything except the manner in which the Lord was going to do it. Moses' instructions to the people, vs. 13, 14 and the assurance that the people would see the Egyptians no more, was given before the Lord told Moses how He was going to accomplish this, v. 16. The Lord reminds Moses that this is not the time for prayer, it is the time to mvoe ahead according to His instructions, Wherefore criest thou unto me?
A) The Egyptians are advancing with the evil intent to subdue Israel back under their control even more than they were previously. The people fear, and Moses prayes. Even Moses had a problem of praying when he should have been moving and working. How much more we? The time for prayer is over. It is time for word and action.
B) The Lord has told us in His word that the world will be conquered for Christ, that all nations will serve Him one day and that all the evil Pharaohs will be subdued before the King of kings. He has told us basically what to do, but has revealed very little additional details, Mat 28:19, 20. Our responsibility is to be busy leading the people in the direction which the Lord has told us to go. It is His responsibility to work out the details. I will also have to say that it appears that God's people are indeed between the "Devil and the deep blue sea." And, like Israel and Moses of old, the New Israel, the church, does not see any human way possible out of the situation other than to be supernaturally ruptured out and over the Red Sea of troubles. So they spend their time praying and complaining and hopeing for a supernatural delivery.
3) lift thou up thy rod... Note three points:
A) Wherefore criest thou... But lift thou up thy rod.
"Stop crying out to Me, and do what I tell you to do." The answer for the difficult situation is not only crying out to the Lord, but following the instructions of the Lord.
Observe that the average Christian in this situation would have probably held a prayer meeting instead of getting to work in obedience to the word of the Lord. It is so much easier to pray than to work. I guess that I am getting cynical toward "spiritual Christians" because they will do nothing to help retain what few freedoms we have.
"And the Lord said unto Moses, "God on as if this thing had not happened; do not take it into your calculations at all; leave the Egyptians in my hands; there is a time to pray, but not now; only lift up thy rod, and stretch thy hand over the sea, and divide it, and behold I will get me honor upon Pharaoh and upon all his host, upon his chariots and upon his horsemen.'" JP
B) The Lord tells Moses to be quiet and obey, but He does not yet tell the people to be quiet. He realizes that the people are total slaves at this point, but Moses should know better by now.
C) When the time was right, the Lord instructed Moses precisely what to do. When the Lord originally instructed Moses to turn by the way of the Red Sea, and that He (the Lord) would be glorified upon Egypt, the Lord did not give Moses the details. Moses was to follow instructions and leave the details up to the Lord; then when it came to tend to the details, the Lord would. Our Lord gives to His people today the same basic instruction: Mat 6:24ff. He has revealed the basic path to take in His word; our responsibility is to walk in the way which He has revealed, and He will take care of the details when we get to the place where His word has brought us.
Moses could have said after the instruction in vs. 1-4, "Lord, don't You know that the direction which You are sending us will leave us between Pharaoh and the Red Sea? Have You checked Your map lately? After all, You placed that sea there, and now You are going to leave us trapped between in and the Egyptians." Moses didn't, and he led the people to the spot where the Lord told them to go even though it appeared to be a hopeless situation.
We must learn to walk by faith, and not by sight. We go in the way laid out by the word of God whether we see the end result or not.
4) It is important to note that Moses brought the people to this point between the devil and the deep blue sea because the word of the Lord instructed him to bring them to this place. How many places do we end up on our own because we did not listen or search God's word to see which way to go.
This raises a question: If Moses had not been instructed to bring the people in this direction and he ended up here, what would have happened?
Application: God's people ignore God's word; they neither read nor study it. They end up between the devil and the deep blue sea, and the Lord lets them parish. Whose fault is it? Or we could ask this: The way of the Lord as revealed in His word is by the way of the sea, but the people refuse to check God's word or, if they do check God's word, refuse to walk that way because it is obvious that they will end up in an extremely precarious position. They consider the three options: the Philistines, the Egyptians and the Sea; the world of God tells them to go by the way of the sea, but they refuse and, instead, chose the Philistines. The Philistines slay them. Whose fault is it that the Philistines were victorious over them when they searched not the word of God or, if they did, refused to walk in its clear instruction?
How many have we met who have responded with: "I know the word of God is right in that area, but I am afraid of the consequences if I follow it. So I will follow the way that appears the best for me."
5) The Lord is going to complete the salvation of His people in a mighty way and destroy Pharaoh and Egypt in the process, but He uses a man to do it. Moses had to lift up his rod in obedience to the word of the Lord.
The Lord has a mighty work to do in the world today, but He uses men. He could have had the sea parted when Israel got there, but He uses a man to do it in obedience to His word. The power of God is at work in the world today, but that power is "released" upon the world by obedient men. As men obey the world of God and apply His law-word, the power of God moves, parts the sea and destroys the Egyptians. The same power of God that parted the Red Sea is at work today in the world; it is manifested through His faithfully obedient people, 1 Cor 1:18. Note the words the power of God, not a power of God; the power of God that worked the 10 plagues, parted the Red sea and closed it again upon Egypt is at work today thorough the preaching of the law-word of God, Mat 28:19, 20.
6) The Lord continues to move; this time He hardens Pharaoh's heart even more. After all, the water was walled up on either side, God had moved 10 times against Egypt and Pharaoh, and they were still oblivious to the fact that the Lord was fighting for Israel. How could they miss such an obvious fact? The Lord hardened their heart.
A) "Three times (vers. 4,8, and 17) it is stated that Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he pursued the Israelites, to show that God had decreed this hardening, to glorify Himself in the judgment and death of the proud king, who would not honour God, the Holy One, in his life." Keil.
All the kings of this earth will either serve the Lord God as God, or they will be destroyed by the Lord God.
B) V. 25, the Lord fighteth for them... One of the ways the Lord fought for Israel and against Egypt was by hardening the hearts of Pharaoh and the Egyptians so that they would hotly pursue Israel with evil intentions. This is a strange way to fight, but this is exactly what the Lord did.
As we mentioned above, the Lord is working His purpose in all things today. One of the ways that He fights against the ungodly is by hardening their hearts that they will pursue His people. Ez 38, 39 talks about the Lord hardening the hearts of the wicked one-world crowd for the purpose of bringing them against His people. The result will be their total destruction.
7) The Lord is clear in His purpose: the honour of His name. He does not harden Pharaoh and Egypt nor does He does not part the Red Sea for His people sake; He does all these things for HIS NAME'S SAKE. He is gaining honour for Himself.
8) The way He gains honour is by completely overthrowing Pharaoh, Egypt and killing all its army. Strange! The God who represents life and mercy gets honour by the death of His enemies. But we cannot question the ways of the Lord. He will get honor one day upon His enemies, and what a wonderful day that will be.
9) "There are times when even prayer seems unbelief, and only to go forward in calm assurance is duty." Edersheim. This is a very good point. Circumstances arise when even our prayers seem to be unbelief, and the situation so hopeless that the only reason we continue on is because it is our duty to do so.
In other words, we continue on because we have the character to do so and to continue to follow the world of the Lord.
10) We must not fail to mention the Lord's sovereignty. "he determines all things by a sovereignty we cannot control. His sovereignty is his grace, at its highest point. The supremacy of love is the sovereignty of God. I will trust myself with the Most High, I will cast myself solely upon him, I will call him my Father and my King!"
A personal note for me, August 25, 1992. My eye was worse yesterday. The doctor gave me another laser treatment. Hopefully that will stop the leakage. But, through all of this, the Lord is sovereign in all things, including my eyes. By faith, it is all in His hands. I am His responsiblilty as long as I am doing what is pleasing in His sight. He led Israel to a seemingly impossible place, but the reason was that He could show Himself strong.
Vs. 19-22, the Lord moves.
1) Which went before.. The Lord's presence was going before the people, and the Lord led them to this point between the devil and the deep blue sea. Therefore, v. 11, when the people spoke harshly to Moses, they were actually speaking directly to the Lord: "Lord, because there were no graves...."
2) The Lord makes the distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. The same cloud was darkness and death to Egypt that was light and life to Israel.
A) The same promises which bring hope and light to the people of God, brings doom and gloom, darkness and judgment to those who are not right with God.
3) Evidently it was a fearsome cloud to the Egyptians because, even in their wrath, they would not pass the cloud to get to Israel.
4) V. 21, the Lord could have just as easily had the sea already parted when Israel got there, or He could have parted it without Moses stretching out his rod, but He didn't. The Lord was going to show Himself strong in a manner which could not be mistaken and would be burned in the memory of man forever. The Lord took His time setting the stage for one of the greatest displays of His power in history.
5) The wind blew from the east all that night, and the Lord parted the waters to the north and south. The natural result of an east wind would be an extra abundance of water on the west side of the sea (the side where Israel would enter the sea). But we see that the Lord used the east wind to part the waters into a wall on the north and south. Thus, there can be no naturalistic explanation for what took place here at the Red Sea. God, through a natural means of an east wind, supernaturally parted the water into a wall on each side of the people. divided.. the waters were a wall.. these words clearly say that this was NOT a natural phonomania; rather, it was a supernatural parting of the waters in an area of the sea which was deep enough to build the waters into a wall tall enough that when it collapsed, the Egypt army was drowned.
6) Both v. 21 and 22 clearly state that both the ground and the people themselves were dry.
[Note that this point is out of my study on infant baptism: mode of baptism.]
The next step after redemption was passage through the Red Sea, which, in the NT, is identified as baptism, 1 Cor. 10:2. Personally, I am not near as concerned about the mode of baptism as I am about the meaning of baptism, but we will mention a few points about the mode.
A) 1 Cor 10:1, 2, under the cloud, and through the sea. We need to observe that Paul specifically says that Israel went under the cloud, not through the cloud.
B) The cloud went above them to protect them from the burning sun, not to keep them wet. In fact, the text in Exodus 13:21, 22; 14:19, 20 says nothing at all about the cloud being made up of water droplets; rather, it was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
Observe: The Cloud..
1) This cloud was the Shechinah glory of God, and always is represented as a cloud of smoke (eg. latter, Solomon's temple). God appeared to Abraham to confirm the covenant in a cloud which explicitly spoke of the cloud which leads Abraham's seed out of Egypt, Gen 15:17, 18.
2) Biblically, the cloud was a cloud of smoke; it protected Israel from their enemies; Egypt, the burning sun and the rain, Isaiah 4:5, 6. "When this cloud went before the army of Israel, it assumed the form of a column; so that by day it resembled a dark column of smoke raising up towards heaven, and by night a column of fire, to show the whole army what direction to take." Keil.
3) Furthermore, our God is a consuming fire, not a soaking rain, although His judgment and mercy is at times compared to a gentle rain.
C) Ps 74:13, divide.. marg is break. The thought is that the sea was cleanly broken, not bent or splintered; it was a wall to them on both sides. Ps 106:9, their passage through the depth of the sea was as through the wilderness. (Ff. Ps 66:6; He 11:29. I would assume that the inspired writers of the Holy Scriptures would know the difference between damp and dry land.
A) The ground would have to be completely dry, hard as a rock and remain so, or 3 million people with their livestock (farmers by divine calling) the people and cattle would churn up enough mud to make passage impossible. There could be no mist without making the ground damp, and we are specifically told that it was as the ground in the wilderness; there was dust from the traffic.
B) I have encountered the assumption that because the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left, the people passed through the sea in a mist. Therefore, it is said, sprinkling is the only proper mode of baptism even though the text clearly says that the children of Israel went into the midst [not mist] of the sea upon the dry [ground is added by the translators], Ex 14:22. If there was enough mist to "sprinkle" the people, there was enough to cause the ground to be damp or even wet, but the text specifically says that both the people and the ground were dry. Therefore, it is unbiblical to assume that the people were "sprinkled" as they passed through the sea.
Certainly, I believe the word of God requires emersion, but if others believe that God requires sprinkling, that is between them and the Lord. My concern is the meaning of baptism. The idea that baptism somehow has a mystical value to transfer Divine grace to the recipient at any age, child or adult, cannot be supported from Scripture. Furthermore, it offers a tremendous opportunity of dangerous error. Baptism is a step of obedience to the Lord.
Let us not build doctrines on assumptions, especially assumptions which have little or no Scriptural support, or we will be found wanting in that day.
Vs. 23-24, Egypt's boldness, then fear.
The hand of the Lord is evident because the Egyptians feared the cloud so much that they would not pass through it to get to Israel, yet they were hardened enough to pursue Israel into the sea.
1) This must have been quite an opening in the sea because all of Egypt's army was able to get in it, besides all of Israel.
2) Egypt was determined to overtake and subdue Israel again. Egypt's hardness against Israel is Divinely inspired.
3) The Lord troubled the Egyptians.. by looking at them? by working in their hearts? It would be interesting to know how the Lord looked at them. "This look of Jehovah is to be regarded as the appearance of fire suddenly bursting forth from the pillar of cloud that was turned towards the Egyptians, which threw the Egyptian army into alarm and confusion.." Keil. Notice that the Lord knows what the ungodly are doing; He sees their evil lawless intent.
4) The same ground which was solid for Israel turned to mud under Egypt. Their chariots become bogged down, and they see the obvious hand of the Lord in their distress. To make matters worse, the Egyptians see Israel continuing on in safety.
5) Let us flee... Egypt, instead of pursuing the army of God, now decides they had better flee from it.
6) the Lord fighteth.. this had been evident for a year now, but they were unable to see the facts. We have already mentioned how the Lord fought for His people, and it sure was not by conventional means:
A) By taking Israel the long way around, and placing them in a situation where there was no possible way out except by the hand of the Lord.
B) By hardening the heart of Pharaoh and Egypt, making them determined to keep Israel in bondage.
C) By blinding Egypt to the danger of what they were doing. It should have been obvious that pursuing Israel into the midst of the Red sea was noting but foolish; the obvious chance of the water falling on them should have been enough to keep Egypt back. But it didn't.
Today's goal of every nation under the sun is obviously antiChritian unless, that is, Christianity can be used to accomplish their individual national goal, ie. the Soviets. It sure appears that the ungodly are only increasing in their desire and ability to obliterate Christianity (the law of God) from the earth, but here with Egypt and Israel we see that the lawless only work His will to their own destruction. The current antichristian (antinomian) fervor is only exciting the wrath of God against the lawless. The Judge of the universe is looking through the cloud unto the host of the lawless; when His time is right, He will fight for His name's sake.
Furthermore, the blindness or refusal for the antinomians to see the logical destructive results of what they are doing is astounding. But the blindness is from God, and its purpose is to destroy the ungodly.
Vs. 25-31, Israel's Captain's final victory over the mighty host of the enemy. Now the Lord makes His final move against His enemies.
1) In typical fashion, the Lord tells Moses to stretch out his rod. The Lord could have subdued Egypt without Moses' rod, but He uses people.
2) This was no marshy shallow area where they crosses. It was in the midst of the sea; it was deep and wide enough to drown a mighty army while preserving a nation of 3 million people and their livestock in its midst. Keil says that when the rear of Israel's column reached the opposite shore, "they [Egypt] were in the midst of the sea." He sounds like the sea did not close in on Egypt until Israel was safely through and on the opposite shore, but that is not what the text says, vs. 28, 29 (although v. 30 might be read to say that Israel stood upon the opposite shore and watched what happened, but I don't think v. 29 will permit this understanding). Clearly, Egypt pursued Israel into the sea which was walled up on both sides of their passage. Evidently Egypt felt that if the walls remained stable for Israel, they (Egypt) would be safe also. The were not, for the walls collapsed on Egypt while remaining stable for Israel. Egypt was drown while Israel continued to walk upon dry land in the midst of the sea.
3) The Lord overthrew the Egyptians, down to the last man and horse, in a manner totally unexpected by them or by Israel. What looked like only danger and defeat to Israel is turned into their means of deliverance; what looked like only safety and victory to Egypt turned into their means of destruction. Thus, the Lord uses hopeless situations in men's eyes to glorify Himself.
The army of God, Israel, did not have to lift a finger to defeat their enemy. All they had to do was follow the word of the Lord, and the Lord used His natural elements to wage His war against His enemies, eg. bugs, plagues, rain, water, death &c.
(V. 28, did Pharaoh parish? V. 23 says that all Pharaoh's army pursued Israel.)
4) God's purpose is accomplished: Israel saw Egypt completely overthrown in the sea because it happened when the morning appeared. It was as vivid upon their mind as anything could possibly be.
5) Israel saw that great work.. feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses. This is the first time that it is mentioned that the people feared God, but they feared for only a short time. Within a few hours they complained about water, food and latter the might of the Canaanites.
Observe how quickly we forget about the mighty work of redemption which the Lord performed in our lives. We remember for a few hours, but soon that is over and we question God's direction and work in our lives.
6) This chapter deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by Israel. The length and breath of the column of Israel as they passed through the sea deserves a comment. 2 million people (Keil's figure), one thousand abreast (more than half a mile), and two thousand persons in depth (better than two miles), not counting space for the livestock, would require one hour to pass its own length; 3 million would require more like two hours. Obviously, the Lord supernaturally intervened in their crossing of the sea.
There are many naturalistic explanations (even Edersheim and Keil) for the parting of the sea, but our best bet is to lay them all aside and accept the word of God for what it says. The Lord caused a strong east wind to blow; He supernaturally parted the sea into a wall on both sides; He made the ground dry and firm underfoot, and He drew the Egyptian army in after Israel. The next morning, the Lord then caused part of the Red Sea to return in its strength and drown the Egyptian army while Israel was still in its midst. Maybe it is because I have not been to school, as such, that I do not see as how we can add to or detract from the account given to us of what took place. The Lord showed Himself strong in a manner which defies any natural explanation.