And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever. — Exodus 14:13
Hotly pursued by an army sweeping in for the kill, it would appear to the natural eye that the Children of Israel were doomed. Yet, God made a way of escape, and God’s chosen people walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. Hebrews 11:29 puts it this way, “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.” What a marvelous deliverance!
Thousands of years later, a young minister in Nigeria faced, not an avenging army, but two armed robbers wielding machetes. Having stopped alongside the highway to deal with an overheated van engine, this minister and his companions were unexpectedly attacked. As one robber dashed toward the young minister, the Lord put a holy boldness in his spirit. He stood his ground and simply shouted the name of his Savior: “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!” At the mention of that Name, the robbers took to their heels and fled into the bush. Another marvelous deliverance!
In today’s focus verse and in many other verses in God’s Word, we read words of encouragement and the instruction to not be afraid. Though the Exodus and the opening of the Red Sea are dramatic examples of God’s care and concern for His people, most of us will experience times when the circumstances surrounding us seem impossible or overwhelming. We may not have an army of soldiers behind us or armed robbers coming toward us, but we may still feel trapped by circumstances. Instead of giving in to fear or anxiety, we must take our example from Moses and determine to “stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”
God did not promise to keep us from all trouble, but He said that He will deliver us out of it! When apprehension about what lies ahead oppresses you, remember that God is in control. If you keep your faith steadfast in Him, He will make a way of deliverance!
In today’s text, God continued to demonstrate His care and concern for the Israelites by protecting and guiding them. Judgment was poured out upon Pharaoh and the armies of Egypt in the Red Sea.
Scholars are unsure of the location of Etham, but “in the edge of the wilderness” (Exodus 13:20) implies they were near the Red Sea. God was leading His people along a route less traveled and therefore less dangerous.
Exodus 13:21 is the first reference to the “pillar of a cloud” and the “pillar of fire.” This visible sign of God’s presence would be with the Children of Israel throughout their years in the wilderness. God used the pillar to direct the travel route of the Hebrews and to give them shade in the day and light at night.
Chapter 14 recounts Pharaoh’s change of mind and his efforts to try to recapture his slaves. No doubt his agents were watching the movements of the Hebrews. God said they would conclude that the Israelites were lost (“entangled”) in the wilderness and trapped by the Red Sea. Pharaoh gathered his forces, six hundred “chosen” chariots (perhaps extra fast or well-built ones) and other chariots that were readily available, and pursued. When the Israelites observed the Egyptians coming behind them and the sea in front of them, they cried out in fear.
Moses’ admonition to “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” has become a classic statement of faith used by many generations since the time of Moses. God evidenced His power and presence mightily that night. The cloud moved between the Israelites and the Egyptians, giving the Children of Israel light, but causing the Egyptians to be in darkness. A strong east wind divided the sea, and the Israelites crossed through on dry land. When Pharaoh’s hosts followed, God caused their chariot wheels to come off, and they were destroyed when He returned the waters to their place. The “morning watch” (Exodus 14:24) is thought to have been sometime between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m., probably about 4:00 a.m.
The Red Sea is a great body of water that stretches north and south for about 1,200 miles. The northern tip branches into the Gulf of Aqaba and the Gulf of Suez. Scholars are unsure of the precise location where the Hebrews crossed. The distance of the crossing and the width of God’s miraculous path made it possible for approximately two to three million people to cross over on foot during one night. In addition, the location was of a sufficient size to contain Pharaoh’s hosts “in the midst” and for the waters to overcome them.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The redemption of Israel from Egypt
B. The journey
2. From Succoth to Etham (13:20-22)
3. From Etham to Pi-hahiroth (14:1-14)
a. The journey and its effect on Pharaoh (14:1-9)
b. The advance of Pharaoh (14:10-14)
4. From Pi-hahiroth through the sea
a. The crossing
(1) The darkness between the camps (14:15-20)
(2) The opening of the sea (14:21-25)
(3) The closing of the sea (14:26-29)
(4) The conclusion (14:30-31)
What a great God we serve! We never need to be alarmed at circumstances if we are following His directions.