Exodus Chapter 14 Continued
Exodus 14:15 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:”
The Lord’s next order was, “Go forward”. The fact that Israel was facing the Red Sea posed no problem for God.
“Wherefore criest thou unto me … go forward”: The Lord’s promise of deliverance overruled all despair and sense of hopelessness.
God never speaks retreat. His song “Onward Christians Soldiers” is exactly what God expects from us. He does not want to hear our whining. He wants us to go forth conquering and to conquer, knowing that He will open the way for us. God was saying, have faith and march forward.
Exodus 14:16 “But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry [ground] through the midst of the sea.”
“Lift thou up they rod”: For the grand, triumphant finale, the staff which had previously been used to bring in different plagues on the Egyptians now divided the water, opening up a valley through which Israel would walk and in which Egypt’s army would drown.
Moses had the answer all the time, but it appeared that his faith, as well as the Israelites’ faith had faded to the point that he cried for help. This was not a marshy area, as many would have us believe today; this was to happen in the middle (midst), of the Red Sea. Moses’ hand represented the power of God. The power of God separated the Red Sea. We see here, the Divine Protection that God provides to those who trust Him. This entering of the Red Sea and coming up on dry land, represents the obedience we Christians follow in water baptism. When God does a thing, He does it perfectly. The land underneath this sea was dry, when the children of Israel walked over.
Exodus 14:17 “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”
That they shall have no sense of danger, and be fearless of it, incautious and thoughtless, hurried on with wrath and fury, malice and revenge.
“And they shall follow them”: The Israelites into the sea, supposing it to be as safe for the one as the other.
“And I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen”: By the utter destruction of them, in just retaliation for the many innocent infants that had been drowned by them in the river Nile.
We see an unusual thing. Pharaoh would be able to see that this happened in the middle of the sea. He certainly would be able to realize that this was a miracle of God and that he (Pharaoh), and his men should not pursue them, but Pharaoh and all his host of chariots and people were blinded to the reality of this miracle. They rushed into disaster. God had hardened their hearts, so that they did not use good judgment and God would be elevated above all of Egypt’s gods.
Exodus 14:18 “And the Egyptians shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.”
When things seem impossible, the people of God need to obediently follow Him in faith, leaving the outcome to Him.
This entire incident of the Red Sea parting was to show the remaining Egyptians, as well as these Israelites, that God had power over everything in the earth and in heaven and under the earth. And that these created beings and things the Egyptians had been worshipping were the created and not the Creator. God is all powerful. Everything and everyone are subject to Him.
Exodus 14:19 “And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:”
Here, “the angel of God” (see note on 12:12-13; Gen. 21:17; 31:11), an appearance of the Lord, moves “behind” the camp of Israel. Joined by a second appearance, the “pillar of the cloud” (13:21; 33:9-11), to shield the people from their enemies.
“Stood behind them”: The Angel of the Lord, and the pillar of cloud and fire, moved from being advance guard to being rear guard, from leading to protecting (see note on 3:2).
Exodus 14:20 “And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]: so that the one came not near the other all the night.”
Beyond the miracle of the pillar of cloud itself is the fact that it became “cloud and darkness” to the Egyptians but “light by night” to the people of Israel. The same event can secure victory for one army and defeat another. This was true of the Exodus and will be true of the second coming of Christ (Revelation Chapter 19).
This Light that God provided for Israel in their journey across the wilderness; was total darkness to the Egyptians. God had blinded the eyes of the Egyptians and opened the Israelites’ eyes to His Light. This Light that God provided the Israelites, went with them and lighted their way. God Himself built a wall of defense around His people to protect them. He will build a hedge to protect us today, if we will only trust Him. This I say again is Divine Protection.
Exodus 14:21 “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go [back] by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry [land], and the waters were divided.”
“A strong east wind” was again used in a supernatural act of the Lord (see note on 10:12-15). This time to divide the waters into two walls and create a passageway for the people. The crossing of the Red Sea was for the people of Israel, is what the death and resurrection of Christ are for the believer today (Rom. 6:4).
God’s use of natural phenomena does not detract in any way from the miraculous nature of what took place that night. The psalmist recorded this event as the Lord dividing the sea by His strength (Psalm 74:13). The wind walled up the waters on either side of the pathway then opened (verse 22; 15:8; Psalm 78:13).
Moses followed God’s command and did exactly as God said. The Red Sea parted and left a wall of water, as protection on the right side and the left side. The wind obeyed God’s voice and on command, blew this sea apart and dried the ground underneath for them to walk on. This angel, spoken of here, was similar to the angel spoken of at the burning bush and was actually a presence of the Lord, the Light of the world. I believe that the word (Jesus as we know Him), is the doer part of the Godhead. We read in John 1:
John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “The same was in the beginning with God.” “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
You see Jesus is the doer, because He is the Word.
Exodus 14:22 “And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry [ground]: and the waters [were] a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.”
God employed “a strong east wind” (verse 21), to divide the waters; but its effects were supernatural, for it piled up the waters like a wall in two directions at once (north and south), and to such a depth that they engulfed six hundred Egyptian chariots when the waters were released by the hand of God (verses 28-29; 15:8; Psalm 78:13).
We see here, that God did exactly what He said He would do.
Exodus 14:23 “And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, [even] all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
From the darkness caused by the intercepting cloud, it is probable that they were not aware on what ground they were driving. They heard the sound of the fugitives before them, and they pushed on with the fury of the avengers of blood, without dreaming that they were on the bare sea bed.
Sin blinds a person and these Egyptians were no exception. No one in his right mind could overlook the fact, that this parting of the sea was an act of God. These Egyptians’ hate had blinded them, because God hardened their hearts to make examples of them. God would be glorified to the Israelites and the remaining Egyptians and unto the nearby countries.
Exodus 14:24 “And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,”
“The morning watch”: The last of three 4 hour night watchers (2:00 – 6:00 a.m.), ended about sunrise.
“The LORD looked unto the host”: Not only was the Lord fully aware of exactly what was happening, after all, He hardened Egyptian hearts to pursue Israel. He also brought havoc among them.
Exodus 14:25 “And took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.”
Not only were they swept aside by the returning waters (verses 26-28), they were also hindered from driving their chariots forward by a sudden cloudburst (Psalm 77:17-19).
“Took off” means “bound” or “jammed”. The Lord made the chariot wheels hard to turn so that these fearsome carriages were made ineffective (see also Judges 4:14-16; 5:4-5).
Entrapped in the valley between the walls of water and in total disarray, they acknowledged that the Lord was fighting for their enemy.
Notice, that this presence in the fire was the Lord. The Lord had these Egyptians running in circles and their wheels fell off their chariots. Suddenly they realized they were not fighting the children of Israel, but the Lord. God fights their battles for them. They were not afraid of Israel, but they were afraid of God and they broke and ran.
Exodus 14:26 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.”
And give a signal to the waters to close again, as before upon the word of command they had opened to the right and the left. He did so, and immediately the waters returned to their place, and overwhelmed all the host of the Egyptians. Pharaoh and his servants, that had hardened one another in sin, now fell together, and not one escaped.
An ancient tradition saith, that Pharaoh’s magicians, Jannes and Jambres, perished with the rest. Now God got Him honor upon Pharaoh, a rebel to God, and a slave to his own barbarous passions; perfectly lost to humanity, virtue, and all true honor. Here he lies buried in the deep, a perpetual monument of divine justice: here he went down to the pit, though he was the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.
When Moses stretched his hand toward the sea, the waters returned over the top of these Egyptians in chariots and on horseback and they were drowned. God defeated them.
Exodus 14:27 “And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.”
For the Lord to cause the water to “Returned to his strength” just as the Egyptians were entering it is also a miracle (Psalm 77:10-20).
Exodus 14:28 “And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, [and] all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.”
Escape would be impossible (Exodus 14:26). Pharaoh’s destruction, independent of the distinct statement of the Psalmist (Psalm 136:15), was in fact inevitable. The station of the king was in the vanguard: on every monument, the Pharaoh is represented as the leader of the army. The death of the Pharaoh, and the entire loss of the chariots and cavalry accounts for the undisturbed retreat of the Israelites through a district then subject to Egypt and easily accessible to their forces.
If, as appears probable, Thutmose II was the Pharaoh, the first recorded expedition into the Peninsula took place 17 years after his death. And 22 years elapsed before any measures were taken to recover the lost ascendancy of Egypt in Syria. So complete, so marvelous was the deliverance: thus the Israelites were “baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Cor. 10:2). When they left Baal-Zephon they were separated finally from the idolatry of Egypt: when they passed the Red Sea their independence of its power was sealed. Their life as a nation then began. A life inseparable henceforth from belief in Yahweh and His servant Moses, only to be merged in the higher life revealed by His Son.
This is very similar to the wrath of God that will fall upon the evil ones, after the Christians are carried away into heaven. We will see the separation God makes between the evil ones and His own. In the midst of this terrible calamity, which killed all of these Egyptians, God protected and redeemed His own.
Verses 29-31: The stark difference between Israel and Egypt is again rehearsed: One nation is obstinate and defeated, their dead on the shores of the sea, having acknowledged the Lord victorious. The other nation is alive on the shores, having traversed the sea on dry ground, acknowledging the work of the Lord, reverencing and believing Him and His servant, Moses.
Exodus 14:29 “But the children of Israel walked upon dry [land] in the midst of the sea; and the waters [were] a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.”
The bottom of it becoming dry by the strong east wind, which blew all night until they came to the opposite shore, where they landed on “terra firma”; and so Noldius renders the phrase “through the sea”. That is, from shore to shore (see notes on Exodus 14:22).
We see that God did exactly what He promised He would do.
Exodus 14:30 “Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.”
For though it was now six or seven days since they had leave to go out of Egypt, and actually did depart. Yet they could not be said properly to be saved, or to be in safety, till this day, when all the Egyptians their enemies were destroyed, that pursued after them. And this was the twenty first day of the month, and the seventh and last day of the passover, and was an holy convocation to the Lord (see note on Exodus 12:16).
“Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore”: That is, saw their dead bodies floating upon the waters. It is likely, however, that the bodies of many of them were cast on shore, and became food to the beasts and birds of prey that frequent the wilderness, which may be the meaning of (Psalm 74:14). And that the Israelites had the benefit of the spoil, especially of their arms, which they wanted. The Egyptians were very curious in preserving the bodies of their great men; but here the utmost contempt is poured upon the grandees of Egypt. See how they lie, heaps upon heaps, as dung upon the face of the earth!
Their Redeemer was the Lord and our Redeemer is the Lord. We see by the Egyptians washing up on the sea shore, that this new theory of this area being a marshy area is completely in error. How can a marshy area drown perhaps 100,000 people and horses? Miracles cannot be explained by things we can see. A miracle is an impossibility in man’s sight that God brings about.
Exodus 14:31 “And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.”
Here is the definitive statement of the Hebrew people coming to true faith at the time of the Exodus. The language “believed the Lord” also describes Abram’s faith (in Genesis 15:6), with the same result: the people were declared righteous (Rom. 4:9-12).
These Israelites should know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord, He is God. We see here, that they feared God. Fear of God (reverence), is the beginning of wisdom. Now they knew that every message they received from Moses, was actually God speaking through him to them. They not only feared God, but realized that He would fight their battles for them.
Exodus Chapter 14 Continued Questions
1. What was Moses to do, instead of cry out to God?
2. What does the song “Onward Christian Soldiers”, tell us?
3. What are we, Christians, to do, instead of whine?
4. What did Moses stretch over the sea for it to part?
5. Where can these children of Israel go, to get away from the Egyptians?
6. What one word makes us know that this was not a marshy area?
7. What separated the sea?
8. What was on the right and on the left, as these Israelites walked through the Red Sea to safety?
9. Who does God provide Divine Protection for?
10. What does the entering of the sea and coming up on dry land symbolize for the Christian?
11. What would cause these Egyptians to follow blindly into the sea?
12. What would the remaining Egyptians and the Israelites realize in all of this?
13. How far does God’s power reach?
14. Where did the pillar, which the angel of the Lord was in, move to for the night?
15. What difference was there in each of the camps that night?
16. What did this Light do for the children of Israel?
17. What did God use to make the sea go back?
18. This angel, spoken of here, and at the burning bush is actually who?
19. Which of the Trinity of God is the doer?
20. Where is this found in Scripture?
21. Describe the condition of the road across the sea that these Israelites walked on.
22. What very foolish thing did these Egyptians do?
23. What in a person blinds them to the reality of God?
24. Who looked down from the pillar of fire, and confused the Egyptians?
25. What did He do to their chariots?
26. What suddenly happened to the Egyptians when God did this?
27. This presence in the fire was whom?
28. Who fights the battles for the children of Israel?
29. What did God tell Moses to do, to stop these Egyptians?
30. How did the Israelites know that the Egyptians were dead?
31. This punishment from God on the Egyptians reminds us of what in the end time?
32. What does all of this tell us about God’s protection of us?
33. Who was Israel’s Redeemer?
34. Who is our Redeemer?
35. What is a miracle?
36. What stops the false theory of this being a marshy area?
37. What effect did this miracle have on the Israelites?
38. What should this lesson teach them beyond a shadow of a doubt?
39. What did they suddenly realize about Moses?