Read Exodus 14
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
19 Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20 coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
23 The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. 24 During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. 25 He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27 Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. 28 The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
29 But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30 That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31 And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
The crossing of the Red Sea is one of the hallmark Old Testament stories in the Bible. It is mentioned not only in Exodus, when it happens, but throughout Scripture–in Isaiah, Psalms, Joshua, 1 Corinthians, Acts, Nehemiah, and Judges. This story is recorded throughout so much of the Bible because it’s an important part of the Israelites’ history. It proves the power of God; right when they felt all was lost, when their enemies were closing in on them, when there was nowhere else to go–God made a way where there was no way. This story serves as a reminder to the Israelites for years to come that God will provide for them and deliver them from their enemies, even when all hope seems lost.
God knew that the people He had just rescued from slavery were discouraged and felt forgotten. They had been enslaved for almost 400 years and were brought out through 10 horrific plagues. They were trusting a guy, Moses, who hadn’t grown up with them and didn’t fully understand where they were coming from. And they were heading to “the Promised Land,” which they had never seen with their own eyes. They needed some encouragement to move forward in faith. So God gives them this epic moment to show the Israelites His power and to help instill belief in their leader, Moses. He was letting them know who He was and what He was capable of so that in the days, weeks, months, years, and even generations to come, they would have this story to look back on and be encouraged.
What is your “Red Sea” moment with God? When have you seen God do the impossible in your life? The Israelites are told throughout the Bible to remember this story because they so often forgot it and started to doubt God’s faithfulness. Where do you turn when you forget God’s power and goodness in your life? When we face trying times in our life, it can be easy to feed our doubts and let them grow, just like we’ll see the Israelites do time and time again throughout the Old Testament. What if, instead, we feed our faith by remembering times of God’s faithfulness, provision, and deliverance. By looking back at who God has been to us, we will gain the proper perspective necessary in order to move forward in faith with Him.
What is your Red Sea moment? When are times when God has delivered you in miraculous ways?
How can you be encouraged by what Moses says here, that God is the one who fights for us and we only need to be still?
Are you currently doubting God’s promises or faithfulness right now? What do you need to remind yourself of today so you can continue moving forward in faith?
Did You Know?
Psalm 77 gives an in-depth look into what it was like to experience the crossing of the Red Sea: The waters saw you, God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the heavens resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (v. 16-20)