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Monday, April 5, 2021

EXODUS – GOD’s MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE of ISRAEL FROM EGYPT – Chapter FOURTEEN


Contributing commentaries by pastors Sonny Islas, Albert Lopez and James Fire

EXODUS 14: THE LORD WILL FIGHT FOR YOU By Sonny Islas
 
We are now at a very highpoint in the Book of Exodus – The Crossing of the Red Sea. After 400 years of slavery, the LORD will now finally deliver His people Israel, from the “House from Bondage” - Egypt. This action-packed chapter will remind us that our GOD fights for us and how He is able to make a way where there is no way. He truly is THE WAY MAKER!

EXODUS 14:1-4
Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. 3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ 4 Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” And they did so
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The LORD placed Israel in a very tight spot – in an impossible spot really.

Picture the scene:
On one side they had Pi-Hah-hi-roth which was a rocky mountainous place. On the other side they had Migdol (tower) and Baal Zephon (lord of the north) which were two military stations located on Egypt’s borders. Before them they had the Red Sea and behind them, they had Pharaoh and his fearless army about to pursue them. What is Israel to do? They are trapped and the only way out is up!
The LORD put Israel in this helpless and vulnerable position for three main reasons:

1st reason - In order to force them to look up and trust in God alone (something Christians in America might be facing here soon).
2nd reason - To trick Pharaoh into thinking that he had a chance to re-enslave the Israelites (this seemingly trap – served as bait to hook Pharaoh, and his elite men and reel them in).
3rd reason - To show Himself mighty to Egypt’s army and the Israelites (“that the Egyptians may know that I AM the LORD”).

The LORD could have flattened Pi-hah-hi-roth (the rocky place), and both Migdol and Baal Zephon (those Egyptian military posts) but He chose to do what was going to be most impressive and that was to split the Red Sea and create a highway! Something no one would ever forget! 

EXODUS 14:5-8
5 Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” 6 So he [a]made ready his chariot and took his people with him. 7 Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. 8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness
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WHY HAVE WE DONE THIS IN LETTING ISRAEL GO FROM SERVING US?:
A question like this has an obvious answer: Earth to Pharaoh? We could give him 10 great reasons why, couldn’t we? – starting with plague #1! It would seem perhaps that Pharaoh was beginning to struggle with dementia!
He obviously let them go because of God’s fierce judgments which came crashing down on him and Egypt!
Even killing Pharaoh’s firstborn son! Pharaoh’s heart was so hard, and his eyes were so blind and evil that all he could think about was how the Israelites could be recovered and then he could re-boot his economy once again.

There is a spiritual lesson to be learned here:
At times we can be duped into thinking that Satan will let us go easily, or that once we leave his kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light, that he forgets about us. Yet just like Pharaoh pursues Israel afresh, Satan and his demons do the same to us! That devilish lion is always seeking someone to devour (1 PET 5:8), especially those who have enjoyed high levels of victory over him. 

Christians may think that the fight is over when they come to Christ, but the fight has only just begun, and it will last for as long as we live here in our carnal flesh, this wicked world and the demonic kingdom, led by Satan. 

ALSO HE TOOK SIX HUNDRED CHOICE CHARIOTS: This refers to Pharaoh bringing along his best military vehicles and men. He brought with him, his elite forces (like America’s Navy Seals and Green Berets). But we will soon see that Pharaoh’s best is not good enough.

EXODUS 14:9-10
9 So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon. 10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord
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“VERY AFRAID… CRIED OUT TO THE LORD”: We can’t blame Israel for being terrified, seeing that Pharaoh’s robust army was charging their way! But in the middle of their fear, they did the right thing – they cried out to the LORD. What do you do when you are afraid? 

Psalm 46:1-3 says,
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah (even though Pharaoh’s elite soldiers are on their tail; or even though there was a presidential election outcome that doesn’t seem promising for Christians. We will not fear!)

EXODUS 14:11-12
11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness
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The people went from praying (crying out to God) but also complaining to Moses about his seemingly bad leadership decisions. They pulled the “I told you so” card. They basically said, “At least there are burial sites and graves available in Egypt but here, in the desert we’re going to rot out in the open under the hot sun – what have you done to us Moses?’’

EXODUS 14:13-14
13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation[b] of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold[c] your peace
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I love Moses’ answer. Instead of arguing with them he simply tells them to not give in to fear and to be still and to watch what the LORD will do next. This is what we’re called to do when we’re paralyzed by fear – we are to be still, be quiet, calm down, compose ourselves in order to place our full confidence in God

When we’ve done all that we can do and can’t do anymore – prepare yourself to see what God can do. 

John Wesley said,
In times of great difficulty, it is our wisdom to keep our spirits calm… and to consider the work of the LORD.”

Moses declared: “For the Egyptians you see today, you shall see again no more forever.” The next time the Israelites see these evil men, is when they see their dead bodies washed up on the seashore!

There are times in our lives when the LORD will give us complete victory over some spiritual enemy - maybe a specific sin or temptation – to the point where it will never bother us again.
For example, a woman who wanted to be freed from smoking cigarettes so bad that she cried out to God over and over until she ran into this verse “For the Egyptians (in her case – cigarettes) you see today, you shall see again no more forever.” She felt that the LORD spoke loud and clear to her and she was given victory over smoking cigarettes!

“The LORD will fight for you!” Moses tells them – how encouraging is that? There are going to be times in our lives when fighting or running will not help us – but only trusting in the LORD’s power.

EXODUS 14:15-18
15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. 17 And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen
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The LORD basically told Moses, “at this point, hold your tears, take action, lead these people and go forward.”
The LORD was telling Moses that Pharaoh and his supposed great army will pursue you but that the ocean would become their grave! They will ride into their own grave! They will drown in the middle of their raging pursuit.

EXODUS 14:19-20
19 And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. 20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night
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Here the LORD went from leading them from the front to guarding them from the back. The LORD goes before us and behind us and is both leading us and guarding us at all times. When He makes the way before us clear, He then goes behind us to defeat our pursuing enemies.

The pillar of cloud which was the LORD’s manifest presence was darkness on the side of Israel’s enemies but was light on the side of His children – Israel. This is the way of God.
In the end and after all is said and done, those who sincerely love God, will live in everlastingly brilliant light and those who hate God will live in everlastingly perpetual outer darkness. Some will enjoy His grace forever while sadly, others will suffer His wrath forever.

EXODUS 14:21-31
21 Then 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 into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 23 And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the Lord looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. 25 And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.” 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
30 So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses
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NOT ONE REMAINED: Some commentators believe that Pharaoh also drowned, and some believe he didn’t. But it seems to me that Pharaoh most likely drowned along with his army. Verse 23 sound like he did not, but verse 28 sounds like he did.
What an awesome display of glorious power on God’s part! He split the Red Sea! This was an incredible moment for Israel!

Just as God tore the oceans from top to bottom for the Israelites to crossover and freely worship God, God the Father tore the curtain in the holy temple from top to bottom to allow us to crossover into the Holy of Holies by the sacrifice of Jesus to worship the LORD. 

Check out this video: Chariot Wheels At Bottom of Red Sea (27 mins) 





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