There are hundreds, maybe thousands of commentaries about this. Arguments about where they crossed, how many crossed, how long it took them. Discussions about what drove the waters back 'really,' and what the pillar of cloud and fire were 'really,' and all of the symbolism involved. I'd rather hit a few other things than the normal here this evening. First, the Lord set a trap for Pharaoh, using the Israelites as bait. On the surface of it, that seems awfully strange, doesn't it? I mean, the Lord could easily have simply and miraculously wiped out the Pharaoh and his forces with a word. He created the entire universe that way, so it wouldn't have been a problem! But He chose another way. He chose a way which would terrify the Israelites and then show THEM God's powerful miracles. So, for THEIR benefit, he put them in an untenable position: the waters in front, mountains and hills on the sides, and the Pharaoh's army marching up behind. It was certain death. And they screamed at Moses in fear and anger, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us...??" A matter of a few days out of Egypt and they had forgotten the Lord? They had forgotten the plagues? No, they had not forgotten. Fear does that to us, though. To all of us. When we fear for our lives, all we want is safety, and the safety we think of is the safety we know. We have all been Israelites at the Red Sea. We have all panicked at one time or another. We have all screamed at God, either directly or at someone who represents Him. And so Moses' reply is to all of us: 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. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. "The Lord will fight for you; You need only to be still." Is there anything harder when we are afraid? Probably not. But it is repeated in Psalms: "Be still; and know that I am God." And when Jesus said He would give us peace, that meant all the time. We also find Moses command to 'stand firm' repeated in the New Testament. At the end of Paul's letter to the Ephesians, he talks about putting on the armor of God. In chapter 6, verses 10-14a read: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then... There are those who say the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament. I do not find that to be the case. I find that there is one God all the way through, and that His character is consistent all the way through. At the same time I keep seeing that God is working through nature. Something really major had happened and was continuing to happen which was greatly disturbing the weather patterns. A wind had brought in the hail storm, and probably also wind had brought in the locusts. And again we read that God caused a strong east wind to cause the Red Sea to pile up on itself and almost reverse its flow that night. And while the Israelites crossed, they were protected by the pillar of fire/cloud which moved to between them and the pursuing Egyptians. And somehow, every last one of well over a million Israelites, along with their herds and livestock, all crossed safely that night. And when the Pharaoh saw what the wind had done to the waters, he ordered his men to start crossing the water bed in pursuit. The Bible then says that during the last watch of the night, or as dawn was breaking, the Lord "looked down" from the pillar of fire and threw the Egyptians into confusion. Their chariot wheels came off in the mud. They finally, FINALLY have the will to resist Pharaoh and declare "Let's get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!" They were a little slow. They caught on too late. They were drowned as the Lord told Moses to stretch out his hand once again and the waters rushed back into place. "Not one of them survived." And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. Thus was the Lord's purpose accomplished. ============== AT THE PLACE OF THE SEA -- EXODUS 14 -- by Annie Johnson Flint Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life, Where, in spite of all you can do, There is no way out, there is no way back, There is no other way but through? Then wait on the Lord, with a trust serene, Till the night of your fear is gone; He will send the winds, He will heap the floods, When He says to your soul, "Go on!" And His hand shall lead you through, clear through, Ere the watery walls roll down; No wave can touch you, no foe can smite, No mightiest sea can drown. The tossing billows may rear their crests, Their foam at your feet may break, But over their bed you shall walk dry-shod In the path that your Lord shall make. In the morning watch, 'neath the lifted cloud, You shall see but the Lord alone, When He leads you forth from the place of the sea, To a land that you have not known; And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed, You shall no more be afraid; You shall sing His praise in a better place, In a place that His hand hath made.