Study Notes

Exodus 14:1-31

14:1-4 A Set-up

God tells Moses to turn around and go back to "PEE Hah-khee-ROTE". This was against common sense and strategic safety, for it boxed them in between the mountains and the Red Sea. They were vulnerable. Pharaoh certainly knew what a bad decision this was, for when he hears of it, he will say, "They're wandering aimlessly. They're shut in."

Oftentimes, God will tell us to put ourselves in a vulnerable place. You see, our instinct tells us to strategically place ourselves in positions that keep us from getting hurt. We "cover our backs" emotionally. But God, knowing that conflict creates character, calls us to an undefended position. Because He wants us to be like Christ, dying to self, He leads us to defensively dangerous places.

Remember when Jesus' friends Mary and Martha sent word that their brother Lazarus was deathly sick.

John 11:7-10 ...He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?" Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."

If Jesus went to Lazarus' side in Judea, He would be vulnerable. There were many who hated Him. Many who wanted to accuse Him. Many others who wanted to kill Him. But Jesus said, "Hey, our time in the day is limited. The light is only shining for a little while." He would rather expose Himself to danger and hurt than not be ministering.

It's easy to take the safe way out. But I haven't found the safe way to be God's way. Take a chance - open yourself up, and see what great things the Lord has in store for you in blessings and growth.

14:5-9 Pharaoh Changes His Mind

In the midst of his sorrow, Pharaoh had said,

Exod. 12:31-32 ..."Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said. Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also."

But this was not a godly sorrow, a sorrow that leads to repentance. This was a worldly sorrow. A sorrow that leads to death. After the initial shock of the deaths in Egypt, including his own household, Pharaoh "comes to his senses," saying, "What have we done? Why did we let them go?"

How quickly God's miracles are forgotten. How easy it is for us to forget the discipline and even the severe judgment of God.

Pharaoh dispatches his 600 chosen chariots, probably the "green berets" of Egypt, or his own Royal Bodyguards. He also sends all the other chariots in Egypt in pursuit, which we know historically was at least another thousand.

The army catches up with the Israelites as they are camped beside "PEE Hah-khee-ROTE" in front of "Bah-AHL Ts'FON".

14:10-12 Crying And Complaining

They had gone out boldly, for circumstances had been in their favor. But now that there's danger, a deadly opposition, they become frightened. They freak out. "We're gonna die! You should have left us back in Egypt! Remember - we told you to leave us alone! This is all your fault!"

How often we are guilty of this same sin. Walking by sight instead of by faith. Allowing circumstances to dictate our joy. But the Bible says,

Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!

How simple it sounds. How we nod our heads in agreement of its necessity. How miserably we fail when it comes time to put it into practice. But God's word is not demanding the impossible of us. May we become a people that exults in our tribulations.

The Israelites weren't there yet. They cried out in desperation and accusation against the Lord and against Moses.

14:13-14 Stand By In Silence

Here Moses gives them the key to victory over tribulations.

1) Do not fear. The proverb says,

Prov. 29:25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.

Moses told Joshua,

Deut. 3:22 'Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.'

Believe it or not, fear is a byproduct of pride. You see, pride puffs you up and makes you believe that you're controlling the situation. That you've got a handle on things. That you're the one orchestrating, moving, and making things happen. And when things begin to fall apart, things happen that you didn't anticipate, you lose your control over a situation, you become afraid.

What you should have realized all along is that God is in control. You haven't been in command, the Lord has. So your fear is just a negative display of your pride. The Bible tells us not to fear, but to seek God.

Phil. 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

So the first things is just to seek God. What's the next thing? Nothing. Not a thing.

2) Stand by and see. You see, whether or not we think to commit situations to God, we have a tendency to immediately jump in and try to fix it. We begin to make plans. Ways to battle, ways to escape. We play out scenarios in our head of how things are going to happen. We stay up all night planning and plotting. But that's all flesh. Again, it's all pride. You're not going to accomplish it.

God hasn't allowed this to happen to you to help you exercise your strategic skills. He's allowing it to happen to get you to be a person of prayer. To make you a faithful man or woman of God. Stand by and see, that's all.

3) Keep silent. The third thing that we must heed and obey is to keep silent. Too many times in the midst of our trials we begin to complain. We go to work and tell everybody our terrible troubles. We talk to the neighbors about what this jerk is doing to us. We call our moms and sisters and say, "Woe is me!"

Have you ever stopped to consider what in the world you are doing? What good is this accomplishing? None! Not only that, but it is destructive. Here you are, supposed to be the light of the world, and you're murmuring and complaining. Peter said,

1Pet. 3:14-16 But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, {you are} blessed. AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION, AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always {being} ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

When you're suffering, you're not supposed to be whining and complaining. You're supposed to be displaying your HOPE. This is what will open up opportunities to share the gospel with others - when they ask, "What is the deal with you? Everything is falling apart around you, and you're whistling a tune! You're going through a situation that incapacitates most people, and you've got this hope about you! What gives? How do you do it?

If you don't keep silent, no one will ever ask you about the hope that lies within you.

14:15-18 Why Are You Crying Out To Me?

Even after giving such a good message, Moses found himself fearful, crying out to God with a bit of desperation. It is very easy to preach and teach something divinely inspired by God, and then to find yourself failing in that same area. It doesn't invalidate the message, it just means that the teacher is human. The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians,

1Cor. 9:26-27 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

Paul preached self-control and victory over sin. And he knew that he could preach it a lot better than he could practice it. So he fought against his flesh to have victory in that area.

So God says to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me?" Then He reveals another piece of the plan to Moses, saying that the sea will be divided, and the Israelites will go forward.

14:19-20 The Angel Of God

Here again we read that expression "the angel of God." We have looked at this numerous times in Genesis and Revelation, how oftentimes the angel, or "messenger" as the word means, is God Himself. Here we know that it is the Lord, for back in chapter 13 we read,

Exod. 13:21 And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

Now here in chapter 14,

Exod. 14:19 And the angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.

So here again, the angel of the Lord is God Himself.

The Lord Gets Between

The pillar of cloud had led them to this place. Now it moves behind them to keep the Egyptian army apart from the Israelites giving them a head start into the sea.

14:21-22 The Parting Of The Red Sea

God causes the sea to separate. The Israelites walked between two walls of water, but their feet were on dry land.

14:23-31 The Egyptians Drown

It took the Israelites most of the night to get across this part of the Red Sea. At the morning watch, about 4:00 a.m.,

When we first read this, we may get the impression that the chariots were getting stuck in the mud. But remember that four times in this chapter it says that the ground was completely dry.

I can almost picture the "Keystone Cops" here. The Lord brought their army into confusion. He made their chariot wheels swerve, like circus clowns' cars.

Asaph wrote in Psalm 77,

Ps. 77:16-20 The waters saw Thee, O God; The waters saw Thee, they were in anguish; The deeps also trembled. The clouds poured out water; The skies gave forth a sound; Thy arrows flashed here and there. The sound of Thy thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook. Thy way was in the sea, And Thy paths in the mighty waters, And Thy footprints may not be known. Thou didst lead Thy people like a flock, By the hand of Moses and Aaron.

When God moves powerfully, word gets around. About forty years later, the Israelites will come to the city of Jericho, and Rahab says,

Josh. 2:9-11 ..."I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and Og, whom you utterly destroyed. And when we heard it, our hearts melted and no courage remained in any man any longer because of you; for the LORD your God, He is God in heaven above and on earth beneath."

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