Copyright © 2006 J. Neely. All rights reserved.
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29 By faith [pistis] they passed through [diabaino] the Red [eruthros] sea [thalassa] as [hos] by [dia] dry [xeros] land: which [hos] the Egyptians [Aiguptios] assaying [peira] to do [lambano] were drowned [katapino]. KJV-Interlinear
29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned. NASB
The numbers of people in the newly formed nation of Israel approximated two million. They all left Egypt with their belongings on their backs, on their carts, on their wagons, and their flocks and herds of sheep and cattle and goats and such were there as well. They most probably were spread out for miles.
They headed for the Red Sea, and when they arrived at its bank, they set up camp for the night.
Now there is generally an argument as to just where the Israelites camped and where they crossed the Red Sea. The Old Testament calls the place the Sea of Reeds and lots of commentators think that they crossed the sea in the marshland to the north. There is also lots of commentary as to just how the sea drew back so that they could make their crossing.
Some speculate that a far off volcano in the Mediterranean caused a tsunami, which initially drew back the water, allowing the Israelites to cross over, and then the tsunami came rushing back upon the Egyptians just as they were making their pursuit.
The Bible only reveals that a strong wind came upon the waters, pushed the waters apart causing a wall of water to develop on both sides (two walls) of the path that the Israelites were to use, and that the ground was dry. There was no muddy trail through the sea.
None of this could happen with a volcano scenario or any other scenario proposed by scientists or commentators.
It was a very dramatic test of faith.
Note too, that the Israelites had no army, no military weapons, no training in self defense, nothing with which they could fight off the pursuing Egyptians. They had their backs to the sea with no place to run to. They were trapped. They were helpless. They were afraid.
10 And as Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; NASB
16 And as for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. NASB
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. 20 So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night. NASB
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. 22 And the sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. NASB
It takes a while for two million people to cross over a sea, on foot, especially with lots of animals, old folks, children and so forth.
So here is the picture.
The Israelites left Egypt. Soon after they left, Pharaoh who was grieving over the loss of his only son, recovered from his grieving. He was told that the Israelites had left. He became angry and wanted revenge for his loss. He called up his entire army, and began the pursuit of the Israelites.
The Israelites were camped at the Red Sea. They saw the Egyptian army off in the distance and they became frightened. They blamed Moses for leading them to their death.
Moses reassured them. 'Stand fast, and watch the deliverance of the Lord.'
Leading the Israelite procession was a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, which was the Lord Jesus Christ - their true deliverer and leader.
They had seen the cloud and pillar of fire for several days now, leading the large group. This is the same as having Bible doctrine ever before your eyes. The wall of fire is Gods protective fellowship sphere surrounding you when you are in fellowship.
The cloud moved from out in front of the Israelites, to a position behind them. No one could have missed seeing this unusual movement of the huge cloud. The cloud positioned itself between the advancing army of Pharaoh, and the Israelites, such that the Egyptians were unable to approach the Israelites. They were blocked. That alone should have given them some reassurance. That alone should have given the Egyptians yet another warning of their impotence when they confront the one true God. A simple cloud (with fire inside of it) held them off.
Moses stretched out his staff, and the wind came up and swept the water into two huge walls with dry ground between them. This must have been an awesome sight.
The Israelites passed through, the cloud moved away from the Egyptians, they pursued through path created by the walls of water, and the wind died down. The walls of sea water came crashing back upon them and the Egyptian army was destroyed totally.
The golden era of Egypt died with them and the nation never recovered its glory.
Faith often has to wait. Faith has to be obedient in order to function in Gods will. But faith has to grow and that growth requires Bible study.
You have your back to the sea too, in this life. If you have ever been placed in a position where you were totally helpless, then you are in the same position as the Israelites were, when they were camped beside the Red Sea.
You may have been laid off from your job. You may have had a down turn in your business. You may have creditors knocking at your door. You may be sitting in your home wondering how you are going to pay your bills, which keep piling up higher and higher. You may have a medical problem. You may have been in an accident. You may be the victim of abuse with no one to turn to. You may be the victim of a crime. You may be the target of social ostracism or prejudice.
There are lots of situations that can bring you to a position of helplessness. And helplessness is often the only place where people will finally open their eyes to God. Helplessness is often the only place where people can see God at work in their life.
In all of our lives, a position of helplessness will come sooner or later. If you have been faithful to your Bible study. If you have pursued your spiritual growth to maturity. Then you will most likely pass this test with flying colors and the waters of your escape will open up before you.
If however, you have been lax in your Bible studies, if you ignore God in general and have a habit of only turning to Him when things get a little tough in life, or when it is convenient for you, or when you happen to hear an emotional song or see an emotional movie, or when you celebrate a holiday, then you will not be prepared when the 'big' test comes along. And that test will come. You will fail miserably, and miserable you will be. All of the tears and all of the 'Oh, God help me,' prayers will not help you one bit.
God honors faith that is supported by the muscle of Bible doctrine, not faith which is empty because of a life of habitual indifference and emotion.
We are all here on this earth to serve at the pleasure of the Lord. If it is His will to deliver, then He will. If not, then He won't. Your spiritual growth will determine what God will or will not do for you. Likewise, Gods plan for human history will also determine His course of action.
With doctrine in your soul, you will be ready for whatever God has prepared for you, and you will handle it marvelously. Without doctrine in your soul, you will be a miserable embarrassment only to yourself.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.