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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

July 19, 2017

Exodus  14:10-15:6

  1. The last time we met, we were not able to finish our study. I want to go back to our lesson from a few weeks ago and then move forward. We are with Moses and the Israelites as they have been instructed to might a slight turn back and are now in a bit of a dilemma.

  2. Verses 10-14. Israel was in trouble now because to the east was the sea, to the south and west were the mountains and the north was blocked by Pharaoh's armies. They had nowhere to go. They were sandwiched in and they only thing that could save them was a miracle. The Israelites were shaken by the sight of the rapidly approaching chariots of Pharaoh and his men. They were terrified (v.10). At first, the people cried out to the Lord (v.10), but as the troops drew nearer and as Israel's hopes of escape faded, their fear turned to bitter regret, focused toward Moses. Were there not enough graves in Egypt? Had they not told Moses to leave them alone, and not to meddle with Pharaoh? What had Moses done to them now? They would have been better off to have stayed on as slaves in Egypt. Such is the reasoning of fear and unbelief. Moses was much more calm, at least initially. Confident that God would deliver them from the Egyptians, Moses sought to reassure the Israelites of God’s protection, and of the defeat of the Egyptians. They were told to “fear not.” They need not fight, but only to stand firm and observe God's victory over the Egyptians. They would never see these Egyptians again. From what God had revealed to Moses, he was confident of the defeat and destruction of the Egyptian army, now hotly pursuing them. What Moses was apparently not aware of was how and when this victory would occur. As the Egyptians drew closer, Moses probably expected to see them wiped out before the eyes of all, perhaps by some plague. Instead, they only got closer--much too close for comfort. At some point, Moses began crying out to God, not unlike the Israelites had done before him (compare 14:10 with 14:15). The man who had begun “cool and calm” had begun to lose his grip.

  3. Verses 15-20. Moses cries out to God. Without informing us of the exact manifestations of Moses’ fears, the text does give us a record of God's mild rebuke to Moses in verse 15: “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” Not only do we know from God's words to Moses that he had cried out to Him, but there is a very clear inference that Moses was wrong in doing so. Why was it wrong for Moses to cry to God for help? I suspect that the pillar was moving and the people had stopped even though the pillar had not stopped. In spite of Moses’ lack of faith, God graciously responds to his cry for help. He specifically instructed Moses to raise his staff and stretch out his hand over the sea, so as to divide the water, making it possible for the Israelites to pass through on dry ground (14:16). The Egyptians, God informed Moses, would enter the sea behind them, due to their hearts being hardened, but this was to result in their destruction and God's glory (v.17). The nation of Egypt will know for certain that God alone is Lord through this event (v.18). God did more than just speak. The angel of the Lord, manifested in the pillar of cloud and/or fire, moved from in front of the Israelites to become their rear guard. He stood between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Throughout that night the pillar brought darkness to the Egyptians and light for the Israelites, thus enabling the Israelites to see as they passed through the sea, and perhaps preventing the Egyptians from seeing the sea as they followed after them (v.20).

  4. Verses 21-31. Moses did as he was instructed, stretching forth his hand over the sea. This brought about a “strong east wind” which drove back the sea all night long, even turning the seabed to dry ground (v.21). It must have taken a certain amount of faith on the part of the Israelites to enter into the sea. They, unlike the Egyptians, had the benefit of the light provided by the cloud. Thus, they were able to clearly see the water of the sea piled up like walls on both sides of them (cf. 14:22). What faith the Israelites lacked was compensated for by the fact that the Egyptians were right behind them. When confronted with the choice between the sea and the Egyptians, the sea would have been the less dangerous choice. God's motivations are a wonder to behold! In the morning watch, which is known to be from 2 a.m. till dawn, God looked down from the pillar of fire and brought confusion to the Egyptian troops (v.24). This was brought about by causing the wheels of their chariots either to fall off, to swerve, or to sink into the sands, which may now be wet. The poetic description of Psalm 77:16-19 seems to inform us that the occasion for the confusion was a thunderstorm. Assuming that the Egyptians did not know they were entering the sea, can you imagine the horror of the charioteers when the first bolt of lightning revealed the seas towering above them? Too late, the Egyptians recognized that God was fighting for the Israelites and against them. They sought to retreat, returning to the shore from which they had entered the sea. Instead, they plunged, headlong, into the waters (cf. v.27) as they returned to their place. At daybreak, God instructed Moses to once again lift his staff over the sea, but this time to bring the waters of the Red Sea thundering down upon the Egyptians. The sea closed in on the Egyptians, so that every one of them was drowned (v.28). In marked contrast, the Israelites passed through the sea on dry ground, safely reaching the other side (v.29). The Red Sea thus became the instrument of Israel's deliverance and the Egyptians’ destruction. The Israelites witnessed the power of God and came to a deeper appreciation of Moses as the leader God had appointed, and through whom God's power was manifested in a mighty way (v.31).

  5. This story also speaks of our Spiritual Baptism. I Corinthians 10:2. When God told the people to turn back, it was a picture of our repentant hearts that must be turned before we can be born again. Once the heart has been turned, we are led to have our old lives of sin washed and our new lives to begin. Pharaoh's army was a picture of our old bondage that needs to die in the waters of Christ so that we will be brought forth unshackled from sin.

  6. Chapter 15:1-6 Moses emphasizes that the Lord alone is redeemer and God. In verses 1 through 6, Moses emphasizes in this song that the Lord alone is our redeemer and God. Redemption ought to move us to praise.

    1. In verse 1, we're told why the Lord is worshiped. The Lord is praised for His redemption. This is precisely the response of the children of Israel.

    2. In verse 2, Moses acknowledges God as his strength. God alone has won the battle and he acknowledges God as his song, the reason for, the object of his joy, and he acknowledges God as the cause. He's the source of deliverance and redemption, and in response to this confession, he gives praise, he renders up a doxology and he says, not only is this my God, but this is my father's God. Now, remember this is an important assertion for the children of Israel because he is connecting the worship of the God of Israel with the worship of the patriarchs all the way back to Abraham. This is not some new god who has never been heard of before. This is the same one true God who revealed Himself to Abraham and Isaac and to Jacob and now to us here at the Exodus and these realities are followed up with this doxology, this praise of the God of the Exodus. “He‘s the same God our forefathers worshiped and I'm going to worship Him too,” Moses says.

    3. In verse 3, Moses acknowledges God to be a warrior and he affirms that His name is the Lord. This is an ironic declaration, because you'll remember all the way back at the beginning of the exodus experience, Pharaoh said, “You know I've never even heard of the Lord, who is this Lord that you're talking about?” Well, now Pharaoh has learned that this Lord is a warrior and this Lord is God and Moses is declaring it.

    4. In verse 4, Moses declares God to be the sole source of victory over Egypt at the sea. This song is about Him; the redemption is about Him.

    5. Verse 5 recounts the fate of the Egyptians and it uses language that reminds us of the depth of the abyss mentioned back in the creation account in Genesis chapter 1.

    6. And once more Moses wraps up this stanza in verse 6 by asserting that the right hand of the Lord, that is, the might of the Lord, the power of the Lord has accomplished all this. So, realizing that the Lord alone is Redeemer, realizing the Lord alone is God, prompts the praise of Moses and Israel. They cannot but sing to the Lord because of who He is. How much greater should the response of God's people be to His redemption. Because He alone is redeemer, because the redemption is accomplished by Him alone, because salvation is entirely from Him alone, the people of God should praise Him. This is the first recorded song of the Hebrew nation and it is a song about the defining event of the Hebrew nation, it is a song sung by the redeemed to the Redeemer about the redemption. This is not only informative, but also controlling for our own worship. Moses is the chief worshipper. He is deflecting any attention away from himself and he is focusing that attention on the one who is the true source of the deliverance of Israel and that is God. The singers, who comprised the redeemed, we are told if you look at verse one, sing to the Lord, the central person of this song, the Lord himself. The Lord himself is central to this event of praise. Worship, you see, is about God and that's a message that is often lost in this day and time.

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