We’ve been talking about Moses for a few days now, leaving off with Jessica talking about how God called Moses. Today we’re technically talking about Exodus 14, but a whole lot has happened since God used a burning (but not burning) bush to get his attention.
If you’ve got some time, go ahead and kick back with a fresh cup of coffee and read Exodus 4-13 so you’re all caught up. Crazy stuff, huh?!
Just for review….
What are the ten plagues? 1.____________ 2. ___________ 3. __________ 4. __________
5. __________ 6. __________ 7. __________ 8. __________ 9. __________ 10. __________
Why did God send them to Egypt?
Where the Israelites affected by the plagues?
What was Passover?
Jesus is often called the Passover Lamb because His crucification happened during Passover. From what you remember from the Easter story, what parallels can you remember?
Ok, so THAT was the fastest trip through the plagues and Passover ever, but it’s okay. It will still be there to study later. Promise.
We’re jumping back into the story in Exodus 14, after the entire nation of Israel has picked up and left Egypt. That’s where we’re going to be focused for the rest of our time together.
First, anybody else notice Pharaoh is THE MOST indecisive person EVER? Good grief. The man just could not make up his mind. I’d throw in a joke about women trying to decide where to eat but that’s kinda rude and personally true, so we’ll just skip it. 😉
Basically, God used Pharoah’s stubbornness, indecisiveness, and pride to get exactly what He wanted – to show His glory and free His people. I love how God not only has this plan, but He shares it with Moses. He’s been very upfront with Moses the whole time. God lays out what will happen next, and even gives him reasons why. Verse 4 makes it very clear.
“Then the Lord said to Moses….And I will _____________ Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get ___________ over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am _______ _______________.”
We saw this phrase “harden Pharaoh’s heart” over and over again in the description of the plagues. What do you think it means?
Why was it important that the Egyptians knew He was the Lord?
Take a look at verse 8: “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly.” Can’t you just picture it? Remember this is an entire NATION. 600,000 men, plus women and children. All the possessions they could carry. Their flocks and herds. Everything they needed to create a new life in a new land. Many scholars believe chapter 13 implies there were also slaves and hired hands among them, as well as foreigners (Egyptians) who took the opportunity to flee too. That’s a big group!
What words would you use to describe the scene?
What did it look like for the people of Israel to “go out defiantly”?
Read verses 9 & 10. That defiance didn’t last long, did it? Instead, it was replaced with fear. A bone-chilling, spirit-crushing fear of death. And they took it out on Moses. Can you even imagine? They’re tired. The adrenaline is wearing off, and the kids have probably started asking, “are we there yet?”. Truth is, they don’t even know where “there” is! Then the army shows up – right between the (miserable) life they’ve always known and a giant expanse of water. So they do what most of us would do…give the guy in charge an earful. Moses confidently tells the people what he knows. “The Lord will fight for you!” And then, evidently, he goes back and talks to God about it one more time.
I’ve always felt like there’s a verse missing between 14 & 15, like God marked this little conversation “confidential”. We don’t know what Moses said, but we certainly see the Lord’s response.
What does the Lord tell Moses in verse 15?
Doesn’t it feel like He’s saying “We already talked about this!! Let’s GO!”
I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to this passage. I feel like I spend all kinds of time asking God what to do next, and then after He answers I want to keep hashing it out. I think the reason God gave me children who ask so many questions is so I will remember how annoying it is. Almost every single time I tell my kids, “Stop asking! We’ve already talked about this!” I think about this passage.
15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16 Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
Starting with verse 19, write out what happens next.
____________ stretched out his hand.
The Lord ________________________________________________________________.
The waters were _________________.
The people _____________ through on ___________ land.
Israel walked through the sea during the ______________.
During the morning watch, what happened to the Egyptians?
Who caused them to panic?
What did the Lord tell Moses to do when morning appeared?
I love the distinction between the mood of the Israelites and that of the Egyptians. How were the Israelites feeling after God parted the waters for them?
I find it intriguing that they walked on dry land. (Most movies have it wrong!) According to Scripture it wasn’t even a bit soggy. God took care of every detail, giving them the time and the space they needed to cross without being in a panic.
But what happened to the Egyptians?
What about the Israelites?
Verse 31: “Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.”
This is intriguing. The Israelites followed Moses and the Lord out of Egypt without truly believing. Until now. A little obedience goes a long way, doesn’t it? I think the same is true for us. There are moments when belief and faith are thin. Where we’re just not sure. We see what seems like destruction on the horizon and we let fear take over. In those moments it’s okay to wonder, to question. But I encourage you – just stay the course. God is faithful and obedience will fill the gap that doubt creates. You may not see what’s beyond your circumstances, but because the character of God never changes we can be confident in Him.
“Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.”