13And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
21And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22And the children of
23And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25And took off their
chariot wheels, that they drave
them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of
26And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29But the children of
30Thus the Lord saved
Thus the Lord saved
After participating in this lesson, each student will be able to:
1. Tell how
2. Compare and contrast the Israelites' deliverance from bondage through
3. Sing a song of praise to God, giving thanks for salvation.
A. From Despair to Deliverance
B. Lesson Background
I. Terrifying Situation (Exodus 14:13, 14)
A. Watch Closely (v. 13)
B. Do Nothing (v. 14)
The Fight-or-Flight Response
II. Miraculous Intervention (Exodus 14:21-28)
A. Israelites Escape (vv. 21, 22)
B. Egyptians Pursue (v. 23)
C. God Fights (vv. 24, 25)
D. Egyptians Perish (vv. 26-28)
Power from Above
A. Summary of Deliverance (v. 29)
B. Evidence of Freedom (v. 30)
A. Our Great Salvation
C. Thought to Remember
We were supposed to fly directly across
After more than an hour with teeth chattering and hearts pounding, we emerged into smooth air just south of the airport. The evening sun was setting, and rays were filtering through the storm clouds. We landed safely, and everyone clapped for joy for the "great salvation" we had just experienced. We had moved quickly from despair to deliverance.
Perhaps our emotions were a bit like what the Israelites experienced at the
To understand the miraculous nature of the exodus events, one must look back
to the very beginnings of the book of Exodus itself. In the first place, young
Moses was saved from a death sentence by divine circumstances to be reared in
Pharaoh's household (Exodus 2:1-10; Acts 7:20-22).
But at age 40, Moses killed an Egyptian overseer and had to flee for his own
life. He then spent 40 years as a shepherd before being confronted by God in
the burning bush (Exodus
7:23-32). Moses thus became the man to lead God's people out of
The miracles of the plagues reached a climax with the death of the firstborn
When we read Exodus
14:2, we see that God had deliberately led the people into an impossible
position (from a human point of view), with their backs to the sea. God placed
An Israelite countermarch tricked Pharaoh into thinking that the Israelites
were confused in their attempt to escape into the wilderness (v. 3). God used
this opportunity to "harden Pharaoh's heart" so Pharaoh would chase
after the Israelites with his army (vv. 4-6). This
he did, with his 600 "chosen" chariots plus many other chariots and
horsemen (vv. 7-9).
The Israelites reacted with great fear and consternation (v. 10). With
sarcasm, "they said unto Moses, Because there
were no graves in
13. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
The Hebrew word for stand still is a special form that means "to take one's stand within oneself." Thus the phrase stand still is addressed more to the hearer's attitude than to physical posture. In other words, the Israelites are to be calm and confident, not wavering in their trust in God. All they have to do is wait and see the salvation of the Lord.
The word see, used three times, is emphasized in this verse. At the end of the chapter, at the conclusion of the great salvation accomplished by God, the Israelites will see "Egyptians dead upon the sea shore," they will see God's "great work" (Exodus 14:30, 31). Moses addresses the people's fears most appropriately as he predicts that the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. Death is about to become a sudden reality for many Egyptians, whose culture is fixated on a religion of death.
14. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
The Lord is the "man of war" (Exodus 15:3) who
announces His strategy and goals from the beginning (see 6:2-8). The
exodus events, wilderness experiences, and conquest of
21. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
There are two things in Exodus 14:15-20 (not in today's text) that we should note as we move to verse 21. First, verse 16 tells us that Moses is stretching out not just his hand, but the "rod" that has been the visible means of God's power throughout the plagues. This rod has been important from the beginning of this deliverance (see Exodus 4:17). Many times the text recounts that Moses stretches out this rod to do signs and miracles (see Exodus 7:19, 20; 8:5, 16, 17; 9:23; 10:13; 17:9-12). However, Moses eventually uses the rod in a way that displeases God (see Numbers 20:11).
We may wonder why God even bothers to use Moses and his rod to get things done. It seems to be a principle that God prefers to work through the human instrument. God usually finds someone to push His plan forward (example: Isaiah 6:8), but sometimes He doesn't (example: Ezekiel 22:30). Yet even when the human instrument is involved, we know that the signs and miracles ultimately come from God.
This is no less true when God uses natural forces to accomplish a task, with the miracle being in the intensity and timing of those forces. For example, consider how God uses the wind in the verse before us. We experience wind almost daily as a natural, nonmiraculous force of nature that God has put in place for the normal functioning of the world. The miraculous element here is in the intensity and duration of the wind as God causes the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night (compare also Exodus 10:13).
The way the text actually reads should cause healthy skepticism as we
The second thing to note from Exodus 14:15-20 is that the angel of God causes "the pillar of the cloud" to separate the Egyptian army from the Israelites; the result is "a cloud and darkness" to the Egyptians, but a source of light "by night" to the Israelites. This means that the Israelites can witness what is happening all that night while the Egyptians cannot.
22. And the children of
The fact that it is still night as the children of
As a conjecture, we might consider the possibility that God could have formed the walls of water on their right hand, and on their left by means of a strong jet stream of air that freezes the water as it piles up. As this happens, the seabed may become frozen mud. This theory does not contradict the fact that the text says dry ground. I live in Illinois, and on a cold winter's night I can walk across a field of frozen mud as dry ground since there will be no water on the bottom of my shoes after I cross. My conjecture fits well with the statement that "the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea" (Exodus 15:8).
I realize that this is my imagination at work, but it is plausible. It is also possible that the east wind is not cold and that the wind itself holds up the walls of water on both sides. The problem this theory presents is the great difficulty (if not impossibility) of the Israelites being able to walk through such a strong force of continual wind as they pass between the walls of water.
In any case, it is still a miracle! The mixed emotions of this journey between two walls of water surely include fear, excitement, joy, even helplessness. So the Israelites escape.
23. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
What makes Pharaoh order his chariots and horsemen into the parted waters,
clearly a frightening situation if there ever was one? It is God fighting for
24. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
There are several watches throughout the night, and the morning watch is the one that occurs from to God's divine presence is manifested by the pillar of fire and of the cloud as it has been before (Exodus 13:21, 22; 14:19). Ancient cultures often depict deity by a brilliant fire in the midst of clouds. It is in such a manifestation that God is presented as observing the Egyptian army and troubling them.
25. And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee
from the face of
Part of the troubling or confusion is accomplished by God's destroying the wheels of the chariots. If the previous conjecture regarding "frozen mud" is correct, it would be nothing for God to thaw the mud so that chariot wheels become mired, with the result that the wheels come off.
The result is panic among the charioteers. Such a result undoubtedly spreads among the rank and file of the Egyptian army, causing great confusion. Even the Egyptians are able to recognize that God is fighting for the Israelites (compare Exodus 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:30; 3:22)! The Egyptians' attempt to turn around and flee from the Israelites, now on the other side of the sea, further adds to the confusion and paralysis.
26. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
God can, of course, simply speak the word and cause the waters to come again upon the Egyptians without any participation by Moses. But the people need to see that Moses is the leader that God has chosen, so God works through him to finish off the pursuers.
27. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
The phrase when the morning appeared again confirms that the crossing takes place at night. The Israelites can see their great deliverance unfolding. The doctrinal points of these events are clearly stated several times throughout the story: the Egyptians know (before they die!) the identity of the one true God (Exodus 14:4, 17, 18), and the Israelites acknowledge God with reverent fear and trust in Him and His servant Moses (14:13, 14, 30, 31).
28. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
The fact that the returning waters are deep enough to cover the chariots,
and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh indicates that the Israelites
are not crossing a shallow, marshy lake as some have proposed. Such a theory is
disallowed by the fact that the army of Pharaoh at the
Although there may be parts of the army left back in
29. But the children of
30. Thus the Lord saved
This is an epilogue to the story.
compares and contrasts the faithfulness of Moses as a servant of God with the
faithfulness of Jesus as the Son of God. While
We must show gratitude for our great salvation in Jesus Christ. We do this by obedience to Christ's law of love. We must not be as the generation that left Egypt after witnessing the miracles of the plagues only to express doubt, fear, and sarcasm as the pursuing army approached (Exodus 14:10-12). "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Our Father, we praise You for the great salvation we have in Christ. May we never take Your grace for granted or cheapen it by shallow discipleship. Help us to keep our eyes on the promised eternal life. Till Jesus comes, amen.
Expect God's deliverance.