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Thursday, June 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 14

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Chapter 14

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has shut them in. And I will harden [or make stiff] the Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And so he made ready his chariots, and he took his people with him: He took six hundred chosen chariots, and all of the chariots of Egypt, and the captains over every one of them. And the Lord made stiff the heart of Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with a high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and he overtook them as they were encamping by the sea, besides Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. And when Pharaoh drew night, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said to Moses, Hey was it because there weren't enough graves in Egypt that you've taken us away to die in the wilderness? why have you dealt with us like this, to carry us out of Egypt? Is this not the word which we told you in Egypt saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? It would've been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than to die here in the wilderness ( Exodus 14:1-12 ).

The Lord led the children of Israel, and He turned them down into this valley, towards Baalzephon, a mountain range. On the other side of them was Pihahiroth another mountain range. So they went right down into the valley towards the Red Sea. A mountain range on the right, a mountain range on their left, the Red Sea in front of them. Now the dust of the Egyptian army as they come up behind them and they seal off the valley.

When they told Pharaoh where the children of Israel had gone, he laughed. He said, "Oh they don't know anything about this land. They've gone right into a trap. They can't get out of there, the land has swallowed them up." They were trapped.

Now at this point the people started to cry against Moses, and well might they cry at Moses. He showed here a bit of stupidity leading them into this valley of which there is no escape. No way out. They said, "Hey, what are you doing? I guess there just wasn't enough graves back in Egypt, you brought us out here to bury us in the wilderness because there, didn't we tell you to leave us alone? What are we doing following you? We'd be better off being servants back there than being dead here. Better dead than red", or red than dead or something. "Why have you done this to us?" Really began to give Moses a rough time.

This is the beginning of it for Moses. He's gonna have a rough time with these people from here on out. So many times we look at a leader in an envious way, thinking, "Oh my, he's so lucky he gets to lead the people." Just follow the account of Moses and you'll see how lucky he was. "Why have you dealt with us to carry us out of Egypt? Didn't we tell you to leave us alone? We'd been better to serve the Egyptians than to die here in the wilderness".

Moses said unto the people, Fear not, [They cried out, "Oh great, our leader has a plan", then he said,] stand still, see the salvation of the Lord ( Exodus 14:13 ),

"Oh he's crazy, we were crazy to follow him. What are we doing here?" "Don't be afraid. Stand still, see the salvation of the Lord." "Come on, Moses."

which he will show you today: for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see them again. The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me ( Exodus 14:13-15 )?

Now Moses assured the people, then he started crying unto God. "Don't be afraid, stand still. See the salvation of the Lord. Those Egyptians? You're never gonna see them again. God's gonna fight for you, now you just hold your peace." Then he gets in, "Oh God", you know. "What are we gonna do?" I like this. The Lord said, "Hey, why are you crying unto Me?" "Well, I'll tell you why I'm crying to you. I'm in trouble. We're in a trap." But God said, "Wherefore criest thou unto me?"

In other words, there's a time to move. There's a time for action. There's a time when we get off of our knees and start moving. God has a time to pray for sure. But then there's also the time when we need to start moving. That's what God said, "Hey wherefore criest thou unto Me? Get moving. Now's the time that you need to be moving."

speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward ( Exodus 14:15 ):

"I can't do that Lord they'll stone me for sure. There's a Red Sea in front of them. How can I speak unto them to go forward?"

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, they'll follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh ( Exodus 14:16-17 ),

God says, "I'm gonna get that guy yet." He says, "Who is the Lord? I don't know him."

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten honour upon the Pharaoh, and upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them ( Exodus 14:18-19 ).

Now the cloud had been leading them, and now the Lord takes the cloud and puts it behind them, and lets it settle down so that the Egyptians find themselves in a heavy fog; can't see a thing. Now the light is still out in front of the children of Israel so they can see what's going on. The pillar of fire is still there. The children of Israel are walking still in the light of the pillar of fire, but the cloud is settled on the Egyptians; they don't know what's going on in there in the camp of Israel. But what is going on is that God brought a strong east wind, and it divided the Red Sea. He heaped it up on both sides, and by the east wind, dried the bottom of the sea so that,

The children of Israel walked through the midst of the Red sea on dry ground ( Exodus 14:22 ):

You say, "Oh, I can't believe that." Well I feel sorry for you. Just how big is your god anyhow? You know I feel sorry for people that have to make excuses for God and say, "Well it was really the Sea of Reeds, and it's really very shallow. It's only a foot or so deep. Many times the strong winds will actually drive the sea back, and there are portions that you can cross that sea because it's at the best two or three feet at the worst. And so it was just the Sea of Reeds, the shallow marshy pond, and they were able to cross it. You see it really wasn't a miracle at all. God really didn't heap up the waters on both sides as He said. It was just a shallow little marshy pond that they passed through.

My, what a marvelous miracle that God could drown a whole Egyptian army in a shallow, marshy pond. One way or another you've got to face a miracle in this story. You can't get away from it. It's there. Now I'd rather just believe it like it's written. Just believe it like God said. God's big enough. I have no problem with the power of God, the greatness of God. And as I told you, God is going to teach them now to trust in Him. But the first thing He has to teach them is that He can make a way when there is no way.

Now I want you to look at this thing again. They're in a trap, very definitely in a trap. Why are they in the trap? Because God led them in the trap. God said to Moses, "All right, turn on down here towards Baalzephon." It was God who led Moses and the children of Israel into the trap. God deliberately led them into a trap in order that He might manifest unto them His power of delivering them out of the trap, delivering them when there is no way of deliverance. God can make a way where there is no way.

Now many times in our lives, God leads us into impossible situations. Where we look to the right and the left, we see the mountains on both sides; we see the enemy behind and we say, "Oh woe is me. I'd have been better off if I'd stayed back there and died in slavery than to die out here in the wilderness. There's no way out of this. There's nothing we can do. Everything is gone. Oh there's no hope." We feel like God leads us into these places of just total desperation and desolation. There's just nothing to do, in order that He might demonstrate unto us that He has resources we know nothing about. That He can make a way for us when there is no way.

It's marvelous to be led by God because God will never lead you into anything that He won't lead you and provide the way out. "There is no temptation taken unto you but what is common with all men, and God with the temptation will provide the way of escape" ( 1 Corinthians 10:13 ). "I can't see any way out. I don't know where to go. I don't know where to turn. I'm surrounded. The outlook is dark. I look behind me and there's the enemy. I look beside me and there are the mountains. I look in front of me and there's the Red Sea." Hey, don't give up. Don't despair; look up. When the outlook gets impossible, try the "up look".

Now God has led them into the trap, and now God is gonna lead them out. Takes the cloud that's been leading them, moves behind them, and the Egyptians get lost in the fog, while God is doing His work out here. He parts the Red Sea, and by the pillar of fire, all night long the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea. The wall of water, walled up on either side of them, as they walk through the path that God has created; for God makes a way where there is no way.

Verse twenty two,

And the waters were a wall unto them on the right hand, on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them in the mist of the sea, even all of Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. 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 the cloud, and he troubled the host of the Egyptians. And they took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let's flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians. [They begin to get bogged down in the mire.] The Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, upon their horsemen. 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 mist of the sea. 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. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses ( Exodus 14:22-31 ).

So God now is beginning to build their faith. God is beginning a work in them that is going to prepare them to come into a land of promise.

God has for each of you a glorious life of victory in Jesus Christ; many, many blessed experiences of walking with Him. But God leads us; it seems first, through the wilderness for a purpose of training and teaching us to trust in Him. Lessons of faith that are so important if I'm going to conquer and take the land that God has promised because the taking of the land is actually the appropriation of faith. "Every place you put your foot", God said to Joshua, "I have given it you. But you've gotta go in and put your foot there. You've got to claim it."

God has given to us exceeding rich and precious promises. You've got to claim them by faith. You've got to move in and take that which God has promised to you as His child. But before you can do it, you need to learn about God. You need to learn to trust in God, and God is teaching us the lessons of faith, and trusting in Him, showing us His abilities and His powers. So we find here the purposes of God. "The people feared the Lord", or reverenced the Lord, "and they believed in the Lord." Their faith now is growing. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Exodus 14". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/exodus-14.html. 2014.
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