Exodus 14: The Great Escape!
By Allan Bosson
In our “reading through the Bible in a year,” we are now coming to the book of Exodus. Wow, what a truly exciting book this is with such an intense and gripping drama! Here we have somewhere between two and three million people of all ages, about to embark on a journey after 400 years of captivity in Egypt, to a land none of them had ever seen before. Here they are walking out of Egypt with nothing but their lives and the clothes on their backs. And, they were asked to leave everything behind and start this arduous journey by foot to “the Promised Land.”
Do you think they were a little apprehensive about this whole thing? Maybe somewhat afraid? I’m sure there were a mountain of challenging thoughts and uncertain feelings rushing through their minds and their lives. What if Moses had misread God’s will? They had burned their bridges behind them in Egypt. There was no going back. All they knew to do now was follow Moses, as he led them on the “great escape.” This escape would prove to be the greatest escape from enemy captivity ever in the history of mankind.
Eventually, almost exhausted, the Israelites came to the Red Sea. What now? Two million or more people could never swim the Red Sea together. ‘Okay, Moses, you strong and brave leader, what are your plans now?’ Again, a very good question, especially since the Israelites had no wood to build boats and no time to build them even if they could. And look at that big dust cloud behind them. It was Pharaoh’s army, and Pharaoh wasn’t planning on congratulating them on their brave escape. Remember, all the firstborn in Egypt were dead, and Pharaoh strongly felt someone needed to pay for that crime.
Have you ever been in a situation when you have come up against an immovable barrier and right behind you was another mighty force ready to pounce and finally destroy you, or at least it seemed that way? I am sure you have because you’re human, and in life, we all face barriers and forces far greater than ourselves. In those times, it seems, without a miracle, those forces will consume us and steal so much from our life that maybe life will never be the same again.
Well, what is the answer? The truth was, Moses was not alarmed at the situation in the same way all the people were. Moses simply admitted his utter inability to solve the situation himself and cried out to God for help. (Hmmm, what a very novel idea!) What was God’s answer to Moses? ‘Well, thanks Moses, I was waiting for you to do that. Now let me tell you what to do. Get up, go forward and lead the people.’ In Ex. 14:13, when Moses got his answer, he encouraged the people and himself, “Fear not, now stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord . . . the Egyptians whom you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for us and you only have to obey and be silent.” Then God said again to Moses, “Lift up that little stick you are carrying, and hold it over the Sea.” Immediately when Moses did that, a strong east wind began to blow, and it blew all night. In the morning, they saw before them two huge walls of water, one on the left, the other on the right. There is was, a dry roadway open before them reaching right across the long stretch of the sea. The entire nation of Israel, at Moses’ beckoning, rushed onto the roadway and raced across the vast crossing as fast as they could ahead of the oncoming Egyptian army. Just as the last person exited the opening in the sea, the Israelites looked back only to see the Egyptian army enter the roadway speeding after them. And the people said, “Moses, look what you have done to us. Would it not have been better to serve the Egyptians than to die here in this wilderness?” Then suddenly, when all of the Egyptian army was in the sea, there came a terrible roaring sound and all of those vast, high walls of water came tumbling down and swallowed up the entire Egyptian army.
So, what is the main lesson here. In all honesty, there are many lessons here, but I will mention just a few. First, don’t ever count God out, no matter how impossible the challenge is before you. When God makes promises to set you free from your challenges in life, He’ll keep His promise. Like Moses, you simply have to put aside doubt, exercise faith and trust Him. Second, don’t ever question the power of true, committed, sincere prayer. This kind of prayer can hold back mountains of water, take away the stress of fear and open up a way before you that you never would have imagined possible. But, third, and perhaps most important, very often the challenges before us are there to prepare and strengthen us to deal with even bigger challenges that are coming up behind. Our God always has an amazing plan to take us through every trial!