Personal studies on Exodus 14

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Exodus 14:1-13

Someone asked me if I shared my writings with my pastors. Anytime I put up notes from a teaching at church, I make sure the pastor who taught the teaching gets a copy along with all of your comments. That way, if I have a mistake in my understanding, the pastor can correct me and I would pass the correction onto you. Also the pastors are blessed by your comments, and often when given the blog entry their first glances are for your comments. When a visiting pastor comes to our church, I also get their permission before posting the notes, and make sure that they get a copy of what I write. I do not want to ever give out false information.

You may not realize this, but sometimes Pastor Don actually teaches the next Bible study addressing comments from you. I try very hard to only write the notes that I understand so that I can answer any questions, but if I have a problem with a comment or question, I bring it to the attention of the pastor. So in a big way, you are all part of our Bible studies, even if you are not there in person.

The Bible studies that do not have a pastor associated with them are my own thoughts and studies, such as the one below.

Exodus 14:1-2 Now the Lord spoke to Moses saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon: you shall camp before it by the sea.

From a tactical point of view, in the flesh, this would be the WORST place to camp if you are being chased by Pharaoh’s army. Sort of between a rock and a hard place.  In fact the Israelites would be boxed in with the Red Sea at their backs and walls on either side. I am certain Pharaoh who would be chasing them figured that God was a poor military general. And the Israelites will begin to cry out to God, wondering why they left the “safety” of Egypt – not so safe if you remember that their sons were being drowned.

PiHahiroth means the mount of the caves and also in some translations place of liberty
BaalZephon (notice Baal, a god who was made into an idol) tower or military fortress, it is also the land of the North, and represents God’s Judgment, for example Ezekiel 1:4 Then I looked, and behold a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.
Red Sea (red is blood), sea in many passages of scripture refers also to nations and peoples.

Exodus 14:3-4 “For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, “They are bewildered by the land, the wilderness has closed them in. Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.” And they did so.

How quickly Pharaoh forgot – the plagues, flies, frogs, blood seas, death of first born sons. Most probably the funeral rites were still going on in his land. He thinks that God will now abandon the Israelites, there is a pride there that will be dangerous to Pharaoh and his followers.

Exodus 14:5 Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people, and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?

The Egyptians had become dependent on the slavery of the Israelites, and now they would have to do their own work. People do not like change, and we see so often in our lives that when we, as Christians, make a change in our way of dealing with the world that the world comes against that. They want to drag us back to the old and comfortable ways of doing things, to destroy the new relationship, to tear down the growth. For the Egyptians who had 400 years of comfort at the hands of the Israelites, now they have to stand on their own. You know what this sort of reminds me of? When Christianity is forced out of areas, such as our schools, the morality suffers. When the rapture occurs, there will be moral decline and chaos on the earth. What holds our earth together is the moral code given by God, with that removed, anarchy will ensue. Those who claim that they make their own laws, govern themselves, etc, do not realize how strong a moral backbone has been given to them by the Judeo Christian teachings. They may think they are making their own moral codes, but much is gleaned from God.

Pharaoh listened to the grumbling of the Egyptians and figured he had to do something or his popularity would slip in the polls, sorry wrong century. Even today it is rare to have a political leader who does the right thing for the people at the expense of his rating. Most govern by what the polls state.

Exodus 14:6-7 So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. Also he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them.

In Pharaoh’s day, that would be like taking all the newest and best weapons of our country to go to war. And who taking them against people marching on foot. He had to feel in his pride that he would easily conquer these Israelites. In those days Egyptian Chariots caused awe and fear in the enemies’ eyes.

Exodus 14:8-9 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea besides Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.

Remember, at first Pharaoh hardened his own heart, then God gave him the desire of his heart, to be hardened against God.

The Children of Israel went out celebrating their liberty, and they will face what we often face when God liberates us from a particularly tough area in our lives, the inevitable rock and hard spot. After a victory we often end up in a bit of a valley. It is important to realize that it is God who gives us our liberty, and sometimes the valleys are really our friend for they remind us just who is God, and what God has done. It also makes us stand up on our own two feet. Remember when our kids were little and just starting to stand. When they fell down, we picked them up, kissed them, and set them on their feet again to toddle until the next fall. God does that with us. When we hit a valley, he picks us up and we toddle a little further in our spiritual path until the next fall. As we do this, our spiritual muscles and maturity are growing, and God applauds our successes in Him.

We can also look at this situation with a lot of hindsight, and wonder at the stupidity of Pharaoh, who, in spite of all the miracles and plagues that God demonstrated hardened his heart against God’s desires. Haven’t we all done that too? We have even a longer history of written examples of God’s miracles (The Bible) and miracles in this day and age, and the fulfillment of prophecy, and there are still those who harden their hearts against God, refuse to believe, and disobey Him. We even at times miss God’s commands in our lives. When we look back on our lives, with hindsight, we are going to see where we missed God.

Exodus 14:10 And when Pharaoh drew near the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.

Notice that Israel only lifted their eyes to view their circumstances, not all the way up to God. It is so easy, in the midst of troubles, to forget that God is above and beyond all that we can see or imagine.

Exodus 14:11-12 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were not graves in Egypt, have you take us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt?” Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, “Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”

Egypt was a land focused on death, the pyramids and embalming, etc. Why would God let the Israelites escape Egypt only to let the Egyptians slaughter them in the wilderness? That would be rather foolish. Here is the beginning of the grumblings of the Israelites. And I wish I could say that it wasn’t true of me also. Some things that God has freed me from, He had to pry my fingers off of. One example is being able to let go of anger to my parents. I held onto that anger long after both parents were dead, and forgiveness did not come easy. Yet, once I finally trusted God and obeyed Him, there was a liberty I could not imagine. But we get used to the way things are, even if they are bad, rather than take the risk of change and trusting in God.

Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.

God, through Moses, gave the people the following three instructions.

1. FEAR NOT. That seems a no brainer when we look back at what happens, but in the midst of the trouble, when Pharaoh was breathing down their necks, fear would come up. Sometimes we lose sight of the bigness of God, when the fear takes over. Fear and faith cannot inhabit the same space. If we are operating in fear, we are not having faith in God to see us through.
2. STAND STILL. How many times have we blocked what God is wanting to do by trying to solve the problem in our own strength. Sometimes we think we know what to do and all we do is interfere with God’s plan. Believe it or not, God does not need our help, although sometimes He lets us help Him. Before Jesus died on the cross for us, in the garden He asked God if this cup could be taken away from Him, God did not give Jesus an alternate plan. The salvation we receive we got through what Jesus did, not through anything we do or could do. We just need to stand still and accept His great gift.
3. SEE THE SALVATION OF THE LORD. This is such a perfect picture of what Jesus did for us, taking us out of Egypt and protecting us, freeing us from the bonds of sin and death. The parting of the Red Sea has a lot of parallels to Jesus. The Red Sea represents the boundary of satan’s authority. Walking through the Red Sea is like a baptism, and they carried the bones of Joseph across towards the promised land.

Hebrews 11:23-29 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s command. By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the treasures in Egypt, for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the k king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians attempting to do so, were drowned.

As the Israelites walk with God, He will teach them about faith, obedience, and trust in God as provider. It took faith, but Moses was a good shepherd of his people, and he led them and taught them as God instructed him.

Most of you know the rest of the story, which I am going to save until the next time, but I want to mention that there are now a lot of alternate explanations of this parting of the Red Sea that try to leave God out of the mix. One of which is that the place where Moses crossed was only six inches deep. Well, consider that, it takes far more faith to believe that all of Pharaoh’s army was drowned in six inches of water, than in how the Bible portrays the crossing. We need to trust God’s Word, for it is the truth.

Hoping you have a blessed day.

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
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