God has just flexed, taken down the Egyptian gods, and Pharaoh has finally agreed to let God’s people leave Egypt.
35The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
37The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38Many other people (“mixed multitude”) went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.
God gives instructions about commemorating with the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
17When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
The kindness of God is stunning in those 1st 2 verses.
Maybe you are in a season of your life where you wish the Lord would just move this thing along a little faster.
It is the mercy of God that led them the long way.
These people weak and weary from 400 years of slavery would return to their chains if they saw the Philistines.
Before God let them see the Philistines, He wanted shape them, He wanted to strengthen them, He wanted to mold them, He wanted to bolster their confidence in Him and His mercy and His grace so He took them the long way.
Perhaps if you feel that the Lord is taking His time leading you to where He’s taking you, I would never begrudge the long way. It is almost always God’s mercy on your life.
God will not take you a quick, easy way that leads to destruction because He loves you.
He takes you the long, slow way where you murmur and complain because He loves you.
My story of singleness
19Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”
They did what they promised Joseph. Because of his faith in God he predicted this 400 years earlier.
Because if anyone knew about the faithfulness of God…
If anyone knew about being set apart…
If anyone knew about God leading us the long way to get to where He ultimately wants us - it was Joseph.
When God shows up, take my bones to our home.
20After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
Cloud by Day
Fire by Night
I think we hear this and think, “that would be awesome, I want that.”
But we have something far better.
We have the power of the Holy Spirit, who reveals Jesus through the Word of God.
But somewhere in our country’s church history, a laziness has set in and we don’t know the Bible, which is where God reveals Himself most.
We have gotten lazy with theology.
It’s like there became this idea that the more you know about the Bible the more crusty or self-righteous you are.
The more you know the God of the Bible, the less you love Him.
It doesn’t make sense.
The more you get to know your wife, the more you’ll dislike her.
The more you get to know your friends, the more you’ll hate them.
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
It is alive. It speaks to us. And it brings life not death.
The scientist who has studied his whole life and knows all about the strawberry, but has never eaten one is at a distinct disadvantage to the 2-year old who has actually tasted strawberries.
How much more does the one who understand the science of the strawberry enjoy so much more the strawberry when he tastes it.
In scripture we not only see the Nature & Character of God,
The thou shalt and thou shalt nots…
All of which are God inviting you into how he designed the universe to work for His glory and for your good.
To be lazy about the Bible is to rob ourselves and put ourselves in harm’s way.
Back to our story…
1Then the Lord said to Moses, 2“Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.
5When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
10As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 12Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
13Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Hundreds of Chariots and horsemen coming after them… and ALL OF THEM have just lost s son.
Are they ready to take back slaves or completely destroy the Israelites?
The Israelites are dressed for war, but they haven’t been trained for war.
It’s like Halloween.
God has just been flexing for weeks now right?
The people of God have always been slow to learn.
These people just moments ago plundered the Egyptians and God took down the entire nation.
And already they are afraid and complaining, and have forgotten what God JUST did.
They accuse God of betraying them, forgetting them, not being faithful.
Can you imagine what God is thinking??…
All that He has done and they accuse Him of being unkind, cruel, forgetful, short-sighted.
Watch His response…
God is faithful when we are not.
God covers us in His power AND when we are faithless, He is faithful!
When we think…
Surely God is punishing me
Surely God is not for me
Surely I have blown it
Surely I complain too much
Surely I don’t have enough faith,,,
To which God would say…
“Shhhhh… I got you!”
God destroys His enemies which leads us into freedom.
15Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 16Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 17I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 18The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
19Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, 20coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
21Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
23The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. 24During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. 25He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
26Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” 27Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. 28The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
29But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. 30That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. 31And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
We are marked by compassion and mercy and grace.
1. God wants you out of slavery… (FREEDOM)
2. Even if you are SERVING YOURSELF.
6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Regardless of how unfaithful you have been, God still has freedom for you.
The Cross is still about God’s work.
Let God set your direction and pace.