Exodus 14 Commentary

Irving Jensen (Online) - Used by Permission
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Summary Chart of
The Book of Exodus
DELIVERANCE
FROM OPPRESSION
PREPARATION FOR
WORSHIP
Redemption from Egypt
Ex 1:1-18:27
Revelation from God
Ex 19:1-40:38
Getting Israel Out of Egypt Getting Egypt Out of Israel!
Narration Legislation
Birth of
Moses
Ex 1-2
Call of
Moses
Ex 3-6
Conflict with Pharaoh
Ex 7-10
Exodus
from
Egypt
Ex 11-12
Red
Sea
Crossed
Ex 13-15
Journey
To
Sinai
Ex 16-18
Law
Given
Ex 19-24
Tent
Plan
Ex 25-31
Idol
Worship
Ex 32-34
Tent
Built
Ex 35-40
Subjection Redemption Instruction
Suffering and Liberation
of People of God
Guidance
of God
Worship
of God
Moses and
Burdens of Israel
Pharaoh and
Plagues Upon Egypt
Red Sea
Deliverance
Wilderness
Provision
Sinai
Instructions
Bondage
and Oppression
Deliverance
and Provision
Law Pattern
and Construction
Israel in Egypt
Ex 1:1-13:16
Israel to Sinai
Ex 13:17-18:27
Israel at Sinai
Ex 19:1-40:38
God's People
Enduring
Bondage
God's Grace
Revealed
in Redemption
God's Glory
Manifested
in Worship
Egypt
430 Years

(15% of Exodus)
Wilderness
2 Months

(30% of Exodus)
Mt Sinai
10 Months

(55% of Exodus)
From
Groaning
                To
Glory!
 
Jensen's Survey of the Old Testament - online

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GENESIS EXODUS
human effort and failure divine power and triumph
word of promise work of fulfillment
a people chosen a people called
God’s electing mercy God’s electing manner
revelation of nationality realization of nationality

SUMMARY OF THE PENTATEUCH
(from Believer's Study Bible)

Exodus 14:1  Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

Someone has written that the story in Exodus 14 is one of the best known events in the entire Bible and might in fact be one of the best known events in all the world, particularly the modern, developed world. The chapter divides into the divine instructions in Exodus 14:1-14 and the report of Yahweh's victory in Exodus 14:15-31. 

Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying - As Wiersbe says "He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.” (Ps. 103:7). The Jewish people were told what God wanted them to do, but Moses was told why God was doing it. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him And He will make them know His covenant.” (Ps 25:14). The leadership of Moses was a key ingredient in Israel’s success." (Be Delivered)

Exodus 14:2  "Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea.

  • that they - Ex 14:9 13:17,18 Nu 33:7,8 
  • Migdol - . Jer 44:1 46:14 Eze 29:10, 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Click to Enlarge - Three Possible Locations of Encampment

"ABOUT FACE"
CAMP WITH BACK TO THE SEA!

Keep the context in mind. We have just been told that "The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." (Ex 13:21-22) And now in addition to that leading by the pillar, Jehovah gives Moses a change in the "itinerary!"

THOUGHT - Why did God lead Israel to this place which was militarily speaking a place of sure defeat? Because God knows that the place of desperation can become for us the place of dependence on Him! It is that place that we come to where we can see absolutely no way out, and then in utter desperation we have to cast ourselves completely, totally, upon Jehovah. In the place of desperation we come to understand the passage "Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." (Ps 55:22+)

    All the way my Savior leads me;
    What have I to ask beside?
    Can I doubt His tender mercy,
    Who through life has been my Guide?
-- Fanny Crosby

John Currid phrases it this way - The Hebrews have all the evidence  they need to believe that God is protecting them and that they will succeed in their escape from Egypt. How soon that assurance is shattered! God is about to place Israel back into the fiery furnace, into the raging crucible! (EPSC-Ex)

Adrian Rogers calls this section of Exodus "the discipline of detours" and "dilemma of dead ends" - We say that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points. Well, it may be the shortest distance, but it's not always the best distance. And, God has a purpose, many times, in His detours. And, He tells us, very quickly and very plainly, why He did not lead them directly, in Ex 13:17. God knew that they weren't ready...for war.

THOUGHT - "God has a land of blessing for you. And, God has a place of fulfillment for you. And, God has a job for you to do. And, God has blessing upon blessing that He wants to give to you. And yet, He may have you, right now, out in the wilderness, going 'round and 'round in circles. And, you may think that you are out of the will of God. But, you're not out of the will of God. God is leading you 'round about, because God knows that you're not quite ready for some of the things that He has in store for you. And so, that winding road, that rocky road, that desert road, and that wilderness road that sometimes we find ourselves on does not mean that we're out of the will of God. God led them. This is the whole point: that God led them on a detour. God did not lead them on the straightest route. Sometimes, folks, you can get there too quickly. I've seen these 90-day wonders. They go up like a rocket and come down like a rock. They get out there; and they want it, and they want it now. But, you see, the reason that God led them in the wilderness was because it was God's boot camp. It was out there that He was going to toughen them....You know, that's a blessing to me, sometimes, because we all think we have to be achieving, and we have to be going in straight lines, or we are out of the will of God. Not necessarily so. The important thing is not that you know; the important thing is that God knows, and that you follow Him.  (Adrian Rogers)

Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea; you shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea - Turn back (Heb = shub/sub; Lxx = apostrepho) means to change direction (like the military word "about face!" - reverse direction!) and this was the result of a divine directive, not a whim of their will.  Yahweh gave this command to Moses to tell Israel to turn back and camp by the sea. There is uncertainty as where this location was, but one thing is clear, that it was by the sea. On one side of the camp was Egyptian territory and on the other was the sea. This command humanly would not appear to be the best strategic or military decision, because Israel would be exposed to Pharaoh if he should come after them and their backs would be to the sea. But human plans are not always in synch with divine plans! The Egyptians would interpret Israel's REVERSAL OF DIRECTION as failure to find the direct route to Canaan.

Alan Cole on the locations and names - Some are sites unknown to us (e.g. the good Egyptian name Pi-ha-hiroth, ‘region of salt marshes’) while others are ambiguous (several places called Migdol or ‘watchtower’ are known). Baal-zephon, ‘Baal of the north’ is interesting evidence for the influence of Canaanite religion on Egypt, for it is clearly the temple of a Canaanite god. (TOTC-Ex) 

Currid - Israel is on the brink of escape into the wilderness. But God orders the people to ‘turn back’. Instead of breaking out of the land of death, God causes the Hebrews to reverse their course. He then commands them to encamp with their backs to the sea, and so it appears that they have no escape route out of Egypt. They are sitting ducks. (Ibid)

THOUGHT - Have you ever been led into a situation in which you thought God was leading you, but the situation seemed to be far less optimal then you had thought or hoped it would be? Sometimes God allows us in "tight spots" to test us and show us His power and glory. 

Migdol is related to a Hebrew word meaning "fortress" or "tower" and while the location is uncertain. Historically, Egypt had a number of "fortresses" guarding her eastern boundary and presumably this name refers to one of those fortresses. 

Spurgeon - It might have been sufficient for the pillar of cloud to move that way; but it was really such an extraordinary thing for the Lord to lead the people right down to the sea that he gave a special command as well as the movement of the cloud. That Moses himself might not be staggered by what would seem to him to be such strange guidance the Lord tells him what to say to the people and then gives him this explanation:

F B Meyer - Often God seems to place His children in positions of profound difficulty—leading them into a wedge from which there is no escape; contriving a situation which no human judgment would have permitted, had it been previously consulted. The very cloud conducts them thither. You may be thus involved at this very hour. It does seem perplexing and very serious to the last degree; but it is perfectly right. The issue will more than justify Him who has brought you hither. It is a platform for the display of His almighty grace and power. He will not only deliver you, but in doing so He will give you a lesson that you will never forget; and to which, in many a psalm and song in after days, you will revert. You will never be able to thank God enough for having done just as He has.

Matthew Henry - God sometimes raises difficulties in the way of the salvation of his people, that he may have the glory of subduing them, and helping his people over them


GOD HAD SET ISRAEL UP FOR A TRIAL WITH THIS CHANGE OF DIRECTION -- HE DOES THE SAME IN LIVES TODAY

Steven Cole - God ordains trials so that we will trust Him.

God does this on different levels. Often, He brings trials into our lives before we have trusted in Christ as Savior to show us our need for Him. Countless testimonies run along the lines, “I was a happy unbeliever when suddenly I got hit with some overwhelming trials that showed me that I needed God. About that time, a Christian friend told me that Jesus died on the cross for all my sins and offers me eternal life as a free gift if I would trust in Him. I realized that I needed Christ and trusted Him at that time.”

I love the story of blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52). If he had not been blind, he probably wouldn’t have been as desperate to meet Jesus. But as it was, when he heard that Jesus was passing by, he cried out (Mark 10:47), “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many tried to silence him, but he yelled all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus heard him, stopped, and called him to come. Jesus asked (Mark 10:51), “What do you want Me to do for you?” He wanted Bartimaeus to acknowledge his need and his faith. Bartimaeus said, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” Jesus healed him instantly, saying (Mark 10:52), “Go; your faith has made you well.” Bartimaeus’ blindness drove him in faith to the only One who could help. If you’ve never trusted in Christ as your Savior, let your trials drive you to faith in Him!

But also, God ordains trials for us as believers so that we will trust Him more deeply. The apostle Paul was not weak in faith. But even he needed to trust God more. He wrote (2 Cor. 1:8-10), “For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.”

But we need to be careful so that our cry to God in a time of need is genuine. In Exodus 14:10, as Pharaoh and his army drew near to the trapped Israelites, we read that they cried out to the Lord. But then they immediately (Exod. 14:11-12) accuse Moses of bringing them out of Egypt so that they could die in the wilderness. They remind him that they had said when they were back in Egypt that it would be better to remain slaves in Egypt than to die in the wilderness. Their accusation assumed that they knew better than either Moses or God about what would be best for them! So their cry to God was just a cry of panic, not of genuine faith. Genuine faith submits to God’s mighty hand in trials, casting all cares on Him (1 Pet. 5:6-7). Complaining or accusing God of harming you is evidence of a lack of genuine faitHh.

God is sovereign over all things, including the trials that come into our lives.


Rod Mattoon - God was leading the Hebrews through this trial for He wanted His people to learn some valuable lessons. They have done everything that the Lord has asked them to do, and He is going to protect them. We will find that this will be the last trial for Pharaoh. It will be the first severe trial for Israel since their departure from Egypt.
Beloved, the trials that we go through are for our benefit, growth, and maturity for these are the by-products of trials when we respond to them properly.
James 1:3-4-... Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. [4] But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Romans 5:3-And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Job 23:10-But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
If Israel could see their Red Sea situation from God's viewpoint, the "worry barometer" would barely have a reading at all. Unfortunately, we don't have the benefit of God's viewpoint of our troubles. The mystery, uncertainty, and inability to understand our trauma create stress, pressure, fear, and is at the root of our suffering. We must come to a point where we MUST trust in Him. We don't have God's viewpoint of our trials, but we do have HIM, and can trust in Him.
Isaiah 26:3-Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.


Bill Bright - God’s People in Trouble
In Exodus 14:1–4, the Israelites experienced an unrecognized blessing. As you read, notice the human viewpoint of the people and God’s viewpoint as seen in Moses.

1.      How did the Israelites react to apparent danger (Exodus 14:10–12)?
2.      Notice how Moses reacted. Why do you think he commanded the people as he did (Exodus 14:13, 14)?
3.      What did God accomplish in their hearts and minds through this experience (Exodus 14:31)?
4.      Think back to a crisis in your life. How did those around you respond?

  •     How did you react?
  •     How could you have improved your attitude?
  •     List ways God has worked through difficulties in your life, and has shown these difficulties really to be blessings.

 Taking the Proper Attitude

1.      List some things the Bible guarantees when you are tempted or tested (1 Corinthians 10:13).
2.      How can the Bible’s guarantee in Romans 8:28 be true that everything will work out for good to those who love God?   When have you ever doubted God’s work in your life? Why?
3.      What response to tribulation does God expect from you, according to Romans 5:3–5?    What are the results of tribulations? (See also James 1:3.)
4.      What is the purpose of unrecognized blessings according to:    2 Corinthians 1:3, 4     Hebrews 12:5–11
5.      Read 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and Hebrews 13:15.

  •     What response does God command in all situations?
  •     How can you rejoice and give thanks when sorrow and tragedy come?
  •     Contrast this with the attitude of the Israelites in Exodus 14:1–12.

LIFE APPLICATION

  1      List the methods by which an attitude of trust can become a reality for you. (See Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Romans 10:17.)
  2      With what trial in your life do you need to trust God right now?
  3      What do you think the unrecognized blessings in that trial could be?
  4      How can you receive those blessings?

Exodus 14:3  "For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.'

  • Pharaoh - Ex 7:3,4 De 31:21 Ps 139:2,4 Eze 38:10,11,17 Ac 4:28 
  • They are wandering aimlessly - Jdg 16:2 1Sa 23:7,23 Ps 3:2 71:11 Jer 20:10,11 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PHARAOH WONDERS ABOUT
ISRAEL'S WILDERNESS WANDERING!

For Pharaoh will say of the sons of Israel, 'They are wandering aimlessly in the land - Jehovah tells Moses what Pharaoh would begin to think and vocalize presumably to his counselors. The NET renders his vocalization as "They are wandering around confused in the land". This of course would have been Pharaoh's humanistic rationale, thinking in essence that Israel was "dazed and confused," but the fact is they were not, for they were being led by God Himself! They were being divinely directed so were hardly wandering aimlessly! Pharaoh is excited at the thought he would finally be able to crush Israel, not knowing that it was his own army would be crushed by the weight of the water that would engulf them! He has clearly jettisoned from his thinking the idea that Israel's God might also protect the people He had just delivered! Pharaoh was out of his mind! 

NOTE - The verb for wandering aimlessly (buk) is used only 2 other times (Esther 3:15 = "Susa was in confusion" [Lxx - tarasso - in an uproar], Joel 1:18+), Joel's use (in context of the Day of the Lord) describing the "herds of cattle (that) wander aimlessly because their is no pasture for them." The picture (in Pharaoh's mind) is graphic -- Israel is like a bunch of cattle wandering about in confusion. He had no concept of a God Who not only would deliver His people but then lead His people. The Septuagint translates wandering aimlessly (buk) here in Ex 14:3 with the verb planao which means to be misled, caused to wander (astray) and is in the present tense, so the Egyptians interpret their REVERSAL as an indication that they are continually lost! So they make plans to pounce! 

Guzik - We could say that God set an ambush for Pharaoh. Even after the horror of the death of the firstborn, the change in Pharaoh’s heart was only temporary (he will pursue them). He was quick to strike at Israel when he had the chance.

The wilderness has shut them in - "the desert has closed in on them." (NET). Jehovah predicts how Pharaoh will respond to Israel's departure, and here that he will think "they are trapped in the wilderness." (NLT). The NIV has Israel "hemmed in by the desert." 

Cole - Israel seemed to have taken a ‘dead-end’ road, since the sea or salt marshes now barred their way ahead and the desert was a barrier round them on all other sides.

Kaiser comments "Pharaoh assumed that Israel’s divine help had run out and that they were hopelessly entangled on a dead-end trail since the desert, the sea, and marshes barred their way out of this trap. God, however, had commanded Moses (v.3: “Pharaoh will think”) to take this impossible route to show the Egyptians once more that he was God (v.4; see 7:17; 9:14) and to show Israel his great power (vv.30–31). 

J Vernon McGee - Pharaoh has spies watching the children of Israel. The movement of two and one half million people would be difficult to conceal anyway. Pharaoh expects the Israelites to move up the coastal route and through the land of the Philistines. When they head toward the wilderness, he thinks they are lost and do not know where they are going. God says that when he thinks they are trapped, he will pursue them. It is obvious that Pharaoh let the Israelites go reluctantly. God is not through with this man Pharaoh yet.

Exodus 14:4  "Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." And they did so.

  • harden - Ex 14:8,17 4:21-31 7:3,13,14 Ro 11:8 
  • I will be - Ex 14:18 9:16 15:10,11,14-16 18:11 Ne 9:10 Isa 2:11,12 Eze 20:9 Eze 28:22 39:13 Da 4:30-37 Ro 9:17,22,23 Rev 19:1-6 
  • the Egyptians - Ex 7:5,17 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DIVINE "ATHEROCLEROSIS"
OF PHARAOH'S HEART 

Thus I will harden Pharaoh's heart - The Hebrew verb chazaq (strengthen, but in this case make hard) is translated in the Lxx with skleruno meaning to harden, often describing Israel' heart especially in their wilderness wandering (Heb 3:8, Heb 3:13, Heb 3:15, Heb 4:7). This divine hardening reflects the truth God's sovereign power described in Pr 21:1 "The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes."

Related Resource: 

And he will chase after them - Chase is the Hebrew verb radaph translated in the Lxx with katadiokio (also in Lxx of Pharaoh's pursuit in Ex 14:8, 9, 23) which usually signifies pursuit in a hostile sense, searching for eagerly, to the point of tracking or hunting down (first use in Lxx in Ge 14:14 of Abram going after Lot's captors, cf Ge 31:36)! Pharaoh would pursue Israel with a passion to punish! Currid adds that radaph "is normally used in the Old Testament of a man or a group pursuing others for revenge. And, thus, it sometimes bears the connotation of ‘persecution’" (Ibid)

Now we see the reason Jehovah had turned Israel around and placed them in a strategically vulnerable location - it was that He would display His sovereign power over the most powerful army in the world and in so doing would "save" His people and bring great glory and honor to His Name, Jehovah, the Name the Egyptians would come to know! 

And I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army - "I will gain honor." (NET) The NLT paraphrases it "I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army." The Lxx (endoxazomai) means God would be highly esteemed, glorified, renowned. TDNT says "The verb endoxazomai, which is peculiar to the Bible, can refer to human distinction but denotes mainly the magnifying of God's majesty either in those who serve him or in his acts of retribution (Isa 49:3; Ex. 14:4). There is an interesting play on words here because the this same verb  kabad/kabed which is here translated to be honored (as it also is in Ex 14:17, 18) is the same word used multiple times earlier during the plagues to describe hardening of Pharaoh's heart (3 times of he himself hardening, once of God hardening, once uncertain = Ex 8:15; Ex 8:32; Ex 9:7; Ex 9:34; Ex 10:1). As the NET Note puts it "So judgment will not only destroy the wicked—it will reveal the glory and majesty of the sovereignty of God." Currid expresses the irony this way - "Pharaoh’s heart is ‘heavy’ so that ‘heaviness’ would be given to Yahweh!" 

And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD  - This final Red Sea "baptism" of the entire Egyptian army will fulfill God's purpose of Egypt coming to know God is Jehovah. Know (Heb - yada; Lxx - ginosko) means they would come to know intimately and by personal experience and yet not salvifically. So in the time when they are about to drown, they finally come to a knowledge of Jehovah! God had earlier predicted they would know Him as Yahweh, having declared "The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.” (Ex 7:5+) Since Israel had been brought out by the strong hand of Yahweh from the midst of Egypt, there should have already been a sense in which the Egyptians knew God as Jehovah. But with the destruction of the Egyptian army, they would come to know Him even more as Jehovah, as the One Who had the power over life and death! 

THOUGHT - Sadly their "knowledge" would not save them from eternal damnation, just as "knowledge" about Jesus will not save many today, for Jesus will say to those who claim to know "I never (at any time) knew you. Depart from Me you who practice (present tense) lawlessness (NB: Their habitual practice of lawlessness is clear evidence that they never really knew Him and did not possess His Holy Spirit Who energizes practice of godliness not lawlessness!)." (Mt 7:23+).

And they did so - To whom does they refer? In context, this describes the obedience of Israel to the command of Jehovah through Moses to turn back and camp by the sea. And so the NLT paraphrases it "So the Israelites camped there as they were told." NIV has "So the Israelites did this." In obeying Jehovah, humanly speaking they looked like they were trapped like rats with no possible way of escape. How like God to providentially orchestrate such a humanly non-sensical setting! 

As Currid says "God is controlling this event to his own end and glory. Yes, Israel is placed in the fiery furnace, but man’s extremity is God’s opportunity. The sovereignty of God is the point of this lesson: it is he who puts Israel in a dire situation, and it is he who hardens Pharaoh’s heart. He is directing the scene. We are witnessing a great maestro conducting a grand symphony!" (Ibid)

Spurgeon - Those four words, “And they did so,” though they are very short and very simple words, express a great deal. Oh, that it might always be said of all of us whenever God commands us to do anything, “And they did so.”

Exodus 14:5  When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people, and they said, "What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?"

 
  • heart - Ex 12:33 Ps 105:25 
  • What is this - Jer 34:10-17 Lu 11:24-26 2Pe 2:20-22 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PHARAOH HAS ANOTHER
CHANGE OF HEART!

By now we have become accustomed to this Pharaoh's double minded dealing, and are not totally surprised he changes his mind. However, this time the hand of Yahweh is behind the scenes controlling the scenes He is behind. 

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled - It was reported to him and may have been reported that Israel was ostensibly trapped by the sea.

Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people - "the heart of Pharaoh and his servants turned against the people" (Currid) The verb haphak translated here as had a change is the same one used in Ex 7:15+ of "the staff that was turned into a serpent," and Ex 7:17, 20+ to describe the Nile "turned to blood." Haphak is the same verb used when "the LORD shifted (haphak) the wind to a very strong west wind which took up the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea." (Ex 10:19+). Pharaoh's heart had been temporarily "softened" after the Tenth Plague, but not turned back (like a staff to a snake - pun intended) to its previously hardened state. 

Had a change (02015)(haphak) "The root hāpak figures prominently in connection with three themes of Scripture. First, it is found in association with the expression of God's anger and wrath upon unrepentant Sodom and Gomorrah: Genesis 19:21, 25, 29; Deut. 29:23 [H 22]; Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 20:16; Jeremiah 49:18; Jeremiah 50:40; Amos 4:11; Lament. 4:6. Perhaps the use of this verb will shed light on the exact nature of the catastrophe. That it was a volcanic eruption seems unlikely. On the other hand, to translate hāpak in these instances as "annihilate" would suggest the disastrous effects of an earthquake, accompanied by lightning which ignited the natural gases of the Jordan Valley area, producing the terrible inferno (and cf. Job 28:5). By extension, God promises the same treatment to Jerusalem (2 Kings 21:13); Nineveh (Jonah 3:4); the unbelieving nations (Haggai 2:22, parallel with shāmad) and generally "the wicked" (Proverbs 12:7). Man is also capable of "overthrowing" (i.e. reducing to vassalage) another city (1 Chron. 19:3; 2 Samuel 10:3) or even mountains (Job 28:9, something God does too, Job 9:5).

The second theme of Scripture in the development of which hāpak appears frequently is the miracles surrounding Israel's exodus from Egypt and her pilgrimage in the wilderness. Most often the verb describes God's actions in turning the Nile into blood (Ex 7:17, 20; Ps 78:44; Psalm 105:29, and cf. the reference to the streams of Edom becoming pitch in Isaiah 34:9). The mind of Pharaoh and his servants was "changed" upon hearing of the escape of the Israelites (Exodus 14:5); God even "turned" the hearts of the Egyptians to hate his people (Psalm 105:25). To make Israel's escape good God "turned" the sea into dry land (Psalm 66:6). The Lord "turned" a strong west wind which drove the locusts into the Red Sea (Exodus 10:19). God had "turned" the rod into a serpent (Ex 7:15). He "turned" the rock unto a pool of water (Ps 114:8). While passing through the territory of Moab Israel was the intended recipient of a curse from the hired professional seer Balaam, but God "turned" Balaam's curse into a blessing (Dt. 23:5; Neh. 13:2).

The third theme is the biblical description of the symptoms of leprosy as described in Leviticus 13. In this one chapter the root hāpak appears nine times (Lev 13:3, 4, 10, 13, 16, 17, 20, 25, 55), mostly in connection with the hair turning white as a sign of leprosy.

Elsewhere it is of interest to note that hāpak in the translation "to turn" is neutral in meaning, as is one of its synonyms shûb. That is, it may mean to turn (from) good to bad with either God or man as the subject. "I will turn your feasts into mourning" (Amos 8:10). "Against me he turns his hand" (in judgment as opposed to blessing, Lam 3:3). With man as the subject cf. "you have turned into a degenerate vine (Jer 2:21); "those whom I love have turned against me (Job 19:19); you have turned justice into poison" (Amos 6:12). It may indicate a change in attitude from joy to chagrin (with man, Lam 1:20; with God, Hosea 11:8).

On the other hand, hāpak may be used positively in the sense of turning the doleful into the joyful, the bad into the good. Cf. "I will turn their mourning into joy" (Jer 31:13 and also Ps 30:11). "He turned the curse of Balaam into a blessing" (Dt. 23:5 and Neh. 13:2). "He (i.e. Saul) shall be changed into another man" (1 Sa 10:6). This root is used to describe the about face in the fortunes of the diasporic Jews living in Babylon in the days of Persian hegemony: Esther 9:1, 22." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament) 

Hapak/haphak - 92v - become(1), came(1), change(1), changed(6), changes(1), come(1), drained(1), give(1), had a change(1), inundate(1), overthrew(5), overthrow(5), overthrown(3), overthrows(1), overturned(1), overturns(2), perverted(2), reined about*(1), restore(1), retraced(1), shifted(1), tumbling(1), turn(6), turned(44), turned aside(1), turned back(1), turned over(1), turning(1), turning around(1). Gen. 3:24; Gen. 19:21; Gen. 19:25; Gen. 19:29; Ex. 7:15; Ex 7:17; Ex 7:20; Ex 10:19; Ex 14:5; Lev. 13:3; Lev. 13:4; Lev. 13:10; Lev. 13:13; Lev. 13:16; Lev. 13:17; Lev. 13:20; Lev. 13:25; Lev. 13:55; Deut. 23:5; Deut. 29:23; Jos. 7:8; Jos. 8:20; Jdg. 7:13; Jdg. 20:39; Jdg. 20:41; 1 Sam. 4:19; 1 Sam. 10:6; 1 Sam. 10:9; 1 Sam. 25:12; 2 Sam. 10:3; 1 Ki. 22:34; 2 Ki. 5:26; 2 Ki. 9:23; 2 Ki. 21:13; 1 Chr. 19:3; 2 Chr. 9:12; 2 Chr. 18:33; Neh. 13:2; Est. 9:1; Est. 9:22; Job 9:5; Job 12:15; Job 19:19; Job 20:14; Job 28:5; Job 28:9; Job 30:15; Job 30:21; Job 34:25; Job 37:12; Job 38:14; Job 41:28; Ps. 30:11; Ps. 32:4; Ps. 41:3; Ps. 66:6; Ps. 78:9; Ps. 78:44; Ps. 78:57; Ps. 105:25; Ps. 105:29; Ps. 114:8; Prov. 12:7; Prov. 17:20; Isa. 34:9; Isa. 60:5; Isa. 63:10; Jer. 2:21; Jer. 13:23; Jer. 20:16; Jer. 23:36; Jer. 30:6; Jer. 31:13; Lam. 1:20; Lam. 3:3; Lam. 4:6; Lam. 5:2; Lam. 5:15; Ezek. 4:8; Dan. 10:8; Dan. 10:16; Hos. 7:8; Hos. 11:8; Joel 2:31; Amos 4:11; Amos 5:7; Amos 5:8; Amos 6:12; Amos 8:10; Jon. 3:4; Zeph. 3:9; Hag. 2:22

And they said, "What is this we have done ("what in the world have we done?" NET) that we have let Israel go from serving us?" - One can imagine his reasoning was "We are losing 600,000 free laborers. We need to rectify this immediately!" Egypt had big building programs and needed the free labor! So Pharaoh quickly about  forgot the life/death power of God and pain of loss of his firstborn. 

Serving is the Hebrew verb abad which is used 29 times in Exodus. In the present passage the Lxx translates abad with  douleuo meaning to serve as a slave. When abad is used of serving Jehovah (Ex 4:23, Ex 7:16, Ex 8:1, Ex 8:20, Ex 9:1, Ex 9:13, Ex 10:3, 7, 8, 11, 24, 26) the Greek verb used to translate abad is latreuo which speaks of worshipful service. Pharaoh sought to enslave Israel, while Yahweh sought Israel's worship. 

Guzik - This was a strange question for Pharaoh to ask. It wasn’t difficult to think of at least ten good reasons—namely, ten powerful plagues—why Pharaoh let Israel go. This demonstrates how we are often quick to forget what God has done and demonstrated.. Perhaps Pharaoh thought that plagues were the limit of God’s power; that now he could successfully strike against Israel.. There is an analogy in this to the spiritual life. We sometimes think that Satan will let us go easily, or we think that that once we leave his kingdom he forgets about us. Yet just like Pharaoh after Israel, Satan pursues us, attempting to keep us at least on the fringes of his domain and hoping to destroy us if he can.

Spurgeon - Nothing but the grace of God will truly humble men. These Egyptians had been crushed by terrible plagues into a false kind of humility, but they were soon as proud as ever. Nothing but the omnipotent grace of God can really subdue a proud and stubborn heart.


Exodus 14:5-9, 21-31 Released From Bondage! by Theodore Epp

Just as the crossing of the Red Sea completed the deliverance of Israel from Egypt in order that they could begin their journey toward the Promised Land, so also when a person trusts Christ and has complete salvation, he is to progress in his Christian walk.

The crossing of both the Red Sea and the Jordan River illustrate what was accomplished for the believer in the death of Christ. At the Red Sea there was separation from Egypt; at the Jordan River there was an entering into the place of rest.

The place of rest for the believer is referred to in Hebrews 4:9,10: "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his."

For the believer the death of Christ not only separates him from this present evil world, but it also makes him spiritually alive and seats him with Christ.

What a glorious truth this is! We are on the resurrection side. We have much more than the forgiveness of sin; we have been associated with the risen Christ so that we may be united with Him forever and live the heavenly life.

He who was dead is now alive! And this same Jesus indwells the bodies of believers in order to live His life in them (1 Cor. 6:19,20). What a glorious privilege is ours!

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24).


Exodus 14:1-14 A Matter Of Perspective

I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. —Exodus 14:4

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution? Whether that question is posed during a business meeting, a church council, or a family discussion, it often springs from a sense of exasperation in trying to comprehend why someone has acted in a certain way. More often than not, the answer is a matter of perspective. If we had been among the Israelites leaving Egypt after 400 years of slavery, we would likely have seen Pharaoh as part of the problem—and he was. Yet God saw something more.

Inexplicably, the Lord told Moses to take the people back toward Egypt and camp with their backs to the Red Sea so Pharaoh would attack them (Ex. 14:1-3). The Israelites thought they were going to die, but God said that He would gain glory and honor for Himself through Pharaoh and all his army, “and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord” (Ex 14:4,17-18).

When we simply cannot understand why God allows circumstances that threaten to overwhelm us, it’s good to remember that He has our good and His glory in mind. If we can say, “Father, please enable me to trust and honor You in this situation,” then we will be in concert with His perspective and plan. By David C. McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Your words of pure, eternal truth
Shall yet unshaken stay,
When all that man has thought or planned,
Like chaff shall pass away.
—Anon.  

  Faith helps us to accept what we cannot understand.  

Exodus 14:6  So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him;

  • people - Ex 14:23 Nu 21:23 Dt 2:32 Dt 3:1 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CHARIOTS IN PURSUIT

PHARAOH PREPARES
TO PURSUE

So he made his chariot ready and took his people with him - Made his chariot ready means he harnessed or hitched his chariot, preparing it for action (cf Ge 46:29, 2 Ki 9:21). The Hebrew word is literally "people," but most versions interpret this as reference to his army or troops. Thus NLT has "Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called his troops." NET has "took his army with him." NAB has "mustered his soldiers."

Exodus 14:7  and he took six hundred select chariots, and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them.

  • Ex 14:23 15:4 Jos 17:16-18 JdG 4:3,15 Ps 20:7 68:17 Isa 37:24 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

PHARAOH'S OVERWHELMING
SHOW OF POWER

This many chariots and soldiers of the greatest military power in the world at this time would show how hopeless the chances of Israel would be to turn back the Egyptians. Pharaoh did not know that any number plus God is a majority! 

And he took six hundred select chariots - Chariots were the most sophisticated military technology available at that time. Select is the Hebrew verb "to choose" so conveys the sense that they were "choice" chariots! These were the best he had, probably the best in the world at that time! 

And all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them - All the other chariots may be literal and if so indicates Pharaoh was holding nothing back from his last ditch effort to punish these rebellious Israelites! This reflects the stubbornness of his heart that he would foolishly risk his entire army!

NET Note on officers - The word שָׁלִשִׁם (shalishim) means “officers” or some special kind of military personnel. At one time it was taken to mean a “three man chariot,” but the pictures of Egyptian chariots only show two in a chariot. It may mean officers near the king, “men of the third rank” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 394). So the chariots and the crew represented the elite. See

Exodus 14:8 The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly.

  • the LORD - Ex 14:4 
  • boldly - Ex 6:1 13:9,16,18 Nu 33:3 De 26:8 32:27 Ps 86:13 Ac 13:17 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

ISRAEL GOES OUT WITH
A HIGH HAND

The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel  -  Just as He had said "I will harden Pharaoh’s heart...will chase after them" (see note on Ex 14:4). God keeps His Word! 

As the sons of Israel were going out boldly - Now the Israelites were going out defiantly. (Ex 14:8NET) The NAS rendering of "boldly" is not as accurate as the NET's "defiantly." The literal rendering of boldly is "with a high hand." (Septuagint also = "with a high hand") The Israelites had not left the land as escaping fugitives but had gone out confidently.

Guzik - The idea behind the Hebrew words with boldness (ruwn yad) includes the idea of rebellion against authority (1 Kings 11:26–27). The rebellious nature of Israel was good when it was against Pharaoh and all it stood for; it was bad when it was against the LORD, Moses, and all they stood for. The trouble with most rebels is that they rebel against the wrong things.

Spurgeon - They were resolute and brave as long as they realized that God was with them; and the Egyptians behind them were bold and proud although God was not with them. There were two high hands that day, the high hand of the proud, puny Pharaoh and the high hand of the ever-blessed omnipotent Jehovah.

Exodus 14:9 Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

  • the Egyptians - Ex 15:9 Jos 24:6 
  • camping - Ex 14:2 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

AGAINST ALL
ODDS

Then the Egyptians chased after them with all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army - The desciption of this force again emphasizes the odds against Israel coming out victorious!

Henry Morris on all the horses - The fact that Egyptians still had many horses in spite of the fact that all of "the cattle of Egypt died" in the plague (Exodus 9:6) seems at first to be a contradiction. However, the account refers merely to "thy cattle which is in the field" (Exodus 9:3); no doubt "the horses and chariots of Pharaoh" were kept in the palatial stables. It is also possible that the term "cattle" did not include the horses. In any case, there is no necessary contradiction.

And they overtook them camping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon - Overtook does not indicate physical confrontation, but only that they came to close proximity of the campsite. NLT has a good paraphrase that "The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel."

Currid on camping by the sea - The Israelites were encamped by the sea. The Hebrew verb for ‘to camp’ bears the basic meaning of ‘to bend’, or ‘curve’, and when it is applied to settlement areas, it may perhaps reflect the circular configuration of an encampment.

McGee - The Red Sea is ahead of the Israelites, and the hosts of Egypt are behind them. These poor defenseless people are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. From a natural viewpoint, the Israelites are in a bad spot.

Exodus 14:10  As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.

Currid  As Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold the Egyptians were marching after them. And they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to Yahweh.

NET  Exodus 14:10 When Pharaoh got closer, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians marching after them, and they were terrified. The Israelites cried out to the LORD,

LXE  Exodus 14:10 And Pharao approached, and the children of Israel having looked up, beheld, and the Egyptians encamped behind them: and they were very greatly terrified, and the children of Israel cried to the Lord;

NLT  Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the LORD,

KJV  Exodus 14:10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.

ESV  Exodus 14:10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD.

NIV  Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD.

ASV  Exodus 14:10 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto Jehovah.

CSB  Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them. Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the LORD for help.

NKJ  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.

NRS  Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the LORD.

YLT  Exodus 14:10 And Pharaoh hath drawn near, and the sons of Israel lift up their eyes, and lo, the Egyptians are journeying after them, and they fear exceedingly, and the sons of Israel cry unto Jehovah.

NAB  Exodus 14:10 Pharaoh was already near when the Israelites looked up and saw that the Egyptians were on the march in pursuit of them. In great fright they cried out to the LORD.

NJB  Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up -- and there were the Egyptians in pursuit of them! The Israelites were terrified and cried out to Yahweh for help.

GWN  Exodus 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw that the Egyptians were coming after them. Terrified, the Israelites cried out to the LORD.

  • became very frightened - Ps 53:5 Isa 7:2 8:12,13 51:12,13 Mt 8:26 14:30,31 1Jn 4:18 
  • cried out - Jos 24:7 2Ch 18:31 Ne 9:9 Ps 34:17 106:44 107:6,13,19,28 Isa 26:16 Jer 22:23 Mt 8:25 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A REASON TO 
BE FRIGHTENED!

As Pharaoh drew near, the sons of Israel looked - Looked is literally "lifted their eyes." NET adds this is "an expression that indicates an intentional and careful looking—they looked up and fixed their sights on the distance." Notice how Moses mentions only Pharaoh drawing near, for he was representative of the hostile force he commanded. As Currid says "Pharaoh is commonly depicted as the central figure of battle scenes in Egyptian representations and designs. The Egyptians believed that in war the ‘acts of the king alone count; he is invincible, nay, unassailable’; ‘[No] man can hope to resist the divine ruler and survive,’ and ‘It is no mere assertion that so many are powerless against the single figure of Pharaoh.’" 

Wiersbe makes a great point - As long as the Israelites kept their eyes on the fiery pillar and followed the Lord, they were walking by faith and no enemy could touch them. But when they took their eyes off the Lord and looked back and saw the Egyptians getting nearer, they became frightened and began to complain. (Be Delivered)

And behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they became very frightened - Their reaction makes sense. They could see the dust raised up by the oncoming chariot wheels and IT WAS A LOT OF DUST! This behold (hinneh) which normally is used to gain one's full attention seems almost unnecessary in this context! "It captures the surprise and the sudden realization of the people." (NET) Yes, they had just seen Jehovah pour out 10 plagues and been delivered from the midst of the Egyptians, now there was an army bearing down on them. They had never seen an army defeated by Jehovah. And so it seems their eyes were eyes of fear not eyes of faith. Recall their defiance/boldness in Ex 14:8. It was melted in a moment! They went from boldness to become greatly terrified.

Matthew Henry - The fright that the children of Israel were in when they perceived that Pharaoh pursued them, v. 10. They knew very well the strength and rage of the enemy, and their own weakness; numerous indeed they were, but all on foot, unarmed, undisciplined, disquieted by long servitude, and (which was worst of all) now penned up by the situation of their camp, so that they could not make their escape. 

Currid comments - From a human perspective, the situation appeared bleak and grim—no human power could save them. What chance did they have? What were they to do?

So the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD - Cried out is tsaaq used when Moses "cried to the LORD concerning the frogs" (to remove the plague - Ex 8:12)  Recall that in their oppression Israel "cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.' (Ex 2:23+) In Ex 5:15+ they "cried out to Pharaoh," regarding his increasing oppression.  Ostensibly this present cry to Jehovah seems like a good reaction, but Spurgeon (and their subsequent words to Moses) suggest otherwise.

Walter Kaiser - When they saw the Egyptian troops, the Israelites cried out in despair to the Lord (v.10), but not for long.

Alan Cole - Israel may indeed have cried out to YHWH for help, but their next reaction (as often in the steppe country; cf. Ex 16:3, etc.) was to blame Moses. This was very wrong but very human: we recognize ourselves again and again in Israel.

Spurgeon - Forgetting what God had done for them, and promised to them, they became timid at the sight of their old masters They knew the cruelty of the Egyptians in time of war, and their hearts failed them. Ah, dear friends, if they had cried to the Lord in true believing prayer, they would have been worthy of commendation; but they did not do so. They cried out unto the Lord in an unbelieving complaint, as the next verse plainly shows. 

While Spurgeon may be correct in view of their attack on God's representative (Moses) in the next verse, it is interesting that Joshua records "‘But when they cried out to the LORD, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time." (Josh 24:7)

God brings us into straits that he may bring us to our knees.
-- Matthew Henry

Believer's Study Bible - Even after the mighty miracles preceding the Exodus itself, the people did not respond with faith. Rather they murmured and complained against Moses. This is a continuing theme throughout the book and should be viewed in the light of several facts: (1) Not all of the people were Israelites (Ex 12:38), and not all the Israelites were equally strong in their faith. Their cries arose because they saw no human solution to their dilemma. (2) Written Scripture was not yet available. Thus, each Israelite did not have equal opportunity for understanding the nation's overall redemptive history. The ways of the Lord must have seemed much more obscure to the average Israelite than to Moses or Aaron. (3) Christian history leaves little room for judgmental attitudes, since Christians also have made many errors from lack of theological insight.

Rod Mattoon - Clouds are rare in the desert, but tan-colored ones were dancing off desert sands in the horizon as chariots and horses were approaching like a tidal wave. The hoofs of horses sounded like the low rumble of a kettle drum or thunder of a distant storm. A storm of evil was approaching and God's people were terrified. They are afraid because they have forgotten what God has done for them in the past in protecting and delivering them from the Death Angel. We do the same thing. Our memories are so short. Shame on us. Sometimes no matter what the Lord has done in the past, the power He has shown we tend to forget when those new challenges pop up in our lives. The trial tends to swallow us.

God allows the pressures of a pickled life to help us look beyond ourselves, to put our trust in Him, and to strengthen our faith. When your back is against the wall, the only place you can basically look is UP! This is what He is trying to teach us. Israel cried to the Lord, but they are still afraid. Their cry was not made in faith because they are griping in the next verse. Why? Their eyes are upon the Egyptian army too. The cure to fear is to keep your focus on the Lord, not the pressing circumstances of your pickled life. Do you remember Peter? He was fine on the stormy sea as long as he focused on Jesus. When he got distracted and started focusing on the storm, he sank in fear. We respond in fear because there are times we doubt the Lord's ability to care for us.


Exodus 14:10-22 Finding God’s Pathway

Read: Psalm 77:10-20

Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters. —Psalm 77:19

The Channel Tunnel opened on May 6, 1994, nearly two centuries after it was first proposed in 1802 by Napoleon’s engineer, Albert Mathieu. Today the 31-mile passage beneath the English Channel allows thousands of people, cars, and trucks to travel by train each day between England and France. For centuries, people had sailed across the Channel until this surprising new way to go under it was completed.

God planned an unexpected route for His people too—one we read about in Exodus 14:10-22. Faced with certain death, either from Pharaoh’s army or by drowning, the Israelites were near panic. But God parted the Red Sea and they walked through on dry land. Years later, the psalm writer Asaph used this event as evidence of God’s mighty power, “Your road led through the sea, your pathway through the mighty waters—a pathway no one knew was there! You led Your people along that road like a flock of sheep, with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds” (Ps. 77:19-20 nlt).

God can create roads where we see only obstacles. When the way ahead of us seems uncertain, it’s good to remember what God has done in the past. He specializes in pathways in any circumstance—pathways that point us to His love and power.

Thank You, God, for the miraculous ways
You have worked in the past. Help me to
remember Your power and faithfulness when
I can see only trouble and difficulty.

The God who created a way for our salvation can certainly see us through our daily trials.

Insight -- In this lament psalm, Asaph writes of the sense of abandonment, the sleepless nights, the distress, and the anguish he felt when God did not respond to his cries for deliverance from his trials and suffering (vv.1-10). But then he remembered and recounted the mighty works God did for His people in the past (particularly His mighty deliverance at the exodus). When he reflected and meditated on who God is, he was assured of God’s greatness, goodness, and guidance (vv.11-20). Where God leads, He protects and provides (v.20). (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Exodus 14:11  Then they said to Moses, "Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?

  • Because - Ex 15:23,24 16:2,3 17:2,3 Nu 11:1 14:1-4 16:41 Ps 106:7,8 
  • why have - Ex 5:22 Ge 43:6 Nu 11:15 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

FEAR TURNS PRAYING
INTO MURMURING

Then - When? After they had just cried out to Jehovah! Spurgeon's comment above is probably correct!

They said to Moses, "Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? - This is a mean spirited rhetorical question. They knew there were many graves in Egypt. The Egyptians were fixated on death and the afterlife and had innumerable tombs and burial places. Walter Kaiser points out that "Egypt specialized in graves and had about three-fourths of its land area available for grave sites." (EBC)

Unbelief has a way of erasing from our memory
all the demonstrations we’ve seen of God’s great power
and all the instances we know of God’s faithfulness to His Word.
--Warren Wiersbe

McGee - This is a rather ironic statement, and I am sure it was even more so in that day. The great pyramids stood as monuments to the burial places of kings. Mummies were all over the place in Egypt; it was a great burying ground. The children of Israel were saying, “Did you bring us all the way out into the wilderness to die because there was not room to bury us in the land of Egypt?” The Israelites are sure they are going to be slaughtered out in the wilderness.

NET - The challenge to Moses brings a double irony. To die in the desert would be without proper burial, but in Egypt there were graves—it was a land of tombs and graves!

Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt? - Here the Israelites mimicked the Egyptians who also questioned the deliverance saying "What is this we have done?"  Israel begins to react like Egypt in Ex 14:5 (“What is this we have done?")! They began to bombard Moses, giving us a preview of "coming attractions" (or perhaps better phrased "coming distractions!") when they would overtly grumble against God and against Moses (cf Ex 15:23-26, Ex 16:2-3, Ex 17:2-3, etc). We have also seen the resistance of the Israelites to the concept of deliverance beginning with Moses' ill-fated, poorly timed (not God timed) attempt to liberate his people in bondage (Ex 2:11-12, 13-14+) and then again after Moses had gone to Pharaoh and Pharaoh responded with worsening the oppression on Israel (read Ex 5:21)> 

We should not be surprised at their reaction for we saw previews of coming attractions (so to speak) in Ex 2:14 and Ex 5:21! Not only that but this previews their future reactions in Ex 15:24, Ex 16:2, and Ex 17:3! 

NET Note - Their cry to the LORD (Ex 14:10) was proper and necessary. But their words to Moses were a rebuke and disloyal, showing a lack of faith and understanding. Their arrogance failed them in the crisis because it was built on the arm of flesh. Moses would have to get used to this murmuring, but here he takes it in stride and gives them the proper instructions. They had cried to the LORD, and now the LORD would deliver.

Spurgeon - What cowards they were, and how faint-hearted! Were these the people that were to conquer Canaan? Were these God’s chosen people? Ah, judge them not, for you and I have often been quite as faint-hearted and quite as fickle as they were. May God forgive us as he again and again forgave them!

Rod Mattoon - God's people are upset with Moses and are blaming him for their predicament. Stress and fear have a way of making people lash out at others.

Wiersbe - These verses introduce the disappointing pattern of Israel’s behavior during their march from Egypt to Canaan. As long as everything was going well, they usually obeyed the Lord and Moses and made progress. But if there was any trial or discomfort in their circumstances, they immediately began to complain to Moses and to the Lord and asked to go back to Egypt. However, before we criticize the Jews, perhaps we’d better examine our own hearts. How much disappointment or discomfort does it take to make us unhappy with the Lord’s will so that we stop believing and start complaining? “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). When you forget God’s promises, you start to imagine the worst possible scenario. The Jews were sure that they and their children would die in the wilderness as soon as Pharaoh’s army caught up with them. The frightened people reminded Moses that they had told him to leave them alone (Ex. 5:20–23), but he had persisted in challenging Pharaoh. Israel was now in a terrible predicament, and Moses was to blame. 

Life Application Study Bible - Trapped against the sea, the Israelites faced the Egyptian army sweeping in for the kill. The Israelites thought they were doomed. After watching God's powerful hand deliver them from Egypt, their only response was fear, whining, and despair. Where was their trust in God? Israel had to learn from repeated experience that God was able to provide for them. God has preserved these examples in the Bible so that we can learn to trust him the first time. By focusing on God's faithfulness in the past, we can face crises with confidence rather than with fear and complaining.

Exodus 14:12  "Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."

  • Is not this - Ex 5:21 Ex 3:9 
  • Leave us alone - Ho 4:17 Mk 1:24 5:7,17,18 
  • For it - Jon 4:3,8 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE "I-TOLD-YOU-SO"
PSEUDO-PROPHETS!

This title is from Walter Kaiser who comments "Then followed the crepe-hanging with its “I-told-you-so” pseudoprophets." 

THOUGHT - What is their mistake? They forget the redemption by the Passover lamb and instead of focusing on Jehovah Who wrought their redemption, they set their eyes on their circumstances, ignoring the fact that Jehovah had led them into these circumstances. Remember, before we are too hard on them, we need to recall that Israel is frequently a picture of our fallen flesh! We fall into the trap of blaming God for our adverse circumstances and tend to forget crucial truth such as Paul's words in 1 Cor 10:13+ "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." Notice in the center of this verse those precious words GOD IS FAITHFUL. That means God is trustworthy and even in the midst of the affliction or adversity, He can be trusted. He has not left us nor forsaken us in the midst of the trial or test! But we have short memories of His strong hand of deliverance in past trials and adversities! Lord, by Your Spirit, please enable us to remember and rehearse in our mind, Your many previous great deliverances, especially our redemption by the blood of the Lamb, that we might stand fast and see the salvation of the LORD in the current crisis we are walking through, all for Your glory and all possible because of Your Lamb, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness Leave us alone is a command to their leader to stop leading them so they can be enslaved again! So much for the oppression in Egypt which had prompted Israel's cries back in Ex 2:23+! "Suddenly the hardships of their Egyptian bondage were forgotten." (Kaiser) And I would add (and even more tragic and surprising) that the powerful hand of Jehovah in inflicting 10 plagues on Egypt was suddenly forgotten!!! Had they totally forgotten how Jehovah was able to afflict Egypt and protect Israel (in Goshen) (cf flies - Ex 8:22-24, livestock - Ex 9:4-6, hail - Ex 9:26, darkness - Ex 10:23 firstborn - Ex 12:23, 29, 30) ? Apparently so! 

THOUGHT - How do we view our circumstances? We are in danger of grumbling when we begin to take our eyes of the LORD Who allows circumstances in our life for our good and His glory! (James 1:2-5, Ro 5:2-5, Ro 8:28). Who had led Israel to this place proverbially between a "rock and a hard place," between the desert and danger of Egyptians and the impossibi lity of escape through the Red Sea?

Guzik - Israel was not yet a week out of Egypt and they already distorted the past, thinking that it was better for them in Egypt than it really was.

While the following are not the exact words, they reflect Israel's earlier antagonism toward Moses' attempts to appeal to Pharaoh for their release...

They said to them, “May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 5:21+

The psalmist alludes to Israel's reaction by the Red Sea and refers to it as rebellion and associates it with two causes (1) they did not understand God's wonders and (2) they did not remember His abundant kindnesses (plural)!

Ps 106:6 We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.  7 Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.  8 Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known.  9 Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up, And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.  10 So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.  11 The waters covered their adversaries; Not one of them was left.  12 Then they believed His words; They sang His praise.  13 They quickly forgot His works; They did not wait for His counsel,  14 But craved intensely in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert.  15 So He gave them their request, But sent a wasting disease among them. 

Currid applies Israel's reaction to our lives - We may well feel disposed to judge Israel at the sea, and not be able to account for her lack of faith in the trial. However, the more we know of our own lack of resolve and our own cowardice, the more we shall see how like the Israelites we are! We must be aware of the sovereignty of God in all things. We too frequently lose sight of this great truth, and the consequence is that our hearts give way in time of trial. If we could only look upon each of our trials and persecutions as an occasion for God to be more greatly honoured and glorified, it would certainly enable us to endure any crisis. Thus, when we are put in the fiery furnace it is God who wills us there, and we can persevere because of him: ‘Who shall separate from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For your sake we are being put to death all day long, we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us’ (Ro 8:35–37).

J Vernon McGee - The Israelites, when they were in the land of Egypt, cried out for deliverance. God provided the opportunity for them to leave; but the minute they were in danger, they wanted to return to Egypt. Now notice what God is going to do for His people. They are helpless and hopeless without the aid of God. If they are to be redeemed, God will have to do it. I wish we could get that objective viewpoint of ourselves today because we are just like the Israelites. If we could go with the astronauts to the moon and look down on this little earth of ours, we would see people lost in sin. Actually our world is a pretty hopeless place; a great burying ground. In Romans 5:12 Paul tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Man has been on the march for over five thousand years. Where is he marching to? Man is marching to the grave. It isn’t pretty, but it is true. Man is the most colossal failure in God’s universe.

Matthew Henry on Israel's unbelief - They give up themselves for lost; and as if God’s arm were shortened all of a sudden, and he were not as able to work miracles to-day as he was yesterday, they despair of deliverance, and can count upon nothing but dying in the wilderness. How inexcusable was their distrust! Did they not see themselves under the guidance and protection of a pillar from heaven? And can almighty power fail them, or infinite goodness be false to them? Yet this was not the worst; they quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt, and, in quarrelling with him, fly in the face of God himself, and provoke him to wrath whose favour was now the only succour they had to flee to. As the Egyptians were angry with themselves for the best deed they ever did, so the Israelites were angry with God for the greatest kindness that was ever done them; so gross are the absurdities of unbelief...they had as soon forgotten the miracles of mercy as the Egyptians had forgotten the miracles of wrath; and they, as well as the Egyptians, hardened their hearts, at last, to their own ruin; as Egypt after ten plagues, so Israel after ten provocations, of which this was the first (Num. 14:22), were sentenced to die in the wilderness.

Life Application Study Bible - This is the first instance of grumbling and complaining by the Israelites. Grumbling would become a major problem for the people on this journey. Their lack of faith in God is startling. Yet how often do we find ourselves doing the same thing-complaining over inconveniences or discomforts? The Israelites were about to learn some tough lessons. Had they trusted God, they would have been spared much grief.

Exodus 14:13  But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever.

Currid - And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid! Take a stand! And watch the salvation of Yahweh which he does for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you will not see them again—not ever.’

BGT  Exodus 14:13 εἶπεν δὲ Μωυσῆς πρὸς τὸν λαόν θαρσεῖτε στῆτε καὶ ὁρᾶτε τὴν σωτηρίαν τὴν παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἣν ποιήσει ἡμῖν σήμερον ὃν τρόπον γὰρ ἑωράκατε τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους σήμερον οὐ προσθήσεσθε ἔτι ἰδεῖν αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα χρόνον

NET  Exodus 14:13 Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! Stand firm and see the salvation of the LORD that he will provide for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you will never, ever see again.

LXE  Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, Be of good courage: stand and see the salvation which is from the Lord, which he will work for us this day; for as ye have seen the Egyptians to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

NLT  Exodus 14:13 But Moses told the people, "Don't be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again.

KJV  Exodus 14:13 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.

ESV  Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.

NIV  Exodus 14:13 Moses 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.

ASV  Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which he will work for you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.

CSB  Exodus 14:13 But Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and see the LORD's salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again.

NKJ  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.

NRS  Exodus 14:13 But Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the LORD will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again.

YLT  Exodus 14:13 And Moses saith unto the people, 'Fear not, station yourselves, and see the salvation of Jehovah, which He doth for you to-day; for, as ye have seen the Egyptians to-day, ye add no more to see them -- to the age;

NAB  Exodus 14:13 But Moses answered the people, "Fear not! Stand your ground, and you will see the victory the LORD will win for you today. These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.

NJB  Exodus 14:13 Moses said to the people, 'Do not be afraid! Stand firm, and you will see what Yahweh will do to rescue you today: the Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

GWN  Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, "Don't be afraid! Stand still, and see what the LORD will do to save you today. You will never see these Egyptians again.

BHT  Exodus 14:13 wayyöº´mer möšè ´el-hä`äm ´al-Tîrä´û hi|tyacbû ûrü´û ´et-yüšû`at yhwh(´ädönäy) ´ášer-ya`áSè läkem hayyôm Kî ´ášer rü´îtem ´et-micraºyim hayyôm lö´ tösîºpû lir´ötäm `ôd `ad-`ôläm

BBE  Exodus 14:13 But Moses said, Keep where you are and have no fear; now you will see the salvation of the Lord which he will give you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.

  • Do not fear - Nu 14:9 De 20:3 2Ki 6:16 2Ch 20:15,17 Ps 27:1,2 46:1-3 Isa 26:3 30:15 35:4 41:10-14 Mt 28:5 
  • see the - Ex 14:30 15:1-27 Ge 49:18 1Ch 11:14 Ps 3:8 Isa 43:11 Jer 3:23 La 3:26 Ho 13:4,9 Hab 3:8,13 
  • will never see - Ex 14:30 15:4,5,10,19,21 Ne 9:9 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DO NOT FEAR!
STAND STILL AND SEE!

As best we can tell Moses had no idea of how God was going to to help them (unless God had revealed the Red Sea crossing to him but this question by God makes us think Moses had no idea - Why are you crying out to Me?), but he knew God would help. Moses knew the situation was so dire, the only deliverance would have to be divine!

Guzik adds that "When we see that our only help is God, we are more likely to trust Him. Sometimes it is the little things—the things we think we can do in our own strength—that get us down, not the big things that we know only God can do." 

Adrian Rogers - God will allow you to come to a place where there seems to be all kinds of things to fear, and then, He says, "Fear not."

THOUGHT - I don't know where you may come to, but you're going to come to the place. And, God has to bring you to that place of desperation, that you may learn that there is nothing to fear. Three hundred-and-sixty-five times in the Bible—one time for every day of the year—the Bible has said, "Fear thou not," or its equivalent. "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Hebrews 13:6) And so, God brings you to this place of desperation, that He might bring you to this place of dependence, that He may say to you, "Fear not." (Adrian Rogers)

But Moses said to the people, "Do not fear! - The Septuagint is slightly different using tharseo in the present imperative, a command calling for them to continually take courage! Currid explains that "Moses’ reply to the people’s complaints is somewhat harsh. He begins with a volitional statement: ‘Do not fear!’ The negative followed by an imperfect verb ‘constitutes the negative imperative’ in Hebrew. True imperatives cannot be preceded by a negative particle. Therefore, what we have here is the strongest possible form of expressing negation in the Hebrew language. It is followed by two imperatives: ‘Stand!’ and ‘See!’ Moses is ignoring, and refusing to sanction, the murmurings of Israel." (Ibid)

Kaiser - The former quick-tempered Moses patiently answered the people’s hasty accusation with three directives to meet this emergency: (1) “Do not be afraid” (v.13; cf. the word to the patriarchs, Ge 15:1; Ge 26:24; and to Israel as they possessed the land, Josh 1:9; Josh 8:1); (2) Stand firm and see the salvation, i.e., the “deliverance of the LORD” for “the LORD will fight for you” (v.14; see Neh 4:20; Ps 35:1); and (3) “Be still,” i.e., stop all action and become inactive, for I the Lord will act by myself on your behalf (cf. Ge 34:5; 2 Ki 19:11; Ps 5:3; Ps 83:1).

THOUGHT - FEAR NOT - A profitable study is to query (Who? What? Where? When? Why? How? questions) the 63 occurrences of "Fear Not" (based on the King James Version uses) - Gen. 15:1; Gen. 21:17; Gen. 26:24; Gen. 35:17; Gen. 43:23; Gen. 46:3; Gen. 50:19; Exod. 20:20; Deut. 1:21; Deut. 20:3; Deut. 31:6; Deut. 31:8; Jos. 8:1; Jos. 10:25; Jdg. 4:18; Jdg. 6:10; Jdg. 6:23; Ruth 3:11; 1 Sam. 4:20; 1 Sam. 12:20; 1 Sam. 22:23; 1 Sam. 23:17; 2 Sam. 9:7; 2 Sam. 13:28; 1 Ki. 17:13; 2 Ki. 6:16; 2 Ki. 17:34; 2 Ki. 25:24; 1 Chr. 28:20; 2 Chr. 20:17; Ps. 55:19; Ps. 64:4; Isa. 7:4; Isa. 35:4; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 41:14; Isa. 43:1; Isa. 43:5; Isa. 44:2; Isa. 54:4; Jer. 40:9; Jer. 46:27; Lam. 3:57; Dan. 10:12; Dan. 10:19; Joel 2:21; Zech. 8:13; Mal. 3:5; Matt. 1:20; Matt. 10:28; Matt. 28:5; Lk. 1:13; Lk. 1:30; Lk. 2:10; Lk. 5:10; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 12:7; Lk. 12:32; Lk. 18:4; Jn. 12:15; Acts 27:24; 1 Pet. 2:18; Rev. 1:17

Stand by - A command which conveys the intent "Hold your ground!" "Station yourself!" "Stand firm without fleeing." The point is this battle is out of our hands! There is nothing Israel could do. They were to "Be still and know I am God." (Ps 46:10KJV).

THOUGHT - Adrian Rogers says "we hurry around. We're so busy manipulating, trying, conniving, scheming; but finally, we come to a place where God hems us in—the sea here, the mountain here, the mountain there, and the devil behind. And, there is no way out but up. Just stand still. "Be still, and know that I am God." We always think that we have to do something even if it's wrong, don't we? Sometimes, God places us in a place where there is nothing we can do. There is no counsel we can go to. There is no banker to help. There is no doctor to help. There is no one to help us. God just says, "Fear not; stand still. Be still, and know that I am God." And, the place, the dead-end that He brings us to—I mean, just the dead-end, a dilemma—and then, we just fear not and stand still." 

Guzik - Moses told the people of Israel to stop. This is often the LORD’s direction to the believer in a time of crisis. Despair will cast you down, keeping you from standing. Fear will tell you to retreat. Impatience will tell you to do something now. Presumption will tell you to jump into the Red Sea before it is parted. Yet as God told Israel He often tells us to simply stand still and hold your peace as He reveals His plan.

Currid has an interesting interpretation - Moses is probably telling the people to choose with whom they stand—Yahweh or Pharaoh? How long will they limp between two opinions? (ED: This reminds us of the confrontation of the false prophets and the true prophet of God Elijah who "came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word." 1 Kings 18:21).

And see - A command simply to watch. Watch what? Salvation of the LORD. Notice that this has not taken place, but he told them to see it. How would one see something that has not taken place? With eyes of faith. They say seeing is believing, but God says believing is seeing - another on of the paradoxical principles of the Christian faith! Notice also that the Israelites contribute nothing to this salvation. In a very real sense they are spectators at their own salvation! Is this not a clear picture that salvation is always by God's power and God's grace? Think about this for a moment. Did Israel deserve to be saved? What had they just said to Moses, the servant of God (1 Chr 6:49)? Indeed this event was a supreme example of God's unmerited favor (aka His amazing undeserved but freely bestowed grace)!

THOUGHT - Don't ever say that "Grace is a New Testament truth and is not found in the Old Testament!" God's grace is virtually on every page of the Old Testament. We just need to have spiritual eyes to see and hearts to understand. Our fallen flesh attempts to put a veil over our spiritual eyes so that we don't see grace, because the flesh does not like grace, for it can do absolutely nothing to earn it! (cf Eph 2:8-9+ = "by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works," Titus 3:5+ = "not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness," 2 Ti 1:9+ = "not according to our works")

What we do in the crisis always depends on whether
we see the difficulties in the light of God,
or God in the shadow of the difficulties. 
--Anonymous

The salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today - Note the emphasis is on the fact that this the saving work of Jehovah. This deliverance belongs to the Deliverer, the Author and Finisher! And then it is reiterated that Jehovah will do the "work" necessary to bring about this miraculous rescue. He Alone would provide the victory for Israel! 

THOUGHT - What is the victory God provides for believers today? John answers "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith. Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (1 Jn 5:4-5+)

Alan ColeSalvation is used here in its literal sense of saving life, or of victory instead of defeat in war. As the Old Testament moves on, ‘salvation’ will gain a more spiritual and less material sense (Psalm 51:12), although the Hebrew was not conscious of any sharp contrast between the two.”

McGee - Look at these children of Israel. Unless God moves on their behalf, they are doomed. And you and I could never be redeemed unless God did it, friends. Redemption is the work of the Lord. Jonah said, “… Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9); King David made the same statement (Ps 3:8, cf Ps 37:39), and that is the message of the New Testament. The Lord will work in behalf of His people; all they have to do is accept and receive His salvation. They are to stand still and God will do the work. Remember, you cannot lift a little finger to work out your salvation. All you have to do is accept what God has done for you.

Salvation (deliverance) (03444)(yeshua) is from a root in Arabic = "make wide" or "make sufficient' sarar = "narrow," = "be restricted" or "cause distress." The idea of wide connotes freedom from distress and ability to pursue one's objectives. It means to move from distress (enemies, natural catastrophies, plague or famine, sickness) to safety which requires deliverance. Generally deliverance comes from some an outside source. The one who brings deliverance is known as the "savior." Yeshua may be used in everyday life free of theological overtones at a well Moses saved daughters of Reuel (Ex 2:17) but generally has strong religious meaning. And so we read Yahweh wrought deliverance - God of our salvation Ps 68:19-20. Yeshua can also describe salvation through human agents empowered by God. While the NT idea of salvation is primarily forgiveness of sin, deliverance from sin's power and defeat of Satan, the OT only begins to point in this direction. And so in the OT the majority of references to salvation speak of Yahweh granting deliverance from real enemies and out of real catastrophe.

In Ex 14:13 the Septuagint translates yeshua with  soteria (rom soter = Savior from sozo = save, rescue, deliver) (Click here or here for in depth discussion of the related terms soter and sozo) which describes the rescue or deliverance from danger, destruction and peril.

For - Term of explanation. Moses will explain the extent of the salvation Jehovah would bring about! 

The Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever - Moses gives in essence a prophecy of the drowning of the army of Egypt, which would soon be fulfilled.  Note the word "see" appears 3 times in this passage emphasizing the firsthand experience of the deliverance.

Guzik - The idea behind this (you will never see them again forever) implies much more than at first look. Moses perhaps spoke in terms of eternity as well as their present time.

Life Application Study Bible - The people were hostile and despairing, but Moses encouraged them to watch the wonderful way God would rescue them. Moses had a positive attitude! When it looked as if they were trapped, Moses called upon God to intervene. We may not be chased by an army, but we may still feel trapped. Instead of giving in to despair, we should adopt Moses' attitude to "stand still and watch the LORD rescue" us.


Spurgeon -    “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.”   —Exodus 14:13

These words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut up on the right hand and on the left; what is he now to do? The Master’s word to him is, “Stand still.” It will be well for him if at such times he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in his love and faithfulness. Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part, it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.” But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it if you are a child of God. His divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What, if for a while thou art called to stand still, yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time. Precipitancy cries, “do something. Stir yourself; to stand still and wait, is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once—we must do it so we think—instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something but will do everything. Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it and expect a miracle.” But Faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands. “Stand still;”—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”


Exodus 14:1-14 Standing Still By M.R. De Haan
Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. —Exodus 14:13

Stand still! That is a difficult thing for anyone to do. We all like to be busy. After years of active ministry, I was laid aside for several weeks as I hovered between life and death. During that time I learned that I was not indispensable. While I “stood still,” God’s work went on. I must confess that it was a difficult lesson to learn because of pride. It humbled me. It took something out of me, and yet it taught me something that I could learn only by “standing still”—the Lord could get along without me, and I had to depend on Him.

The Israelites had to learn this when they stood before the Red Sea. When the Egyptians came from behind and the deserts and mountains closed them in from the sides, Moses said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Ex.14:13). Oh, the precious lessons God teaches us when we learn that He can handle any problem and that He will work wonders far beyond our comprehension.

Are you being forced to “stand still”? Have you learned some of these lessons? Ah, then your life has been enriched, and I know that even now you can praise God for His wonderful dealings in your life. (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Stand still! God wants to talk to you!

Be still, my heart, for faithful is your Lord,
And pure and true and tried His holy Word;
Through stormy flood that rages as the sea,
His promises your steppingstones shall be.
—Anon.

Don't let problems get you down—Let them remind you to look up.


YE SHALL SEE THEM NO MORE Exodus 14:13 - James Smith

The Israelites had their last look at their Egyptian enemies at the Red Sea. There is a time coming when all the people of God will see their enemies no more for ever. Learn that—

1. Great changes may come suddenly. To-day the foe is pressing them, to-morrow he will be overwhelmed in the deep. He that hardeneth his neck shall suddenly be destroyed.

2. Opportunities may quickly vanish. These Egyptians had seen much of the power and greatness of God, but they remained in wilful rebellion. Harden not your heart.

3. Self-confidence leads to ruin. “The Egyptians went after them,” but in their own strength. They dug their own grave, they rushed into the place of doom. The wages of sin is death. The heart is deceitful above all things.

4. The Salvation of the believer is certain. “Ye shall see them again no more for ever.” The besetting sins, the snares of the Devil, the lusts of the flesh, the pride of life, ye shall see them no more. Full and eternal deliverance is sure.

5. The separation between the believer and the unbeliever will be complete. “See them no more.” The chaff will be driven away. The wheat and the tares will not always grow together. Judas went to his own place.

6. Salvation is of the Lord. The almighty supernatural power of Jehovah was needed to deliver the children of Israel. This saving power of God is now manifested in His Son. Christ is the power of God, He came to seek and save. “He is able also to save to the uttermost, those who come unto God, by Him” (Heb. 7:25).

7. They had to stand still to see the Salvation of the Lord. Man can never make a way of deliverance through the Red Sea of his fathomless guilt. The Lord alone can roll these dark and deadly billows back. Stand still, cease from your works. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”

Unsaved ones, give earnest heed now to your Bibles, your Christian friends, and your privileges, or the time will come when you will see them again “no more for ever.”


Steven Cole - Trusting God sometimes means doing nothing else, but at other times using appropriate means.
Exodus 14:13-14 reflects Moses’ great trust in the Lord:

But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.”

This is a great picture of our salvation. We can’t do anything to help God out in the process. All we can do is receive God’s salvation by faith. But even saving faith and repentance must come from God (Phil. 1:29; Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Tim. 2:25-26).

Some object, “How can God command sinners to repent and believe in Christ if they’re incapable of repenting and believing?” But the Bible shows that with the command, God grants faith and repentance to those He sovereignly ordains to save (Acts 5:31; 11:18). Mark 3 reports that in the synagogue Jesus saw a man with a withered hand. He couldn’t move it. But Jesus called the man in front of everyone and commanded (Mark 3:5), “Stretch out your hand.” Was Jesus mocking him? He wasn’t able to stretch out his hand! But with the command, Jesus imparted the power to obey. The man stretched out his hand and was healed.

Here (Ex 14:15), God gives Israel the impossible command, “Go forward.” That was a good idea, but there was this little problem of the Red Sea preventing them from going forward! But when Moses trusted God and lifted his staff over the sea, it parted so that the Israelites could obey God’s command.

There are a few other instances in the Bible where God commanded His people to do nothing except to trust Him and He brought a miraculous deliverance (2 Chron. 20:15-17). But God’s usual method is for us first to trust Him and then to use appropriate means to deal with the trial at hand: Pray for a job, but then do all you can to secure that job. Pray for healing, but get proper medical attention. Pray for problems in your marriage, but obey biblical commands that apply to your marriage.

Thus, God is sovereign over all things, including the trials that come into our lives. He ordains those trials so that we will trust Him to deliver us. But why does He do that


Janet Rockey - Courage to Stand between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea  EXODUS 14:13

“Between the devil and the deep blue sea” is an idiom describing the choice between two possibly fatal situations.

Caught with Pharaoh’s army before them and the Red Sea behind them, the Israelites panicked. Would they die by the sword of Pharaoh or drown in the sea? But God provided a miraculous escape. He parted the sea with a strong east wind, and the people crossed to the other side on solid ground, not thick mud. God freed us from the slavery of sin, yet we might panic when our old nature pursues us. An ocean of past failures blocks our escape. God parted our deep blue sea with the red blood of Christ. We can come to Him, not through blood-soaked ground, but on the solid foundation of His name. Merciful Father, You provided our miraculous escape through Jesus. He shed His blood once and for all. It is finished.


Streams in the Desert -  “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Exod. 14:13.)

THESE words contain God’s command to the believer when he is reduced to great straits and brought into extraordinary difficulties. He cannot retreat; he cannot go forward; he is shut upon the right hand and on the left. What is he now to do?

The Master’s word to him is “stand still.” It will be well for him if, at such times, he listens only to his Master’s word, for other and evil advisers come with their suggestions. Despair whispers, “Lie down and die; give it all up.” But God would have us put on a cheerful courage, and even in our worst times, rejoice in His love and faithfulness.
Cowardice says, “Retreat; go back to the worldling’s way of action; you cannot play the Christian’s part; it is too difficult. Relinquish your principles.”

But, however much Satan may urge this course upon you, you cannot follow it, if you are a child of God. His Divine fiat has bid thee go from strength to strength, and so thou shalt, and neither death nor hell shall turn thee from thy course. What if for a while thou art called to stand still; yet this is but to renew thy strength for some greater advance in due time.

Precipitancy cries, “Do something; stir yourself; to stand still and wait is sheer idleness.” We must be doing something at once—we must do it, so we think—instead of looking to the Lord, who will not only do something, but will do everything.

Presumption boasts, “If the sea be before you, march into it, and expect a miracle.” But faith listens neither to Presumption, nor to Despair, nor to Cowardice, nor to Precipitancy, but it hears God say, “Stand still,” and immovable as a rock it stands.
“Stand still”—keep the posture of an upright man, ready for action, expecting further orders, cheerfully and patiently awaiting the directing voice; and it will not be long ere God shall say to you, as distinctly as Moses said it to the people of Israel, “Go forward.”—Spurgeon.

    “Be quiet! why this anxious heed
      About thy tangled ways?
    God knows them all. He giveth speed
      And He allows delays.
    ’Tis good for thee to walk by faith
      And not by sight.
    Take it on trust a little while.
    Soon shalt thou read the mystery aright
    In the full sunshine of His smile.”

In times of uncertainty, wait. Always, if you have any doubt, wait. Do not force yourself to any action. If you have a restraint in your spirit, wait until all is clear, and do not go against it.


James Butler - Exodus 14:13 Precepts and Promises Exodus
                    
The Israelites were trapped at the Red Sea just as Pharaoh had planned when he and his armies went after the Israelites in that location. Mountains were on two sides of them the Red Sea was on one side and Pharaoh's armies were on the another side. So no matter which way they looked they were trapped. Such situations are those which God especially likes to work because it shows His power and wisdom much more than in a lesser difficulty. Israel had not come to this place by disobedience but by obedience to God's leading. Therefore God would work for them if they got in some difficulty. God told the Israelites two things. They can be summed up as precepts and promises. These would take care of the problem they had of being apparently trapped at the Red Sea.

FIRST—THE PRECEPTS OF GOD
The precepts for deliverance came before the promises of deliverance. We like the promises better but if we want the promises we had better attend to the precepts. Two precept/commands were given to the Israelites. Neither would be easy to obey.

Their attitude. "Fear not." When everything around you provokes fear, it is very hard to stop fearing. It reminds me of the whippings I used to get as a child. Mother would tell me that I was to stop crying and yelling (the whippings hurt), before she would stop spanking. I did, but it was not easy. When God comes on the scene we are to honor God by an attitude that does not fear the circumstances.

Their action. "Stand still." How hard it is to stand still especially when trouble surrounds us. But we need to stand still to hear God. If the Israelites had run around they would not have been able to be organized to march across the Red Sea.

SECOND—THE PROMISES OF GOD
The promises would encourage their obedience. When obedience is especially difficult, the promises will be especially great as they were here. Two promises were given here about what they would see.

They would see deliverance. "See the salvation of the Lord." God said he would deliver the Israelites though it looked humanly impossible. This deliverance promise would be a great encouragement. God is better than TV, he shows us things that delight, not defile.

They would see death. "The Egyptians, whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever." The first promise was about what they would see, the second promise was about what they would not see which means they would see death. The Egyptian army of which they were justifiably afraid, would all drown in the Red Sea deliverance, and therefore the Israelites would never see the army again. Truly this promise was most encouraging to the Israelites.


Exodus 14:5-22 Stand Or Go?

Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation o f the Lord”—Exodus 14:13

The Israelites were trapped. Soon after leaving slavery and Egypt behind, they looked up and saw a distressing sight. A cloud of dust was moving their way, and in that dust was a massive army. Pharaoh’s “disease” had returned—hardening of the heart (Ex. 14:8). As a result, he sent his chariots after Moses and his people.

Once the Egyptian army caught up with the Israelites, all seemed lost. They were trapped between a wall of soldiers and a sea of water. In panic, they cried out to both Moses and God.

Both of them responded with instructions. Moses said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. ” (Ex 14:13). And God told them, “Go forward” (Es 14:15). While that may seem to be contradictory advice, both commands were from God and right. First, the people had to “stand still” or “firm” long enough to get instructions from God. What if they had rushed headlong into the Red Sea without consulting the Lord? But in standing still, they heard God’s instructions, which included both what they were to do—move on, and what Moses was to do—stretch out his hand over the sea in obedience and God would part the waters.

Do circumstances have you trapped? Stand still. Take time to consult God and His Word. Then, using His instructions, move ahead and let God guide you. By Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

It matters not how dark the way,
How thick the clouds from day to day,
God will direct in all we do
If we take time to pray it through.
—Mead

If you’re looking for guidance, follow Christ as your guide.

Exodus 14:14  "The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent."

  • LORD - Ex 14:25 Ex 15:3 De 1:30 3:22 Dt 20:4 Jos 10:10,14,42 Josh 23:3,10 Jdg 5:20 2Ch 20:17,29 Ne 4:20 Isa 31:4,5 
  • keep silent - Ps 50:3 Ps 83:1 Isa 30:15 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

BE QUIET!
WATCH JEHOVAH FIGHT!

The LORD will fight for you - The word order places emphasis on Yahweh. Note the battle is the LORD's! This is a "divine face off" for Pharaoh was considered divine and here he would face the only One Who is truly divine! Indeed, “The LORD is a warrior; The LORD is His Name." (Ex 15:3).

Jehovah fighting for His people is a repeated theme in the Old Testament, but God is the same today as He was in the OT, so remember in your battles, you have a strong Defender and Ally! And many times it is best to let the LORD do the fighting for us while we keep silent!

Deuteronomy 1:30  ‘The LORD your God who goes before you will Himself fight on your behalf, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes,

Deuteronomy 3:22 ‘Do not fear them, for the LORD your God is the one fighting for you.’ 

Deuteronomy 20:4  for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

Joshua 10:10; 14; 42 And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. 14 There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. 42 Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.

Joshua 23:3 “And you have seen all that the LORD your God has done to all these nations because of you, for the LORD your God is He who has been fighting for you.

Joshua 23:10 “One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the LORD your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.

2 Chronicles 20:17  ‘You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’

2 Chronicles 20:29   And the dread of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.

Nehemiah 4:20  “At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.” 

Merrill notes that "“This is the first example in the Old Testament of what some scholars call ‘holy war’ or ‘Yahweh war.’ That is, this war was undertaken by the Lord in defense of His own reputation, promises, and self-interest (14:10–14; see also, for example, 15:3; Deut. 1:30; 3:22; 20:4). It is to be distinguished from ‘ordinary’ war that Israel might undertake on her own (Num. 14:39–45)." 

Fight (03898)(lacham) means to do battle, fight, engage in combat, wage war -- against Egyptians (Ex 1:10), against Israel (Nu 21:1, 23, 25, 22:11; Josh 9:2); against Israel's enemies (Josh 10:29). Of Yahweh fighting for His people (Ex 14:14, Ex 14:25, Ex 17:9-10, Dt 1:30, Dt 3:22, Josh 10:14, Jer 21:5, Neh 4:14, 2 Chr 20:29) In doing so, Yahweh often calls into His service not only Israel, but also the elements of nature (Josh 10:11; Josh 24:7; Jdg 5:20). Nevertheless, the Israelites must also join the battle and fight with the Lord. Even though their land has been deeded to them as an inheritance, they must conquer it in battle (Ex 23:27-33).

W E Vine While the word is commonly used in the context of "armies engaged in pitched battle" against each other (Num. 21:23; Josh. 10:5; Judg. 11:5), it is also used to describe "single, hand-to-hand combat" (1 Sam. 17:32-33). Frequently, God "fights" the battle for Israel (Deut. 20:4). Instead of swords, words spoken by a lying tongue are often used "to fight" against God's servants (Ps. 109:2). (Vine's Expository Dictionary)

Walter Kaiser Israel constituted the "armies of the Yahweh" (Exodus 12:41) whose troops had to be holy (Isaiah 13:3). Even the Israelites' weapons and campgrounds had to be holy if the Yahweh was to camp with them (Deut. 23:10-15; 2 Samuel 1:21; Isaiah 21:5). Thus "if it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us up alive" (Psalm 124:1-3 [H 4]; Psalm 118:10-14). "Fight against those who fight against me, O Lord" (Psalm 35:1). But Israel's trust must be in the Lord, warn the prophets, not in horses, chariots, weapons, or men (cf. Deut. 17:16-17; 1 Samuel 17:47; Isaiah 31:1-3; Hosea 8:14). Israel itself was subject to attack from God if they flaunted his laws and indulged in sin. Amos 2:14-16 comes very close to describing all-out warfare against Israel. Isaiah 63:10 states explicitly that when the Israelites rebelled against the Holy Spirit, God became their enemy and fought against them. There is yet coming a time when God will fight once more; this time against all the nations which have attacked Israel (Zech. 14:3). Yahweh has decreed the death of the beast and the end of his power (Daniel 7:11, 26; Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:45). God will personally put on the breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, suit of vengeance, and coat of zeal as he judges the enemies from the nations, until the fear of him is spread from east to west (Isaiah 59:17-19). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Lacham - 165v - conquer*(1), ever fight(1), fight(77), fighting(15), fights(2), fought(59), made war(1), make war(5), making war(1), overcome(1), waging war(1), war(1), warred(2), warring(3). Ex 1:10; Ex 14:14; Ex 14:25; Ex 17:8; Ex 17:9; Ex 17:10; Nu 21:1; Nu 21:23; Nu 21:26; Nu 22:11; Dt. 1:30; Dt. 1:41; Dt. 1:42; Dt. 3:22; Dt. 20:4; Deut. 20:10; Deut. 20:19; Jos. 9:2; Jos. 10:5; Jos. 10:14; Jos. 10:25; Jos. 10:29; Jos. 10:31; Jos. 10:34; Jos. 10:36; Jos. 10:38; Jos. 10:42; Jos. 11:5; Jos. 19:47; Jos. 23:3; Jos. 23:10; Jos. 24:8; Jos. 24:9; Jos. 24:11; Jdg. 1:1; Jdg. 1:3; Jdg. 1:5; Jdg. 1:8; Jdg. 1:9; Jdg. 5:19; Jdg. 5:20; Jdg. 8:1; Jdg. 9:17; Jdg. 9:38; Jdg. 9:39; Jdg. 9:45; Jdg. 9:52; Jdg. 10:9; Jdg. 10:18; Jdg. 11:4; Jdg. 11:5; Jdg. 11:6; Jdg. 11:8; Jdg. 11:9; Jdg. 11:12; Jdg. 11:20; Jdg. 11:25; Jdg. 11:27; Jdg. 11:32; Jdg. 12:1; Jdg. 12:3; Jdg. 12:4; 1 Sam. 4:9; 1 Sam. 4:10; 1 Sam. 8:20; 1 Sam. 12:9; 1 Sam. 13:5; 1 Sam. 14:47; 1 Sam. 15:18; 1 Sam. 17:9; 1 Sam. 17:10; 1 Sam. 17:19; 1 Sam. 17:32; 1 Sam. 17:33; 1 Sam. 18:17; 1 Sam. 19:8; 1 Sam. 23:1; 1 Sam. 23:5; 1 Sam. 25:28; 1 Sam. 28:1; 1 Sam. 28:15; 1 Sam. 29:8; 1 Sam. 31:1; 2 Sam. 2:28; 2 Sam. 8:10; 2 Sam. 10:17; 2 Sam. 11:17; 2 Sam. 11:20; 2 Sam. 12:26; 2 Sam. 12:27; 2 Sam. 12:29; 2 Sam. 21:15; 1 Ki. 12:21; 1 Ki. 12:24; 1 Ki. 14:19; 1 Ki. 20:1; 1 Ki. 20:23; 1 Ki. 20:25; 1 Ki. 22:31; 1 Ki. 22:32; 1 Ki. 22:45; 2 Ki. 3:21; 2 Ki. 6:8; 2 Ki. 8:29; 2 Ki. 9:15; 2 Ki. 10:3; 2 Ki. 12:17; 2 Ki. 13:12; 2 Ki. 14:15; 2 Ki. 14:28; 2 Ki. 16:5; 2 Ki. 19:8; 2 Ki. 19:9; 1 Chr. 10:1; 1 Chr. 18:10; 1 Chr. 19:17; 2 Chr. 11:1; 2 Chr. 11:4; 2 Chr. 13:12; 2 Chr. 17:10; 2 Chr. 18:30; 2 Chr. 18:31; 2 Chr. 20:17; 2 Chr. 20:29; 2 Chr. 22:6; 2 Chr. 26:6; 2 Chr. 27:5; 2 Chr. 32:8; 2 Chr. 35:20; 2 Chr. 35:22; Neh. 4:8; Neh. 4:14; Neh. 4:20; Ps. 35:1; Ps. 56:1; Ps. 56:2; Ps. 109:3; Isa. 7:1; Isa. 19:2; Isa. 20:1; Isa. 30:32; Isa. 37:8; Isa. 37:9; Isa. 63:10; Jer. 1:19; Jer. 15:20; Jer. 21:2; Jer. 21:4; Jer. 21:5; Jer. 32:5; Jer. 32:24; Jer. 32:29; Jer. 33:5; Jer. 34:1; Jer. 34:7; Jer. 34:22; Jer. 37:8; Jer. 37:10; Jer. 41:12; Jer. 51:30; Dan. 10:20; Dan. 11:11; Zech. 10:5; Zech. 14:3; Zech. 14:14

While you keep silent -  "And you can be still." (NET) "Just stay calm." (NLT) "Hold your peace." (KJV) So what did Israel have to do in this battle? Basically they just had to watch the power of the Jehovah on display! Who gets the glory? God Alone is honored just as He prophesied He would be (Ex 14:4, 17, 18). .  

It is axiomatic of the Christian life that God generally leads His children step by step and day by day, as we faithfully and prayerfully follow Him. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord." The steps--and sometimes the stops.  (Rob Morgan)

This reminds me of Psalm 46:10-11 where "be still" is "do nothing, be quiet." 

Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"  The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.

MacArthur comments - These twin commands to not panic and to recognize His sovereignty are probably directed to both His nation for comfort and all other nations for warning. (MSB)


With Loins Girded - Ye Shall Hold Your Peace       Exodus 14:14

Certainly inexcusable, yet also very understandable was the fear that took hold of the Children of Israel when they noticed that the Pharaoh was pursuing them with a large host, and they saw themselves enclosed on the one side by that host and on the other side by the Red Sea. Only, it was a pity that they allowed themselves to be enticed by fear to a provocative unbelief, and approached Moses with bitter reproaches. This man of God stood amongst the murmuring people as the only one who did not distrust the God of Israel, and by the power of his faith he tried to conquer the fear of the people: they had to stand still, and behold the salvation of the Lord that He would presently perform, and he promised that this would be the last time that the Egyptians would affrighten them: they would not see them again in all eternity, because, he added to it: “The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”

To hold our peace, knowing that the Lord shall fight for us, this is what is asked of us as well, when we are in need and see no deliverance, and when our way is hedged up from all sides. We often find ourselves in situations that make us involuntarily remember the situation of Israel at the banks of the sea. Already in material situations it can be so hard. The breadbasket and the baking tray can sometimes be hopelessly empty; work may lack; we stand in the market because no one hires us; and at home empty mouths have to be filled. Oh, to hold our peace at such a time and to build calmly upon God’s omnipotence and omniscience! To not join at such a time the murmuring complaints of the Children of Israel, but to stand still and to know, that soon, in whatever way it may be, we shall see the salvation of the Lord, even if He had to make us a way through the waters,—behold, that is faith!

To hold our peace, knowing that the Lord shall fight for us,—behold, that is what we need also in a spiritual sense concerning the life of our soul. There are enemies to spare, who, if it were possible, would drag us back to that unsanctified Egypt. To stand there defenceless and unarmed like Israel! To feel the evil spirits around us, to hear their insinuations in our soul, to be invited back by their flattering voices, and to be unable to withstand them in our own strength,—that is a great temptation.

Then we should hold our peace and keep the stillness of the soul, instead of starting to cry or complain hopelessly, to confess in this holding of the peace our own impotence, but also our trust upon Him who shall fight for us. Then the divine ear shall hear in it the psalm of faith: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Exodus 14:15  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward.

  • Ex 17:4 Jos 7:10 Ezr 10:4,5 Ne 9:9 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

STOP PRAYING!
START PROCEEDING!

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the sons of Israel to go forward - Tell is a command to Moses and in the Septuagint go forward is also a command. Israel was to go forward that she might see a way to go, a way that she had never seen before! But think about this for a moment. Then Moses may have been thinking to himself "But which way LORD? Into the waves of water or into the waves of soldiers?" As always God is one step ahead of us and He answers the question in Ex 14:16. So while Moses it ordering the Israelites to go forward, Yahweh is seemingly immediately telling him to lift his staff (Ex 14:16).

Word Study Comment - Go forward (nasa) means to set out, to put out, to pull up (like when one pulls out tent pegs to break camp as in Isa 33:20 "stakes will never be pulled up"). A similar use describes Samson's escape of the trap set for him by the Gazite Philistines, when Samson pulled up (nasa) the gates of the city and carried them away (Jdg. 16:3). The word nasa became a technical term for "to break camp", e.g., Jacob as he returned to Canaan from Padan-Aram (Ge. 35:1-15), movements of Joseph's brothers as he searched for them (Ge 37:17), the journey of the nomadic Israelites as they traveled to the Promised Land (Nu 10:18; 33:3),  march of soldiers (Ex 14:10). This latter use of "the Egyptians marching (nasa) affer" Israel is ironic for now the same Hebrew verb (nasa) is used to give "marching orders" (so to speak) to the Israelites "Go forward." Finally, nasa has a third use in Exodus 14 describing the movement of the Angel of God and the pillar of cloud "moved (nasa) and went behind" the Israelites. (Ex 14:19).

Once the Egyptian army caught up with the Israelites, all seemed lost. They were trapped between a wall of soldiers and a sea of water. In panic, they cried out to both Moses and God. Both of them responded with instructions. Moses said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” (Ex 14:13). And God told them, “Go forward” (Ex 14:15). While that may seem to be contradictory advice, both commands were from God and right. First, the people had to “stand still” or “firm” long enough to get instructions from God. What if they had rushed headlong into the Red Sea without consulting the Lord? But in standing still, they heard God’s instructions, which included both what they were to do—move on, and what Moses was to do—stretch out his hand over the sea in obedience and God would part the waters. Do circumstances have you trapped? Stand still. Take time to consult God and His Word. Then, using His instructions, move ahead and let God guide you. (see devotional)

It matters not how dark the way,
How thick the clouds from day to day,
God will direct in all we do
If we take time to pray it through.
—Mead

John Trapp on Moses' crying out - With inward groanings, without any audible voice....There is something more to be done than to pray. We must not only crave God’s help, but be forward in the course whereby to make way for God’s help.

Guzik - "God’s instructions to Moses: stop praying and start doing."

Adrian Rogers on Stand still and Go Forward - There is no contradiction here, where it says, on the one hand, "Stand still," and then, on the other hand, where it says, "Go forward." We have to come to that place of rest and confidence, where, by faith, we see God in action, and then, again, we move in a way that we've never seen before.

Prayer will accomplish many things but not everything.
Moses at the Red Sea was praying when he should have been proceeding
--- Vance Havner

THOUGHT - Have you ever said “I will pray about it” when you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what God wanted you to do and you were hesitating to do it? We are at times like Moses!

Spurgeon - There is a time for praying, but there is also a time for holy activity. Prayer is adapted for almost every season, yet not prayer alone, for there comes, every now and then, a time when even prayer must take a secondary place.”

John Trapp - There is something more to be done than to pray. We must not only crave God’s help, but be forward in the course whereby to make way for God’s help.

Spurgeon - Moses was no doubt praying in his heart though it is not recorded the he uttered any words in prayer; but it was not the time for prayer, it was the time for action. When people sometimes say when they know their duty, “We will make it a matter of prayer,” they generally mean that they will try to find some excuse for not doing it. You need not pray about any matter when you know what you ought to do; go and do it.

Spurgeon - There is a favourite sin, of which he has long been guilty; he does not give it up, but he says that he will pray about it. God says to such a man, ‘ “Where fore criest thou unto me?” Give up thy sin; this is not a matter for thee to pray about, but to repent of.’ The man says, “I was asking for repentance.” Ask, if thou wilt, for repentance, but exercise it as well.”

Life Application Study Bible - The Lord told Moses to stop praying and get moving! Prayer must have a vital place in our lives, but there is also a place for action. Sometimes we know what to do, but we pray for more guidance as an excuse to postpone doing it. If we know what we should do, then it is time to get moving.


Exodus 14:5-18 A Time For Action

The Lord said to Moses, "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward." —Exodus 14:15

The woman chuckled as she told me about the time she woke her husband to tell him she was in labor and needed to go to the hospital. He jumped out of bed, dropped to his knees, and said, “Honey, let’s pray.” She told him that it was not the time to kneel and pray. It was time to get dressed and head for the hospital. It was time for action!

I think this was the type of message God gave Moses when He said of the Israelites, “Why do you cry to Me?” (Exodus 14:15). Not long before that, Pharaoh had permitted the Israelites to leave Egypt, but then he changed his mind (Ex 14:5-6). Wanting to bring them back, he and his army chased after them (Ex 14:7-9). The Israelites were terrified when they saw the Egyptians approaching. They were trapped at the shore of the Red Sea, with nowhere to go! But Moses assured Israel that God would deliver them. Now was a time for action—not crying to Him. It was time to “go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Ex 14:16).

There’s a proper time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1), including a time to pray and a time to act. When we see someone who lacks food and clothes, it’s right to provide what they need (James 2:15-16+). Sometimes we need to trust God and take immediate action. By Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, when I sense Your call to serve,
Help me to follow through;
I must not just stand by and pray
When there is work to do.
—Fasick

If God has already told you what to do, you don't need to ask Him again.
 


Exodus 14:15. — Unseasonable Prayer -- Wherefore criest thou unto me? Exodus 14:15 - C H Spurgeon

There may come a time when this question needs to be asked even of a Moses. There is a period when crying should give place to action: when prayer is heard and the Red Sea is dividing, it would be shameful disobedience to remain trembling and praying. Therefore Moses must lift his rod and speak to the children of Israel that they go forward. Every fruit of the Spirit comes in its season, and is then most precious: out of season even prayer comes not to perfection. Ask, by all means; but prepare yourself to receive. Seek earnestly; but do not hold back when the hour arrives for you to find. Knock, and knock again; but hasten to enter as soon as the door is open.

When we ought to believe that we have the mercy, why do we continue to cry for it as though we had not obtained it? When increased faith is all that is wanted, why are we seeking the blessing which God places within reach of our faith? When duty is quite clear, why hesitate to perform it and make prayer an excuse for our delay?

The question should be asked of all who pray, "Wherefore criest thou unto me?"

I. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BE VERY UNSATISFACTORY.

1. Because I was brought up to do so. Some have perpetrated gross hypocrisy through repeating forms of prayer which they learned in childhood. We have heard of one who prayed for his father and mother in his old age (John 9:24).

2. It is a part of my religion. These pray as a Dervish dances or a Fakir holds his arm aloft; but they know nothing of the spiritual reality of prayer (Matt. 6:7).

3. It is a right thing to do. So indeed it is if we pray aright; but the mere repetition of pious words is vanity (Isa. 29:13).

4. I feel easier in my mind after it. Ought you to feel easier? May not your formal prayers be a mockery of God and so an increase of sin (Isa. 1:12-15; Ezek. 20:31)?

5. I think it meritorious and saving. This is sheer falsehood, and a high offence against the merit and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus.

II. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BETRAY IGNORANCE.

1. When it hinders immediate repentance. Instead of quitting sin and mourning over it, some men talk of praying. "To obey is better than sacrifice" and better than supplication.

2. When it keeps from faith in Jesus. The gospel is not "pray and be saved"; but "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Matt. 7:21; John 6:47).

3. When we suppose that it fits us for Jesus. We must come to him as sinners, and not set up our prayers as a sort of righteousness (Luke 18:11, 12).

4. When we think that prayer alone will bring a blessing.

III. SOMETIMES THE ANSWER WILL BE QUITE CORRECT.

1. Because I must. I am in trouble, and must pray or perish. Sighs and cries are not made to order, they are the irresistible outbursts of the heart (Ps. 42:1; Rom. 8:26).

2. Because I know I shall be heard, and therefore I feel a strong desire to deal with God in supplication. "Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him" (Ps. 116:2).

3. Because I delight in it: it brings rest to my mind, and hope to my heart. It is a sweet means of communion with my God. "It is good for me to draw near to God" (Ps. 73:28).

4. Because I feel that I can best express the little faith and repentance I have by crying to the Lord for more.

5. Because these grow as I pray. No doubt we may pray ourselves into a good frame if God the Holy Ghost blesses us.

6. Because I look for all from God, and therefore I cry to him (Ps. 62:5). He will be enquired of by us (Ezek. 36: 37).

  • Where must those be who depend upon their own prayers?
  • What are those who live without prayer
  • What are those who can give no reason for praying, but
  • superstitiously repeat words without heart?

Cases in Point, etc.

An anxious enquirer to whom I had plainly put the great gospel command, "Believe in the Lord Jesus," constantly baffled my attempts to lead her out of self to Christ. At last she cried out, "Pray for me! pray for me!" She seemed greatly shocked when I replied, "I will do nothing of the kind. I have prayed for you before; but if you refuse to believe the word of the Lord, I do not see what I can pray for. The Lord bids you believe his Son, and if you will not do so, but persist in making God a liar, you will perish, and you richly deserve it" This brought her to her bearings. She begged me again to tell her the way of salvation, she quietly received it as a little child, her frame quivered, her face brightened, and she cried! "Sir! I can believe, I do believe, and I am saved. Thank you for refusing to comfort me in my unbelief. "Then she said very softly, "Will you not pray for me now?" Assuredly I did, and we rejoiced together that we could offer the prayer of faith.

A good illustration of the need of following up prayer by effort may be found in the following anecdote:—

A scholar was remarkable for repeating her lessons well. Her schoolfellow, rather idly inclined, said to her one day, "How is it that you always say your lessons so perfectly?" She replied, "I always pray that I may say my lessons well." "Do you?" said the other; "well then, I will pray, too": but alas I the next morning she could not even repeat a word of her usual task. Very much confounded, she ran to her friend, and reproached her as deceitful: "I prayed," said she, "but I could not say a single word of my lesson" "Perhaps," rejoined the other, "you took no pains to learn it" "Learn it! Learn it! I did not learn it at all" answered the first," I thought I had no occasion to learn it, when I prayed that I might say it." The mistake is a very common one.

In a great thaw on one of the American rivers, there was a man on one of the cakes of ice, which was not yet actually separated from the unbroken mass. In his terror, however, he did not see this, but knelt down and began to pray not seen aloud for God to deliver him. The spectators on the shore cried loudly to him, "Man, man, stop praying, and run for the shore" So I would say to some of you, "Rest not in praying, but believe in Jesus." — Quoted in "The Christian," 1874

On one occasion, when Bunyan was endeavoring to pray, the tempter suggested "that neither the mercy of God, nor yet the blood of Christ, at all concerned him, nor could they help him by reason of his sin; therefore it was vain to pray." Yet he thought with himself, "I will pray." "But" said the tempter, "your sin is unpardonable." "Well" said he, "I will pray" "It is to no boot," said the adversary. And still he answered, "I will pray." And so he began his prayer, "Lord, Satan tells me that neither thy mercy nor Christ's blood is sufficient to save my soul. Lord, shall I honor thee most by believing thou wilt and canst? or him, by believing thou neither wilt nor canst? Lord, I would fain honor thee by believing that thou canst and wilt" And while he was thus speaking, "as if someone had clapped him on the back," that scripture fastened on his mind, "O man, great is thy faith"

Seek thou thy God alone by prayer,
And thou shalt doubt--perchance despair;
But seek him also by endeavor,
And thou shalt find him gracious ever.


A watchword - C H Spurgeon

We cannot be long in one stay. A voice ever sounds in our ear, “Arise, let us go hence.” Even when we have conversed on the sweetest themes, or have enjoyed the holiest ordinances, we have not yet crone to our eternal abode; still are we on the march, and the trumpet soundeth, “Arise, let us go hence.” Our Lord was under marching orders, and He knew it: for Him there was no stay upon this earth. Hear how He calls Himself, and all His own, to move on, though bloody sweat and bloody death be in the way. 

I. OUR MASTER’S WATCHWORD. “Arise, let us go hence.” By this stirring word 

    1. He expressed His desire to obey the Father. “As the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence.” 
      (1) He was not hindered by expected suffering. 
      (2) He did not start back, though in that suffering there would be the special element of His Father’s forsaking Him. 
      (3) He did not hesitate though death was in near prospect. 
      (4) He was eager to do the will of the Father, and make all heaven and earth know how entirely He yielded Himself to the Father. 
    2. He indicated His readiness to meet the arch-enemy. “The prince of this word cometh. Arise, let us go hence.” 
      (1) He was prepared for the test. He “hath nothing in Me.” 
      (2) He was eager to overthrow His dominion. 
    3. He revealed His practical activity. All through the chapter observe our Lord’s energy. He is ever on the move. “I go. I will come again. I will do it. I will pray. Arise, let us go hence.” 
      (1) He prefers action to the most sacred rites, and so leaves the supper table with this word on His lips. 
      (2) He prefers action to the sweetest converse. “I will not talk much with you. Arise, let us go hence.” 
    4. He manifested His all-consuming love to us. 
      (1) He was straitened till He had accomplished our redemption. 
      (2) He could not rest in the company of His best-beloved till their ransom was paid. 
      (3) He would not sit at God’s right hand till He had felt the shame of the Cross, and the bitterness of death (Heb 12:2). 

II. OUR OWN MOTTO. “Arise, let us go hence.” Ever onward, ever forward, we must go (Ex 14:15). 

    1. Out of the world when first called by grace (2Co 6:17). How clear the call! How prompt should be our obedience! Jesus is without the camp, we go forth unto Him (Heb 13:13), We must arouse ourselves to make the separation. “Arise, let us go hence,” 
    2. Out of forbidden associations, if, as believers, we find ourselves like Lot in Sodom. “Escape for thy life” (Gen 19:17). 
    3. Out of present attainments when growing in grace (Php 3:13-14). 
    4. Out of all rejoicing in self. There we must never stop for a single instant. Self-satisfaction should startle us. 
    5. To work, anywhere for Jesus. We should go away from Christian company and home comforts to win souls (Mark 16:15). 
    6. To defend the faith where it is most assailed. We should be prepared to quit our quiet to contend with the foe (Jude1:3). 
    7. To suffer when the Lord lays affliction upon us (2Co 12:9). 
    8. To die when the voice from above calls us home (2Ti 4:6). 

Conclusion: 

    1. Oh sinner, where would you go if suddenly summoned? 
    2. Oh saint, what better could happen to you than to rise and go hence? (C. H. Spurgeon.)


Do we understand the price of retreat, of going back? That's a costly step. The mariners who sailed with Christopher Columbus pleaded with him to turn their small vessels around and return to Spain, but he pressed on and on. What a loss it would have been to the entire world if Columbus had listened to those who clamored for him to give up. . Shall we go back? Lot's wife looked back and met death (Genesis 19:26). Jesus says the plowman who looks back is not fit for His kingdom. To go back is the coward's choice. It means to forfeit or lose all the territory gained. It means the adoption of the "crayfish strategy." God says: "If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (Hebrews 11:38). . Whoever entertains an attitude of returning to the "slave days of Egypt" forgets the price paid for redemption. Neither does such a person remember his or her horrible chains of bondage. Sin galls and gouges! It binds, blinds, and bruises. Read again the first chapters of Exodus to get a picture of sin's devastation. Who wants to live again under "the taskmaster's lash?" Who wants to die without hope? An "escape from evil" is a thousand-fold better! Be done with the attitude of retreat.

A second attitude concerning advance is to wait for God's marching orders. Don't retreat in panic. Don't rush forward at one's own whim. Wait on the Lord! Moses declares: "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord...The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace" (Exodus 14:13-14). God's red light and caution light flash in the text. Don't rush out into the sea until God turns on the green light. Let God reveal His moment to march. The victory belongs to Him. We are not to march to the beat of a different drummer. We can't win God's battles, or our own. This is a hard lesson to learn. Look at Lamentations 3:26: "It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord!" . Forty years before the time of the text, Moses disqualified himself. He had not learned to wait upon God. He wanted to do God's job and then check in at the office for the work-order. We still run ahead of God! A person may be too hasty about the choice of a school. Some run too hurriedly to the divorce court. A few, in the excitement of a great spiritual moment, may step into an ordained ministry when God wants their zeal and fire to burn among the laymen in the pew. The Bible says: 42 "Wait on the Lord." Blind poet John Milton wrote: "They also serve who only stand and wait." Maybe some people need to slow down and let God "catch up!"

A third attitude is that of advancing at God's Word. We are to respond to and obey His command. Just at the right second God tells Moses: "Wherefore crieth thou to me? speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward" (Exodus 14:15). When God's hour to march arrives, we are not to stand still any longer. Banish every idea of "the leek and garlic and onion of Egypt" - - besides, that stale life only gives spiritual halitosis. Take in the fresh air of adventure and excitement. Advance when God speaks the word. . The lines of Annie Johnson Flint challenge all of us as we face every "Red Sea" experience in life. This is another reminder that we are to let fear turn to faith, cowardice to courage, and bashfulness to boldness! .

"Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
Where, in spite of all you can do,
There is no way out, there is no way back,
There is no other way but through?
Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene
Till the night of your fear is gone;
He will send the wind,
He will heap the floods,
When He says to your soul, "Go on!"

We must not be insensitive to the attitude of progress when God says, "March!" (Exodus - Escape from Evil)


A Remedy Against Despondence

"Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward."—Exod. 14:15

"Let me mention," says Sir W. R. Hamilton in one of his letters, "what I think an important secret of experience; namely, that blessed a thing" as meditation is, it is action, rather than meditation, which is the appointed remedy, the Divine specific, against despondence; and that present duties which may at first seem irksome, are part of the medicine wherewith God healeth the sickness of those that are broken in heart."


When God Waits
Today's Reading: Exodus 14:11-15

Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! Exodus 14:15

THERE ARE a lot of why questions that we lift up to God. Every day people are looking to heaven and crying out in frustration. "Lord, why aren't you doing something about this? Why is this happening to me? Why isn't anything happening? Why aren't you helping me with this problem?" We saturate the airwaves with the why questions of life.
I'm convinced that God has one answer for almost every one of those questions. He says, I'm just waiting on you.
When Moses and the Israelites stood on the edge of the Red Sea watching the Egyptian army close in on them, they cried out to God in fear. They began praying that God would somehow rescue them. They lamented over their dilemma and pleaded with the Lord to intervene. And look what God said when he answered them. "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!" (Exodus 14:15). To paraphrase, God told them, "I'm just waiting on you."
Too often we spend our days waiting for a miracle. When trouble comes, we cry out to God for help. When things don't move fast enough, we blame God for taking his time. When our faith is weak, we wonder why God has forsaken us. And all the while God is saying to us, I haven't gone anywhere. I'm just waiting on you.
And what is it that God is waiting for? Often he is waiting for us to lay aside our own agenda and trust him. He is waiting for us to deal with the hidden sins in our heart, to be obedient to his Word, to love more, to fear less, to believe without doubt, to soften our heart, to draw nearer, to seek his will. Whenever God waits, he waits for a purpose.
And when we finally come to our senses and do the thing that we know he wants us to do, he moves with a vengeance. The Red Sea parts, and things start to happen. When our faith motivates us to act, we will be astounded at what God can accomplish.

Reflection
Does God seem silent on an issue in your life? What is he waiting on you to do? (Embracing Eternity - Tim Lahaye)


God's Marching Orders  - Ian Paisley

"Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward" Exodus 14:15

To Go Back Is Destruction
Never be tempted to go back when God commands, "Go forward". To turn back is disobedience to God's commandment and certain destruction. If Israel had turned back they, and not the Egyptians, would have been destroyed.

It Is the Only Way of Escape
Israel was shut up to going forward, on the right hand and on the left high mountains, behind them their bloodthirsty enemies and before them the Red Sea. God's way seemed impossible but it was possible, for God promised to part the sea. What God promises He will surely perform. Escape is certain if we go forward.

If You Would Have God with You
God is only with us when we go His way. To disobey God is to depart from God. In God's path alone is God's presence.
Go forward! Keep going forward! Keep on going forward! 


GO FORWARD

TEXT: “The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward” (Exod. 14:15).

INTRODUCTION: Prayer for the moment was complete. Now it was time to move. For some months God’s plan had unfolded as Moses served as God’s man in Pharaoh’s court. Next was God’s final act against Pharaoh—his destruction but Israel’s deliverance. Let us look at the command, “Go forward.”

I.      God is its source.
      A.      He draws up the plan of action (Phil. 2:12–13).
      B.      He removes the obstacles (Josh. 4:14–16).
      C.      He never fails to keep His promise (Josh. 23:14).
      D.      He completes what He begins (Phil. 1:6).

 II.      God has repeated it through the centuries.
      A.      To King Saul—“Now go and smite Amalek (1 Sam. 15:3.) He went, but disobeyed God to his sorrow.
      B.      To Isaiah—“Go and tell this people” (Isa. 6:9).
      C.      To Jeremiah—“Go … whatever I command you, you shall speak” (Jer. 1:7).
      D.      To Amos—“Jehovah took me … and Jehovah said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel” (Amos 7:15 ASV).

III.      God has given it to us (Matt. 28:19).
    Jesus said, “Go”—and this is our business—into all the world; speak the gospel; baptize believers in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!

CONCLUSION: And go we must; only the disobedient and faithless retreat. To retreat when God commands, “Advance!” is disastrous.


Go Forward!  Exodus 14:15 Wade Horton

INTRODUCTION: The Israelites' was a story of deliverance until this scene. At the first thing that happened, they wanted to go back. They were afraid. To this Moses said, "Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord." But God said, "[Why cry]... unto me?... Go forward!"
    I. WHY WERE THE ISRAELITES TO GO FORWARD? 
         A. They had a choice: either go forward or stand still. They could do nothing and surrender to the enemy, or turn around and fight. God never wants His children to surrender and serve the enemy. 
         B. God knew they were too weak to fight. The shock of losing some men would be too much. 
         C. They cried to God for deliverance. 
         D. Now, if they really wanted it, they had to "go forward." It was time to quit crying. Did they expect God to do it all? 
    II. THE MARCHING ORDERS OF THE CHURCH ARE TO GO FORWARD. 
         A. "Go... preach" (Mark 16:15-18). 
         B. "Go... teach" (Matthew 28:19). 
         C. "Go... into the vineyard" (Matthew 20:4). 
         D. "[Go] let your light... shine" (Matthew 5:14-16). 
         E. The "go forward" spirit is aggressive and positive. It is not a cowardly spirit. The prophets and apostles had it. Peter had it. Paul had it. Jesus had it. Luther, Wesley, Spurgeon, Finney, Moody, and many others had it. 
         F. Yes, there are "stop" and "go" signs. But God said go, and He has never said stop. 
    III. WHY IS THE CHURCH TO GO FORWARD? 
         A. Halting and lagging hinder those behind. "Ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered" (Luke 11:52). 
             1. What would have happened if the front line at the Red Sea had halted? 
             2. What would have happened if we had halted at every disappointment? (See Romans 8:28.) 
             3. What would have happened if we had quit because we saw no way out? 
             4. Some quit at the Red Sea (the first trial), and consequently they never go forward. 
         B. No battles are won by going backward. 
             1. The Church needs to destroy all holding-back straps (Luke 9:62). 
             2. The children of Ephraim, being armed and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle. We too are armed—with the Bible and the Spirit (Ephesians 6:11-17; Psalm 78:9). 
         C. Standing still does not win battles. 
             1. We should stand still only until we get marching orders. 
             2. We have ours: Jesus said "Go"! 
             3. There is no time for hesitation—only for action. "Why stand ye here all the day idle?... Go" (Matthew 20:6, 7). 
             4. "Launch out into the deep" (Luke 5:4). 
         D. God tells us to go forward. 
             1. His command is imperative. 
             2. If we expect victory, we must obey orders. "Be ye doers of the word" (James 1:22). 
             3. All God's orders are "Go forward." 
         E. Slavery is behind us. 
             1. Pharaoh is a type of the devil (1 Peter 5:8). 
             2. The devil distorts the past, so that one remembers only the garlic and leeks in Egypt, etc. (Numbers 11:4-9). 
             3. We have already tried that. "But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20). 
             4. Standing still is admitting the devil is as big as God. 
             5. Standing still is admitting also that we love Egypt best. 
         F. Forward is the only way to Canaan. 
             1. Canaan is a land flowing with milk and honey. 
             2. There new experiences await us. 
                  a. New environments, free land, free people 
                  b. New hopes 
                  c. New home 
                  d. New liberty 
                  e. New joy 
CONCLUSION: Victory is won by going forward. "Go forward!" God will take care of the enemy. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Romans 12:19). When the sea is crossed and the enemy is destroyed, there is joy in the camp!


Spurgeon - Exodus 14:15 Forward! Forward! Forward!

SPIRITUAL men, in their distresses, turn at once to prayer, even as the stag when hunted takes to flight. Prayer is a never-failing resort; it is sure to bring a blessing with it. Even apart from the answer of our supplications, the very exercise of prayer is healthy to the man engaged in it. Far be it from me ever to say a word in disparagement of the holy, happy, heavenly exercise of prayer. But, beloved, there are times when prayer is not enough—when prayer itself is out of season. You will think that a hard saying, and say, “Who can hear it?” But my text is to the point. Moses prayed that God would deliver his people; but the Lord said to him, “Wherefore criest thou unto me?” As much as to say this is not the time for prayer, it is the time for action. “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” When we have prayed over a matter to a certain degree, it then becomes sinful to tarry any longer; our plain duty is to carry our desires into action, and having asked God’s guidance, and having received divine power from on high, to go at once to our duty without any longer deliberation or delay.

Brethren, a vigorous faith will often shut its eyes to difficulties. When faith looks upon a difficulty as being exceedingly great, then she turns to prayer; but, on the other hand, after having sought God’s help, and having received it, she frequently laughs at the impossibility, and cries, “It shall be done;” and then, instead of betaking herself any longer to her knees, she boldly marches on, believing that the difficulty will vanish before her, that the crooked will be made straight, and the rough places plain. We are not to be always praying over a difficulty; when we have fairly committed it to God, we are to act upon the assurance that he has heard us; nor will such an action be the fruit of rashness, for it is a solid and substantial fact, that prayer does avail with God. Beloved, it strikes me that the advice which the Lord gave to Moses, was such as he has given to the preacher to-night; and that the message which Moses delivered to the children of Israel, is a very fit one for me to deliver to you. Short, prompt, soldierlike, here is the whole of it: “Forward! forward!” If you have been sitting down or tempted to go back—“Forward!” We have long been praying, let us to-night “Go forward.” (Full sermon - Exodus 14:15 Forward! Forward! Forward!)


Streams in the Desert - “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” (Exod. 14:15.)

IMAGINE, O child of God, if you can that triumphal march! The excited children restrained from ejaculations of wonder by the perpetual hush of their parents; the most uncontrollable excitement of the women as they found themselves suddenly saved from a fate worse than death; while the men followed or accompanied them ashamed or confounded that they had ever mistrusted God or murmured against Moses; and as you see those mighty walls of water piled by the outstretched hand of the Eternal, in response to the faith of a single man, learn what God will do for His own.

Dread not any result of implicit obedience to His command; fear not the angry waters which, in their proud insolence, forbid your progress. Above the voices of many waters, the mighty breakers of the sea, “the Lord sitteth King for ever.”

A storm is only as the outskirts of His robe, the symptom of His advent, the environment of His presence.

Dare to trust Him; dare to follow Him! And discover that the very forces which barred your progress and threatened your life, at His bidding become the materials of which an avenue is made to liberty.—F. B. Meyer.

  Have you come to the Red Sea place in your life,
    Where, in spite of all you can do,
  There is no way out, there is no way back,
    There is no other way but through?
  Then wait on the Lord with a trust serene
    Till the night of your fear is gone;
  He will send the wind, He will heap the floods,
    When He says to your soul, “Go on.”

  And His hand will lead you through—clear through—
    Ere the watery walls roll down,
  No foe can reach you, no wave can touch,
    No mightiest sea can drown;
  The tossing billows may rear their crests,
    Their foam at your feet may break,
  But over their bed you shall walk dry shod
    In the path that your Lord will make.

  In the morning watch, ’neath the lifted cloud,
    You shall see but the Lord alone,
  When He leads you on from the place of the sea
    To a land that you have not known;
  And your fears shall pass as your foes have passed,
    You shall be no more afraid;
  You shall sing His praise in a better place,
    A place that His hand has made.
—Annie Johnson Flint.

Exodus 14:16  "As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.

  • lift - Ex 14:21,26 4:2,17,20 7:9,19 
  • the sea - This sea was what is called in Scripture {yam suph,} "the sea of weeds;" so called, according to Mr. Bruce, from the vast quantity of coral which grows in it.  In the LXX. it is called [thalassa erythra,] and by the Latins {Rubrum mare,} and we from them the Red Sea; so called it is supposed, from {Edom} (red) or Esau, whose territories extend to its coasts.  
  • and the - Ex 14:21,22 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A HIGHWAY THROUGH
THE RED SEA

As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land. - Moses is instructed like a grand composer leading his musical finale by raising his baton for the members of the symphony to begin to play the dramatic crescendo of the composition!

While Jehovah used Moses as His "instrument" (Moses), it was God of course Who brought about the miracle the prophet Isaiah affirming...

Was it not You (YAHWEH) Who dried up the sea the waters of the great deep; Who made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over? (Isaiah 51:10).

Currid - In spite of Israel’s unbelief, God orders Moses to stretch out his hand (apparently with the rod of God in it) over the Red Sea in order to divide it. It is essentially the same command God had given in the opening plague (see comment on 7:19). On that earlier occasion, the miracle had worked primarily as a curse upon Egypt. Here, as we shall see throughout the passage, it serves as both blessing and curse.

John Trapp on the staff - This rod God makes use of, fo: the greater manifestation of his own power, and the gracing of his servant Moses.

Adrian Rogers - Do you know what God did to that dead-end? He turned it into an eight-lane super highway, and, dry-shod, they went through the Red Sea. God knows the way through the wilderness. Have you any that seem to be uncrossable? Have you any mountains you cannot tunnel through? God specializes in things that seem to be impossible. He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you. "I am the Lord thy God. Is there anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:27) And, that so-called impossibility is God's opportunity to display His glory and His might, if you are living in the Spirit, and if you have your eye on that pillar of cloud and that pillar of fire.

This passage reminds me of Don Moen's famous song "God Will Make a Way" (of course in this case God will make a way Israel could see)....

Oh, God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me

He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way

By a roadway in the wilderness, He'll lead me
And rivers in the desert will I see
Heaven and Earth will fade but His word will still remain
And He will do something new today

Exodus 14:17  "As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen.

  • I will harden the hearts  Ex 14:4 
  • behold - Ge 6:17 9:9 Lev 26:28 De 32:39 Isa 48:15 51:12 Jer 23:39 Eze 5:8 6:3 34:11,20 Ho 5:14 
  • I will - Ex 14:8 Ex 4:23 Ex 7:3,13,14 
  • and I will - Ex 14:18 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JEHOVAH IS ORCHESTRATING
THE FINAL DRAMA AT THE RED SEA

This is a repetition of Exodus 14:4 "Thus I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after them; and I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.” And they did so." There the hardening is related to the heart of Pharaoh and here to the Egyptians, presumably especially those who served in Pharaoh's army, so that they would be motivated to chase after Israel. 

As for Me, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them - NAB = " I will make the Egyptians so obstinate that they will go in after them." The hardening is effected by God simply giving men over to the lusts of their flesh as in Romans 1 where 3 times God gave over men who rejected the truth about God to their own fallen flesh! (Read Romans 1:18-32+, especially Ro 1:24+ = to lusts of their hearts, Ro 1:26+ = to degrading passions, Ro 1:28+ = to a depraved mind). That is the hardening by God that is to be most feared!  God is hardening not only Pharaoh’s heart but the hearts of the entire Egyptian army to chase the Hebrews into the sea.

NET has "And as for me, I am going to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will come after them." The NET Note says "The repetition of the verb translated “come” is interesting: Moses is to divide the sea in order that the people may cross, but God will harden the Egyptians’ hearts in order that they may follow."

McGee - Had you been at the water’s edge when Pharaoh started to follow the children of Israel across the Red Sea, you would have said to him, “I suppose that you recognize that you are doing this because your heart and the hearts of your people are hardened by God, and you really don’t want to do it.” I think Pharaoh and his army would have laughed at you and replied, “We are chasing the Israelites because we want to.” The fact is that God is forcing the Egyptians to do the thing that is in their hearts.

And I will be honored through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen Honored = Glorified. NLT = "My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers." ESV = "I will get glory over Pharaoh...." NIV = "I will gain glory through Pharaoh..." CSB = "I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh..." Here is the main point and could even be called the theme of the book of Exodus and this is that Egypt would be destroyed and Israel delivered for the GLORY OF THE LORD. The truth is that everything that God has ever done, is doing now, or will do is for His glory. That is clearly the reason for Israel’s deliverance through the Red Sea. God is glorified both when He judges the wicked and when He saves His elect.

John Currid makes an excellent observation - The second half of the verse is dominated by four instances of the preposition beth being used to convey instrumentality. It literally reads, ‘I will be glorified [kābēd] by Pharaoh, by his army, by his chariots and by his cavalry.’ This is a statement of the ultimate purpose and significance of the Red Sea incident. (Ibid)

Isaiah speaks to Jehovah's Red Sea dividing the waters bringing deliverance to Israel, death to the Egyptians and honor to His everlasting Name...

Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them, Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting Name,  (Isaiah 63:11-12)

Related Resource: 

Exodus 14:18 "Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen."

Then - When? When they are hardened and chase after Israel.

The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I am honored through Pharaoh, through his chariots and his horsemen - Here the Egyptians would refer to the rest of the people of Egypt, those the are remaining in the land.

Currid comments that "The principal aim of the event at the Red Sea is the glorification of Yahweh and the recognition of his sovereignty over all. This has been the theme of the book of Exodus (see Ex 7:5, 17; Ex 8:19, 22; Ex 10:2; Ex 14:4, 18, 25)." 

Guzik has an interesting application - God was not finished answering Pharaoh’s question from Exodus 5:2, when Pharaoh asked “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?” God used the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea to speak to Egypt as much as He used it to speak to Israel.. This is an aspect of the spiritual life rarely reflected upon, yet Ephesians 3:10–11 tell us that God uses His people to teach angelic beings. When God delivers us from a temptation or crisis, it is as much a testimony to our invisible adversaries as it is to us. God uses each victory in our life to tell our unseen enemies of His power and ability to work in and through frail humanity.

The Levites extol God declaring "“Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, Against all his servants and all the people of his land; For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them, And made a name for Yourself as it is this day. Nehemiah 9:10

Exodus 14:19  The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.

  • angel of God - Ex 14:24 13:21 23:20,21 32:34 Nu 20:16 Isa 63:9 
  • and the pillar - Ex 13:21,22 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A THEOPHANY ASSOCIATED WITH
THE PILLAR FOR PROTECTION

The angel of God, Who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them - To Whom does this refer? The text equates the pillar with the angel, so God was clearly intimately related to the pillar. I believe that this was another manifestation of Angel of the LORD, a theophany, which I favor as a theophany of Christ. And why did He move behind them? Clearly to create a division between the Egyptians and the Israelites. God moves from leading to protecting.

McGee agrees "I believe the Angel of God was none other than the pre-incarnate Christ. It was God Himself who stood between the Egyptians and the Israelites."

Currid - This is the same figure who appeared in the burning bush in Exodus 3:2. There he spoke and acted as if he was God. (The suggestion has already been made that perhaps this person is a pre-incarnate appearance of the Messiah. 

I agree with Guzik - We often have little idea how much God does to protect us from the attacks of our unseen enemies. We sometimes feel that we are overwhelmed in a present spiritual struggle, but we may not know what it would be like if the LORD pulled back His protection.

Jehovah's protecting presence providing for their rearguard reminds me of the last phrase in Isaiah 58:8 which says "The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard." In Isaiah 52:12 we read similar words that "you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard."

NET Note - Jacob (Exodus, 400–401) makes a good case that there may have been only one pillar, one cloud; it would have been a dark cloud behind it, but in front of it, shining the way, a pillar of fire. He compares the manifestation on Sinai, when the mountain was on fire but veiled by a dark cloud (Deut 4:11; 5:22). See also Exod 13:21; Num 14:14; Deut 1:33; Neh 9:12, 19; Josh 24:7; Pss 78:14; 105:39.

C H McIntosh -   The pillar of the cloud. “It was a cloud and darkness” to the Egyptians, but “it gave light by night” to Israel. How like the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Truly that cross has a double aspect, likewise. It forms the foundation of the believer’s peace; and, at the same time, seals the condemnation of the guilty world. The self-same blood which purges the believer’s conscience and gives him perfect peace, stains this earth and consummates its guilt. The very mission of the Son of God which strips the world of its cloak, and leaves it wholly without excuse, clothes the Church with a fair mantle of righteousness, and fills her mouth with ceaseless praise. The very same Lamb who will terrify, by His unmitigated wrath, all tribes and classes of earth, will lead, by His gentle hand, His blood-bought flock, through the green pastures, and beside the still waters forever.

C. H. Mackintosh - “He has placed Himself between us and our sins; and it is our happy privilege to find Him between us and every one and every thing that could be against us.”


Exodus 14:19-25  “Don’t Worry, Dad!”

The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. —Isaiah 58:8

Last summer, my husband and I hosted a concert and fundraiser for childhood cancer research. We planned to have the event in our backyard, but weather forecasts were dismal. A few hours before the event, we began calling our 100+ guests to inform them of a change in venue. As our friends and family began feverishly toting food, decorations, and equipment from our house to our church gym, our daughter Rosie took a moment to give her dad a hug and remind him on behalf of the kids and grandkids that they were there for him: “Don’t worry, Dad! We’ve got your back.”

Hearing that expression is comforting because it reminds us that we’re not on our own. Someone is saying, “I’m here. I’ll take care of whatever you might miss. I’ll be a second set of eyes and hands for you.”

As the Israelites were escaping a life of slavery, Pharaoh sent his army of chariots and horsemen to give chase (Ex. 14:17). But “the Angel of God . . . and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them” (v.19). In this way, God hid and protected them throughout the night. The next day, He parted the Red Sea so they could safely cross over.

God tells us “Don’t worry” as well. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31). By Cindy Hess Kasper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

God’s hand that holds the ocean’s depths
Can hold my small affairs;
His hand that guides the universe
Can carry all my cares.
—Anon.

Our work is to cast care; God’s work is to take care!

Exodus 14:20  So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night. Thus the one did not come near the other all night.

NET  Exodus 14:20 It came between the Egyptian camp and the Israelite camp; it was a dark cloud and it lit up the night so that one camp did not come near the other the whole night.

LXE  Exodus 14:20 And it went between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and stood; and there was darkness and blackness; and the night passed, and they came not near to one another during the whole night.

NLT  Exodus 14:20 The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night.

KJV  Exodus 14:20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.

ESV  Exodus 14:20 coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night.

NIV  Exodus 14:20 coming 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.

ASV  Exodus 14:20 and it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel; and there was the cloud and the darkness, yet gave it light by night: and the one came not near the other all the night.

CSB  Exodus 14:20 It came between the Egyptian and Israelite forces. The cloud was there in the darkness, yet it lit up the night. So neither group came near the other all night long.

NKJ  Exodus 14:20 So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night.

NRS  Exodus 14:20 It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

YLT  Exodus 14:20 and cometh in between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and the cloud and the darkness are, and he enlighteneth the night, and the one hath not drawn near unto the other all the night.

  • Ps 18:11 Pr 4:18,19 Isa 8:14 2Co 2:15,16 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

THE PROTECTING 
PILLAR OF YAHWEH

So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel - "It" refers to the pillar of God, the Shekinah glory cloud (cf Ex 19:9; Ex 33:9–10), clearly showing that God was going to protect and preserve those He had delivered from bondage. The Angel of God switched from guiding to guarding. 

Guzik - The Egyptians didn’t know it, but the same pillar that prevented their pursuit of Israel also protected their lives, at least for a while. If they had submitted to the LORD who blocked their way with His presence, they would have been spared their coming destruction.

And there was the cloud along with the darkness, yet it gave light at night - NET = "it was a dark cloud and it lit up the night." NLT = "As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night." NIV = "Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side." Picture the somewhat eerie supernatural scene. It seems that the Egyptians were in darkness and could not perceive the light that was on the Israelites. How could this happen? There is no natural explanation. Once again as during the last 4 plagues, we see Jehovah putting a division between His people and the Egyptians. 

Currid - Verse 20 expresses the work of the cloud that night to bring both blessing and curse. One side of the cloud brought light; the other side gave darkness. The Egyptians were clothed in darkness, as they had been during the ninth plague; Pharaoh, the incarnation of the sun-god Ra, could not bring light to his people. But the Hebrews were bathed in the light of the pillar. Symbolically, one represents the children of darkness, and the other the children of light.

Guzik - The pillar was a source of darkness to the Egyptians but a source of light to Israel. This is a vivid picture of how the glory of God or work of God can be light to one person yet seem dark to another. “Thus the double nature of the glory of God in salvation and judgment, which later appears so frequently in Scripture, could not have been more graphically depicted.” (Kaiser) The word of God has a dark side to sinners; as do also the gospel and even Jesus Himself.

Thus the one did not come near the other all night - "so that one camp did not come near the other the whole night." (NET) The Egyptians could not attack the Israelites because of the protecting pillar of God. One would think that a few of the Egyptians would have thought "Maybe we had been re-consider attacking these people. Their God still seems to have power that we cannot match!" But remember that their hearts were hardened and hardened hearts do not think clearly, logically or wisely! 

Spurgeon - God was like a wall of fire between them and their enemies, so that they had no cause for fear even though the Egyptians were so near.


ILLUSTRATION - The nearer the moon draweth into conjunction with the sun, the brighter she shines toward the heavens and the earth; so, the nearer the soul draws into communion with Jesus Christ, the comelier it is in the eye of the Spouse, and the blacker it appears in the sight of the world. He that is a precious Christian to the Lord is a precious puritan to the world; he that is glorious to a heavenly saint is odious to an earthly spirit. But it is a sign thou art an Egyptian, when that cloud which is a light to an Israelite is darkness to thee. It is a sign thou movest in a terrestrial orb, when thou seest no lustre in such celestial lights


C H McIntosh -   Jehovah placed Himself right between Israel and the enemy—this was protection indeed. Before ever Pharaoh could touch a hair of Israel’s head, he should make his way through the very pavilion of the Almighty—yea, through the Almighty Himself. Thus it is that God ever places Himself between His people and every enemy, so that “no weapon formed against them can prosper.” (Isaiah 54:17) He has placed Himself between us and our sins; and it is our happy privilege to find Him between us and every one and everything that could be against us.… The believer may institute a diligent and anxious search for his sins, but he cannot find them. Why? Because God is between him and them. He has cast all our sins behind His back (Isaiah 38:17); while, at the same time, He sheds forth upon us the light of His reconciled countenance.

Exodus 14:21  Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.

  • stretched - Ex 14:16 
  • the Lord - Ex 15:8 Jos 3:13-16 4:23 Ne 9:11 Job 26:12 Ps 66:6 74:13 Ps 78:13 106:7-10 114:3-5 136:13 Isa 51:10,15 63:12 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

MOSES STRETCHED OUT HIS HAND
SEE VIDEO REPLAY OF THIS EVENT

SUPERNATURAL SWIRL 
SWEEPS WATER

I am amazed that commentators which I normally consider conservative make vain attempts to try to explain the supernatural hand of Yahweh by invoking natural phenomena. This is just plain wrong in my humble opinion! It reminds me of Thomas Jefferson's "Bible" (if you could still call it that) from which he had carefully extirpated all allusions to the supernatural and to the work of the Holy Spirit! He could have just as well spent his time reading a novel by Charles Dickens (in my opinion)! (Even Wikipedia says "Consistent with his naturalistic outlook and intent, most supernatural events are not included in Jefferson's heavily edited compilation.")

Mark it down - Moses stretched and Yahweh swept! Man's part, God's sovereignty! 

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea - What sea? Ex 13:18 and Ex 15:4 identify it as the Red Sea. Moses believed the words that Jehovah had spoken to him and obeyed his instructions in Ex 14:16 "As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land." Moses did not question or doubt these unusual instructions, but did as he had been instructed. Notice the principle that if one believes the Word of God, he or she will obey the Word of God. Obedience does not save a person, but does demonstrate that their faith is genuine. Faith that refuses to act is at best faulty faith and at worse false faith. 

And the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. - NET = "the LORD drove the sea apart by a strong east wind all that night." Notice once again how the sovereignty of the LORD is intimately (and mysteriously) intermingled with the responsibility of man. And so we see Moses stretched and Yahweh swept! Notice the direction of the wind is from the East. Where were the Israelites? On the west side. So the miracle began to take place opposite their position and occurred all night. Notice that in bringing out this miracle God used the natural forces He controls, but the event was nevertheless totally supernatural! I live by the sea and the wind blew 50 mph recently from the shore toward the water in the Gulf of Mexico and while the waves were huge, the sea itself did not part! So not only did the natural wind supernaturally divide the water, the soil was supernaturally dry!  

Yes Yahweh used wind but the psalmist clearly records "You divided the sea by Your strength." (Ps 74:13) As Spurgeon says "Infinite power split the Red Sea in twain. Israel delighted to rehearse this famous act of the Lord."

NET Note - There is no way to “water down” the text to fit natural explanations; the report clearly shows a miraculous work of God making a path through the sea—a path that had to be as wide as half a mile in order for the many people and their animals to cross between about 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Believer's Study Bible - On the use of the east and west winds, cf. Ex 10:13, 19. That the path through the sea was not even soggy was considered highly significant by later writers of Scripture (cf. Ps. 66:6; P 106:7-12; Isa. 63:12-14).

Life Application Study Bible - There was no apparent way of escape, but the Lord opened up a dry path through the sea. Sometimes we find ourselves caught in a problem and see no way out. Don't panic; God can open up a way.

Adrian Rogers - Now, many of you think you know about the Exodus because you saw a movie, and Cecil B. DeMille told you how it was done. Friend, let me tell you that there's no movie—no film—that can describe the glory, the marvel, the mystery, and the miracle of the opening of the Red Sea, and the bringing of the children of Israel through, dry-shod.


THE NEW WAY Exodus 14

In following the Lord the Israelites were led into the wilderness. The first strivings of the Holy Spirit is to lead the soul into a true sense of its utter emptiness and barrenness that it may become capable of enjoying the riches of divine grace. “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty” (Isa. 44:3). Notice their—

 I. Helpless Condition. “They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has shut them in” (v. 3). They have been led between Pi-hahiroth and Baal-zephon like a convicted sinner without hope, shut up between the impassable crags of a broken law and the sinking swamps of human inability. Has God made a mistake in leading them into such a trap? No wonder the enemy says, seeing their plight, “God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him, for there is none to deliver” (Psa. 71:11).

II. Despairing Cry. “Pharaoh drew nigh, and they were sore afraid, and cried unto the Lord” (v. 10). Those entangled by the guiding Spirit of conviction are shut up to faith (2 Chron. 20:12). All earthly help and hope must be cut off to make room for the deliverance of the Lord. It was when the disciples were utterly helpless in the storm the Lord rebuked the winds. Salvation is near when the despairing cry is raised.

III. Precious Privilege. “Fear not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord” (v. 13). He is a present help in time of trouble. He knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation. This salvation was not of works—“The Lord shall fight for you.” It was not of words—“Ye shall hold your peace” (v. 14). The busybodies mentioned in Romans 10:4 did not succeed in lifting one foot out of the miry clay. Jesus paid it all. Your strength is to sit still.

IV. Miraculous Deliverance. “The Lord made the sea dry land” (v. 21). This new way of salvation was all of God’s making. It required Almighty power to roll the difficulties back and leave a free and open way of escape for the weary, tangled feet of men. What a picture of the great saving work of our Redeemer King! Through the vail of His flesh He hath consecrated for us a new and living way (Heb. 10:20). Let us draw near. This way was not only made by the Lord, but you will note that it had to be maintained till every redeemed one was saved. Jesus is the Way. Not only the Waymaker. Himself we need every step. “I am the Way” (John 14:6).

V. Saving Faith. “Go forward” (v. 15). “They went into the midst of the sea” (v. 22). It is not enough to know there is a way, to see to it, or even to praise and magnify the wisdom and power of Him who made it; it must be entered or the enemy of souls will overtake and destroy. Go forward, only believe these watery walls of judgment, so dark and ominous, cannot overflow you. “There is therefore no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). Alas, that there are so many of whom it may be said, “They cannot enter in because of unbelief.”

VI. Almighty Protection. “The angel of God, … the pillar of cloud, came between” (vv. 19, 20). Those who walk in God’s ways will be kept by God’s power (Psa. 37:24). The pillar of His presence between us and our foes is a strong guarantee of safety. The light of the pillar was hid from the Egyptians. Solemn thought, “If our Gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). There is a darkness that thickens into “the blackness of darkness for ever” (Jude 13).

VII. Triumphant Song. “I will sing unto the Lord” (chap. 15:1). It is surely suggestive that in this song there are three “Thine’s,” ten “Thou’s,” and eleven “Thy’s,” but no “Me’s.” “Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thy Name give glory” (Psa. 115:1). “Thanks be unto God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). The way of life, through the open sea of our Redeemer’s sufferings, leads to the song of victory. “I heard a great voice of much people in Heaven, saying, Alleluia! Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: for true and righteous are His judgments” (Rev. 19:1, 2).


Question: "Did the Israelites in the book of Exodus cross the Red Sea or the Reed Sea?"

Answer: Moses’ song of praise after the crossing of the Red Sea contains this line: “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea” (Exodus 15:4). This is one of over twenty Old Testament verses dealing with the Exodus that mention the Red Sea. There has always been a question, though, about the accuracy of translating these verses with “Red Sea” instead of “Reed Sea.”

The Hebrew word suph, whose root is thought to be of Egyptian origin, meant “reed,” especially the papyrus. So the Hebrew phrase yam suph can be translated “Sea of Reeds” or “Reed Sea” or even “Papyrus Marsh.” Is this phrase, commonly translated “Red Sea,” in fact referring to what today is known as the Red Sea or is it some other body of water? More importantly, are the liberal scholars correct in saying yam suph refers to a marshy area near the Rea Sea or some small, shallow lake nearby? These questions are crucial because, if the Israelites escaped Egypt without God’s miraculous intervention, then the Bible contains exaggerations and lies.

ED COMMENT - THE 28 USES OF "RED SEA" - Ex 10:19; Ex. 13:18; Ex. 15:4; Ex. 15:22; Ex. 23:31; Nu 14:25; Nu 21:4; Num. 33:10; Num. 33:11; Deut. 1:40; Deut. 2:1; Deut. 11:4; Jos. 2:10; Jos. 4:23; Jos. 24:6; Jdg. 11:16; 1 Ki. 9:26; Neh. 9:9; Ps. 106:7; Ps. 106:9; Ps. 106:22; Ps. 136:13; Ps. 136:15; Jer. 49:21; Acts 7:36; Heb. 11:29

When we look at the various passages of Scripture where the term yam suph is used, it becomes clear that it is indeed referring to the large body of water: “The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left” (Exodus 14:21–22). The “wall of water” on each side of the Israelites certainly suggests depth. Later, “the sea went back to its place. . . . The 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” (verses 27–28). There can be no doubt about what Moses is communicating here. Red Sea or Reed Sea, it was deep enough to destroy the entire Egyptian army. All the credit for this miraculous event is given to the Lord (Exodus 15:3), and it is referenced often in Scripture as an example of God’s great power (Joshua 2:10; Nehemiah 9:9; Psalm 106:9–12; 136:13–14).

Exodus 14 clearly describes a supernatural event involving a deep body of water that Israel crossed on dry ground and that later drowned the Egyptians. Whether the Israelites called it the Red Sea or the Reed Sea, the only way to look at that chapter and see a shallow lake or marshy area is to have a preconceived bias against the miraculous. Exodus gives us a clear understanding that the body of water the Israelites crossed was large and deep. The Red Sea surely fits that description.

In support of “Red Sea” being the correct translation and the correct body of water is the Greek Septuagint (LXX) from 200 BC. This is the earliest translation of the Hebrew Bible known, and the words yam suph are consistently translated with the Greek words eruthros thalassa or “Red Sea” (see Acts 7:36; Hebrews 11:29). In Exodus 3:2 and 5, the translators of the LXX used hélos to refer to a marshy, reedy area. But when it came time to translate suph in the context of the exodus through the sea, they chose a different phrase (eruthros thalassa), which specifically means “Red Sea.” The translators of the LXX obviously understood Moses to be referring to the Red Sea, not some other body of water.

When the LXX is quoted in the New Testament, the biblical writers, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, retained the Greek words meaning “Red Sea” (not “Reed Sea”). One example is in Stephen’s sermon in Acts 7:36. Also, Hebrews 11:29 says, “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.” These New Testament passages provide strong proof that “Red Sea” is the correct translation.

Further evidence that yam suph can indeed refer to the Red Sea comes from 1 Kings 9:26. There we see King Solomon building a fleet of ships on the shore of the Rea Sea/Reed Sea in the land of Edom—hardly practical if that body of water were merely a marshy area or small, shallow lake.

Even if we choose the translation “Reed Sea” over “Red Sea,” there are several possible bodies of water near Egypt that the Israelites could have crossed. Some scholars point to the Gulf of Suez or the Gulf of Aqaba (both are extensions of the Red Sea) as possible crossing sites. Moving north of the Gulf of Suez is the Bitter Lakes region, and north of that is Lake Timsah. Other scholars have suggested a body of water in the Nile Delta region.

Regardless of the way the words yam suph are translated, the Bible is clear that God supernaturally parted a large body of water so the Israelites could cross on dry land, and, when the Egyptian army attempted to follow, He destroyed them in an overwhelming flood. (Source: Gotquestions.org)


Exodus 14:21-22 Unlimited Power

[God] brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name. —Isaiah 40:26

Why don’t the stars fall down?” A child may ask that question, but so does an astronomer. And they both get essentially the same answer: A mysterious power or energy upholds everything and prevents our cosmos from collapsing into chaos.

Hebrews 1:3 tells us that it is Jesus who upholds all things by the word of His power. He is the source of all the energy there is, whether the explosive potential packed inside an atom or the steaming kettle on the kitchen stove.

That energy is not simply a mindless force. No, God is the personal power who created everything out of nothing, including the stars (Genesis 1; Isaiah 40:26); who divided the Red Sea and delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage (Exodus 14:21-22); who brought to pass the virgin birth of Jesus (Luke 1:34-35); and who raised Him from the dead and conquered death (2 Timothy 1:10). Our God, the one and only true God, has the power to answer prayer, meet our needs, and change our lives.

So when life’s problems are baffling, when you face some Red Sea impossibility, call upon the wonder-working God who upholds all things. And remember that with our almighty God, nothing is impossible. By Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Thou art coming to a King
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such
None can ever ask too much.
—John Newton

God is greater than our greatest problem.

Exodus 14:22  The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

  • sons of Israel - Ex 14:29 Ex 15:19 Nu 33:8 Ps 66:6 78:13 Isa 63:13 1Co 10:1 Heb 11:29 
  • a wall - Ex 15:8 Hab 3:8-10 Zec 2:5 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A WALL OF WATER AT THE WORLD'S LARGEST AQUARIUM

A MIRACULOUS
WALL OF WATER

The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land - Jehovah provided an 8 lane highway which had a one way sign pointing to final freedom from fear of the foe in Egypt. 

Currid on dry ground - The term is used in the Bible to describe land that is exceedingly dry, with no moisture. It appears in Genesis 1:9 as the ‘dry ground’ which becomes visible at creation (in antithesis to the waters). The earth’s surface is called ‘dry ground’ after the flood of the day of Noah (Ge 8:7, 14). In all three events, God causes water to be removed so that dry land might appear. This truth underscores the sovereignty and omnipotence of Yahweh!

Constable - The two million Israelites could have passed through the sea in the time the text says if they crossed in a wide column, perhaps a half-mile wide. 

The Smiter of Egypt was the Shepherd of Israel
He drove His foes before him, but went before His people. 
-- C H Spurgeon

Dry land (03004)(yabbashah) "is contrasted with masses of water in the accounts of Creation and the Exodus. On the third day of creation, God gathered the waters below the heavens in one place and caused the dry land to appear (Gen. 1:9). He then called the dry land "earth" (v. 10). This truth is echoed in Jon. 1:9, where it says that "the Lord, the God of heaven made the sea and the dry ground" (NASB). Perhaps the greatest miracle Moses performed was causing the Red Sea to divide, enabling the Israelites to pass through on dry ground (Exo. 14:16, 22, 29; 15:19; Neh. 9:11; Ps. 66:6). A similar miracle took place when the Lord enabled the Israelites to cross the Jordan on dry ground (Josh. 4:22). The nuance expressed by the noun here is that of "dry ground," to underscore the miraculous nature of the events. Not only was the water parted, but the ground was dried, obviously well below the water table. In the messianic age, God will bless the thirsty land with water and the dry ground with streams. Similarly, He will bless his people by pouring out his Spirit on them (Isa. 44:3). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Yabbashah - 14x in 14v - dry ground(4), dry land(9), land(1).Gen. 1:9; Gen. 1:10; Exod. 4:9; Exod. 14:16; Exod. 14:22; Exod. 14:29; Exod. 15:19; Jos. 4:22; Neh. 9:11; Ps. 66:6; Isa. 44:3; Jon. 1:9; Jon. 1:13; Jon. 2:10

And the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. - Like is a term of comparison. So while it was not a true wall, it was stable and secure and orderly. If you have been to a large aquarium you get a sense of this spectacular supernatural feat of Jehovah. The picture above is from the largest aquarium in the world and gives us a sense of what the Israelites may have seen as they walked through the divine division. While the picture is of the modern world's largest aquarium, the largest "aquarium" in the history of the world was here in the Red Sea as some 2 million Hebrews viewed the God's wondrous sight! As I meditate on this marvel, I am reminded that "eye has not seen....alll that God has prepared for those who love Him." (1 Cor 2:9). Oh the blessedness of bliss reserved in Heaven for us "who are protected (THINK OF THE PROTECTING PILLAR) by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Pe 1:4-5+). 

Currid on wall - ‘Wall’ is an architectural term in Hebrew often employed for the fortifications surrounding a city—walls which are high and strong for protection and security. (EPSC-Ex)

This great miracle left a striking and lasting impression upon later writers of the Old Testament

Exodus 15:19 For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea. 

Numbers 33:8 They journeyed from before Hahiroth and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness; and they went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah.

Psalm 66:6  He turned the sea into dry land; They passed through the river on foot; There let us rejoice in Him! 

Spurgeon -  It was no slight miracle to divide a pathway through such a sea, and to make it fit for the traffic of a whole nation. He who did this can do anything, and must be God, the worthy object of adoration. The Christian's inference is that no obstacle in his journey heavenward need hinder him, for the sea could not hinder Israel, and even death itself shall be as life; the sea shall be dry land when God's presence is felt.

Psalm 77:16-20 The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were in anguish; The deeps also trembled.  17 The clouds poured out water; The skies gave forth a sound; Your arrows flashed here and there.  18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook.  19 Your way was in the sea And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known.  20You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Spurgeon - The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid. As if conscious of its Maker's presence, the sea was ready to flee from before his face. The conception is highly poetical, the psalmist has the scene before his mind's eye, and describes it gloriously. The water saw its God, but man refuses to discern him; it was afraid, but proud sinners are rebellious and fear not the Lord. The depths also were troubled. To their heart the floods were made afraid. Quiet caves of the sea, far down in the abyss, were moved with fear; and the lowest channels were left bare, as the water rushed away from its place, in terror of the God of Israel.

Verse 17 The clouds poured out water. Obedient to the Lord, the lower region of the atmosphere yielded its aid to overthrow the Egyptian host. The cloudy chariots of heaven hurried forward to discharge their floods. The skies sent out a sound. From the loftier aerial regions thundered the dread artillery of the Lord of Hosts. Peal on peal the skies sounded over the heads of the routed enemies, confusing their minds and adding to their horror. Thine arrows also went abroad. Lightnings flew like bolts from the bow of God. Swiftly, hither and thither, went the red tongues of flame, on helm and shield they gleamed; anon with blue bale fires revealing the innermost caverns of the hungry sea which waited to swallow up the pride of Mizraim. Behold, how all the creatures wait upon their God, and show themselves strong to overthrow his enemies.

Verse 18. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven, or in the whirlwind. Rushing on with terrific swiftness and bearing all before it, the storm was as a chariot driven furiously, and a voice was heard (even thy voice, O Lord!) out of the fiery car, even as when a mighty man in battle urges forward his charger, and shouts to it aloud. All heaven resounded with the voice of the Lord. The lightnings lightened the world. The entire globe shone in the blaze of Jehovah's lightnings. No need for other light amid the battle of that terrible night, every wave gleamed in the fire flashes, and the shore was lit up with the blaze. How pale were men's faces in that hour, when all around the fire leaped from sea to shore, from crag to hill, from mountain to star, till the whole universe was illuminated in honour of Jehovah's triumph. The earth trembled and shook. It quaked and quaked again. Sympathetic with the sea, the solid shore forgot its quiescence and heaved in dread. How dreadful art thou, O God, when thou comest forth in thy majesty to humble thine arrogant adversaries.

Verse 19 Thy way is in the sea. Far down in secret channels of the deep is thy roadway; when thou wilt thou canst make a sea a highway for thy glorious march. And thy path in the great waters. There, where the billows surge and swell, thou still dost walk; Lord of each crested wave. And thy footsteps are not known. None can follow thy tracks by foot or eye. Thou art alone in thy glory, and thy ways are hidden from mortal ken. Thy purposes thou wilt accomplish, but the means are often concealed, yea, they need no concealing, they are in themselves too vast and mysterious for human understanding. Glory be to thee, O Jehovah.

Verse 20 - What a transition from tempest to peace, from wrath to love. Quietly as a flock Israel was guided on, by human agency which veiled the excessive glory of the divine presence. The smiter of Egypt was the shepherd of Israel. He drove his foes before him, but went before his people. Heaven and earth fought on his side against the sons of Ham, but they were equally subservient to the interests of the sons of Jacob. Therefore, with devout joy and full of consolation, we close this Psalm; the song of one who forgot how to speak and yet learned to sing far more sweetly than his fellows.

Psalm 78:13  He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, And He made the waters stand up like a heap. 14 Then He led them with the cloud by day And all the night with a light of fire. 

Spurgeon - A double wonder, for when the waters were divided the bottom of the sea would naturally be in a very unfit state for the passage of so vast a host as that of Israel; it would in fact have been impassable, had not the Lord made the road for his people. Who else has ever led a nation through a sea? Yet the Lord has done this full often for his saints in providential deliverances, making a highway for them where nothing short of an almighty arm could have done so. And he made the waters to stand as an heap. He forbade a drop to fall upon his chosen, they felt no spray from the crystal walls on either hand. Fire will descend and water stand upright at the bidding of the Lord of all. The nature of creatures is not their own intrinsically, but is retained or altered at the will of him who first created them. The Lord can cause those evils which threaten to overwhelm us to suspend their ordinary actions, and become innocuous to us.

Psalm 106:9-10  Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up, And He led them through the deeps, as through the wilderness.  10 So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them, And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy. 

Spurgeon - A word did it (REBUKED). The sea heard his voice and obeyed. How many rebukes of God are lost upon us! Are we not more unmanageable than the ocean? God did, as it were, chide the sea, and say, "Wherefore dost thou stop the way of my people? Their path to Canaan lies through thy channel, how dare you hinder them?" The sea perceived its Master and his seed royal, and made way at once. So he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. As if it had been the dry floor of the desert the tribes passed over the bottom of the gulf; nor was their passage venturesome, for HE bade them go;nor dangerous, for He led them. We also have under divine protection passed through many trials and afflictions, and with the Lord as our guide we have experienced no fear and endured no perils. We have been led through the deeps as through the wilderness.

Isaiah 50:2 “Why was there no man when I came? When I called, why was there none to answer? Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness; Their fish stink for lack of water And die of thirst. 

Isaiah 51:10 Was it not You who dried up the sea, The waters of the great deep; Who made the depths of the sea a pathway For the redeemed to cross over

Isaiah 63:12  Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, 

Exodus 14:23  Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea.

  • Ex 14:17 15:9,19 1Ki 22:20 Ec 9:3 Isa 14:24-27 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

EGYPTIANS PURSUE
TO PERISH

Then - When? While it is not stated, their pursuit could not have begun until the partition of the pillar of Yahweh was removed and God had given the Israelites a sufficient "head start" to either be almost through to the other side or completely through.

The Egyptians took up the pursuit - Jehovah permitted the pursuit for it would be in the drowning of the entire Egyptian army that He would be honored and glorified. And even in their pursuit they persisted in their bravado and braggadocio declaring "I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; My desire shall be gratified against them; I will draw out my sword, my hand will destroy them." (Ex 15:9)

And all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea - They pursued because they saw them in the Israelites in the distance. Here is their logic - Israelites on foot, Egyptians on horses or in chariots, former slow, latter fast! Logical? Yes, but not reasonable, especially in light of the supernatural manifestation they had seen in the "dividing line" produced by the pillar and the "walled" up waters, which could be nothing but supernaural! One would have thought once again reason would have ruled when they saw water standing like a wall, but their hearts were hardened and their reasoning was clouded. Their destiny was to be in the depths of the deep red sea! 

Exodus 14:24  At the morning watch, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.

  • At the morning watch - 1Sa 11:11 
  • LORD looked down - Job 40:12 Ps 18:13,14 77:16-19 104:32 
  • through - Ex 14:19,20 
  • confusion - Ex 14:25 Job 22:13 23:15,16 34:20,29 Ps 48:5 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

DIVINE CONFUSION
ON THE EGYPTIANS

At the morning watch (1 Sa 11:11 = identical expression) - To what time does this phrase refer? We assume this phrase is based on the fact that the Old Testament divided the night into three watches of four hours each, beginning at our 6 PM, the first watch going from 6-10, the second watch from 10 PM to 2 AM and the third ("morning") watch from 2 - 6 AM (cf "night watches" in Ps. 63:6; Ps 119:148; Lam. 2:19, "middle watch" in Jdg 7:19)

The LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud - Jehovah looked down (Lxx = epiblepo = looked intently, paid close attention) from His Shekinah glory cloud. Note again the pillar is associated with the presence of Jehovah. In some manner Jehovah was in the pillar (even as He had been in the burning bush in Exodus 3:4-6+), and the pillar was in some way elevated over the Egyptians. Could they see the pillar? The text does not say. But the pillar could see them! 

Currid - During these early morning hours, Yahweh ‘leant over and looked down’ upon the Egyptian forces. He then acted by, literally, ‘throwing the army of Egypt into confusion by noise’.

Looked down (08259)(saqap) The basic idea is "to look down at a sharp angle from a great height" as one would look down from a pinnacle or onto the street from a high housetop. In the present passage in Ex 14:24 this verb presents us with is a bold anthropomorphism that "Yahweh looked down." This verb is always with some demonstration of either mercy or wrath.

It means "to look down on, to overlook. It has the sense of God looking down, observing from above: It is used of people or angels (Gen. 18:16); Abraham (Gen. 19:28); God (Ex. 14:24; Ps. 14:2; 53:2[3]; 102:19[20]; Lam 3:50); evil (Jer. 6:1). It may mean simply to look over at something, to observe (Gen. 26:8; Prov. 7:6). It is used in the sense of to look forth, to shine forth (Song 6:10)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Psalm 14:2 (cf uses in Ps 53:2, Ps 102:19) The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. 

Saqap - 22x in 22v  -grows(1), look down(1), looked(6), looked down(8), looks down(3), overlooks*(3). - Gen. 18:16; Gen. 19:28; Gen. 26:8; Exod. 14:24; Num. 21:20; Num. 23:28; Deut. 26:15; Jdg. 5:28; 1 Sam. 13:18; 2 Sam. 6:16; 2 Sam. 24:20; 2 Ki. 9:30; 2 Ki. 9:32; 1 Chr. 15:29; Ps. 14:2; Ps. 53:2; Ps. 85:11; Ps. 102:19; Prov. 7:6; Cant. 6:10; Jer. 6:1; Lam. 3:50

The words of Jehovah in Isaiah are apropos to the present passage

"Now I will arise,” says the LORD, “Now I will be exalted, now I will be lifted up. " (Isaiah 33:10)

And brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion - In some way not stated Jehovah caused confusion. NET Note adds that the verb hamam means “throw into confusion.” It is used in the Bible for the panic and disarray of an army before a superior force (Josh 10:10; Jdg 4:15)."

The confusion could relate to the tumultuous climatic events described in Ps 77:17-18 which says "The clouds poured out water; The skies gave forth a sound; Your arrows flashed here and there. The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook." A trembling, shaking earth would definitely impact both the horses pulling the chariots and the chariots as well as the soldiers on foot or horseback. This would have been a frightening scene to be sure! 

Spurgeon comments "Obedient to the Lord, the lower region of the atmosphere yielded its aid to overthrow the Egyptian host. The cloudy chariots of heaven hurried forward to discharge their floods. The skies sent out a sound. From the loftier aerial regions thundered the dread artillery of the Lord of Hosts. Peal on peal the skies sounded over the heads of the routed enemies, confusing their minds and adding to their horror. Thine arrows also went abroad. Lightnings flew like bolts from the bow of God. Swiftly, hither and thither, went the red tongues of flame, on helm and shield they gleamed; anon with blue bale fires revealing the innermost caverns of the hungry sea which waited to swallow up the pride of Mizraim. Behold, how all the creatures wait upon their God, and show themselves strong to overthrow his enemies

The Septuagint translates the Hebrew word for confusion (hamam) with suntarasso which means they were thrown into complete confusion and were profoundly disturbed.  Hamam refers to noise in (1 Sa 7:10) for "the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel." As noted above Ps 77:18 "The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook." This would seem to be the cause of the confusion. It is interesting that  in Exodus 14:3, Israel was the one in apparent confusion, but now we see it is Egypt panicked!

Jehovah "confounded them ("the five kings of the Amorites" - Josh 10:5) before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon." (Josh 10:10)  "The LORD routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak." (Jdg 4:15) We see similar descriptions of Jehovah in Ps 18:14 and Ps 144:6. The point is clear that the LORD has protected His people in the past and there is no reason to believe that He will not protect His people in the the present age (cf 1 Pet 1:5+). 

Confusion (02000)(hamam) means to make a noise, move noisily, confuse, throw into commotion. "The basic meaning of this word seems to be "to give attention to" in the negative sense, that is, "harass," "trouble," often with the purpose of creating panic." Of the 13 uses below God is the subject in 10 verses. Of these, five times the object is Israel's enemy whom God strikes with panic for their sake. (See 1 Sa 7:10; Ex 14:24; Ex 23:27; Josh 10:10; Jdg 4:15; and also 2 Chr 15:6 with a more general subject.) Thus it denotes an important aspect of holy war. The verb is used parallel to "scatter" in 2 Sa 22:15; Ps 18:14, and Ps 144:6 (parallel passages). God uses arrows and lightnings to trouble his enemies. (Some would translate hāmam as "set in motion" referring to the arrows and lightning.) The word is also used to indicate the effect of a cart wheel on grain (Isaiah 28:28). But some make wheel the object and translate "set in motion." The word describes God's treatment of the Israelites over forty until they died in the wilderness. He made sure of their death (Dt. 2:15). Other subjects of this verb are: Nebuchadnezzar, against Jerusalem (Jeremiah 51:34), and Haman against the Jews (Esther 9:24)(TWOT)

Hamam - 14x in 13v - brought(1), confounded(1), confuse(1), confused(1), confusion(1), crushed(1), damage(1), destroy(1), disturb(1), routed(3), throw into confusion(1), troubled(1). Exod. 14:24; Exod. 23:27; Deut. 2:15; Jos. 10:10; Jdg. 4:15; 1 Sam. 7:10; 2 Sam. 22:15; 2 Chr. 15:6; Est. 9:24; Ps. 18:14; Ps. 144:6; Isa. 28:28; Jer. 51:34

Exodus 14:25  He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians."

  • He caused their chariot wheels to swerve - Jdg 4:15 Ps 46:9 76:6 Jer 51:21 
  • Let us flee - Job 11:20 20:24 27:22 Ps 68:12 Am 1:14 5:19 9:1 
  • for the Lord - Ex 14:14 De 3:22 1Sa 4:7,8 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

EGYPTIANS RECOGNIZE 
JEHOVAH IS FIGHTING FOR ISRAEL

He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty - NET = "He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving." NLT = "He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive." ESV = "clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily." NIV = "He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving." Apparently in some manner, God locked up the wheels of the chariots in order that they could not easily move. Here we see Jehovah directly intervened and fought for Israel. MacArthur thinks that "they were also hindered from driving their chariots forward by a sudden cloudburst (Ps 77:17–19 - EDsee note in previous verse Ex 14:24)." (MSB)

Currid on drive them with difficulty (ASV is more literal = "and they drove them heavily") observes that "‘Heaviness’ (kebeduth) is a derivative of the noun  kabad/kabed, which, as we have seen, is often used in Exodus of what God does to Pharaoh’s heart. Here we see that not only is Pharaoh subject to the hardening activity of Yahweh, but so too are the chariots of Egypt!" 

NET Note agrees writing that "The idea of the next word is “heaviness” or “hardship”; it recalls the previous uses of related words to describe Pharaoh’s heart. Here it indicates that the driving of the crippled chariots was with difficulty."

John Trapp writes Jehovah "set his eyes upon them; as Paul did upon Elymus the sorcerer; with highest offence, and utmost indignation (Acts 13:8-9+). After which lightning follows that terrible thunderclap, wherewith he troubled them and took off their wheels." (See Ps 77:18-19; Ps 18:15.)

So the Egyptians said, "Let us flee from Israel, for the LORD is fighting for them against the Egyptians" - In view of their exclamation here, the Egyptians seem to have come to know the LORD, but it was "too little, too late," and there was now no way of escape from the hand of the LORD. NET adds that "The word for “flee” (nus) is used when someone runs from fear of immanent danger and is a different word than the one used in Ex 14:5 (had fled = barach).

Exodus 14:26  Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen."

  • Stretch out - Ex 14:16 7:19 8:5 Mt 8:27 
  • the waters - Ex 1:22 Jud 1:6,7 Mt 7:2 Jas 2:13 Rev 16:6
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CHARIOTS BOGGED DOWN
ARE RIPE FOR DESTRUCTION

Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen - Compare with Ex 15:10 which explains how the waters came back over the Egyptians = "You blew with Your wind (cf Ps 147:18b, cf Mt 8:27+), the sea covered them; They sank like lead in the mighty waters." 

Is there not a suggestion of the law of sowing and reaping (especially Hosea 8:7 says "they sow the wind And they reap the whirlwind."), for the Pharaoh (who was considered a god by the Egyptians) had sought to kill the Hebrew baby boys by ordering them to be "cast into the Nile." (Ex 1:22+) and now the True and Living God orders Moses (who as a baby was cast into the Nile) to stretch out his hand so that Egyptian soldiers would be drowned in the Red Sea! 

Jehovah calling for Moses' dramatic stretching out of his hand and the sea covering the Egyptians "was God’s vindication of Moses. Israel previously accused him of the lowest of motivations, and the most evil state of heart (Exodus 14:10–12). With this work through Moses God showed the whole nation that Moses was their chosen leader." (Guzik)

It is notable that neither Moses nor later "commentaries" in the psalms specifically state that Pharoah personally perished in the Red Sea - Ex 14:8, 10, 28; Ps. 106:7-12; Ps 136:13–15.

Exodus 14:27  So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

NET  Exodus 14:27 So Moses extended his hand toward the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state when the sun began to rise. Now the Egyptians were fleeing before it, but the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea.

NLT  Exodus 14:27 So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the LORD swept them into the sea.

Currid  Exodus 14:27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and he returned the sea at daybreak to its place. And the Egyptians were fleeing to meet it. And Yahweh shook off the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.

  • and the sea - Ex 14:21,22 15:1-21 Jos 4:18 
  • the LORD overthrew- Jdg 5:20,21 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JEHOVAH OVERTHROWS
THE EGYPTIANS USING THE SEA

So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it - Moses obeys once again and the sovereign power of the LORD closed the sea, trapping the Egyptians like sardines in a can! 

the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak - NET = "the sea returned to its normal state" - The point is that the sea here had a normal level, and now when the Egyptians were in the sea on the dry ground the water would return to that level.

Currid on the timing of the destruction at daybreak - We are told that the destruction of Egypt’s army occurred ‘at daybreak’. As the sun-god Ra rose in the east, the Egyptian forces were destroyed. The sun-god could do nothing for his worshippers; he was impotent to stop the decimation of his people. Who is sovereign? Who is God? Is it Ra, Pharaoh, or Yahweh? On this day, the triumph of the God of Israel is trumpeted forth throughout creation. The fears of the Hebrews and the boastings of the Egyptians are dashed by the overwhelming power of Yahweh! The same waters that formed a wall of protection for God’s people served as a tumbling wall of death for the Egyptians. The water thus signifies both blessing and curse. That curse finds its import in the verb that means ‘to shake off’ (in Piel pattern; cf. Ps. 136:15). God shakes off wicked men from the face of the earth (Neh. 5:13; Job 38:12–13). (Ibid)

Then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea - Again we see Moses in obeying God's command was used as an instrument in this grand drama, but it was Yahweh Who overthrew the Egyptians. Overthrew means “shake out” or “shaking off.” It has the significance of “throw downward.” (See Neh 5:13 or Job 38:13)

Exodus 14:28  The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained.

  • the waters - Ex 15:10 De 11:4 Ne 9:11 Ps 78:53 Hab 3:8-10,13 Heb 11:29 
  • covered - Ex 14:13 2Ch 20:24 Ps 106:9-11 Ps 136:15
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Pharaoh's army engulfed by the Red Sea, painting by Frederick Arthur Bridgman

ALL EGYPTIAN ENEMIES
ERADICATED

Note that picture is probably completely accurate (which is often true of famous paintings of Biblical events) because it does not show the chariots and horesmen covered over (that would be difficult to paint) although the text does later say dead bodies were seen on the shore. 

This dramatic event is mentioned again in Deut 11:4

"and what He did to Egypt’s army, to its horses and its chariots, when He made the water of the Red Sea to engulf them while they were pursuing you, and the LORD completely destroyed them."

The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh's entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained - Covered is the same verb used in Ex 8:6 of the frogs that "came up and covered the land of Egypt." And again in Ex 10:5 it was used to describe the locusts that would "cover the surface of the land (fulfilled in Ex 10:15) so that no one will be able to see the land." In Ex 15:5 Moses Song records "the deeps cover them." In Ex 15:10 Jehovah "blew with (His) wind (and) the sea covered" the entire army

McGee - Many conservative men, although they believe in the Word of God and are saved by faith alone in Christ, try to explain the crossing of the Red Sea in some natural way. When you read this record, it is impossible to explain it naturally. God says it is a miracle and you either take it or leave it.

Currid thinks that "It is not the whole army of Pharaoh that was destroyed in the Red Sea, but only the chariots and cavalry of Egypt (this fits with commentary on Ex 14:23)." 

C. H. Mackintosh notes, “The same waters which formed a wall for God’s redeemed, formed a grave for Pharaoh.” The point is that God has infinite resources to provide deliverance for us. As Isaiah 54:17 promises, “No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.…”

The Psalmist tells us of the extent of the loss of men declaring "The waters covered their adversaries; Not one of them was left." (Ps 106:11)

Spurgeon comments - The Lord does nothing by halves. What he begins he carries through to the end. This, again, made Israel's sin the greater, because they saw the thoroughness of the divine justice, and the perfection of the divine faithfulness. In the covering of their enemies we have a type of the pardon of our sins; they are sunk as in the sea, never to rise again; and, blessed be the Lord, there is "not one of them left." ”Not one sin of thought, or word, or deed, the blood of Jesus has covered all. "I will cast their iniquities into the depths of the sea."

John Gill adds this applicational note on not one of them was left - An emblem this of the utter destruction of all our spiritual enemies by Christ, who has not only saved us from them, but has entirely destroyed them; he has made an end of sin, even of all the sins of his people; he has spoiled Satan, and his principalities and powers; he has abolished death, the last enemy, and made his saints more than conquerors over all. Likewise it may be a representation of the destruction of the wicked at the last day, who will all be burnt up at the general conflagration, root and branch, not one will be left. 

Psalm 78:53 says "He (REFERRING TO JEHOVAH) led them (ISRAELITES) safely, so that they did not fear (AS THEY HAD IN Ex 14:10); But the sea engulfed their enemies."

Spurgeon comments "After the first little alarm, natural enough when they found themselves pursued by their old taskmasters, they plucked up courage and ventured forth boldly into the sea, and afterwards into the desert where no man dwelt. But the sea overwhelmed their enemies. They were gone, gone forever, never to disturb the fugitives again. That tremendous blow effectually defended the tribes for forty years from any further attempt to drive them back. Egypt found the stone too heavy and was glad to let it alone. Let the Lord be praised Who thus effectually freed His elect nation. What a grand narrative have we been considering. Well might the mightiest master of sacred song select "Israel in Egypt" as a choice theme for his genius; and well may every believing mind linger over every item of the amazing transaction. The marvel is that the favoured nation should live as if unmindful of it all, and yet such is human nature. Alas, poor man! Rather, alas, base heart!

Nehemiah records this event in Nehemiah 9:11

“You divided the sea before them, So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground; And their pursuers You hurled into the depths, Like a stone into raging waters

The writer of Hebrews gives us a commentary

"By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned." (Heb 11:29+)

So the Egyptian army was clearly well into the Red Sea "highway" when Jehovah gave the order to close the waters. 

Exodus 14:29  But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

  • walked - Ex 14:22 Job 38:8-11 Ps 66:6,7 77:19,20 78:52,53 Isa 43:2 Isa 51:10,13 63:12,13 
  • a wall - Jos 3:16 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

JEHOVAH'S HIGHWAY
THROUGH THE SEA

But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. But is a striking term of contrast. Egyptians all covered with water and dead having acknowledge Yahweh as the victor. All sons of Israel walking on dry land and alive, reverencing and believing Him. 

Note that dry land is repeated four times in this chapter, once in Exodus 15 not to mention in the Psalms. Dry land is like a divine exclamation point that this is a miracle regardless of what one thinks!

Exodus 14:16  “As for you, lift up your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, and the sons of Israel shall go through the midst of the sea on dry land.

Exodus 14:21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided.

Exodus 14:22   The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Exodus 14:29  But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. 

Exodus 15:19 For the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his horsemen went into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea on them, but the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea. 

Psalm 66:6   He turned the sea into dry land; They passed through the river on foot; There let us rejoice in Him! 

Spurgeon - It was no slight miracle to divide a pathway through such a sea, and to make it fit for the traffic of a whole nation. He who did this can do anything, and must be God, the worthy object of adoration. The Christian's inference is that no obstacle in his journey heavenward need hinder him, for the sea could not hinder Israel, and even death itself shall be as life; the sea shall be dry land when God's presence is felt.

Hebrews 11:29   By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned. 

Henry Morris on a wall to them - Some theologians have attempted to identify this Red Sea crossing as a shallow fording of what they call the "Reed Sea," located at the northern end of the Red Sea. However, the description is clearly of a mighty miracle, not merely a wind driving the shallow waters seaward. Rather the wind opened a dry path through deep waters, supernaturally restrained as a wall on both sides and deep enough to drown all the hosts of Pharaoh when the waters collapsed. The crossing was over a narrow northern arm of the Red Sea, enabling the Israelites to cross into the wilderness of Shur (Exodus 15:22), but it was nevertheless a great miracle, requiring God to create some unknown form of energy which could hold the deep waters stationary as walls against the force of gravity.

Exodus 14:30  Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

  • Thus the LORD - Ex 14:13 1Sa 14:23 2Ch 32:22 Ps 106:8,10 Isa 63:9 Jude 1:5 
  • saw - Ps 58:10 59:10 91:8 92:9-11 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

CONFIRMATION OF 
COMPLETE DELIVERANCE

The dead bodies of Egyptian soldiers testified dramatically and definitively to the fact that Israel's deliverance from Egypt was real and complete!

Guzik remarks that "An oppressed people are slow to believe they are free while their tyrants still live. God wanted Israel to know that their oppressors were dead."

Alan Cole - This is a very graphic touch, an eye-witness account. The drowned Egyptian soldiers stand for an old way of life in slavery, now gone for ever. Somehow the sight of those dead bodies was the concrete sign that salvation and a new life for Israel were now assured.” (TOTC-Ex)

Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians - The salvation of Israel is the culmination of all the powerful works of God through these chapters. Again we see a striking contrast between Israel saved and Egyptians dead. The distinction Jehovah had been making during the plagues between Israel and Egypt is now consummated. Note Israel saw indicating the Egyptians were washed up on the seashore after drowning, at least some washing up on the western side of the sea.

Saved (delivered) (03467)(yasha' See also yeshua from which we get our word "Jesus") is an important Hebrew verb which means to help, to save, to deliver. The root in Arabic is "make wide" which underscores the main thought of yasha' as to bring to a place of safety or broad pasture in contrast to a narrow strait which symbolizes distress or danger. It was used in Ex 2:17 where "Moses stood up and helped them." The Septuagint translates saved here with the great verb rhuomai (from rhúo = to draw, drag along the ground) means to draw or snatch to oneself and invariably refers to a snatching from danger, evil or an enemy. This basic idea is that of bringing someone out of severe and acute danger, and so to save, rescue, deliver, preserve. Rhuomai emphasizes greatness of peril from which deliverance is given by a mighty act of power. In the NT rhuomai is always associated with God as the Deliverer and with a person as the object of His deliverance. Here in Exodus God is the Deliverer and the sons of Israel are the object of His "operation rescue!" 

A great example of rhuomai is wading in a rushing river and suddenly being caught in the current utterly helpless (THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I WAS ABOUT 13 yo). As you cry out (I WAS LITERALLY UNDER THE WEIGHT OF A SMALL WATERFALL PUSHING ME DOWN AND COULD NOT RAISE UP BUT COULD RAISE MY HAND) someone hears you and holds out their hand as you go rushing by. (SOMEONE SAW ME AND GRABBED MY HAND PULLING ME TO THE SIDE AWAY FROM THE WEIGHTY OF THE WATER COMING THROUGH THE SMALL OPENING).. As you lie their beside the river safe in the presence of the one who pulled you out, you still are in the presence of the dangerous rushing current… you can hear it… you can see it… but you've been delivered from danger you are now safe. How foolish to walk right back into that current and let it sweep you away!

And Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore - Note Israel saw indicating the Egyptians were washed up on the seashore after drowning, at least some washing up on the western side of the sea.

Adam Clarke speculates that the Israelites plundered these dead Egyptian soldiers and thereby gained weapons they would later use in battles against the Amalekites, Amorites, and others.

John Trapp says Ex 14:30-31 are " A mercy never enough memorised."

F B Meyer applies this passage - “Though the pressure of your trial is almost unbearable, you will one day see your Egyptian dead. But as the morning of eternity breaks, they will awake with songs of joy to see death and the grave and all the evils that they dreaded, like Egyptians, strewn on the shores of the sea of glass.”

Spurgeon - “Brethren, if we have trusted in God, and have come out of the Egypt of the world through his grace, and have left all its sins behind us, if we were left to die in the wilderness, the Lord Jesus Christ would lose his glory as a Saviour, the divine Father would lose his name for immutable faithfulness, and the Holy Ghost would lose his honour for perseverance in completing every work which he undertakes.”

Exodus 14:31  When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.

  • feared - 1Sa 12:18 Ps 119:120 
  • believed - Ex 4:31 19:9 2Ch 20:20 Ps 106:12,13 Lu 8:13  Joh 2:11,23-25 Joh 8:30-32 11:45 Ac 8:13 
  • Exodus 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

A PROPER RESPONSE TO
THE POWER OF THE LORD

When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians - Think of it - Nine plagues punctuated by the tenth which wrought their redemption from Egypt followed by the miracle of the Red Sea deliverance from their enemies. Israel saw the great power of Jehovah which went up against and utterly defeated the great power of Pharaoh (who was considered divine). 

The great power is more literally "the great hand" which contrast with the hand of the Egyptians in Ex 14:30. 

Currid adds that "Verse 31 literally says that ‘Israel saw the great hand that Yahweh used’ against the Egyptians. Here is the antithesis! Whose hand is more powerful? Yahweh’s hand is omnipotent, and his alone. The reference to the ‘hand’ of Yahweh is also a fulfilment of his promise back in Ex 6:1+, in which he said, ‘Because by a mighty hand (translated in NAS as compulsion but more literally "mighty hand") he will send them out, and by a mighty hand he will drive them from his land.’

As Jack Arnold says "At that moment, the Israelites were convinced intellec­tually that God is God." 

the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses. - Fear is a good thing when it leads you toward belief. The question is this -- was their belief such that they all entered into the kingdom of God (like the belief of Abraham in Ge 15:6)? I personally do not think so and use their subsequent behavior and persistent practice of idolatry to argue that they had not really passed from spiritual darkness into spiritual life like Abraham. Not only do we see them grumbling in the next two chapters but we see the quickly make a golden calf. Steven's sermon in Acts 7 characterizes their subsequent behavior...

“Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to him (SPEAKING OF MOSES), but repudiated him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt (THIS IS A VERY INCRIMINATING DESCRIPTION!), 40 SAYING TO AARON, ‘MAKE FOR US GODS WHO WILL GO BEFORE US; FOR THIS MOSES WHO LED US OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT–WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM.’ 41 “At that time they made a calf and brought a sacrifice to the idol, and were rejoicing in the works of their hands. 42 “But God turned away and delivered them up to serve the host of heaven; as it is written in the book of the prophets, ‘IT WAS NOT TO ME THAT YOU OFFERED VICTIMS AND SACRIFICES FORTY YEARS IN THE WILDERNESS, WAS IT, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL? 43 ‘YOU ALSO TOOK ALONG THE TABERNACLE OF MOLOCH AND THE STAR OF THE GOD ROMPHA, THE IMAGES WHICH YOU MADE TO WORSHIP. I ALSO WILL REMOVE YOU BEYOND BABYLON.’  (Acts 7:39-43+)

NET Note says "S. R. Driver says that the belief intended here is not simply a crediting of a testimony concerning a person or a thing, but a laying firm hold morally on a person or a thing (Exodus, 122). Others take the Hiphil sense to be declarative, and that would indicate a considering of the object of faith trustworthy or dependable, and therefore to be acted on. In this passage it does not mean that here they came to faith, but that they became convinced that he would save them in the future."

His servant Moses (He is called the servant of God some 38 times in both Old and New Testaments = Nu 11:11, Nu 12:7-8, Dt 34:5, Josh 1:1, Josh 1:2, Josh 1:7, Josh 1:13, 15, Josh 8:31, Josh 8:33, Josh 9:24, Josh 11:12, 15, 12:6, 13:8, 14:7, 18:7, 22:2, 4, 5, 1 Ki 8:53, 56, 2 Ki 18:12, 21:8, 1 Chr 6:49, 2 Chr 1:3, 24:6, 9, Neh 1:7, 8, 9:14, Neh 10:29, Ps 105:26, Da 9:11, Mal 4:4, Heb 3:5, Rev 15:3) - The Septuagint translates servant with the noun therapon (related to therapeúo = to voluntarily serve) denotes a faithful friend to a superior, who solicitously regards the superior’s interest or looks after his affairs, not a common or domestic servant (oiketes). Therapon is one who serves willingly regardless of whether he is a free man (eleútheros see in depth analysis of related verb eleutheroo) impelled by love or a slave (see either doulos or doulos) bound by duty. Thus the services of a therapon (Ex 14:31) were voluntary and higher than those of an ordinary doulos or slave. And so therapon denotes the willing service rendered as well as the relationship between the one serving and the one he serves. It also emphasizes an office which was honorable and dignified.

NET Note on Moses God's servant - Here the title of “servant” is given to Moses. This is the highest title a mortal can have in the OT—the “servant of Yahweh.” It signifies more than a believer; it describes the individual as acting on behalf of God. For example, when Moses stretched out his hand, God used it as his own (Isa 63:12). Moses was God’s personal representative. The chapter records both a message of salvation and of judgment. Like the earlier account of deliverance at the Passover, this chapter can be a lesson on deliverance from present troubles—if God could do this for Israel, there is no trouble too great for him to overcome. The passage can also be understood as a picture (at least) of the deliverance at the final judgment on the world. But the Israelites used this account for a paradigm of the power of God: namely, God is able to deliver his people from danger because he is the sovereign Lord of creation. His people must learn to trust him, even in desperate situations; they must fear him and not the situation. God can bring any threat to an end by bringing his power to bear in judgment on the wicked.

Guzik - This was just the result God intended. Sadly for Israel they did not stay in this place of respect and faith toward the LORD. This was probably more a circumstance of feelings than it was of true faith, because they left this place of respect for the LORD and Moses quickly.

McGee - These two verses (vv 30-31) state the purpose for God’s deliverance of Israel. At the beginning of their wilderness march they saw the power of God when He delivered them by blood out of Egypt. Now at the Red Sea He demonstrates His power again by taking them safely across the sea and by destroying the Egyptians pursuing them. God delivers His children by power.

Currid applies this section - How like Israel we are! Unbelief is the same in all ages. David, in an evil hour, said, ‘I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul’ (1 Sam. 27:1). Unbelief led Elijah to flee from the evil rantings of Jezebel, that evil queen who was the power behind the throne of Israel. It caused Peter to disown his Lord and flee from the place of trial. How many of us facing suffering or tragedy or persecution have not cowered, having moments of unbelief and doubt? Yet, truly, there is no difficulty too great for the Lord. In fact, the greater the trouble, the greater the opportunity for God to display his power and grace. Man’s weakness is God’s opportunity. It is Yahweh who does battle for us—if he is for us, who can be against us? Dare we think that the God who divided the Red Sea is powerless to intervene in our lives, that he is unable to care for us? Do we think that he is somehow shackled? Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1–6 tells us that the exodus event speaks to the church today. He basically argues that the Hebrews were specially chosen people and they received the great blessing of being delivered by God’s work at the Red Sea. Yet, though they had been set apart by God, they ‘were strewn in the wilderness’ because of their disobedience. And Paul warns the Corinthian church and the church today that we ought to beware of, and take warning from, this incident. John Calvin comments: ‘If God did not spare them, he will not spare us, for our situation is the same as theirs.’

Herbert Lockyer - Alas! however, three days later their music turned into murmuring, and disappointment overtook delight. After such a display of divine power on their behalf, the people found no water in the wilderness and failed to remember that the God who had controlled volumes of water for their deliverance was able to supply streams in the desert. Their fear of and faith in God quickly evaporated, as did their reverence for Moses, for when the people came to Marah, the water there was bitter, and they murmured against Moses, as if he were responsible for the undrinkable water (Exod. 15:22-24). Both the absence of water, and then the bitter water were in the very path of divine guidance, and represent the trials of the people of God, which are educatory and not punitive. Wilderness experiences are designed to test the reality of our acquaintance with God, and the depth of our faith and confidence in His Word. Setting out after their watery baptism, Israel bounded forward with glad heart, but their joy as a saved people soon received a check from the dry and dusty desert. Often this is so with those who commence their Christian pilgrimage with an exuberance of joy, but who, at the first keen blast of the world, break down, and in their hearts feel like turning back to Egypt. (All the Messianic Prophecies of the Bible)


Steven Cole - A. When God delivers you, give Him the glory.

This applies both to your salvation through the gospel and to His delivering you from a trial. In Psalm 50:15 God commands, “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” Pharaoh’s army, with its hundreds of chariots, was the most powerful war machine of its day, but it was no match for God’s power. He divided the sea to let Israel cross and to lure the Egyptian army to pursue them. Once Israel was on the other side, God commanded Moses to stretch out his hand so that the sea returned to its normal state, drowning all of the Egyptian soldiers. As a result (Exod. 14:31), Israel feared the Lord and believed in Him, as well as in His servant Moses (although temporarily).

If you’re going through a difficult trial, I encourage you to read the triumphant words of Romans 8, especially the crescendo at the end, where Paul declares (Rom. 8:31), “If God is for us, who is against us?” He goes on to list every conceivable trial, including being slaughtered as sheep for God’s sake. But then he adds (Rom. 8:37), “In all these things we overwhelming conquer through Him who loved us.” But that raises a final question: “What if God doesn’t deliver you?” What should you do then?

B. When God doesn’t deliver you, give Him the glory.
Many of God’s saints trusted in Him but died prematurely from disease or were killed for their faith. The great faith chapter, Hebrews 11, records the many victories that God’s people obtained by faith. But after stating that women received back their dead by resurrection, the author continues (Heb. 11:35-38):

  … and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

The same faith in God had very different results! I love the boldness of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego when the arrogant King Nebuchadnezzar threatened to throw them into the furnace if they didn’t bow to his idol (Dan. 3:17-18):

 “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

They were ready to glorify God whether He delivered them or whether they burned to death!

Conclusion

At the cross, Satan and all of God’s enemies thought that they had gained final victory by killing Jesus. But through the cross, God disarmed and triumphed over the forces of darkness, securing our salvation (Col. 2:15). God raised Jesus from the dead and seated Him above all rule and authority (Eph. 1:20-22). So even if we suffer martyrs’ deaths, God will be glorified by raising us from the dead and having us rule with Him throughout eternity!
The 1563 Heidelberg Catechism begins with the question, “What is your only comfort in life and death?” It answers:
    That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Honor God by letting that be your only comfort in life and dea
 


James Butler -  Red Sea Experience Results     Exodus 14:31

The Red Sea miracle for the Israelites had a great effect upon them. Our text points out several of the effects. Like the resurrection of Christ is to the Christ believer, so the Red Sea miracle was a capstone of doctrine for the Israelites.

First—The Perception of the Miracle
"Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians."

The word "saw" is a very comprehensive word. It speaks of more than a casual observation of a happening but it speaks of perception, or understanding, or comprehending the meaning. Jesus spoke of those unbelievers who "seeing they might not see" (Luke 8:1) Peter saw only the grave clothes, John "saw and believed" because John saw more then the grave clothes (John 20:6-8), he saw the bodily resurrection. The words translated "saw" in John 20:5-8 are different words and indicate how one sees things. Many are so carnal they see nothing but words in the Bible, they see no message, no application. Some, however, are like John whose seeing was perceptive. He "saw and believed." Some of the Israelites saw the Red Sea miracle with perceptiveness and believed. Some do not see evidence because their heart is filled with intentional unbelief.

Second—The Piety From the Miracles
"The people feared God."

The first effect of seeing this great miracle. was reverence for God. To fear God means to reverence Him. We have little fear of God in our land today, for few give Him any reverence. The profaneness of our day declares a lack of reverence for God. The Red Sea miracle got rid of a lot of idolatry in the Israelites. It put a great reverence in their heart for Jehovah-God. The Red Sea miracle also caused other nations to give reverence for God as is confirmed by Rahab's message to the spies (Joshua 2:10, 11). The primary purpose of all the plagues and miracles was to give God great honor and praise. This is not unrelated to the exhortation in 1 Corinthians 10:31 to glorify God in all that we do.

Third—The Persuasion From the Miracle
"And believed the LORD and his servant Moses."

The persuasion was twofold. The miracle caused people to believe God and Moses

• Believe the LORD. "Believed the Lord." Faith was also a result of the Red Sea miracle. God's power when observed should produce faith. But Satan has enough people around who put a 'spin' on God's works and explain them away to try and prevent faith
• Believe the Leader. "Believed ... Moses." If you declare the Word you will have the support of those who believe the Word. Opposition often comes from unbelievers disguised as believers but their opposition gives them away.

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