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Cloud of Witnesses V

March 15, 2007

Hebrews 11:29  “By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.”

So often throughout the old testament, the children of Israel are exhorted to remember how God brought them out of Egypt.  Of all the deliverances that God wrought for those that love him, the exodus out of Egypt is like none other.  For most of us, I think, we tend to have a “hollywood-like” picture in our mind; the result of growing up and every spring, watching Charlton Heston portraying Moses in “The Ten Commandments.”  While they did their best to recreate the event, capturing the essence of it isn’t even possible.  (not even with todays technology)

Just a side venture here for a second.  Like many, I grew up watching this year after year.  I also remember the first time that I saw it after being saved; particularly when Moses is on the mountain, and God is giving the ten commandments.  The sheer awesomeness of that event, more than any other “blew me away.”  Even though I had seen it on many other occasions, this time I thought on what was actually being depicted; that the Ancient of Days who inhabits eternity was forging his word into tablets of stone.  Written by the finger of God.  The telling of such events take on a whole new perspective when we know the one who brought them about.  Just as scripture becomes “alive” after we repent of our sin, accept Jesus Christ as our Savior are born again.  Things which made no sense before suddenly have meaning and become increasingly awesome.  (John 14:26)   

Exodus 14:9-10  “But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of of Pharaoh, and his horsmen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-ha-hi-roth, and before Ba-al-ze-phon.  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.”

This had to be an unbelievable turn of events as it appeared to the children of Israel that they had “run their course.”  Suddenly, the entire Egyptian army was bearing down on them and they were up against the sea.  (The fact that the Lord had brought them to this place should have been enough for them to know that everything would be alright; despite what looked like a non-winnable situation.  Exodus 14:2 is where the Lord tells them to encamp here.)

Exodus 14:11-12  “And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?  Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the egyptians?  For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”

Moses must have thought “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  Despite all of the wonders that they saw in the land of Egypt, they still hadn’t learned to look to the Lord and know that no physical situation is beyond his ability to bring about a deliverance.  In fact, it’s in the face of the “impossible” that we learn to just “be still and know that he is God.”  It was true then and it’s true today as he changes not. 

Exodus 14:13-14  “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 today, ye shall see them no more for ever.  The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”

Interestingly, it’s in verse 16 that the Lord reveals this plan to Moses; and yet Moses had already told the children of Israel to know that the Lord would deliver them.  I need to start paraphrasing as this is running long.  The pillar of the cloud went behind the children of Israel, thereby coming between them and the Egyptians.  It was darkness to the Egyptians but it gave light by night to the children of Israel.  God literally blocked the Egyptians from coming any closer to his own. 

The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind and the waters stood as a wall on each side while the children of Israel walked upon dry ground.  There are a number of unknowns present here, such as how wide the sea was where they crossed, how deep it was, or how wide the path was that the Lord created for them.  I’m thinking that the path had to be quite wide in order for all to get across in the set time frame.  Nonetheless, walking past a vertical wall of water extending a hundred feet or more into the air had to be quite an experience.  Certainly one in which the logical mind had no standing.  This entire event required that they place their faith in God alone.  Faith that he would finish the work which he had started. 

This wall of water didn’t rattle the Egyptians who were purposed to destroy the children of Israel.  This situation should have had “set up” written all over it.  They were in the midst of the sea desiring to destroy the people who were being protected by God who was keeping the sea at bay for the time being.  In other words, they were fighting against the God who was keeping them from drowning.  If for a moment, they would have thought on this situation; knowing that the Holy One of Israel was keeping those waters at bay, they would have realized the unwinnable situation and ended their pursuit, even before entering the sea.  Well, they didn’t, and so while in the midst of the sea, God removed the chariot wheels.  This finally got their attention, only it was too late.  God told Moses to stretch forth his hand over the sea and the Lord closed up the waters over the entire army of Egypt.

One reason, I think, that this had to take place is because  it would have been a small logistical matter for pharaoh and his army to pass on the north end of the sea and meet up with the children of Israel on the other side.  Without an army, this would be impossible, therefore,  God took care of the problem in a moment while at the same time showing the children of Israel that he is their deliverance.   (I was just thinking about Isaiah 31:3)

Exodus 14:30-31  “Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.  And Israel sw the great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.”

If only they could have continued to believe the Lord, they could have entered the promised land in a matter of days or weeks instead of wandering in the wilderness for forty years.   

I’m going to close for now.  Actually this only cover one verse in the “hall of faith” but it was nonetheless a truly awesome event and worthy to be pondered.   We like to see the mechanics of our situation.  In other words we have a tendany to trust our education, our employment, our own strength and whatnot to work out a better tomorrow.  Trusting in God when the arm of flesh has run out of options is something that causes folks to go nutty if they are trusting in their own ability.  The chariot wheels can come off without warning.  But God is forever faithful to those that love him and it’s in the face of calamity that he is able to work a mighty deliverance. 

Psalm 119:27  “Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wonderous works.”

Hebrews 13:8  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever.”

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7 comments

  1. Yes, the call is for us to live by faith, from first to last.

    We all would like to believe that if we had only been there, we would have believed the Lord and acted differently form those who were there. However, I tend to believe, I would have behaved even as they did. This makes me so very pleased to live today, even as hard as it is and can be now.

    With all that is before us, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ, there would be no true faith on the earth when He returns. However, because of the Lord Jesus Christ and the greatness of His love, there will be genuine faith when He returns. That I would be one who remains faithful in faith, from first to last. Thank you Lord Jesus!

    Blessings in the Lord Jesus Christ!


  2. greetings Phil. Steadfast to the end indeed; egardless of the ambient circumstances. You bring up a very good point as it’s easy to look at a situation in 20/20 hindsight and say “If I had been there, I would don differently. The children of Israel had no idea as to how they would be delivered and the sea being parted just wasn’t an everyday occurrance. I pray that we all would draw from the many examples in scripture and apply them to our “real-time.” Thanks for commenting.
    Be blessed always in Christ.

    timbob


  3. I’ve thought about this more than a few times, wondering if I would have had the faith to see Gods greatness and victory instead of giants in the promised land; to walk on water withour wavering;
    to stay awake just one hour in the garden and pray with Jesus…
    the last one gets to me the most.
    I would like to think I would, but like Phil, am not so sure.

    May the Lord grace us with faith that endures, whatever comes.

    Every blessing to you Timbob!

    Susan


  4. without t,t,t… wavering 🙂

    You are not the only one who makes typos timbob!

    Bless you!


  5. greetings. I was just at your site a minute ago. Also earlier; among all of the other ponderings of the night, I was thinking on Phils comment; wondering what that must have been like to be up against the sea with the entire Egyptian army bearing down. In the heat of the moment, I think most of us would have done the same thing. We would have cried out “Why did you bring us here? Are the grave diggers in Egypt on strike?” It’s so easy to comment on situations when they haven’t been experienced.
    One thing that has always been sobering was when Peter emphatically told Jesus “I’ll never leave you, even if all men forsake you.” I think that peter meant that with all of his heart, but when the test came, he denied the Lord three times. Such an incident does three things.
    ( 1 ) Causes us to really re-examine ourselves
    ( 2 ) Reveals that we don’t know ourselves as the Lord does.
    ( 3 ) It shows how compasionate the Lord Jesus is as peter went on and became a powerful witness for the Lord Jesus, so much so that they brought the sick out into the streets where Peters shadow could pass over them.
    Thanks for stopping in. Have a great evening in Christ.

    timbob


  6. Thanks timbob,

    For the reminders found in scripture.
    What an awesome God we serve.
    I love to get a small glimpse into what God is truly like, as contained in the old Testament and the new.

    Much grace to you,
    Richard


  7. It’s interesting to follow the adventures of Moses. God had chosen him, over all others, to be a deliverer. “To whom much is given, much is required.” In most instances when the people complained, he would be quiet and pray for them. But in one particular incident he lost his temper and smashed the rock so that water would come out. It cost him his life.

    It is a reminder that those who have been given much light, are held to a higher level of accountability than others.

    Thanks timbob for continuing this series. Hope to read much more in the future.



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