New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
14:19 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them.
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.
14:21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided.
14:22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
14:23 The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers.
14:24 At the morning watch the LORD in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic.
14:25 He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the LORD is fighting for them against Egypt.”
14:26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.”
14:27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the LORD tossed the Egyptians into the sea.
14:28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained.
14:29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
14:30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.
14:31 Israel saw the great work that the LORD did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the LORD and believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.
- Only two days ago we remembered the fateful day of September 11, 2001 and all it meant for us as a nation and as a world. On that day, life as we knew it was changed forever and a new era marked by different policies and practices was ushered into being.
- While not quite exactly the same, we find ourselves at another moment in history that when all is said and done, will mark the transition from life as we knew it before February/ March 2020. Like the days immediately after 9/11/01, we are in a wilderness of sorts. We are neither where we were yet not really where we know we are heading. We don’t know what that place will look like or be like. We just know this is not it.
- In today’s passage, we get to see and celebrate the presence and provision of God to walk and even run with us, in the tough times as well as the good times, as we journey in the wilderness from one point to another.
- God was with us then. God is with us STILL.
Let’s unpack this passage:
- The people on their own were stuck, but God was still with them as they cried out, and with his help, progress was made and victory accomplished.
- God is still with us even when the odds seem so stacked against us and reasons for having no hope seem much more logical and rational than reasons to have hope.
- Notice that the angel of God moved from a position in front of the people to the back; from leading to pushing. (When was the last time you saw someone pulling a car that was stalled out vs. pushing it?). Perhaps the people were more motivated by the angelic wind behind them, propelling them forward, rather than the pursuing Egyptian army.
- God is an actor here accomplishing what he desires, but God works through the efforts of God’s people. Moses heard from God the clear directive through the burning bush to go to Pharaoh on God’s behalf. God had said “I will save my people but you go.” Then in this passage, Moses is told to stretch out his hand. And look what God did through him!
- What happens when we stretch out something in response to God’s direction, whether it is pushing, pulling or a still small voice we hear amidst the cacophony of other sounds in our world? We might just become conquerors.
- In the Book of Revelations, the Letters to the 7 churches all end with the phrase “to everyone who conquers.” The one who conquers is not the one who overcomes a particular foe, but rather one who as the Apostle Paul highlights, perseveres to the end in faith.
- Like Miriam and Moses, our rejoicing is over God’s provision and presence STILL in the midst of formidable circumstances and challenges.
- “Stand STILL and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you.” Ex. 14:13
- Stretch out your hand. Do something. This may help you or someone else or both.
- Move forward at the appropriate time.
In the end, praise God. He was and is with you STILL.