According to the Exodus account of the life and times of Moses, when Pharaoh let the Israelite people go free from their slavery, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country even though that was a shorter path. God had said that if the Israelites encountered war it might cause them to change their minds and return to Egypt. For this reason God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. They were prepared for battle as they traveled in accordance to Godâ€™s instructions through Moses. God gave them a pillar of cloud to follow during the daytime and a pillar of fire to follow at night so that they would know day and night. The pillars also reminded them that God was with them and was leading them.
Crossing the Sea
The Lord gave the directions for the journey to Moses. Moses was obedient and led the people according to Godâ€™s plan. Moses instructed the people to turn back and to travel in such a way that they appeared to be lost. The plan worked and Pharaoh did think that they were wandering in confusion.
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and realized that they had lost their services. He had his army get ready for battle and he took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh (as he said he would in Exodus 14) so that he would pursue the Israelites. The Egyptians along with the finest of the kingâ€™s army, horsemen and troops pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea. As the Israelites saw the Pharaoh and the Egyptians approaching they were terrified and called out to God to protect them. They began to ask Moses why this was happening and why he was letting them die at this point in their journey. Moses told the people to stand firm and to not be afraid. He told them that they would see the deliverance of the Lord on that day.
In obedience to Godâ€™s instruction Moses raised his staff and stretched his arm out over the sea and the sea divided. The Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. 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. The Egyptians pursued them and all of Pharaohâ€™s horses, chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. At the end of the night the Lord through the Egyptian army into confusion and caused the wheels to fall off of their chariots. The Egyptians recognized that God was battling for the Israelites and decided to try to get away from them. At that time the Lord told Moses to again raise his staff and stretch his hand out over the sea. At daybreak, Moses obeyed the Lord and he stretched his hand out over the sea, and the waters flowed back and covered the chariots, horsemen and the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands o the Egyptians. When the Israelites saw the great power of the Lord that was displayed against the Egyptians, the people put their trust in the Lord and in Moses who was his servant. In addition, their experience increased their faithfulness and obedience to the Lord and his laws.
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