With apologies to Rod Serling and Bob Dylan; for your consideration – the parting of the Red Sea in The Exodus Zone:
“There must be some way out of here,” said the Hebrew to the Chief
“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief
Egyptians work my people, till they fall on earth
None of them know what your covenant is worth”
“No reason to get excited,” the Chief He kindly spoke
“There are many here among us who feel that I Am that I Am is but a joke
But you’ve already been through that, and slavery is not our people’s fate
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”
Today’s taste of Torah is the Great Escape. The escape of the Israelites through the Red Sea. Our text is Exodus chapter 14 verses 15 and 16, and verses 21 and 22. It reads: 15 The Lord said to Moses,” Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to break camp. 16 As for you, lift up your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left.
After 430 years of exile, the Jewish people are on their way toward the Land Yahweh promised to them. However, at this juncture, they’re literally caught between a big army and a big body of water. The reason for the army is that the LORD had hardened Pharaoh’s heart one final time so that he would pursue the Jews and attempt to bring them back to Egypt. The reason for the water is that instead of leading Israel along a direct route to the Promised Land, God directed them south, into the desert, so they wouldn’t be attacked by the Philistines. So the Israelites first traveled from the Nile Delta to the Eastern border of Egypt. After this they went south to Etham, at the edge of the desert, where the Shekhinah Glory, the visible manifestation of God’s presence, appeared as a Pillar of Cloud by day and as a Pillar of Fire by night. That holy illumination guided the Israelites on their journey. Then, God redirected the Israelites to camp out at a location close to the shore of the Red Sea. And that was where the Egyptian army finally caught up with them.
The Israelites were terrified and began to blame Moses for their dilemma. Moses reassures them of God’s deliverance and raises his staff to divide the waters of the sea. And then for the entire duration of the night on which this miracle took place, the Shekhinah Glory protected Israel from the Egyptian army and provided light so the Israelites could cross through the sea on dry ground.
Moses faced his greatest test when he stood at the edge of the Red Sea. And yet everything, everything God had brought him through up to this point in time, enabled Moses to have the courage to step out and trust God to deliver the children of Israel from the Egyptians.
Now perhaps you’re saying, “John, I get it. Moses was a stud but I feel like a dud. Help me out here.” I will. Here’s the deal. Within the framework of our own unique divine design, within the framework of our own unique circle of influence, and within the framework of our own unique God-given will for our life; like Moses, we can serve God and His people courageously! You say, “How do you know that?” I know that, because if we trust God, if we have confidence in the goodness of His character, He will open doors and enable us to take specific steps to overcome our own unique set of issues! Our past baggage will become less and less of a future hindrance. He will literally rebuild, from the ground up, the way we perceive ourselves. We will start acting, like we really believe, that we can do all things through Messiah who strengthens us (cf. Phil. 4:13)! Instead of focusing on our inadequacies we’ll rest in His sufficiency. Bottom Line: God will give us faith building opportunities to serve Him. And as we cooperate and participate in that, we’ll be steadily advancing to the place where He wants us to be; not parting the Red Sea – but free – from, “It’s all about me!”