The journey of the Isrealites from Egypt to the land of Canaan, is one of the most remarkable Biblical accounts. While the Isrealites are at the center stage, other communities were involved, and in all of them, the entire humanity is represented. By the decision we make on a daily basis, we demonstrate to some extent, an allegiance to either of the actors involved herein.
Before the Red Sea experience, the Egyptians had seen the hand of God in a series of plagues. This was God’s response to Pharaoh’s stubbornness and stolid hardness of heart. When confronted by the question of letting the Israelites go, Pharaoh had this to say:
And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”Exodus 5:2
Pharaoh made very bold and defiant statements; “who is God that I should obey Him?” Pharaoh was not patient enough to wait for an answer to his first question. He immediately gave his valedictory statement; “I do not know the Lord, nor will I let the Israelites go”. Who does that? Carnal nature does that all the time. We don’t know Him, we make zero efforts to know Him, and any privilege that comes our way to know Him, we ‘grey-tick’ and when we open it by mistake, we ‘blue-tick’. This I can call the Pharaoh syndrome.
In response to Pharaoh’s question, God served the land of Egypt with a tenfold dose of plague, each sequel increasing in intensity. It was not because of Pharaoh’s obedience or benevolence that the Israelites were allowed to leave Egypt. God interposed, and silenced every quibbling, cavilling and unholy feet, attempting to trample His faithfuls underfoot. In the same way, a lot of victories are won on our behalf by unseen angels. It is not because the devil is merciful that you have broken the chains of addictions and cherished sins, but God has always been working in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.
After losing all Egyptian first borns, Pharaoh gave in and allowed the Israelites to go. This he did because all his plans failed to work. His system was hacked by a higher power, and letting God’s people go was his last option.
And the journey began to the land of Promise. It was not an easy journey. Much was still demanded of the company heading to the land of freedom. They camped between the Sea and Migdol, only to realize that Pharaoh was coming in a hot pursuit. It dawned on them that they were in a conundrum, for the Red Sea in its glory and glee was ahead of them, the Mountains in lofty grandeur on either sides, and behind them, the Egyptian bloodhounds, threatening and promising. This evoked a backlash from the people. They preferred to perpetuate the servitude of sin, than to face the pains of duty. They thought it was going to be hocus pocus, but God demanded of them, focus focus. Their thought process was influenced by their strength vis a vis that of the Egyptians. They were forgetting the dose given to the proud Egyptians which heralded the Exodus. Without knowing how God was going to save them, Moses said, “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. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
And God interposed with simple instruction ‘GO FORWARD’.
This demanded a faith that does not seek for empirical evidence and literature review. The Lord had not said what would happen, but they were to go forward. The Red Sea was still the Red Sea, but the instruction was simple; go forward. I don’t know what you’re struggling with now, but in your Red Sea experience, the voice of God is loudly instructing you to go forward.
And God continued, “But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” This was faith.
God in His providence brought the Hebrews into the mountain fastnesses before the sea, that He might manifest His power in their deliverance and signally humble the pride of their oppressors. He might have saved them in any other way, but He chose this method in order to test their faith and strengthen their trust in Him. The people were weary and terrified, yet if they had held back when Moses bade them advance, God would never have opened the path for them. It was “by faith” that “they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land.” Hebrews 11:29. In marching down to the very water, they showed that they believed the word of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that was in their power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel divided the sea to make a path for their feet.—Patriarchs and Prophets 290
If the Israelites crossed the Red sea by faith, what about the Egyptians? What motivated them to go through the King’s highway created across the Sea? Who asked them to do this?
To the Israelites, it was a response of faith in the Word of God, but there was no message from God asking the Egyptians to go forward. While the Israelites exercised faith, the Egyptians exercised presumption. Whereas God took responsibility over the children of Israel, He could not be responsible for the consequences of the decision of the Egyptians.
Egyptians perished in the Red Sea, not because God had any issue with them, but because of presumption. Don’t be an Egyptian, going where God has not asked you to go! But if out of disobedience and presumption, we go, let us leave God out of it!