Lent 2018: See the Lord's Salvation: Day 11

Escape Through the Red Sea

by

Today's Text: Exodus 13:17-22, Exodus 14:1-31, Exodus 15:1-21, Psalm 106:1-12, Romans 6:1-4

Scripture Reading: Exodus 13:17-22, Exodus 14:1-31, Exodus 15:1-21, Psalm 106:1-12, Romans 6:1-4

“If I ever find out you bothered my sister again, you’ll be dealing with me.”

Toya was on a mission. She hadn’t gotten on her sister’s crowded school bus for no reason. The previous afternoon, Jessica had gotten off her bus completely distraught; a classmate had told her she couldn’t sit near him because she was black.

Seeing her little sister’s tears, anger had swelled up from deep inside of Toya to the point where she almost couldn’t see straight. She wanted to give that little boy a piece of her mind. She didn’t care who heard her, nor did she care that she wasn’t even allowed to be on that bus. Her sister needed her to speak up for her, and that’s exactly what she did. Jessica didn’t need to say a word in her own defense because Toya had said it all. I’ll bet the memory of Toya’s unexpected, fiery presence on the school bus stayed with that young man long after that day, stopping him in his tracks if he even thought to be mean to Jessica again.

How similar today’s passage from Exodus is—the story of God bringing the Israelites through the Red Sea.

Egypt had oppressed Israel long enough; God heard their cries for deliverance and stepped in. He’d brought them safely out of Egypt (decked out in the finest Egyptian gold, silver, and clothing, no less!), and His presence went with them as they escaped (Psalm 139:7).

Exodus 13 describes God’s presence as a pillar of cloud or fire that led the people of God on their way to freedom. But God’s presence did more than lead the Israelites; it protected them. The very presence of God stood between Israel and her enemies, completely defeating them. Just like Toya’s unexpected presence on a school bus changed how her sister was treated by her peers, the presence of God redefined how the nations of the world understood Israel.

How much more so does the incarnate presence of God—Immanuel, “God with us”—Jesus Christ, stand between us and whatever enemy dares to accuse, attack, or ensnare us? If God’s presence in the form of a pillar of cloud and fire can rescue an entire nation and triumph over another, then surely the incomparable act of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross can change the entire world. And if a pillar of cloud and fire can cause the entire Egyptian army to drown in the Red Sea, then surely the resurrection of Jesus Christ tosses the power of death and sin into the abyss for eternity.  

Just like Toya’s little sister on the bus and the Israelites caught between the Red Sea and a pursuing army, we, too, are silent observers, standing in awe of the God of the universe coming to our rescue. We didn’t have to convince God to save us. Long before we existed, He’d decided to rescue us with the mighty act of redemption that makes journeying across the Red Sea seem like a leap across a puddle. God sent Himself into this world to rescue us once and for all.

SRT-Lent2018-Instagram-Day11

Erin Rose lives and works in vibrant Richmond, Virginia, where she serves as Worship & Teaching Pastor at East End Fellowship.  She is a graduate of the University of Virginia, and is currently enrolled as a graduate student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.  Erin is a member of Urban Doxology, a ministry that is writing the soundtrack of reconciliation for the church. Her greatest joy lies in leading God’s people in authentic worship, and teaching them the truth found in God’s Word. She also enjoys eating delicious food, spending time with loved ones, and indulging in the occasional Netflix binge.

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  • Clare Lafaele

    ❤️

  • Nancy Crouch Morlini

    It is easy to read this scripture today assuming I am an Israelite. That I am a good guy being saved by my super hero God from the villain “Egypt”. And basking in the grace and glory and protection of God. Unfortunately, all I can think about is what if I was an Egyptian? It is not good enough for me to say that “this had to happen to glorify God and his plan”. Each one of those Egyptian soldiers was a child of God. With a mother and a father. Maybe wives and children. Who grieved their death. They were soldiers taking orders. We don’t know that their hearts were evil. We don’t know anything about them except they were born as Egyptians and became soldiers. And on that day, they were murdered by my God. If I am going to disciple to this generation, I have to be able to account for this in real terms. Not platitudes. Not “that’s just the way it was back then”. Not “they weren’t God’s chosen yet”. We tell people that God loves them. That he loves every one of his children. That all can be saved. That no one is lost. But those Egyptian soldiers were lost. If we believe in the sanctity of life, we must also grieve every death. I cannot celebrate the protection and blessing of My God and my salvation through the sacrifice of Christ today without also recognizing the sacrifice of these Egyptians lives. The story doesn’t make me doubt God. It deepens my understanding of the true cost of my salvation.

    • Leslie S

      I had similar thoughts while reading this passage and thought I need to reconcile and understand this event better to be able to

    • Leslie S

      disciple to my children and others. Thank you for helping me with that.

    • Kristen

      A young pastor had questions too. He asked his lead pastor that said, “Won’t the Lord of all the earth do right?” That settled it for him. I have questioned too. I do know that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. I have reached out and searched Got Questions, emailed people at Harvest church online with Pastor Greg Laurie. ( He is a really good teacher of the Word.) I’ve also talked to others in the faith. I pray God gives you what you need and others too to reconcile this and you can feel better. I Jesus’ Name Amen

    • Kristen

      Hi, I just thought I would add that I just read that God in His mercy did warn them to bring in the livestock during the one plague. The people worshipped false gods and some may have turned to the true God through all of this. God does love them too and maybe people changed bc that saw their gods were nothing.

    • Elissa Temple

      Death is always tragic because it is caused by sin. I think it’s also important to look at this from the perspective that we are all born into sin, equally removed from the glory of God at our birth. If the Egyptians didn’t deserve death, then neither do we deserve everlasting life. It is God’s unfathomable grace we owe our lives to, not our earning and deserving. He called Israel and not Egypt, just as He calls believers and not unbelievers. This understanding points is to the truth that we are completely helpless to save ourselves and must throw ourselves upon the throne of grace for hope of salvation.

    • Carly Acosta

      Great conversation, thank you all!

  • Brittany Couch

    Exodus 14:14 God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouth shut. I love this…. full of trust and obedience. Lord, forgive me for all the times I questioned you, complained, took the reins in my hands to control what I thought as the better option. Thank you for you live and grace and guidance. I love you.

  • Leslie Limardo

    My favorite line is “The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.” what a reminder! Quit complaining and be quiet. He’s got this battle. The very next paragraph God tells Moses “Why are crying out to me. Tell the Israelites to break camp… in other words get up and do what you can do and let me do the rest!!!! LOVE THIS!!!

  • I love being reminded that God, the same God that rescued the Israelites from Pharaoh, is the same God who rescues us today. It’s so easy to forget, but I’m so glad to be reminded of this today. He continues to be faithful and will one day come back to rescue His people once more! How great our Lord is!

  • Audrey Gonzalez

    I noticed how quickly they began to doubt and fear…even when God had told them he would save them. I am so like the Israelites. Praying for bigger faith and to remember God’s promises even when things look bleak!

  • Sarah Miller

    I was struck by the very beginning of the reading. How God did not lead them to the land of the Philistines even though it was nearby. He knew they all had some growing and learning to do lest they run back to Egypt. How applicable to our lives! When we see a goal within reach but we can’t quite get there. Maybe we have some more growing and learning to do!

    • Cathy Tubby

      Sarah, that is what struck me as well. Not only can I trust that God knows what I am ready for and plans accordingly but I also know that what happens next helps to prepare circumstances for what’s ahead. I noted in Ex 15:14-18 that events at the Red Sea affected how the philistines and other nations would react to Israel eventually resulting in them settling in the promised land. God will get us where he wants us to be by whatever route He knows to be best.

  • Sarah Wohlgamuth

    Knowing this story, I was struck by the three groupings of voices in v12-15…
    Israelites: We’d rather live in slavery than die in freedom!
    Moses: Don’t worry; God will fight for you.
    God: MOVE!
    I think it’s awesome that God fights for us..no doubt! But, He also calls us to action. To listen to His voice and keep pressing ahead instead of getting stuck in the comfort of passively doing nothing. I think, sometimes, there’s a balance I forget about between resting in His Presence and still going forward in faith. It’s a both/and scenario.

  • Peony Noirr

    “The Lord will fight for you.”
    Powerful and comforting to know that even in our worst moments, the most Powerful is in our corner! ❤️

  • Sarah Marshall

    If I look back on my life, I can see time and time again where God rescued me. He is always with me!

  • Jessica McCreary

    Exodus 14:14 a great reminder of how much He loves us! I truly loved the connection of stories! It truly resonates with me bring accused of stealing because of the color of my skin was one of the most traumatizing things I have felt. But God knew and he placed some amazing ladies in my life and that day that truly showed the love of Christ and they stood with me!!! This truly is a reminder of how Christ will fight for us and we can stand firm in his promises!!!

  • Jo Gistand

    I think we often see the the parting of the Red Sea as the end of the faith of the Israelites. I’m thinking, if I am crossing the Red Sea, I have to trust that GOD is going g to hold up the walls of the ocean FOR ME! It’s one thing to part it, it it’s another to trust GOD through the mess. I love this passage for that reminder. He is fighting for me not when he saved me, but also as he continues to sanctify me as I walk through the Red Se

  • One thing i thought was cool was that in Exodus 13:18, the CSB translates it as “God did not lead them along the road…even though it was nearby…he (God) led the people around toward the Red Sea along the road of wilderness”. Sometimes God takes us the long way around, but in the end it always leads us exactly where we need to be for our good and His glory. My prayer is that i will trust Him even when i feel like I am on the long way around and can’t really see where He is leading. His plans always trump mine!

  • I honestly don’t know why but today I am experiencing a lot of attacks. I’m having negative thoughts about myself and I started spiraling into a depressive state. I feel worthless. I feel like I have nothing to offer in this world. I found myself experiencing anxiety. Just relentless. Reading this: “How much more so does the incarnate presence of God—Immanuel, “God with us”—Jesus Christ, stand between us and whatever enemy dares to accuse, attack, or ensnare us? ” just made me bawl. Perfect timing. Thank you Jesus.

    • Jessica M

      I’m commenting a little late so I’m not sure if you’ll see this, but if you do, I want to give you some more reassurance that you’re definitely not worthless. You are infinitely valuable in God’s eyes regardless of whether or not you’re meeting the world’s standards of productivity or your own standards of what your life should look like. I really believe that the best and most beautiful thing we can do is to trust Him and believe in Him and you’re already doing that. And as long as you have love and a listening ear, you will always have something to offer the world, and He will give you the power you need to keep loving even when it’s hard.

      Anxious feelings can be really difficult to handle, but we have to remember that our feelings don’t always reflect the truth. You may feel worthless sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you are. You will always be more loved than you know or can comprehend.

    • She Reads Truth

      We’re praying for you Delia and are so grateful that you’re a part of our community! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Jessica C

    As God clearly put the pillars of cloud and fire in front of the Israelites, I pray that I can clearly see the path He is leading me down. I trust in the Lord to always take care of me, and I will follow wherever He leads me.

  • Denise Powers Fabian

    “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Oh, Denise…just keep your mouth shut and let ME fight for you!

  • Hollyn Roberts

    I just caught in scripture that it appeared people could only part the sea in a single line. It says that the water stretched from only their left hand to their right hand. Woah. Talk about having to trust in God’s direction when there is someone in front of you and someone in back. You can only move forward to safety, both comforting and frightening. It’s not like you could hussle and push past people. Gods way is certainly a way that requires complete trust. Ah!

  • I have to remind myself to fully trust in God. That He will see me through.

  • “The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night never left its place in front of the people.” Exodus 13:22. This is a beautiful reminder that God is always with us. He will never leave us. He will not only lead us but protect us.

  • Maria Goodwin

    Last post posted too quickly in error- anyway- Hillary Scott’s song “Still” immediately came to me after reading today’s passage. Ex 14:14- the Lord will fight for you- you need only to be still.

    • Sydney VanRooyen

      I absolutely love that you share these songs with us and how they tie in for you! I always jump on Spotify to listen to them while I’m jotting down my thoughts for the day! I’m very drawn to music and connect with Lyrics and this one did it for me today. What a great reminder! Thank you for sharing.

    • Deborah Craytor

      Thank you for directing me to Hillary Scott’s song “Still.” It’s beautiful!

  • Maria Goodwin

    As a musician- I can’t help but hear songs others have written in response to the text and the music and words of the songs so often enhance the effect of the scripture as I’m reading and vice versa

  • Sabrina Michelle

    What a reassuring reading that was?? The Lord our God holds us up by his right hand and I’m so thankful!

  • Mary Abel

    Anna I ❤️ your viewpoint…God invites us to not be afraid!

  • Mary Abel

    ❤️ what a promise! The Lord will fight for me!

  • Lauren Brooks

    “In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed.”
    Ex. 15:13

    YES and AMEN. This spoke so greatly to me. Reading about the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire — what lengths He went to to protect the Israelites. What lengths He must go to in His protection of you and me! I pray that I can see more of His provision of protection in my own life.
    How He leads us and guides us! It doesn’t just stop with salvation, the redemption continues and He guides to His promises.

  • Stephanie Platt

    In the midst of struggles but ever hopeful knowing that God is good and is fighting for me. ♥️

  • “Water covered their foes;
    not one of them remained.
    Then they believed his promises
    and sang his praise.” Psalm 106: 11-12
    This verse made me stop and think “THEN they believed….” What about seeing all the plagues and the Lord protecting them from most of them? Which made me ask myself “when have I refused to see God’s hand in my life?”

    • Rhonda

      That’s what I thought instantly! Even now, we are so bullheaded that we don’t trust, even after all we know, have learned, and witnessed in our lives and around us! We get scared, when Moses said, Fear Not, Stand Firm! and You have only to be silent!!! Words to remember!

  • The Lord will fight for me, I only to be still. I know I say this all the time, but I really needed to hear this, this morning. God is good!

    • Pam

      And how many other places in His Word do we hear the same? How many times does He have to tell us this? Help me to remember & trust always.

  • Pam White

    The Israelites crosses the Red Sea and walked into a new life- free from the oppression of the Egyptians. Through Christ, we are freed from our old lives and the slavery of sin and death and we walk free into our new lives in the Spirit of life and peace.

  • reading through this study is forcing me to compare my faith journey to that of the Israelites. in my time in the “wilderness”, i can feel my resolve wavering. I have to keep reminding myself to not look back to what I’ve been called out of but to look forward expectantly for when God parts the seemingly immovable in my life.

    • Mari

      Joy, this is exactly how I saw today’s devotion, not to look back but to look forward. Thank you for that insight

  • Pamela Strommen

    “The lesser of 2 evils”
    I had not seen this before…God knew (and knows!) His weak and broken people. Exodus 13:17 when showing how to exit Egypt, God did not lead the Israelites toward the Philistines because he knew they would want to escape the battle of war… they would rather go back to Egypt to be slaves. So he gave them an easier route via wilderness and through a river. But, the people did not know this was God’s mercy, so like me, they only focused on the present circumstance. And they still begged to go back to Egypt!
    Oh God, only you could continue to love a sinner like me! Thank you for your grace and mercy, even when I don’t recognize it.

  • highly recommend Moses, Man of the Mountain by Zora Neale Hurston as a companion to this study.

  • Lillie Owens

    Really enjoying reading Exodus and how God fought for the Israelites but one thing that sticks out is why did God continually harden Pharaoh’s heart? Could he have been brought glory through Pharaoh’s salvation in the same way? Why did God see Pharaoh as a person that couldn’t be in the Kingdom of God? I’m really struggling with this part.

    • Georgianne Roberts

      I struggled a bit with the reading today, too, trying to reconcile everything. One thing that occurred to me is that the struggling Israelites needed to understand the full power of God. If God had softened Pharaoh’s heart, then many would have glorified Pharaoh and not God. Because Pharaoh’s heart was not softened, not only the Israelites but the Egyptians, Philistines and surrounding peoples were made aware of our powerful God.

      • Lizzieb85

        To piggy back off you, God needed to completely sever the Israelites from the Egyptians. If Pharaoh was to soften towards God, the Israelites would be even more tempted to return to Egypt. They were annoying enough as it is. God needed them to not look back, & look forward to the sweet promised land.

    • Lizzieb85

      In Romans 9:14-23 Paul speaks about this. Basically, God is creator- the great I AM. He has mercy on whom He has mercy, & hardens who He hardens. How can we, His created beings, question His absolute wisdom, knowledge, & power? Sometimes He uses objects of His wrath to amplify His mercy & glory to those on whom He has mercy. This may be something you never understand. And that’s ok, cuz we are not God. He’s got this, whether we get it or not doesn’t matter. He is God, we are not. He orchestrates the whole of humanity & time & creation. We do not. And that is how it is supposed to be.

      • Deborah Craytor

        Exactly! Every time I have trouble trying to rationalize God’s behavior using my human understanding, I return to these verses, as well as Exodus 33:19, on which Paul’s statement is based. We can’t expect to understand everything until we are glorified with Jesus Christ in heaven.

    • Delani Ford

      I have been finding myself struggling with this very thing as well! I am confused why God would continuously harden Pharaohs heart. What if by softening Pharaohs heart, the people glorified God even further by showing that even someone cruel could find faith in God and help lead the people to praise Him.

    • Lizzieb85

      I will further add that at this point, God is setting the Israelites apart as His chosen people. He is showing them how great He is & teaching them to rely on Him only. If Pharoah turned to God, he would be favorable to the Israelites. God wanted them fully dependent on Him. If pharaoh believed in God, he may have made Egypt a nation who followed God. But God had chosen Israel to be His. ONLY Israel. After Jesus, salvation is extended to non-Israeli people, but this was not God’s purpose at this time.

    • Adrienna Purdy

      At this point in time, Israel was the chosen nation of God. There are only a handful of examples in the Old Testament about non Jews being saved. God’s glory was shown to all of the Egyptians, to all of Israel, to all of us now by showing how God protests his chosen people.

    • Christen Waller

      I think it’s important to note also (as I have struggled through this section and others myself) that God knew Pharaoh wouldn’t change and that it wasn’t Him hardening it but allowing Pharaoh to continue in his sin. See Romans 1:24, 2 Thessalonians 2:11. Those are 2 more examples of how, if we choose a life of sin or separation from God, he allows it.

  • Churchmouse

    As our son – in- law prepares for another deployment overseas, these Scriptures are all the more comforting and encouraging. God goes before him and indeed surrounds him. So grateful that he knows and trusts in our God who is His shield. I’m praying this day for all our military and their spouses. Thank you for your service. God be your strength.

  • Jess Bird-Bellis

    So thankful for God’s faithfulness despite our lack of faith!

  • Caroline Smith

    Amen!

  • Sheila Busch

    The sacrifice of Christ Jesus and the protection of the Lord stands between my and my sin and the sins of the world. Patience is not my strong suit, but if I have faith in God’s promises, I know that He is protecting me, and all of us, from the enemies we face on a daily basis. When Moses told the Israelites to “be silent”, He also was telling them to have faith. Do not despair. God is an awesome God and He will protect us!

  • Kelly Chataine

    “The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14
    In the midst of our current struggle, I have had to learn to be silent, wait, and confidently know that our Lord is fighting for us!

    • Anna

      That part really stood out to me today! While God is fighting for us, He also invites us to not be afraid and to stand firm (Exodus 13). Holding onto those reminders today as I journey through some hard days.

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