Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.(Exodus 15:1-8)
Pharaoh had to concede defeat. His empire is in shambles, crops ruined, flocks and herds depleted, the people of Egypt had been badly injured by the Plagues. Their gods, including Pharaoh had been proven to be impotent, thus they were stunned, frightened and demoralized, and deeply hurting from the mass deaths of every firstborn Son.
Israel had been freed to leave Egypt. They have seen the power of the God of their fathers, and could not deny the validity of his appointment of Moses as his prophet. They were newly enriched by the wealth of Egypt, which had been heaped upon them by the battered nation, as they urged the former slaves to just leave Egypt once and for all.
When Jacob and the clan moved into Egypt 400 years earlier, there were but 70 souls. But the promise of God had proven true for now there were as many as 600,000 men, and their women and children! God had increased the nation, even in their difficulty.
It was three days after the Passover, that Israel found herself in an impasse.The LORD had led them, by a cloud and pillar of fire, to a place at the Red Sea, where the LORD knew that Pharaoh would be tempted to attack them, thinking they were trapped. Pharaoh took the bait, and summonsed the remains of his military power, his six hundred chariots and calvary, imagining that He could intimidate and frighten Israel back into bondage.
Now Israel truly was between the proverbial “Rock and a hard place”.
And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.(Exodus 14:10-12)
The reaction of Israel was twofold. In fear they cried out to the LORD to save them. But in anger and for they murmured against Moses for getting them into this mess. They would rather have stayed as slaves in Egypt!
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.( Exodus 14:12-16)
With the Egyptian Army at their rear and the Red Sea in front of them, and the glory cloud of God between Israel and the Egyptians, Israel had no choice but to wait, either in faith in the Words of God’s servant Moses, or in fear and trembling at the with of their former taskmaster, Pharaoh.
The cloud of Glory was darkness and terror to the Egyptians, but the same cloud was a night light to Israel.
But by the Word of God, Moses held his Rod out over the Sea and it parted.The two million plus congregation of Israel walked through the waters of the Red Sea on dry ground! All two million had been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and baptized into the Sea together, as they followed Moses,Aaron and the pillar of cloud.
You could say that the chosen nation figuratively died there , descending into the parted waters of the sea, and that coming out of the water, in this shared experience together, a new nation was born. Now the bitter past could truly be past, at last!
But Egypt went in after them. Pharoah’s chariots had been restrained by the cloud, which led Israel, they couldn’t attack until Israel was well into the Red Sea. As soon as the cloud released them, Pharoah’s elite shock troops poured across the sea bed, intent on devouring and recapturing Israel.
But Pharaoh had been drawn into a trap, which he was powerless to deliver himself from. God’s mighty angels smote the wheels of many of the chariots, destroying them, and as soon as the chosen people were safely over, the walls of water came crashing down upon the Egyptian troops, killing them enmasse and overthrowing “horse and rider”.
The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.(Exodus 15:9-13)
Has anything like this ever happened to an entire nation numbering in the millions? Then how do some people now dare say that there is no significance to the nation of Israel? Would God call himself “The God of Israel” so many times in scripture, if he was just going to cast them away someday?