Shall we turn now in our Bible to Exodus chapter 13. In the tenth chapter of Exodus, God brought the final plague upon the Egyptians that was to break the resistance of Pharaoh, forcing him to allow God’s people to go; the death of the first born in all the land of Egypt. However, God had made provision for His people, that they should not suffer that same fate as the Egyptians. God commanded Moses to tell the children of Israel: in the twilight of the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, they were to slay from among their flock a lamb without blemish of the first year. They were to put some of the blood into a basin, and with the hyssop bush, they were to sprinkle that blood on the lintel and the door posts of their house. And the Lord said, “When I pass through the land, when I see the blood, I will pass over that house, and the first born will be spared.” And so, the idea of redemption of the first born. Their life was redeemed, or spared, because of the sacrificial lamb. It becomes the substitute.
Then they were to inaugurate a yearly feast called the Feast of the Passover, by which they remembered God’s delivering them out of Egypt, and this final plague that God brought upon the Egyptians. And so, in the Passover, there are reminders of the bitterness of their suffering under the hand of the Egyptians, the tears that were spent because of the fierce bondage; but then, the memories of God’s provision, the sparing of their first born by the sacrificial lamb.
Jesus took the symbols of the Passover, the memorial of God’s deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, and He made them apply to Himself, and how God had delivered us from the bondage of sin. He took the Passover bread. He broke it. He said, “Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you.” He took the Passover cup, and He gave it to His disciples, and He said, “This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood: which is shed for the remission of sins. And now, as often as you eat this bread, and drink this cup, you will show the Lord’s death until He comes. Do this in remembrance of Me.”
So as we get into the thirteenth chapter, having inaugurated, or established this Passover that was to be observed by the people on an annual basis,
The Lord then spoke to Moses, saying, Sanctify to me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and animals; it is Mine.
Now they were able to redeem their children by the death of the lamb, but God said, “The firstborn male that opens the womb, it is Mine. Set them apart for Me.” Because God had spared the firstborn, God now claims the firstborn as His own.
And so, Moses said to the people, Remember this day, in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; by the strength of the hand of JEHOVAH, you have been brought out of this place; no unleavened bread shall be eaten.
Now, leaven, of course, we know through the Scripture, has become a type of sin. It becomes a very apt type of sin; for leaven was used for causing the dough of their bread to rise, and it actually caused the dough to rise by a rotting process; and the oxygen that was released as the process, the bread was sort of in a rotting process. And it had a way of permeating the whole batch of dough. So they would always keep a starter from the previous batch, and they would make up a new batch of dough, and they’d take some of the dough from the old batch that was already leavened, just put a little of it into the big new loaf, and a little leaven would leaven the whole lump. The whole batch of dough would become leaven. It permeated, it spread by a rotting process.
What a picture of sin. How a little tolerated sin will spread through your life, and it spreads by rottenness. And so, it became a type of sin.
The bread, a type of Jesus: “I am the bread come down from God out of heaven.” He said, “if any man eat of me, he will live forever.” And thus, being a type of Jesus, the bread of the Passover, it had to be unleavened bread: for in Him was no sin. So, Jesus took the unleavened bread, broke it, gave it to His disciples; a type. And interestingly enough, the bread broken: “My body,” He said, “broken for you.”
So no unleavened bread is to be eaten during this feast period.
And on this day, you are going out in the month of Abib.
Which is equivalent roughly to our month of April, and it is the first month of the religious Jewish calendar. Now, they have two new years. One is in October, or the end of September, equivalent in our calendar, it comes either in that area, the end of September, first of October, it varies from year to year. But that is their new year. But their spiritual calendar begins with the month of Abib, which is roughly equivalent to our month of April. Beginning of the spring.
And it shall be when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, Hivites, Jebusites, the land that He swore to your fathers that He would give to you, a land that is flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service, this Passover, in this month. The month of Abib. And for seven days, you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day, there shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; and no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.
And so, that is why, even to the present day, in the typical Jewish Passover celebration in their homes, they have this little ceremony where the children go all through the house, searching for any leaven that might be in the house. And, of course, they always leave some leaven hidden somewhere so that the children can find it and bring it out, and, of course, the child that finds the leaven becomes sort of the hero for the day. He discovered this leaven in the house. And so, the purging of the leaven out of their houses before they eat of the Passover.
And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.
The whole purpose was to perpetuate in the minds of their children the marvelous work of God on their behalf in delivering them from the bondage of Egypt; so that they can pass on this heritage to their children. The children naturally questioning, “What makes this day different from all other days?” And their response to them of telling of God’s deliverance of their fathers from bondage.
And you shall therefore keep this ordinance in it’s season from year to year. And it shall be when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your father, and gives it to you, that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstling that comes from the animals which you have; the males shall be the LORD’S.
So, from the animals to their own children, if a male would open the womb, if it would be the firstborn, it was to be dedicated, sanctified to the LORD. Now, unclean animals such as donkeys; God doesn’t want a donkey, so you have to redeem the donkey with a lamb if you want to keep that donkey. If you have a male donkey that opens the womb, you want to keep it, then you’ve got to sacrifice a lamb for that donkey. If you don’t want to sacrifice the lamb for the donkey, then you’re to break the donkey’s neck, you’re to kill it. It’s God’s. You have no right to it.
And so, God is making a claim upon the firstborn, even as God makes a claim upon the first fruits. The first belongs to God. Oh, that we would keep that priority. We’ve come to the place where God so often gets the leftovers, providing there are any. And if there are none, then, “Well, that’s too bad, God; maybe next time.” But God requires the first; the firstborn and the first fruits.
And so it shall be, —
Again the idea of the developing of the questioning of the mind of the child so that there would be the opportunity to share.
So it shall be when your son ask you in time to come, saying, What is this that you’re doing? that you shall say to him, By strength of hand JEHOVAH brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; and it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and of the animals; therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem. So, he redeems the son by sacrificing a lamb for the son. And it shall be as a sign on your hand, and as the frontlets between your eyes; for by the strength of the hand of the LORD, we’ve been brought out of Egypt.
And so, this is to again give opportunity to share with their children that marvelous work that God has done. And in reality, God may have done a great work in our lives, but we’ve got to somehow communicate that work to our children in such a way that they too will know the power of God. So many times, there is that failure to pass on into the next generation that work of God; and we see, tragically, that great men of God, who were once used by God in powerful ways; we see their descendants, their children, or their grandchildren, great-grandchildren: living very sinful and destructive lives. Somehow, there was a failure to communicate into the next generation; but we’ve got to careful to do that.
I realized the other day, it just suddenly sort of hit me; we have a whole new generation of kids coming up. You know, we’ve been here now for twenty years, and back in the late sixties, early seventies when I had the Monday night class with the young people, we sort of emphasized the subject of prophecy, because that was something the young people were always interested in. And we had hundreds of young people coming on Monday nights, thousands actually, and many receiving the Lord. And it was an exciting time as we were relating to them the truth of God’s Word, and the prophetic aspects of God’s Word.
But I realize that we now have a generation of young people in the church that I haven’t really sat down and taught the book of Revelation, or the book of Daniel, or the prophetic truths to them; and they really don’t know about the rapture, the coming again of Jesus Christ, about the anti-Christ, and these things. And God has impressed my heart, come early spring, I want to start the Monday night studies again with the kids: sitting here and sharing with them the book of Revelation, and Daniel, and Joel, and other books of prophecy; Zechariah; and just letting them have an insight into prophecy. And I look forward to it. When I return from Israel, I’m going to start again a Monday night study with the kids, just sitting around here on the platform and on the floor as we just sort of share God’s truths with them; passing it onto our next generation. You see, those kids that I was sharing with, now, it’s their kids I’m going to be sharing with as they’re coming along. And it’s important that we perpetuate it from generation to generation.
Now it came to pass, verse 17, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was the closest way; for God said, Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt.
Now, along the coast, the Egyptians had garrison troops positioned along the coast. And also, coming along the coast, they would come into the area first of the Philistines, who were the most powerful of those nations that inhabited the land of Israel that God had promised to Abraham’s descendants. And God knew that if they were facing some heavy battles early, they would get discouraged, and so, rather than leading them in a direct route, straight into the promised land, God took them by way of the wilderness.
Now as we get into the study a little further, we’re going to realize that there was a legitimate wilderness experience for the children of Israel. Coming out of the bondage of Egypt, before they could come into the full, rich land of promise, there was the wilderness to pass through, legitimately, where they were to learn so many aspects of the nature and character of God.
But, there was also a forty year illegitimate wilderness experience. In other words, they should have passed through the wilderness in just a few weeks, but because of their failure to enter into to land of promise when they came to it’s borders at Kadesh-Barnea, God said, “All right, you’ll roam in this wilderness until this whole generation passes away.” And they roamed for forty years in the wilderness, which was an illegitimate wilderness experience.
Now, their whole experience is likened to the Christian experience. The bondage of Egypt is likened to the bondage of sin. Pharaoh is likened unto Satan, seeking to hold them in that bondage. Their crossing of the Red Sea, which we get to in the next chapter, is a symbol of water baptism, where I have now been separated fully from that old life. It’s behind me, it’s gone, and I enter now into a whole new dimension of relationship with God; trusting in Him, walking by faith, learning the faithfulness of God; who turns my bitter waters sweet, who gives me a place to rest, who brings me water out of the rock, who preserves me in my goings. But all the while, God is wanting to bring me into a glorious, full, rich life of the Spirit. And unfortunately, there are many Christians who spend their entire Christian experience roaming in the wilderness, and they never come into the full life of the Spirit, crossing Jordan, which is symbolic of the death of the old man and the old nature in order that we might live now the life in the Spirit.
And there are too many Christians who are in illegitimate wilderness experiences. They never get out of it. Their whole Christian life is spent as a yo-yo; up and down. Sometimes excited and thrilled about the things of the Lord, and then cold and indifferent, and then excited; and it’s just a yo-yo, the spiritual yo-yo. We’ve got too many yo-yos.
So God led the people around by the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he had placed the children of Israel under a solemn oath, saying, God will surely visit you; and you shall carry up my bones from here with you. And so they took the mummy of Joseph.
Now, in the last chapter of Genesis, the fiftieth chapter, as Joseph was dying, he made his sons to swear to him that when God finally delivers you out of this place, take my bones with you and bury them with my fathers. I don’t want my permanent burial to be here. This is now almost 400 years later. Their total sojourn in Egypt was 430 years. A little less than 400 years later, they are fulfilling that covenant that Joseph caused them to swear to. Moses is carrying the bones of Joseph, that they might take them and bury them ultimately in the land of his fathers.
So they took their journey from Succoth, and camped in Etham, at the edge of the wilderness. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way; and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light; so that they could travel both day and night.
Now, the cloud was not only to lead them; and when the cloud moved they moved, when the cloud rested they rested; but the cloud was a shelter, it was shade to them. It was to keep them from that burning sun so they could travel during the day. It’s awfully hard to travel in the desert during the day in that hot sun; you dehydrate so quickly. So, they could travel during the day; God gave a cloud by day to shield them from the hot rays of the sun.
And at night, it was pillar of fire, so that they could also travel at night, because the whole area would be lit by this pillar of fire.
And He did not take away the pillar of the cloud by day, or the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
It was with them through the whole forty years that they wandered in the wilderness. It did not leave them until they crossed Jordan and came into the promised land. So, God’s sign of His presence and of His guiding.
Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite of Baalzephon; and you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are bewildered by the land, the wilderness has closed them in.
So, God is leading the children of Israel into a trap. He’s leading them down this valley, turn down the valley, between the two mountain ranges of Pihahiroth and Migdol. And this valley leads right on down to the Red Sea so that by the time you get to the Red Sea, you have the mountain range of Migdol and Pihahiroth on either side of you, so the only way you can get out of the valley is to turn around and come back by the way you came. It seems like a foolish mistake. It looks like a tactical blunder; and that’s exactly how Pharaoh saw it, as a tactical blunder. He said, “The land has bewildered them, they’ve been swallowed up in the wilderness.” They don’t know where they’re going. They’ve gone right into a trap. All the Pharaoh has to do is move his troops up to the pass that leads into the valley, cut off the pass, and he’s captured the whole group.
And so, God led them deliberately into a trap. He said,
Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh, and over all of his army; that the Egyptians may know that I am JEHOVAH. And so they did so. They went into this valley.
Now, God’s purpose is to bring the Egyptians after them, that God might reveal to the Egyptians that He is JEHOVAH. When Moses first commanded in the name of JEHOVAH that Pharaoh let the people go, he said, “Who is JEHOVAH that I should obey Him? I don’t know JEHOVAH, and neither will I let the people go.” And God said, “I’m going to show the Egyptians who JEHOVAH is.” Not only is He going to teach the Egyptians a lesson, but there are several lessons that He is going to teach His own people as He delivers them from the trap.
Now, it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people, and they said, What have we done in letting our slaves all go? So he made ready his chariot, and he took his people with him; and he also took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, with the captains over every one of them.
Now, a chariot was equivalent to an army tank. As far as the warfare in those days is concerned, and the warfare today is concerned, it was just like a tank, as far as a battle weapon. And here were the Israelites; all they had were sticks, walking sticks. And here the Pharaoh comes with his armies, and all of these chariots with their swords and shields, and they cut off the pass behind the children of Israel.
So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, his army, they overtook them as they were camping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon.
The word “baal” is the word for “lord”; and “zephon” is the word for “watching over.” It comes from the root of the “watching towers,” the “watch towers;” and even today in Israel you will see watch towers.
The people during the planting and harvesting seasons, growing seasons, would move from the cities into their fields, but they would have these watch towers in their fields. They had a little room in which they would sleep, and they would cook, and the family would live. But they all had these watch towers, you can go over there and see them today, and they would get up in the watch towers to watch their fields to make sure that no one came in and stole their fruit. And thus, the name “zephon” comes from this watch tower.
The LORD is watching over; that’s where you’re to park, before the place where it was named “the LORD is watching over,” and it is God’s declaration that He’s watching over His people, and He sees when they’re going through their difficulties. He sees them when they are trapped.
So the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh the king of Egypt, he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, his army; overtook them. And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; so they were very afraid; and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. And they said to Moses, Is it because there wasn’t enough graves in Egypt that you’ve taken us away to die in the wilderness?
Now, this is just the beginning of what Moses is going to have to put up with for forty years. Every time something goes wrong, they are there to just say, “What have you done, man? Why didn’t you leave us alone in Egypt? We were better off as slaves there than dying out here. Why did we ever listen to you?” Forty years he’s going to hear this kind of stuff from them, until finally, he’s going to just have it; he’s going to say, “God, I quit. Here’s my resignation, I’m through. I didn’t bear all of these people. They’re not my kids, and I’m tired of taking care of them.” And he’s going to blow it ultimately, it’s just going to get to him. But, you have to hand it to him; it took him forty years before it really got to him. I mean, at this point I’d be, I think, ready to say, “OK, I’m going to swim across the sea, and you guys fend for yourselves.”
Why have you dealt with us like this to bring us out of Egypt. Isn’t this what we told you when we were still in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better to serve the Egyptians, than we should die in this wilderness. It’s better that we be red than dead, you know. So Moses said to the people, 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.
Things are not always as they seem. It would appear the children of Israel were in a trap, no place to go, this was the end for them; when in reality, the Egyptians were being drawn into a trap, and it was to be the end for them. It’s so often in the midst of a situation that we totally misread it, and thus we falsely accuse God, because we don’t see the end of the story. I only see what’s happening at this moment, and at this moment, it looks like I’m trapped. There’s mountains on both sides of me, there’s a sea in front of me, the Egyptians are behind me Lord, you made a real mistake this time, and it’s all over, and why God would You do this?
And Moses said, “Now look, just stand still, see the salvation of the LORD.”
For the Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. You’re not going to have to lift a finger in this battle. God’s going to fight for you.
Now having calmed the people, Moses then turns to the LORD, and the LORD said something very interesting:
Why do you cry to me?
Moses started to pray. God said, “Why are you crying to me, Moses?” There is a time for prayer, but there is also a time for action; and Moses, it’s time to move. Not time to pray now, it’s time to get moving. And there always comes that time, when it’s time to move. We need to precede our moves with prayer, we need to have the guidance of the Lord through prayer; but there comes times when our prayers must take feet, we begin to move.
And so the Lord said, Why are you crying unto me? Tell the children of Israel to get moving. Lift up your rod, and stretch your hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the middle of the sea. And I will, indeed, harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them; so I will gain honor over Pharaoh, and over all of his armies, his chariots, and his horsemen. And then the Egyptians shall know that I am JEHOVAH, when I have gained honor for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the angel of God,
Now this is an interesting title, and we will find it many times in the Old Testament; and it usually is a reference to none other than Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, He is known as the angel of JEHOVAH.
–the angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them, and stood behind them.
Now God did a very interesting tactical move here. This cloud, by which they were sheltered and guided in the day time, God now took and moved it behind them, and settled it down over the Egyptians, so that the Egyptians were lost in a fog; a thick fog. They couldn’t see each other. They couldn’t see the children of Israel. They couldn’t see what was happening outside of that fog bank. Not far distant from them, they could not see the children of Israel passing through the Red Sea on dry ground. But the light, the pillar of fire, lighted the way on the other side so that they could see; and all night long, they made their trek through the sea on dry ground, up on the other side. But God blinded the Egyptians to what was going on, so that they could not immediately pursue them.
And so, God became the rear guard. And it is interesting that the Scripture speaks of God not only going before us, but also bringing up the rear. And a lot of times it’s just as important that you protect the rear flank as you do the front. Someone to watch behind you. And it’s great when you’re surrounded by the LORD. He goes before you, He comes behind you, He surrounds your life, He leads you in His path.
And so it came, the cloud, between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and thus it was a cloud of darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other; so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and He made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided.
So as He stretched out His hand, God brought a strong east wind; blew all night, opened up a path in the sea. They passed over on dry land.
So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground; and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand, and on their left.
Now, there are those who seek to sort of take away the miraculous from this story, and they try to give natural, plausible explanations. They talk about a sea of reeds, only a few feet deep; surging tides and tides pushed by winds often times pushing back areas where you can actually shallow-water-cross this particular area of the sea of reeds. That doesn’t quite explain a wall of water on either side of them.
There are always those, though, that seem to think that they need to help God out. Like the little kid who came home from Sunday school., and his mom said, “Well, what did you learn in Sunday school today?” And he said, “Well, we learned about Moses.” “Well, what did you learn about Moses?” “Well, he was escaping out of Egypt with the people of Israel, and they were in a trap by the Red Sea, and so the Egyptian armies were pulling up behind them with all their tanks, and so Moses got on his walkie-talkie and called for support, and the navy landed a bunch of LTS’s there and ferried them all across the sea before the Egyptians could get to them.” And the mother said, “Are you sure that that’s the way you heard the story?” He said, “Well, not really, Mom, but if I told you the way my teacher told me, you’d never believe me.”
Again, anytime you have trouble with a story of God’s miraculous powers, it is only reflecting upon your own limited concept of God. You need to go back to the first verse of the Bible. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Now, if that’s the kind of God you’re serving, and all, then you shouldn’t have any problem with any other story in the Bible. Surely the God who was able to create the heavens and the earth could at His own discretion, or desire, or whatever, part the Red Sea, or part the Atlantic Ocean. No problem for God. It’s just that our concepts of God are too limited.
The children of Israel went in the midst of the sea on dry ground; the waters were a wall. And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all of Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians, and He took off their chariot wheels, I imagine the LORD just sent a bunch of angels down there to start popping the wheels off of their chariots. So that they drove them with difficulty, they became sleds. And the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for JEHOVAH fights for them against the Egyptians. And then the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to it’s full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it; so the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained.
Now, if indeed, there is sea of reeds that is only a foot deep or so, anyhow, and the water can be driven back by strong east winds, or whatever, you still have a miracle to deal with, and a problem, because how could God drown the whole Egyptian army in a foot of water? Cover their chariots in just foot of water; that’s a good trick.
But the children of Israel have walked on dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand, and on their left. So that the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. And thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
It made believers out of them when they saw the power of God, and they had confidence, then, in Moses. You say, “Oh, great for Moses; he’s now not going to have any problems.” Oh, just wait. The next little issue, here they are again. How fickle people are. Things are going great: “Oh, praise the Lord; bless God, oh, what a marvelous leader.” And then things go wrong: “Oh, why have you done this? Should have died in Egypt. Better off there.” So we are.
So Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, I will sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and it’s rider He has thrown into the sea. The LORD is my strength and my song, and He is become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; He is my father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; JEHOVAH is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank to the bottom like a stone. Your right hand, O JEHOVAH, has become glorious in power; your right hand, O JEHOVAH, as dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of your excellence, you have overthrown those who rose up against you; You sent forth Your wrath, which consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils, probably a reference to that east wind, the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright like a heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. Now that doesn’t sound like just an ebb tide. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied on them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. And You blew with Your wind, the west wind, and the sea covered them, and the sand like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like You, O JEHOVAH, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth the people whom you have redeemed; You’ve guided them in Your strength to Your holy habitation. Recognizing the hand of God now leading them into this land that God has chosen for His people. The people will hear, and be afraid; sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Palestine. And the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; and the mighty men of Moab, trembling will take hold of them; and all of the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them by the greatness of Your arm, and they will be as still as a stone; till Your people pass over, O LORD, till Your people pass over, whom You have purchased. You will bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Your inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which You have made for Your own dwelling; the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established.
Again, the reference to the land; place of God’s dwelling, place for His sanctuary.
The LORD shall reign forever and ever.
So it’s a grand and gala celebration as they see the hand of God delivering them from the trap and destroying their enemies. Cause for singing, cause for rejoicing. But God wants us not to just rejoice when we see the final outcome and His victory, but He wants us to rejoice in the midst of tribulations. Jesus speaks about rejoicing when you are persecuted. “When men say all manner of evil against you falsely for My name’s sake, rejoice.” “Count it all joy when you fall into various types of trials and tribulations.”
You remember Paul and Silas; when if Philippi, they were beaten and then tied in the stocks in the dungeon of the Philippian jail. With their backs still bleeding and raw from the beatings that they had received, no one even bothered to wash the wounds, and in that rat filled vermin cell, in the midnight hour, these two guys in the stocks, what are they doing? Singing praises to the Lord. That’s what God wants. A heart that is constantly filled with songs of praises unto Him; not just in the good times, not just when we see the triumph of our God over our enemies, but even in the midst of the tribulation.
And so, now they are rejoicing, they are singing praises to God. They have seen the hand of God work in a mighty way in their behalf, and so they are rejoicing and praising, but soon, tragically, they’re going to be murmuring again. We won’t even get out of the chapter until they’re back at their old game.
Now, it is declared,
For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. Then Miriam the prophetess,
Interesting title. Miriam the prophetess. You remember, she was the sister of Moses, the older sister of Moses; who, when Moses was placed in that little basket by his mother and floated upon the Nile River, she was hiding to find out what would happen to her little brother; and when she saw Pharaoh’s daughter fetching the basket out of the water and looking at the beautiful little baby boy, she came running up and said, “Would you like me to get a nurse from among the Hebrews to take care of that little child for you?” She was a sharp, clever little gal. And the Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Oh, would you do that for me?” And she said, “Oh, I’d be glad to,” and she ran home and said, “Mom, I’ve got you a job. You’re going to get paid taking care of Moses.”
Now Miriam the prophetess, who is the sister of Aaron, thus also the sister of Moses, took the timbrel in her hand, sort of a tambourine type of instrument; and all of the women went out after her with the timbrels and with dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing to the LORD, for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and the rider He has thrown into the sea.
The first verse of this song that they had all sung, which is called the song of Moses. Now in the book of Revelation, we find a group in heaven singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb; so there’ll be a combination of this song of Moses, of God’s deliverance of His people, with the song of the Lamb, the deliverance of God’s people through the power of Jesus Christ.
So Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they went out into he wilderness of Shur; and they went for three days in the wilderness, and found no water. Now when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter;
And the word “marah” means “bitter”. You remember when Naomi came back from Moab, after the death of her two sons and her husband–the name “Naomi” means pleasantness–and as she came back to Bethlehem, all of her old friends said, “Oh, Pleasantness has come home;” and she said, “Don’t call me Pleasantness, call me Marah, Bitterness, for God has dealt bitterly with me.”
And so, they came to the waters of Marah, the bitter waters,
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What are we going to drink? So he cried out to the LORD; and the LORD showed him a reed, and when he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet; and there He make a statute and an ordinance for them, and there He tested them,
And so the testing; what are you going to do when the trials come? How are you going to react to them? They really failed.
And he said, If you will diligently head the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the disease upon you which I have brought on the Egyptians; for I am JEHOVAH who heals you.
So, God here made a covenant with them, here at the waters of Marah; and the whole typology is how that God is able to take the bitter experiences of our lives and bring sweetness out of them. And we often find that some of those most bitter experiences of our life become sweet, because there is where we really meet with God, and God establishes His covenant with our hearts. And how God can sweeten up the bitter experiences of life.
Now, this covenant that God made is an interesting covenant, because we notice, first of all, that’s it’s a provisional covenant. Provided they will keep the statutes and the commandments and the ordinances that God gives to them, then God said that He would keep them healthy
Now herein is a hint which we will find will come to pass as later on God begins to give to them the law, the statutes, and the ordinances. We will find that much of the law that God gives to them is sanitary laws, they are dietary laws, and as we look at the laws that God gave to them, we understand the value of the washings that God required in the laws.
You know, for a long time in the medical sciences, the doctors would go from patient to patient without washing their hands, and there was sort of a feeling that the bloodier the doctor’s apron was, the more proficient a doctor he was. And he would go from patient to patient, and bloody aprons and dirty hands, and working from patient to patient without washings, and the death rate was very, very high in the hospitals as the result of the transmitting of the diseases and all from one patient to another.
One of the doctors who first began to advocate the sterilizing of their instruments and their washings and soap washings and so forth, he was almost kicked out of the medical practice by the other doctors. They were going to take his license away because of his wild ideas that they should wash after each patient.
Following, actually what God said they should do. And as we get into the law, and after they touched unclean things, they were to wash. We find out that God had a real reason for that, and it was healthy. As we get into the dietary laws, the animals that they were allowed to eat, and the animals that they were forbidden to eat, we find that those forbidden animals carry various viruses and germs that are harmful to the human body. The prohibition of pork; we have found there’s a certain worm that, unless the pork is thoroughly cooked, it can infect your body.
And so, there was a reason why God allowed them to eat certain animals, and forbid other animals. We’ll get into that when we get into the dietary law; but God said, “Now look, if you’ll keep my laws, then none of the plagues that came on the Egyptians will come on you. They’re healthy, they’re good for you, they’re for good health.
And, David said, “Blessed is the man who meditates in the law of God day and night. He’ll be like a tree planted by the river water, bringing forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither.” That is, you’ll come to an old age, you’ll help the old man. Why? Because he kept the law of the Lord. They are laws for good health, as well as spiritual laws.
And then God declares,
for I am JEHOVAH-Rapha, the LORD who heals.
The Lord who heals you. And so, God declaring Himself to his people as the God who keeps them healthy. But it comes provisionally. You’ve got to keep the law that I have given, the statutes and the commandments. You do your part, I’ll do my part; I’ll keep you healthy.
So they then came to Elim, —
Which means oaks; and I don’t know why they called it Elim, because there were seventy palm trees there.
there were twelve wells of water, and oasis in the desert, seventy palm trees; and so they camped there by the waters.
Now, next week we’ll move on to the manna, and to their continued journey into the wilderness.
May the Lord be with you, and may the Lord bless you. May the Lord guide you into a deeper, fuller relationship with Himself; a place of trusting in God. Trusting in God for everything. Learning to trust Him in the dark hours when you can’t see any way out, as you learn that God is able to make a way where there is no way. And as God works in your behalf to bring glory to His name, may God use you as His instrument to touch someone else this week; touching them with love.
You know, we were cruising last week on the Caribbean. We had a very interesting experience. One night as I was teaching, I saw a young girl come and stand in the doorway during the whole lesson. And I could see that she was listening intently, she was responding. And after we were through with the lesson that night, and we were talking with some of the people; she sort of waited around, and when she had an opportunity, she came up and she said, “you know, I really enjoyed what you had to say tonight.” She said, “For the first time in my life, the Bible really made sense,” she said, “You explained it so clearly.” And it was a thrill just to see God’s sovereign work of His Spirit working in a young girl’s heart, drawing her to Himself. I mean, it was just that, nothing else. God sovereignly working to draw that young girl to Himself. She said, “I’m an entertainer here on the ship, and we’re not doing our show tonight, and there was supposed to be a movie here, so I came down to see the movie, and instead you were here and I listened;” but she said, “I was really impressed.” And she started asking questions. And that evening, she accepted Jesus Christ into her life.
The next evening she was entertaining, and so, she came and stood for about half of the lesson; standing in the door, all dressed for her performance. The next day, she was there for the whole class; began to join into the fellowship, and then, she invited us to come for her show on the last night, which was called “An All-American Review”, and she said, “Tonight we’re going to do ‘O Holy Night’.” And so, as she was singing “O holy night, the night when Christ was born,” you could see that it was coming from her heart. In fact, she looked up at us at one point with just a knowing smile of “Hey, it’s wonderful”.
And again, we were made to realize that salvation is a work of God. You know, God just sovereignly puts His hand upon a person’s life, and says, “Now’s your time. Come on,” and it’s a thrill to see God work in such a sovereign way in just touching a beautiful young girls heart, drawing her to Himself.
And it’s a thrill to see what God is doing in our hearts and lives as He draws us to Himself in an ever deeper relationship. May you experience that this week, God’s work of His Spirit in your life, and may you respond to it, and be drawn closer to Him, in Jesus’ name.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7030