The last post I did on the series on Prayer was “PRAYER – PASSOVER, ISRAEL AND YOU” and it was about when God instituted the Passover and what that was about and what it meant to the Israelites. God instituted this tradition when the Israelites left Egypt and it was to be done every year on the day that was the anniversary of the day they left Egypt in great numbers. God is an awesome God and He wanted Israel to remember that day and to teach it to their children and their children’s children. It is a very important event in history. When Israel was still in Egypt, at the time of the last plague – the death of the first born male – they took a year old male lamb, without blemish, from their flock and killed it to spread its blood on the doorposts of their home. Then they ate the roasted lamb in accordance with God’s instructions to Moses and Aaron. The blood on the door posts was to show the “Death Angel” that they were covered by the “blood of the lamb” so the angel would pass them over and not take the life of the first born male in their home. We, as Christians, celebrate Jesus as our “Passover Lamb” because He shed His blood on the Cross for our sins. As I have said and others have said, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.”
When Pharaoh lost his first born to the death angel, he ordered the Israelites out of Egypt. They finally and gladly left and that brings us to this post. Let’s begin with the scripture.
17 Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.
Now, if you remember, this series is on Prayer and I have said that prayer is simply conversation with God whether it is initiated by God or us… or in this case Moses. This particular time God initiates the conversation and tells Moses that He is going to lead the Israelites around by the wilderness instead of going straight through. If they had gone the “easy” way, it might have turned into a war between them and the Philistines. If they had come upon opposition that soon into their journey, they may have turned back to Egypt. They had been downtrodden for many years and didn’t have the stamina to withstand a strong force such as the Philistines at that time and God knew this.
Yes, they were quite a large number of people to be reckoned with and Israel “went up in orderly ranks” out of Egypt. This must have been quite a site. 600,000 people, carrying all their belongings and animals alike all walking and riding out of Egypt.
ON A SIDE NOTE… Now there is some question as to how many people there actually were and here is a website – The Associates for Biblical Research – that gives their opinion as to how many there were. This is also the link to the good article “THE NUMBER OF ISRAELITES IN THE EXODUS” and well worth the read… although it really doesn’t matter how many. I just believe there were several thousand … just like the Bible says. There seems to be some discrepancy in translation. Nonetheless, they left and God provided for them.
God in His mercy and grace allowed them to wander to gain their strength and stamina… however, the Israelites proved to be stubborn and hard headed from the start – and this was just the beginning. After a time of wandering, God led them to a place that had the Red Sea in front of them and the craggy mountain range behind them. God in His infinite wisdom knew just where to lead them to have them feel totally dependent on Him in their time of distress.
Sometimes when you feel like you are boxed into a particular situation you may feel like grumbling and complaining just as Israel did. However, if you look to the Lord first and wait for Him, He will show you a way to get through whatever it is that you are going through. He provided a way of escape for Israel and He will for you too.
I found this website that lays out the route pretty plainly. There has always been a belief by some that Mt. Sinai is on the Sinai peninsula. There is proof that it is actually in Saudi Arabia. This website www.bible.ca/archeology shows and explains all of that. That is not what we are going to talk about in this post though… I just thought you might be interested in reading some about it.
One video I watched about “Crossing the Red Sea” showed the beach area that is believed to be the area where the Israelites crossed the Red Sea. You should really watch the entire video. It is an amazing journey and some wonderful discoveries. This is the link to the You Tube Video – The Red Sea Crossing – and these pictures are screen shots of some of the video.
*It is important to note here that the time that Israel was wandering in the wilderness, not just now but throughout their 40 year journey, God provided a Pillar of Cloud by day and a Pillar of Fire by night, to lead them and guide them along their way. Here is the scripture.
20 So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. 21 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 as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
So, the time of wandering in the wilderness is believed to be around two weeks before they get to the Red Sea. They camp at the Red Sea for a period of time and the notice that Pharaoh’s army is pursuing them. They begin to be afraid and call out to Moses. The scripture shows that they have allowed their fear to overtake their memories of the wonderful things that God did for them in getting them out of Egypt. Here is the scripture.
10 And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
13 And 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. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
So Moses knew the Lord would deliver them. He didn’t know how at that time but he had faith and trust in his God. A saying that my father says comes to mind here. “God wouldn’t have brought us this far to let us go now.” That is what Moses believed too, I think. Then the Lord spoke to Moses and told him what to do.
15 And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. 16 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. 17 And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. 18 Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
The Pillar of Cloud then moves from before them to behind them so as to shut off the access of Pharaoh’s army to Israel. This must have been quite an awesome site. The beach is covered with men, women, children and animals. .Pharaoh’s army is on the other side of the beach, behind the mountain range and they are waiting to attack! Israel is standing around worrying about how to escape from Pharaoh’s army this time, then God shows His mighty power once again!
21 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 made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. 22 So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.
If Israel thought the 10 plagues in Egypt were something to behold, this must have just astounded them! WOW… what a sight to behold! The Red Sea splits wide open and they cross on dry land! Amazing! God allows the army to pursue now with the Pillar of Cloud and Fire lifted and so they pursue. What a sight to behold! Pharaoh’s 600 choice chariots and horsemen race after Israel and just at the right time… God tells Moses…
26 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.” 27 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth, while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. 29 But the children of Israel had 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.
There are many that dispute this occurrence in the Bible. However, I believe that the Bible is God’s Word and is 100% accurate. I don’t understand how things like this happen and all the things that probably took place during and after … but I know what I believe and I believe that it happened just as the scripture states. What a miraculous event! Israel was saved and Pharaoh’s army destroyed! I would say that God was glorified that day!
The video I mentioned earlier – The Red Sea Crossing – shows a very detailed and in depth description and items that were found in the Red Sea where it is believed that Israel crossed and where Pharaoh’s army perished. They found chariot wheels and other items that led them to believe it is the remains of Pharaoh’s army. Quite convincing. I suggest that you take the time to view the entire video.
If God cares enough to part the Red Sea for Israel, He cares enough about your problems and can help you with anything you bring to Him. He is a gentleman though. He will not push Himself on you. You need only to call His name and He is there. He can help you with any problem you may have. He loves you so much and wants you to know how much! He calls you His beloved!
The Song – Thou O Lord – Prestonwood Choir