Scripture Focus- Exodus 14
Hurricane Florence was predicted to hit the coast of North Carolina a few weeks back as a Category Four. Sgt. Justin Peterson, an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, started stocking up supplies. He said, “I knew it was going to be bad, so I bought a boat and filled it with go-bags, MREs, anything I’d need to do search and rescue. When officials asked for volunteers with boats, he and his friend Cue S. Sok, answered the call. Sgt. Peterson said, “There was a woman standing in water chest high, saying she could hear people screaming for help a couple of houses over.” He then found a woman and two children with their dogs and rescued them. Multiple rescues were completed before the ordeal was over, delivering people from trouble and saving lives.
Israel, God’s people, found themselves in need of deliverance. Around 1440 BC, Moses answered the call of God to return to Egypt to lead the people. Exodus 5 gives the account of Moses and Aaron going before the Pharaoh. He said, v1 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival for me in the wilderness.” The Pharaoh refused and made things even more difficult for Israel.
God had enough and began to bring plagues upon Egypt: Water turned to blood, Frogs, Gnats, Swarms of Flies, Death of Livestock, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, and finally the death of the firstborn along with the Passover. Then came the Exodus from Egypt and the departure toward the Promised Land. They set out, probably about two million of them, and the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.
There is a strong parallel here, between the deliverance of God’s people from Egypt and the deliverance of God’s people from sin and the dark circumstances of life in a fallen world through faith in Jesus.
Let’s consider three reasons why we need deliverance:
We need deliverance because of our dilemma. Vv1-9
God told the people to camp in front of P-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, and camp in front of Baal-zephon, facing it by the sea. Pharaoh would think they were wandering around in confusion and boxed in. God would further harden Pharaoh’s heart to cause him to pursue the people with his army.
The Pharaoh got his chariot ready and took his troops with 600 of the best chariots and all the rest of the chariots of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites until he caught up with them. The Red Sea was in front of them, and the mountains were on both sides, and there was nowhere to go but back. Their backs were against the wall, and they were in a dilemma.
Spiritually we find ourselves in a dilemma because of our sin.We are in a dilemma because we are sinners by nature. We are in a dilemma because we are sinners by choice. All of us are guilty before Holy God.
Ecclesiastes 7:20 There is certainly no righteous man on the earth who does good and never sins.
Isaiah 64:6 All of us have become like something unclean, and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment; all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities carry us away like the wind.
Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become useless; there is no one who does good, there is not even one.
We are all familiar with what a dead end street is. A dead end street is one that runs out, and comes to a premature end. Street traffic is prohibited from flowing through because the roadway runs out. Traffic cannot travel beyond a certain point. There are signs that show us where the street ends.
Sin leads to Hell, which is the ultimate dead end. Jesus compared hell to the Valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem called “Gehenna” a huge public rubbish dump where dead bodies and trash burned continuously in smoldering fires. “Gehenna” became a name for Hell. Jesus also compared hell to a prison and to outer darkness. He compared Hell to a fire at least twenty different times.
In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus spoke of the Rich Man and Lazarus. The rich man in his life dressed in the finest of clothes and ate the finest of foods. The poor man, Lazarus, was covered with sores and lay at the rich man’s gate longing to get just some crumbs from the rich man’s table. Each of them died. Lazarus was carried to Abraham’s bosom, representing Heaven. The rich man was tormented in the place of suffering, representing Hell. The rich man recognized the dead end he had arrived in and begged for mercy, and begged for his own brothers who were still living but it was too late. He had arrived in a hopelessly dead end dilemma.
Spiritually we can also find ourselves in a dilemma because of the circumstances of life. That’s where Israel found themselves.
We need deliverance because of our weakness. Vv10-14
As Pharaoh and his army approached the Israelites, they looked up and were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help v10. Then they turned to Moses and said, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done by bringing us out of Egypt? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.
There is a documentary film, The Drop Box, that tells the story of Lee Jong-Rak, pastor of Jusarang Community Church in Seoul, South Korea. Worldwide, millions of children are abandoned at birth. The problem is especially acute in South Korea. Children are often left to die in trash bins or alleyways. Some of the babies started being placed on Pastor Lee’s church steps, and he decided to take action. He and his wife, stirred by their faith and raising their own son with extreme disabilities, started to take these children in. He eventually built a drop box, a baby-sized drawer, complete with a light and heater and bell that goes off when a baby is placed there.
The Pastor, his wife, and volunteers care for as many as a dozen children at a time, mostly disabled children, and they have rescued hundreds of abandoned newborns over the years. He is criticized by some who say it is encouraging the abandonment of babies. Yet he believes the problem is a reality and he needs to do something about it.
The Israelites knew they were weak, and there was no way out on their own. Spiritually, we are in a dilemma and too weak to deliver ourselves from it. But God!
Romans 5:8 But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us!
Ephesians 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you previously walked according to this worldly age, according to the ruler of the atmospheric domain, the spirit now working in the disobedient.
Moses told the Israelites, v13 Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation that he will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. V14 The Lord will fight for you, and you must be quiet.
When we recognize our dilemma, and realize our weakness, we look to God for our deliverance!
The Lord told Moses to tell the Israelites to break camp. He told Moses to lift up his staff, stretch out his hand over the sea, and divide it so the Israelites could go through the sea on dry ground. God was about to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so they would go after the Israelites.
The angel of God moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved and stood behind them between the Israelites and the Egyptians. Neither came near the other through the night. Moses lifted his hand over the sea and the Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land and the waters were divided. The Israelites passed through the sea on dry ground with the water like a wall on either side.
Then came the Egyptians and the Lord brought confusion on them. At the command of the Lord, Moses stretched out his hand back over the sea and the water came rushing back in and not a single enemy survived.
God is our rear guard, and He goes before us to lead. God delivers us from sin through faith in Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
In our weakness, God delivers us in resurrection power from sin, death, Hell, and the grave.
Katharina Grone started a hiking journey on the long Pacific Crest Trail out west along the border of Mexico in May of this year, and was committed to go all the way to Canada. She ran into another hiker named Nancy Abell at a place called Lake Susan Jane on October 22nd. The two hiked together for two hours before parting with Grone heading north. Snow was predicted where Grone was headed. She made it to Glacier Peak where she lost her shelter equipment and two sets of gloves as the snow and sleet set in.
Nancy Abell had been concerned for her when they parted because she thought Grone was unfamiliar with the danger of the changing weather in the region. When the weather started to turn, Abell checked her maps and pinpointed where Grone might be and called 911. Rescuers got to her and flew her off of the mountain in a SnowHawk 1 helicopter. Had Abell not sent rescuers after her, Grone would have died.
If God had not sent His Son Jesus to seek and save the lost, we would remain without hope.
George Muller said, “Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.”
In the difficult circumstances of life, God meets us at our point of need and sees us through to the other side.
God does not want us to fear. v13 Don’t be afraid. Stand firm.
God does not leave us to die. v13 You will see the salvation of the Lord.
God invites us to faith. v14 Be quiet before the Lord.
God protects us. v13 You will never see the enemy again.
God fights for us. v14 The Lord will fight for you.
We need deliverance because of our purpose. Vv 29-31
The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters like a wall to them on the right and the left and the enemy perished. God’s purpose was for them to journey to the Promised Land.
Moses followed their deliverance with a Song of Praise to God in Exodus 15. The triumphant song is a description of the power of God as the defender of his people. The victory at the Red Sea was a guarantee of the fulfillment of God’s purpose for Israel in the future in the arrival at and possession of the Promised Land. The generation who failed to believe was not permitted to enter in, but the younger ones as a people fulfilled their purpose by the Lord’s power.
Exodus 15:11-13 Lord, who is like you among the gods? Who is like you, glorious in holiness, revered with praises, performing wonder? You stretched out your right hand, and the earth swallowed them. With your faithful love, you will lead the people you have redeemed; you will guide them to your holy dwelling with your strength.
Hebrews 11 27By faith he left Egypt behind, not being afraid of the king’s anger, for Moses persevered as one who sees him who is invisible. 28 By faith he instituted the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn might not touch the Israelites. 29 By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though they were on dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do this, they were drowned.
God’s purpose for us is faithfulness in this life for His glory, and eternal life in His presence in the life to come.
Fear and believe the Lord!
The scholar D.A. Carson said, “The Exodus of God’s people out of Egypt is the greatest redemptive event in the Old Testament. . .It is a major key to understand the Old Testament, and it is a major key to unlock the meaning of the entire biblical plotline.”
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 5:7 that Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed. Christ is our Passover in that he has guaranteed the angel of wrath, the destruction of judgment, passes over us because the Lamb of God has taken our place. This is an exodus theme.
Luke 9:28-36 is the account in Luke’s Gospel of the transfiguration of Jesus. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glory and splendor with Jesus. They spoke about his departure in v31. The word used for departure is exodus. Jesus was preparing to exit the world through the cross, burial, resurrection, and ascension and go up into heaven and he makes the way for our exit into eternity to be with God.