is with some trepidation that we bring you this lesson. After all, practically
everyone has seen Charlton Heston part the Red Sea – and we don’t think we can beat
the special effects. But – as Exodus is the Pilgrim’s Progress of the Old
Testament – we shall see if we can find some nuggets along the way.
Exo 12:31-42 NIV
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Up! Leave my
people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the LORD as you have requested. (32) Take your flocks and herds, as you have said,
and go. And also bless me." (33) The
Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. "For
otherwise," they said, "we will all die!" (34) So the people took their dough before the yeast
was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in
clothing. (35) The Israelites did as Moses
instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for
clothing. (36) The LORD had made the
Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they
asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians. (37)
The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. There were about six hundred
thousand men on foot, besides women and children. (38)
Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both
flocks and herds. (39) With the dough they
had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without
yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to
prepare food for themselves. (40) Now the
length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt  was 430 years. (41) At
the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the LORD's divisions left
Egypt. (42) Because the LORD kept vigil that
night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep
vigil to honor the LORD for the generations to come.
this point the Egyptians are dealing with mass funerals and Pharaoh summons
Moses and Aaron and throws them out of Egypt. As in, immediately – now. So it
is that the Israelites leave in great haste. As far as they are concerned this
is a spur of the moment thing. God, however, sees it differently. He promised
Abraham that this would happen, and it happens right on schedule.
God ever done that to you? Provided for you so precisely that you can see the
hour He had in mind? Or blessed you with exactly the right amount of money for
your needs? It is the providence of God.
Exo 13:17-22 NIV
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the
Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they face
war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt." (18) So God led the people around by the desert road
toward the Red Sea.  The
Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. (19)
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of
Israel swear an oath. He had said, "God will surely come to your aid, and
then you must carry my bones up with you from this place."  (20)
After leaving Succoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. (21) By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar
of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give
them light, so that they could travel by day or night. (22) Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by
night left its place in front of the people.
comes as something of a surprise to us that God, while expecting us to “be
strong in the Lord,” is also aware of our weaknesses – and sometimes even
caters to them. God does so for the Israelites here; for those who pray,
“lead us not into temptation” God does it for us.
see also that Joseph’s bones are carried out with them. It is a promise 400
years old – and a promise kept. God is eternal; his word is sure.
may also see the pillar of fire or cloud. It is a characteristic of God that
He will not leave his people to guess. He will show them the way.
Unfortunately, it is a characteristic of his people that they will get lost,
turn their back on the signs of God, grumble about the accommodations and test
God in the process.
Exo 14:1-31 NIV
Then the LORD said to Moses, (2) "Tell
the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the
sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. (3) Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are
wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.' (4) And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will
pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army,
and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD." So the Israelites did
this. (5) When the king of Egypt was told
that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about
them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have
lost their services!" (6) So he had his
chariot made ready and took his army with him. (7)
He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of
Egypt, with officers over all of them. (8)
The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the
Israelites, who were marching out boldly. (9)
The Egyptians--all Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen  and troops--pursued the Israelites and
overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal
Zephon. (10) As Pharaoh approached, the
Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They
were terrified and cried out to the LORD. (11)
They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you
brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of
Egypt? (12) Didn't we say to you in Egypt,
'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us
to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" (13) Moses answered the people, "Do not be
afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.
The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. (14)
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (15) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you
crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. (16)
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so
that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. (17) I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so
that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all
his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. (18)
The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh,
his chariots and his horsemen." (19)
Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel's army,
withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and
stood behind them, (20) coming between the
armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to
the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night
long. (21) Then Moses stretched out his hand
over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east
wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, (22) and the Israelites went through the sea on dry
ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. (23) The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh's
horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. (24) During the last watch of the night the LORD
looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it
into confusion. (25) He made the wheels of
their chariots come off  so that
they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, "Let's get away from
the Israelites! The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt." (26) Then the LORD said to Moses, "Stretch out
your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and
their chariots and horsemen." (27) Moses
stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its
place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward 
it, and the LORD swept them into the sea. (28)
The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen--the entire army of
Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them
survived. (29) But the Israelites went
through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their
left. (30) That day the LORD saved Israel
from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the
shore. (31) And when the Israelites saw the
great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the
LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
is amazing that Pharaoh hasn’t figured out just who is running things here.
He’s had plenty of examples. We may attribute the lapse this time to two
has hardened his heart for him. (It’s not like Pharaoh is unwilling.)
that it’s Pharaoh and his officials this time. Group think is not a
thing to note: Pharaoh must have had a colossal ego. He pursues 600,000
Israelite men using 600 or so chariots. I suspect this is not the way
it’s written out in the Egyptian army field manuals.
500 to 1 odds (two men per chariot) you’d think the Israelites would be happy
to pound Pharaoh and company into the desert sands, right? Wrong. They’ve
been slaves so long that a spirit of fear rests within them. For the next
forty years are so you’re going to find fear to be a consistent theme. Many
Christians can say the same.
answer is the same now as then: “Why are you crying to me?” If we do what He
told us to do, love casts out fear. In short, get on with it.
section not strictly necessary
years ago a physicist named Condon was asked to head Project Blue Book, the Air
Force’s study of UFOs. Asked whether he thought UFOs were extraterrestrial, he
made an interesting reply, one characteristic of the thought of a physicist. He
said, in short, he’d answer that question when he had a sample UFO he could
take down to the lab and go over it with a few good people.
same attitude applies to archeology as well. In that case, samples (of the
objects in question) and provenance (just exactly where did you find it, in
what layer) are the raw data to be analyzed. When someone brings in something
that they “found in the desert”, you naturally look at it with more suspicion
because you don’t know where it came from.
mention this because of an “archeologist” named Ron Wyatt. He’s the man who
found the chariot wheels in the Gulf of Aqaba. But may I point out:
found it in 1978 – and no one has been able to find any since. No serious
archeologist has found one. And Pharaoh lost quite a few.
artifact in question was taken to the Cairo Museum where it was
“authenticated” by someone – and then lost. They can’t find it. We have
the tape of the authentication; but not the wheel.
is the same guy who claims to have found:
real location of Mt. Sinai
Ark of the Covenant, which is directly under his
site of the Crucifixion.
at least he’s not Immanuel Velikovsky.
might just want to take a look at a map for the moment.
is evident, we’re not really sure of the route of the Exodus. But wherever it
was, God’s provision is all along the way.
Manna and Quail
Exo 16:1-36 NIV The
whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin,
which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after
they had come out of Egypt. (2) In the desert
the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. (3)
The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the LORD's hand in
Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you
have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to
death." (4) Then the LORD said to Moses,
"I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each
day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see
whether they will follow my instructions. (5)
On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be
twice as much as they gather on the other days." (6)
So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, "In the evening you will
know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, (7) and in the morning you will see the glory of the
LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you
should grumble against us?" (8) Moses
also said, "You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to
eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has
heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us,
but against the LORD." (9) Then Moses
told Aaron, "Say to the entire Israelite community, 'Come before the LORD,
for he has heard your grumbling.' " (10)
While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward
the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud. (11) The LORD said to Moses, (12) "I have heard the grumbling of the
Israelites. Tell them, 'At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you
will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.'
" (13) That evening quail came and
covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.
(14) When the dew was gone, thin flakes like
frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. (15)
When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, "What is it?"
For they did not know what it was.
Moses said to them, "It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. (16) This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Each one
is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer 
for each person you have in your tent.' " (17)
The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. (18) And when they measured it by the omer, he who
gathered much did not have too much, and he who gathered little did not have
too little. Each one gathered as much as he needed. (19)
Then Moses said to them, "No one is to keep any of it until
morning." (20) However, some of them
paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full
of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. (21) Each morning everyone gathered as much as he
needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. (22)
On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much--two omers  for each person--and the leaders of the
community came and reported this to Moses. (23)
He said to them, "This is what the LORD commanded: 'Tomorrow is to be a
day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake and boil
what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.'
" (24) So they saved it until morning,
as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. (25) "Eat it today," Moses said,
"because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on
the ground today. (26) Six days you are to
gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any." (27) Nevertheless, some of the people went out on
the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. (28)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "How long will you  refuse to keep my commands and my
instructions? (29) Bear in mind that the LORD
has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for
two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day; no one is to go
out." (30) So the people rested on the
seventh day. (31) The people of Israel called
the bread manna.  It was white
like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey. (32) Moses said, "This is what the LORD has
commanded: 'Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so
they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out
of Egypt.' " (33) So Moses said to
Aaron, "Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before
the LORD to be kept for the generations to come." (34) As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna in front of
the Testimony, that it might be kept. (35)
The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land that was
settled; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan. (36) (An omer is one tenth of an ephah.)
how God provides – despite our grumbling! We may allow for a bit of puzzlement
on the part of Israel (Manna means “what is it?”), but we may also note two
these people are not very good at following God’s instructions. Whether
it be greed, gluttony or cynicism, these people want to do it their way.
there thanksgiving for the food? Or ingratitude?
from a rock
Exo 17:1-7 NIV The
whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place
to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water
for the people to drink. (2) So they
quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink."
Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the
test?" (3) But the people were thirsty
for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you
bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of
thirst?" (4) Then Moses cried out to the
LORD, "What am I to do with these people? They are almost ready to stone
me." (5) The LORD answered Moses,
"Walk on ahead of the people. Take with you some of the elders of Israel
and take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. (6) I will stand there before you by the rock at
Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to
drink." So Moses did this in the sight of the elders of Israel. (7) And he called the place Massah  and Meribah 
because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying,
"Is the LORD among us or not?"
means “testing”; Meribah means “quarreling.” Those are two very good ways to
irritate the Lord God. God’s reaction is to tell Moses two things:
my instructions to the letter.
a long a large number of reliable witnesses.
seems God understands that these people will take a lot of convincing. In
fact, the next thousand years or so will be dedicated to that purpose. The
question for us is, have we learned that lesson? Or do we still grumble and
test God, letting Him know what hoops He’s going to have to go through?
Exo 17:8-16 NIV
The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. (9) Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our
men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the
hill with the staff of God in my hands." (10)
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur
went to the top of the hill. (11) As long as
Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered
his hands, the Amalekites were winning. (12)
When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat
on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so
that his hands remained steady till sunset. (13)
So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (14)
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write this on a scroll as something to be
remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot
out the memory of Amalek from under heaven." (15)
Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. (16) He said, "For hands were lifted up to the
throne of the LORD. The  LORD
will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation."
Amalekites, should it be than Biblical genealogy is not your hobby, are the
descendants of one Amalek (naturally), who is the son of Esau.
passage seems like magic. As long as Moses isn’t tired, we win. To the point
that we have two people help him hold his hands up. Couldn’t God just strike
them with a plague or something?
consider it this way: why didn’t Joshua’s arms get tired? Is this perhaps God
telling us that we will engage in physical combat much more readily than in
spiritual? It is a pattern that we shall see again and again: trust in the
Lord for victory, not in your own strength.