God finally frees the Hebrews from slavery so that they can worship Him and be His people. From the beginning God has been preparing the Hebrews and teaching them how to trust Him. He would give them another lesson in trusting Him, and this time it would be bigger than any miracle they had ever seen.
Two million people, (thirty football stadiums full), gathered up their families and animals, as well as some treasures from Egypt, and set out for the Promised Land. God was leading them by a column of cloud and fire. They would go wherever the cloud went. And the way God directed them, it looked like they were lost. Pharaoh saw them wandering and decided to go after them and retake the slaves he had just let go free. That’s just what God intended. He was going to humiliate Pharaoh one last time, giving Egypt and the Hebrews one more evidence that God alone is sovereign.
Pharaoh got every chariot in Egypt and set out in hot pursuit. They caught up with the Hebrews quickly, but God intervened. He placed the column of cloud between His people and the Egyptians, keeping the pursuing army at bay.
All the while, the people of Israel are in complete panic mode. They’re crying out to God, they’re blaming Moses for leading them into the desert to die. Moses says “Be quiet. Have courage. Stand back and watch the LORD save you again. He will fight for you.”
As God told Him to do, Moses raised his staff and the waters of the Red Sea parted. This was no changing of the tide or some shallow marsh, as some skeptics argue. This was a body of water deep enough to create “walls” of water on either side of them as they crossed. And they crossed on dry ground, another miracle of God.
But their cheers turned to screams again when they saw Pharaoh’s army crossing close behind them. Another opportunity to trust God. Because when the last Hebrew made his way to shore, Moses lifted his hands again, and the walls of water came crashing down and killed every single pursuing Egyptian. Every Hebrew made it over safely. Every pursuing soldier died.
In that moment of seeing the dead soldiers and horses washing ashore, the Hebrews feared the Lord. Their crossing over was not only a physical deliverance, but a spiritual one as well. A moment where many of the Hebrew people realized who God was, and who they were to Him.
This is one of the greatest miracles of the Bible. A miracle that is referenced at least two dozen times in the OT, and several more times in the NT. Because this crossing over is a picture of how God saves all His people.
-The Hebrews passed through the waters of judgment, being protected from God’s wrath, and coming out on the other side. Through faith in Jesus, we are spared God’s judgment and instead are given God’s mercy. For us, water baptism is a picture of us coming through those waters of judgment, crossing over from death to life, not because of our goodness, but because of God’s power and mercy shown to us in Christ.
-God promised to fight for His people. And He did. You and I can’t work hard enough or be good enough to save ourselves. And how often are we tempted to fight battles and defend ourselves? Be still. Stand firm and see Jesus. Look at Jesus, who fights your battle for you, who defeated your enemy for you by dying for your sin and by crushing the head of the serpent. Jesus is your Victor. Jesus is your hope. Jesus is your salvation.
-Moses points us to the better Mediator, one who is fully man and fully God – one who did not sin, but lived in perfect obedience to the Father. One who did not need to part the water, but walked on top of it, because He created it. One who spoke to the winds and waves and they had to obey. One who not only spoke for God, but spoke as God.
See your Mediator, your Deliverer, Christ Jesus, who has brought you from death to life, that we may know Him, trust Him, follow Him, and tell others about Him.