Exodus 14:15 And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine 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, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21 And 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 dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
Moses had seen the LORD’s mighty hand at work many times by now. He was obviously crying out to the LORD at the same time that he was speaking to the nation of Israel. The LORD reminded Moses that this was the time to move on. They were not going to stay in Egypt and they needed to carry on with their exodus from there. God told Moses when He first called him, that he was going to lead the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. God’s plan was not going to be changed by Pharaoh’s rebellion. As Moses had already stated, Israel needed to stand still and see the salvation of the LORD. They would not see that if they did not follow the LORD’s leading. In verse 15 the LORD told Moses to get on with leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. They were at the Red Sea, but that was not the end of their journey. They had just started their journey.
The LORD told Moses to lift up his rod over the sea and the LORD would divide the sea before their eyes. God showed Moses that He did not act in conventional ways. He is God and His ways are far greater than man’s ways. The rod that Moses had was a tool that God had already used several times for His glory. He did not need that rod, but it was a symbol of His power. Psalm 23:4 states:
Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
The LORD’s rod is there to guide and direct His child. The LORD used Moses’ rod in many different ways to show His power to Pharaoh. Now He would once again show His power to both the children of Israel and also to the Egyptians. The LORD promised Moses that the nation of Israel would cross through the midst of the Red Sea on dry ground. This was an amazing promise that the LORD made. Normally, even if the water is removed, it would take some time for the ground to dry up. The ground could be quite slippery or even muddy. However, the LORD knows what He is doing. He made the Sea and He can dry up the ground in an instant.
In verse 17 the LORD now stated that He would harden the hearts of the Egyptians. We have noted before that the Egyptians were more willing to follow their wicked king, than they were to follow the LORD Who had clearly demonstrated His power. Their false gods were nothing, yet they would sooner follow them than to follow the true God.
In verse 18 the Egyptians would know that the LORD is the self-existent true God. For Pharaoh and his armies it would be too late. They would know it, but they would face the LORD as the judge, not as the Saviour. The LORD will receive glory whether man wants to glorify Him or not. He uses hardened sinners to show His power and His might. He also uses them to warn others not to follow that foolish path. Sadly, we will see that the nation of Israel was slow at learning the importance of trusting the true God.
In verse 19 we are told that the angel of God had been leading the children of Israel up to this point. Now he moved to the back of the camp of Israel to be their protection from Pharaoh and his troops. They would not be able to advance close enough to be a problem for the nation of Israel.
Verse 20 explains this further for us. God’s protection is indestructible. No one breaks through His protection. This is a reminder of the security that the true child of God has in Christ. The true child of God is held in the Father’s hand.
John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
In verse 21 we read that Moses did as the LORD commanded. God does not expect us to plough our own course. He expects us to follow His lead. He knows the right path. He will guide us successfully. The LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all night. We have seen the LORD use the wind before to bring plagues into Egypt. Now He would use the wind to push the water back and dry up the sea bed for the children of Israel to cross over safely and efficiently.
Verse 22 tells us that the children of Israel crossed into the midst of the sea on dry ground. The waters were a wall unto them on their right and on their left. That must have been quite the scene.
I have visited the Niagara Falls in Ontario. You can go underground and stand behind the Falls as they are rushing down. That was quite something for me to see and experience. That would have been nothing compared to what the children of Israel experienced with these walls of water on either side of them. Water does not stand in a wall unless it is frozen. However, God made the water and He can do as He pleases with the water.
We read that the Egyptians were so hot in their pursuit of the children of Israel that they followed as close behind them as the angel of God would allow. Again we see that the LORD knew what was happening. Israel did not need to run and find a place to hide. They just needed to trust the LORD.
We read in verse 24 that in the morning, with the children of Israel safely across the sea, and the Egyptians in the midst of the sea, the LORD began His final work with these rebels. He troubled the host of the Egyptians. He took off their chariot wheels and that made it very difficult for the horses to pull the chariots. We read in verse 25 that the Egyptians knew this was the LORD’s hand at work.
They now understood that the LORD was fighting for the children of Israel and against the Egyptians. They were desperate now to get out of that sea bed. They still thought they could outsmart God.
There is a continuing lesson here for us. We need to be reminded of the absolute authority and control of the LORD in the affairs of man. When we look at our world today we see much unrest and chaos. We might wonder what is going on. Those who are saved know that God is at work. He stated again in this passage that His purpose here was that the Egyptians may know “that I am the LORD.” That is the primary need of man. All people need to know there is only one true God. Those who are saved need to be reminded that we can trust Him in all things. Those who are lost need to understand that it is absolutely futile to fight against Him. No one will win against the LORD. No one will ever prove God to be wrong. He does not need to rethink what He is doing. Man needs to submit to Him and know Him and serve Him. Those who want to continue to defy Him, just need to read this account and realize the futility of fighting against the LORD.