The believer cannot go ahead in the strength of Christ until he has learned to stand still in his own helplessness.
God can then place Himself between us and our circumstances and wonderfully deliver.
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
3 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.
4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD. And they did so.
5 ¶ And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
6 And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him:
7 And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them.
8 And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.
9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.
10 ¶ And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD.
11 And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
13 ¶ And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
14 The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
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.
26 ¶ And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30 Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
Exodus 14:1-12 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 14:13-16 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 14:17-25 – J. Vernon McGee
Exodus 14:26-31 – J. Vernon McGee
Often God seems to place His children in positions of profound difficulty – leading them into a wedge from which there is no escape; contriving a situation which no human judgment would have permitted had it been previously consulted. The very cloud conducts them thither. You many be thus involved at this very hour. It does seem perplexing and mysterious to the last degree. But it is perfectly right. The issue will more than justify Him Who has brought you hither. It is a platform for the display of His almighty grace and power. He will not only deliver you, but in doing so He will give you a lesson that you will never forget; and to which, in many a psalm and song in after days, you will revert. (F.B. Meyer)
Exodus 14:10-20 – The Murmuring People Encouraged
We cannot wonder at their consternation. Before, the surf of the beach; behind, the serried ranks of Egypt’s chivalry; on either side, impassable cliffs. It seemed a veritable death-trap. But Moses reckoned confidently on the salvation of God. All they had to do, in the first instance, was to stand still and see it. It is hard to stand still when the situation becomes acute. If you don’t know what to do, stand still until you do; it is God’s business to direct and defend the believing soul. Let God do the fighting, Exodus 14:14. This Angel, Stephen tells us, was our Lord, Acts 7:38. He always puts Himself between us and our strong enemies. Note Exodus 14:19. The ordinary man puts circumstances between himself and God, but the consecrated soul inserts God between himself and circumstances. When God says Forward! He will open the path and lead His people, as a shepherd leads His flock, by a way they know not. —Through the Bible Day by Day
“It was a cloud and darkness to” the Egyptians, but “it gave light by night” to Israel (v. 20). How like the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ! Truly that cross has a double aspect, likewise. It forms the foundation of the believer’s peace; and, at the same time, seals the condemnation of the guilty world. The self-same blood which purges the believer’s conscience and gives him perfect peace, stains this earth and consummates its guilt. The very mission of the Son of God which strips the world of its cloak, and leaves it wholly without excuse, clothes the Church with a fair mantle of righteousness, and fills her mouth with ceaseless praise. The very same Lamb who will terrify, by His unmitigated wrath, all tribes and classes of earth, will lead, by His gentle hand, His blood-bought flock, through the green pastures, and beside the still waters forever. (C.H. McIntosh)
Jehovah placed himself right between Israel and the enemy – this was protection indeed. Before ever Pharaoh could touch a hair of Israel’s head, he should make his way through the very pavilion of the Almighty – yea, through the Almighty Himself. Thus it is that God ever places Himself between His people and every enemy, so that “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17). He has placed Himself between us and our sins; and it is our happy privilege to find Him between us and every one and everything that could be against us. The believer may institute a diligent and anxious search for his sins, but he cannot find them. Why? Because God is between him and them. He has cast all our sins behind His back; while, at the same time, He sheds forth upon us the light of His reconciled countenance. (C.H. McIntosh)
The nearer the moon draweth into conjunction with the sun, the brighter she shines toward the heavens and the earth; so, the nearer the soul draws into communion with Jesus Christ, the comelier it is in the eye of the Spouse, and the blacker it appears in the sight of the world. He that is a precious Christian to the Lord is a precious puritan to the world; he that is glorious to a heavenly saint is odious to an earthly spirit. But it is a sign thou art an Egyptian, when that cloud which is a light to an Israelite is darkness to thee. It is a sign thou movest in a terrestrial orb, when thou seest no lustre in such celestial lights.
Exodus 14:21-31 – The Egyptians Destroyed in the Sea
As the front ranks of Israel approached the surf, the billows parted. The very waves they dreaded became a wall. By faith Israel passed through the Red Sea as on dry land. They went through the flood on foot. So shalt thou, oh frightened child of God! Behind thee, the terror of the foe; before thee, the horror of the unknown. But God is with thee. The sheen of the Presence-Cloud shines upon and before thee. Be of good cheer, though thou passest through the waters, thou shalt not be overwhelmed. See Psalm 66:6; 78:13; Isaiah 43:2.
The Egyptians owed their safety at first to the presence of Israel; but it was only for a time. The ungodly owe more to the presence of God’s children than they realize. See Genesis 19:22. On which side of God’s cloud are you? In Christ we may stand without fear before the searchlight of God! Compare Exodus 14:24 with Hebrews 4:13 and Revelation 6:16. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Exodus 14:30 – And Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
What a relief that morning brought from the anxieties of the previous night! Then, as they lifted up their eyes, they saw Pharaoh and the dreaded Egyptian taskmaster in full pursuit; now they beheld the sea-shore strewn with their bodies, stark and cold. They would never see them again, nor hear the crack of their whips.
So in life we are permitted to see the dreaded temptations and evils of earlier days suddenly deprived of all power to hurt us. The Egyptians are dead upon the shore; and we see the great work of the Lord. Let us take comfort in this–
In the pressure of trial.—You are suffering keenly; yet remember that no trial is allowed to come from any source in which there is not a Divine meaning. Nothing can enter your life, of which God is not cognizant, and which He does not permit. Though the pressure of your trial is almost unbearable, you will one day see your Egyptians dead.
Amid the temptations of the great adversary of souls.—They may seem at this moment more than you can bear; but God is about to deliver you. He can so absolutely free you from the habits of self-indulgence which you have contracted, and from the perpetual yielding to temptation to which you have been prone, that some day you will look with amazement and thankfulness on these things, as Egyptians dead on the sea-shore.
So also in the presence of death.—Many believers dread, not the after-death, but the act of dying. But as the morning of eternity breaks, they will awake with songs of joy to see death and the grave and all the evils that they dreaded, like Egyptians, strewn on the shores of the sea of glass. —Our Daily Homily