The Red Sea waters are parted – Exodus 14:22

Moses stood at the edge of the Red Sea. He lifted his rod, stretched it over the sea and the water divided. There were two walls of water on both sides. The Israelite people walked across the dry land which previously had water covering it. Moses lifted his rod and the water returned. It was truly a memorable event in the history of Israel.

And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Exodus 14:22

Memorable events in Moses life

In other articles, we will consider two other memorable events related to the man called Moses. We will consider Moses at the burning bush and we will also look at Moses and the ten plaques that struck the land of Egypt.

In this article we are going to consider another memorable event in the life of Moses – this time the parting of the Red Sea.

Events leading to the parting of the Red Sea

The Israelites were held captive by the Egyptian leader known as Pharaoh. This was for some 400 years. This was a large workforce for Pharaoh so he didn’t ’to want to release them from slavery. As a result, God inflicted ten plagues on Egypt so that Pharaoh would release the Israelites. Finally Pharaoh told the Israelites they could leave.

Pharaoh told them they should leave quickly as he didn’t want any more trouble. So the Israelites gathered together all their possessions and commenced their journey. There were a huge number of men, women and children leaving Egypt. They were glad to leave as they had been treated cruelly there for a long time. They had all their cattle and sheep and everything they owned with them.

To help the Israelites as they travelled, God gave them a sign. These signs would lead them along the correct path. We can read about it in Exodus chapter 13 and verses 21 and 22.

And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.

The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night were a sign of God’s loving care for the people. It showed them that He was present as their leader and guide. Therefore by using the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire, God led the people safely into the wilderness and on their way to the new land. From this we learn the lesson that God keeps his promises. He told Moses He would save the Israelites and that is exactly what He did.

However, as the Israelites were travelling, Pharaoh changed his mind and started to regret letting the Israelites go. He realised how much he needed them to work for him. So he and his army went out after the Israelites with the intention of forcing them back to being his captives and slaves. All the soldiers and chariots rushed out chasing after the Israelites.

The parting of the Red Sea

Soon after this, the Israelites reached the Red Sea. But they became very frightened when they saw the Egyptian solders coming after them. They told Moses that he should have left them in Egypt as now they would be killed.

Moses had faith in God and he said to the people that they should not be afraid because God would save them. God put the pillar of cloud behind the Israelites so it was between them and the Egyptian soldiers. The cloud was very dark and this slowed the Egyptian soldiers.

God then did an amazing thing to protect the Israelites. He told Moses to lifted up his rod and stretch out his hand over the sea. Moses did this and God sent a great wind which blew all night and made the water roll back so that there was dry path right across the seas. Moses then told the Israelites to hurry across the dry land.

The Israelites crossing the Red Sea

We can read about this in Exodus chapter 14 and verse 22:

And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

When the soldiers saw the path they went along it as well. But their wheels began to get bogged in the sand. When all the Israelites were out of the sea, God told Moses to stretch his hand over the sea again. When he did that the waters rushed back in and covered the Egyptian soldiers and they drowned.

The Israelites realised that Moses was a good leader. They believed in God and were thankful that he had saved them so wonderfully. It was truly a miracle performed for the salvation of Israel.

This is what the Psalmist said about the event in Psalm 106 and verses 8 to 11.

Yet he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make known his mighty power. He rebuked the Red Sea, and it became dry, and he led them through the deep as through a desert. So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy. And the waters covered their adversaries; not one of them was left.

The point being made here is that it is their all-powerful God who performed these miracles.

A rebellious people –why did God save them?

In Egypt, the Israelites had worshipped the idols of Egypt and refused to forsake them even though God asked them to do so. They were a rebellious people who were not much better than the Egyptians. This is what is recorded In Ezekiel chapter 20 and verses 7 and 8:

And I said to them, ‘Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.’ But they rebelled against me and were not willing to listen to me. None of them cast away the detestable things their eyes feasted on, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

Despite their rebellious, God saved them by making a way for them to cross the Red Sea. As we just read in verse 8 of Psalm 106 God saved them for two reasons:
1. For his name’s sake

2. That he might make His mighty power be known.

In relation to the first reason, this is what is recorded in Ezekiel chapter 20 and verse 9 and 10:

But I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. So I led them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.

As would be expected, God’s concern was right – other nations did hear about the crossing of the Red Sea and realised how great the God of Israel was. These are the words of the woman Rahab who lived in the city of Jericho:

“I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you ….And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath. Joshua 2: 9-11

She and her fellow citizens at Jericho realised the great power of the God of Israel. All that was necessary for God, when he wanted to dry up the Red Sea, was to rebuke it or speak the command! Such great power!

The Israelites were afraid but they had no need to be, as they had the powerful God to watch over them. As it says in the Psalm 106 quote (see above) “he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy”.

In the New Testament, these words from Psalm 106, are quoted in Luke chapter 1 and verse 71:

that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us;

It is only through the Lord Jesus Christ, that Israel can be saved from its troubles and only he can provide salvation from enemies of every kind

Baptism.

Paul teaches a very important lesson in relation to the passing of Israel through the Red Sea and their subsequent journey through the wilderness. In 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and verses 1 to 4 he said:

For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
Baptism – buried under the water and then rising to a new life

They were buried or hidden from view by the Rea Sea and the cloud that had led them there. On the opposite shore they rose to a new life. In the same way, those who are baptised are buried in the waters of baptism and rise to a new life as sons and daughters of God. Their past life of sin is washed away and they have a new beginning. Sin is the enemy to all believers.

As the Israelites pass through the Red Sea, their enemies (the Egyptians) tried to follow them and drove their chariots across the dry land where the waters had parted. But once the Israelites had safely reached the opposite shore the waters came crashing down and covered their enemies. There were two aspects to this – at a physical level they had been saved from their enemies the Egyptians but at a spiritual level they had been redeemed from the enemy Sin (their enemy) through baptism.

A memorable event

This memorable event in the history of the Bible shows us that God will save all those people who believe in Him and love Him. If we trust Him then he will save us but first we must make the commitment to Him by being baptised.