Daily Reading: (Exodus 14:1-4)
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.
In the previous chapter Exodus 13:17: (we are told)- 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.” Meanwhile, (as in) before Saul received the grace of God, he was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples (Acts 9:1).
A few quick observations- 1) God knew what His people needed, faith to take hold of the Promise- so He led them the longer way, to encounter more things to build trust and confidence to face the Philistines (Exodus 13:17-18). 2) The journey to the miracle was a God-led path- the parting of the Red Sea (Exodus 13:20-21; 14:21).
They encamped Pi Hahiroth which means place where sedge grows or a place adorned with green grass. Boy, does this sound a lot like Psalm 23:1-4.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, (Pi Hahiroth- a place adorned with green grasses Exodus 14:2).
I use to always think “why would God need to make me lie down in something so beautiful?” Wouldn’t I want to volunteer to lie down in green pastures. Maybe not so much, when it involves me turning back toward a powerful foe. When we lie down in green pastures it says; God’s has got this. I trust Him. I will rest in Him and believe He is orchestrating something amazing because He lead me here.
he leads me beside quiet waters, (encamp between Migdol and the sea Exodus 14:2).
3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths (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 Exodus 13:21)
for his name’s sake (But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord (Exodus 14:4),
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. ( 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 (Exodus 14:16).
Moses has a message for God’s people (Exodus 14:13)- “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.”
The thing is that this is not what God said at all. Did God ever tell them to stand firm? Is salvation found in your own ability to do anything or is salvation found in the One who was stronger than us came and defeated our enemies and won the war against the army of sin and death.
Don’t stand still-
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Move on in faith. I brought you to the place where you lied down in green pastures, you camped out and rested, now it is time for faith in action, move forward in faith. Rest in Christ to move forward in faith.
The journey to the miracle took the long desert route leading to a dead end against a stronger army so that God might get the glory and the world might know who God is.
The story ends with the Egyptians dying- verse 28 not one of them survived. 29 But the Israelites (on the other hand) went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Israel's crossing the Red Sea represents the Christian's baptism into Christ (1 Corinthians 10:1-10).
31 And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
The people (yare') stood in awe, in reverence and put their trust in God. The journey to the miracle led the people to a place where they put their trust in God (Exodus 14:31). If not for sin entering in and fear filling their hearts, they would have been in a place to claim the promise and see God defeat the Philistines too.