19All this time God's angel had gone ahead of Israel's army, but now he moved behind them. A large cloud had also gone ahead of them, 20but now it moved between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The cloud gave light to the Israelites, but made it dark for the Egyptians, and during the night they could not come any closer.
21 Moses stretched his arm over the sea, and the Lord sent a strong east wind that blew all night until there was dry land where the water had been. The sea opened up, 22 and the Israelites walked through on dry land with a wall of water on each side.
23The Egyptian chariots and cavalry went after them. 24But before daylight the Lord looked down at the Egyptian army from the fiery cloud and made them panic. 25Their chariot wheels got stuck, and it was hard for them to move. So the Egyptians said to one another, “Let's leave these people alone! The Lord is on their side and is fighting against us.”
26The Lord told Moses, “Stretch your arm toward the sea—the water will cover the Egyptians and their cavalry and chariots.” 27Moses stretched out his arm, and at daybreak the water rushed toward the Egyptians. They tried to run away, but the Lord drowned them in the sea. 28The water came and covered the chariots, the cavalry, and the whole Egyptian army that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them was left alive. 29But the sea had made a wall of water on each side of the Israelites, so they walked through on dry land.
30On that day, when the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the shore, they knew that the Lord had saved them. 31Because of the mighty power he had used against the Egyptians, the Israelites worshiped him and trusted him and his servant Moses.
God had shown his loving heart for Israel by delivering them from slavery out of Egypt. Now God was going to show himself as their Warrior King.
It is as if God put them in this jam to prove that Israel could trust him no matter the circumstance. Just picture the scene. A huge throng of people pressed up against a half mile of water. There is no going back because the Egyptian army is out in full force to take them back to Egypt. Yet, there was a huge difference; the angel of God (or maybe the Lord Jesus himself) was present. Between the army and the people was a wall of fire and cloud. Notice how it was dark on the side of the army but light on the side facing the people of Israel. God is the light of salvation for His people. There is the darkness of judgment for those who reject him.
The peoples’ fear was turned to trust as they witnessed the power of God. Again, God displayed not just who he is but how he works. All during the night an east wind blew until the sea separated and the sea bed was dry. Through the early morning Israel crossed over with the fiery cloud at their backs. As Israel was now safe, God commanded Moses to raise his staff again and the Egyptians were unable to escape. The fire and the thunder caused chaos among the horses and soldiers, their chariot wheels became mired in the mud, and when the waters flowed back the sea enveloped them all.
In the ancient Near East the gods were seen to be triumphant warriors that would give their followers power over their enemies. God was not just the Saviour Deliverer but now also the mighty Warrior King. The result was twofold. God’s enemies were in awe and fear while Israel grew in faith and trust.
In the same way, God is our Saviour and also defeats our enemies. Our greatest enemy is death, the universal punishment for sin. God has triumphed over our greatest fears and the enemy. We can trust him for all of life’s challenges.
Father, we thank you that we are no longer in bondage to fear and sin. As you freed the people of Israel, so too have you given us freedom through the sacrifice of your precious Son. Father, we honour you and place our trust in you for the challenges that we may face today.