Finally, the Jews are freed from slavery in Egypt! However, as you keep reading through these Bible stories, you’ll see a pattern emerging as to how God works. This is a great way to get to know God. From Noah on down, even though all seemed lost, God’s plan was accomplished — in HIS TIME. God kept and keeps His promises!
Now, the Israelites are heading home, but not fast! God has a different plan… let’s dig in…
Exodus 13 – What God Expects in Return
Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Dedicate to me every firstborn among the Israelites. The first offspring to be born, of both humans and animals, belongs to me.”
3 So Moses said to the people, “This is a day to remember forever—the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand. (Remember, eat no food containing yeast.) 4 On this day in early spring, in the month of Abib, you have been set free. 5 You must celebrate this event in this month each year after the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites. (He swore to your ancestors that he would give you this land—a land flowing with milk and honey.) 6 For seven days the bread you eat must be made without yeast. Then on the seventh day, celebrate a feast to the Lord. 7 Eat bread without yeast during those seven days. In fact, there must be no yeast bread or any yeast at all found within the borders of your land during this time.
8 “On the seventh day you must explain to your children, ‘I am celebrating what the Lord did for me when I left Egypt.’ 9 This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.’ 10 So observe the decree of this festival at the appointed time each year.Exodus 13:1-10 NLT
I have to admire the Jews. They never forget their past and what their ancestors went through and learned. They respect God. God tells them that they need to celebrate not just the Passover, but for a week afterward, they can only eat unleavened bread — that is bread baked without yeast. (Hence, we get matzos –I love them! With butter! I was introduced to them by my Jewish piano teacher when I was a kid.)
Yeast in the Bible represents sin. Removing the leaven (yeast) is a picture of sanctification. Like yeast through dough, sin spreads through a person’s life. But it doesn’t make it better. It makes everything worse.
God also wants each family to dedicated the firstborn child as well as the firstborn animal to Him. This is honoring God.
What they do, still after so many generations, is honor God — not Moses or Aaron — God. These festivals are more than eating food and getting drunk. They remember what their ancestors went through. How God — and God alone — saved them.
Israel’s Wilderness Detour
17 When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.”
20 The Israelites left Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The Lord went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night. 22 And the Lord did not remove the pillar of cloud or pillar of fire from its place in front of the people.Exodus 13:17-22 NLT
Exodus 14 – Egypt Pursues
Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: 2 “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. 3 Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ 4 And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told.
The Egyptians Pursue Israel
5 When word reached the king of Egypt that the Israelites had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds. “What have we done, letting all those Israelite slaves get away?” they asked. 6 So Pharaoh harnessed his chariot and called up his troops. 7 He took with him 600 of Egypt’s best chariots, along with the rest of the chariots of Egypt, each with its commander. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, so he chased after the people of Israel, who had left with fists raised in defiance. 9 The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army—all his horses and chariots, his charioteers, and his troops. The Egyptians caught up with the people of Israel as they were camped beside the shore near Pi-hahiroth, across from Baal-zephon.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, 11 and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you this would happen while we were still in Egypt? We said, ‘Leave us alone! Let us be slaves to the Egyptians. It’s better to be a slave in Egypt than a corpse in the wilderness!’”
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. 14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
Escape through the Red Sea
15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving! 16 Pick up your staff and raise your hand over the sea. Divide the water so the Israelites can walk through the middle of the sea on dry ground. 17 And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will charge in after the Israelites. My great glory will be displayed through Pharaoh and his troops, his chariots, and his charioteers. 18 When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord!”
19 Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. 20 The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night.
21 Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. 22 So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!
23 Then the Egyptians—all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers—chased them into the middle of the sea. 24 But just before dawn the Lord looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. 25 He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here—away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!”
26 When all the Israelites had reached the other side, the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the sea again. Then the waters will rush back and cover the Egyptians and their chariots and charioteers.” 27 So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the Lord swept them into the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers—the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
29 But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, as the water stood up like a wall on both sides. 30 That is how the Lord rescued Israel from the hand of the Egyptians that day. And the Israelites saw the bodies of the Egyptians washed up on the seashore. 31 When the people of Israel saw the mighty power that the Lord had unleashed against the Egyptians, they were filled with awe before him. They put their faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.Exodus 14 NLT
Exodus 15 – Praising God for Deliverance
Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord:
“I will sing to the Lord,Exodus 15:1-2 NLT
for he has triumphed gloriously;
he has hurled both horse and rider
into the sea.
2 The Lord is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory.
This is my God, and I will praise him—
my father’s God, and I will exalt him!
19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers rushed into the sea, the Lord brought the water crashing down on them. But the people of Israel had walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground!
20 Then Miriam the prophet, (Moses and) Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine and led all the women as they played their tambourines and danced. 21 And Miriam sang this song:
“Sing to the Lord,Exodus 15:19-21 NLT
for he has triumphed gloriously;
he has hurled both horse and rider
into the sea.”
Points to Ponder
- What God did for Israel with one act, Jesus did for us with one act — the Cross.
- God engineered the situation. The Hebrews were stuck — the Egyptian army closing in behind them and the Red Sea in front of them. They needed God’s salvation!
- God does all the work of salvation. The Jews don’t have to do a thing except cross on dry land. That’s the one thing that they had to do — move forward. If they didn’t, they would have drowned like the Egyptians.
- The parting of the Red Sea, destruction of Egypt’s army and the safe crossing of the Jews symbolizes BAPTISM.
- When we leave our sinful lives behind (repentance), and start following Jesus, He leads us like the pillar of cloud and fire. Baptism cleanses us. We die to our old lives like the Egyptians and come up, like Israel, on the other side, free from the oppression and slavery of sin and ready to live righteously — moving forward into new eternal lives.
- Here’s a bit from one of the Bible studies from the free, YouVersion Bible app…
And as Israel sang their victory song, declaring God’s glory and power over that of Pharaoh, we too sing a new song of victory. We go out into all the world with the song of the cross on our lips. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus proved that there is no power like his power and no authority like his authority (Matthew 28:18). God wins all the glory for himself in the Gospel of Jesus.Jesus In All Of Exodus – A Video Devotional:
Divine Salvation is Through Jesus Alone!
When we look at our sinful lives, we may think there’s no hope for us. There seems to be no way out. Ah, but there is — the cross of Jesus. Jesus, by Himself, with one act, took all our sins away — past, present and future — on the cross with Him. He defied Satan. He then defeated death by rising on the 3rd day. That’s what happens to us when we…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.