When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians–all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops –pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Moses answered the people, “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. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 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. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.”
Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.
The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen–the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.
But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the great power the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
The place where this cross of the Red Sea took place had to be deep enough that when the water closed, it was able to drown an entire army. The waters crashing down would have been like a 40 foot tsunami coming down on the Egyptians thrusting them into the deep. The most powerful army in the world wiped out in one moment. The Egyptians pursued with chariots and fighting men. They rushed into the water. They would have easily caught up to the Israelites except that Israel was given a head start.
The pillar that had moved in front of them went to their back. This pillar provided light for the Israelites while the Egyptians were in total darkness. The Israelites cross in the middle of the night, but in full light. I LOVE THIS! As believers, we are surrounded by darkness intended to hide from us the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But our God makes darkness as light to His people. It is a wisdom, a word, a whisper that allows us to navigate through what others are blind to. It is the favor of God for those who put their trust in Him.
And how did the Israelites find this light. Moses told them, “The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still.” The word ‘be still’ here means to hold your peace. How fearful they must have been. They were surrounded by water and mountains and they could see the Egyptian army coming. They were sitting ducks with no place to go. And Moses says, “Hold your peace.” Do not let your fear overcome you. Do not let doubt rule you. Hold your peace. Grasp it tightly. Force your mind, body, and words to conform to trust in the Lord. Do not let any part of you run wild with what if’s, but be still. The act of faith to act upon our trust in the Lord while facing great fears is rewarded with miracles and light. Miracles and light in the darkness are the rewards of His children who put their trust in Him.
What situations are you facing now where it is hard to trust, but you truly need miracles and light in the dark?
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.