“Exposing the Exodus”
Fear Not, Stand Firm – (Chapter 14 Verses 1-14)
It is very exciting to read this account but it would be terrifying to have to live it. We have encountered many different characters in this record of the exodus, kings, princes, midwives, mothers and preachers. But there is one more fascinating than them all, the Lord, God. He hears everything, sees everything and he intervenes, acts on behalf of his people. He did so at the time of the exodus, and he still does so today. Such a concept, of course, would be too much for the intellectual secularist, or the religious idolater. The former lives under the delusion that he lives in no more than a material, natural, closed universe. The latter likes a god who he can take out of the cupboard and put away again at will. But a God who interferes? A God who divides between good and evil? Who governs and determines history? The modern mind presupposes and insists that man does all this. In spite of modern man and his thinking it is God, the true and living God who is the author, director, and producer of this drama. The Lord is guiding his people as he promised to do (v1-4). Here lies the difference between faith and unbelief. The one brings God into the circumstance and the other shuts him out. But when we fetch God in we can and should expect supernatural power, for with God nothing is impossible (Matthew 17:20). The first real test and the people of Israel want to do a u-turn (v11-12). That is not God’s way. God is not on the defensive, the initiative is with him, always. There will be no retracing, no reversals, no rethinking. All the particulars, the minutiae has been planned long ago, even down to the transporting of the bones of Joseph (Exodus 13:19). This all points out to the people of God then, and now, to the faithfulness of God. He does not have to change is mind, “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it? (Numbers 23:19). Do not be afraid, stand firm (v13).
God is also fully aware of what the enemies strategy will be (v3). God has his own. And it will all be worked out so that he, and not men, gets all the credit and all the glory for the victory when it comes. From a military perspective, of course, this just sheer lunacy. They are walking into a trap and there appears to be no exit strategy. In any modern exercise in warfare the planning always includes, not just how do we get in, but how do we get out? There is no way out of this, this is a total impasse. Or so you would think. What will then end be? Glory, that’s what it will be, for the Lord, “the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen” (Exodus 14:18). The same scene is laid before us at the cross of Jesus, all appears to be over, defeat, he is dead, hope is all gone. The end is death and that’s the greatest impasse of all, no exit strategy. The enemy, Satan has triumphed. But he wasn’t defeated, God indeed had an exit strategy for his Son. There was nothing to be afraid of, stand firm. (v13). The cross was God’s strategy to defeat Satan and to save his people, “he disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him (i.e., Jesus)” (Colossians 2:15). But this here at the Red Sea was God’s strategy for judging the world-power, the Egyptians. And the means of delivering his people. It is Pharaoh and his troops who are being led into a trap. Ah! the world and unbelief would say this is entrapment, it’s unfair! Was it fair for Egypt to entrap and oppress Israel all those years? Was it fair for Pharaoh to order the killing of Israel’s male infants? Was not Pharaoh given every opportunity to relent, did not God display his power and might before him? Of all men surely he without excuse. He had every opportunity to comply with God’s demands, as all rulers are bidden to do. “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:10-12).