Crossing the Red Sea (Part 2)
The grumbling of the Israelites at the Red Sea was both unnecessary and unproductive. It would have been so much better had they turned to God (through Moses) and calmly asked: "The Egyptian army is approaching; what shall we do now?" Wishing they were back in Egypt under their torturous taskmasters was foolish and illustrative of the weakness of their faith.

"And the LORD said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea'" (Exo. 14:15,16). God was not about to let Abraham's descendants be slaughtered or enslaved again, for He had promises to fulfill, but they had to do their part and start moving forward by faith. They would need to have enough confidence in the LORD to physically walk through the Red Sea on dry land. Could they do it? The approaching Egyptians would help spur them on, though it would have been an intimidating feeling to walk on dry ground through the sea with walls of water towering over them on both sides!

"And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea into dry land, and the waters were divided. So the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left." (14:19-22).

God miraculously puts a barrier, so to speak, between the Israelites and Egyptians. What an amazing sight this scene would have been from a distance! Darkness on one side of God's special "cloud" and light on the other, coupled with an extremely strong and targeted wind that enabled dry ground to emerge to walk upon through the Red Sea.

"And the Egyptians pursued and went after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. Now it came to pass, in the morning watch, that the LORD looked down upon the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud, and He troubled the army of the Egyptians. And He took off their chariot wheels, so that they drove them with difficulty; and the Egyptians said, 'Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians'" (14:23-25). The Egyptians seem fearless at first, emboldened by what they perceived to be Israel's confusion and lack of defense. However, the Egyptians should have known by now that the LORD fought on Israel's side! This truth dawns on them as their chariot wheels start falling off on the dry ground in the midst of the sea. What a terrifying realization that must have been! But it was too late! They would turn around and start fleeing away from the Israelites, but there was not enough time to escape.

"Then the LORD said to Moses, 'Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come back upon the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen.' And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and when the morning appeared, the sea returned to its full depth while the Egyptians were fleeing into it. So the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. Then the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen, and all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. Not so much as one of them remained. But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left" (14:26-29).

Once again God provides for and protects His people (cf. I Cor. 10:13) and the Egyptians are humbled. Israel's reputation, because of this event and others, would become known far and wide.

"So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Thus Israel saw the great work which the LORD had done in Egypt; so the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses" (14:30,31). Their faith is renewed and they are confident in both God and Moses again (for now).