Summary: As we follow where God leads us, we encounter trials and struggles, but that's part of the plan! God uses those trials to shape and mold us into the people He desires for us to become… but most importantly, so His glory can be revealed to the world!
For the message this morning, we’re going to go back to the book of Exodus... and we’re going to look at a real historical event that will be very familiar to most of you… The crossing of the Red Sea. Since this story IS very familiar to us already, we must be careful not to just read through it quickly and move on to something else… Our challenge this morning is to view this story with fresh eyes… and to open our hearts and minds to what the Holy Spirit will teach us… Maybe some new insights that will challenge us… or encourage us… or convict us in our walk with the Lord.
So, to remind you of what's happening at this point in the Biblical narrative… God sends Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh to deliver the Israelites out of slavery. God sends 10 plagues to prove His power and authority over all of creation, and over all other gods. After the 10th plague, where the Death Angel brings death to the firstborn of every Egyptian family and their livestock, Pharaoh finally agrees to let the people of Israel go… So Moses leads them out of Egypt… He takes them through the desert toward the Red Sea… God leads them with a pillar of cloud by day and with a pillar of fire by night. Wherever the pillar of cloud or fire went, the people would follow.
Turn with me in your Bibles to Exodus 14:5-10… and let’s pick up the story from there…
5 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!” 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 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. 10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.
The events that happen in Exodus chapters 13 and 14 are very significant… God supernaturally delivers His people from slavery in Egypt… This story is an important part of Israel’s history… an important part of their heritage… It’s so significant that Jewish families still observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover to this day… and when we read these verses, we see God’s awesome power and how He cares for His people.
But these events are also very significant when we look at them, not just historically, but in a spiritual context… This is more than just history… it also points us to Jesus Christ… Through Moses, God delivers the people of Israel from slavery… And through Jesus, God is also delivering His people from slavery to sin…
John 8:34 & 36 says...
34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. [ ... ] 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
The whole story of the Exodus from Egypt and into the Promised Land is so rich with examples pointing us to the New Covenant in Jesus Christ:
1. Slavery in Egypt (OT) ... Slavery to sin (NT)
2. Set free by the blood of Passover lamb (OT) ... Set free by blood of Jesus, our Passover Lamb (NT)
3. Emerging from the Red Sea to start their new life (OT) ... Emerging from the waters of baptism to start our new life in Christ (NT)
4. The people receive God’s Law (OT) ... The people receive the Holy Spirit (NT)
5. Life dedicated to following & worshiping God with Moses as the leader of God’s chosen people (OT) ... Life dedicated to following & worshiping God with Jesus as the head of the Church (NT)
6. Entry into Canaan, the Promised Land (OT) ... Entry into heaven, our Promised Land (NT)
We could easily do a whole sermon series just talking about these parallels… or it would also be easy just to focus on the miracle of how God delivered them by parting the waters of the Red Sea… But I want to go a different direction this morning… We’re going to look more closely at how the people of Israel got into this situation to begin with… and I also want to look at how they were to respond to it.