Summary: The biblical story of the crossing of the Red Sea is so obvious the skeptics can’t believe it and we mustn’t overlook it.
OPENING: At the entrance to a one lane bridge in Sonoma Calif.: "When this sign is under water, this road is impassable."
APPLICATION: Why does that seem so silly?
Probably because it’s so obvious.
If the water was up that far you couldn’t read sign anyway!
The world’s can often be like that - often overlooking the obvious.
I. The people of Israel crossing the Red Sea is an obvious and unavoidable part of scripture.
Cecil B. Demille’s depiction of this event(in "The Ten Commandments") was beautiful. You could almost sense the awe that God’s people must have felt as they passed beneath those walls of water.
The crossing of the Red Sea is a central part of the story of Israel. However, as obvious a part of God’s Word as that event was, there are critics who reject it. They can’t accept story as true because - in order to do so - they must accept God and His role in the story.
But there exists a significant problem for the skeptics. There is a rule among historians:if a story is central to a people’s history, that story must have some element of truth to it. Critics therefore must deal with this Red Sea story by offering some alternative explanation - even if that explanation is as absurd as a sign that’s under water.
ILLUS: In the 1980’s, Pennsylvania State Univ. physicist Dr. Alistair Frasier addressed the Optical Society of America and proclaimed that the crossing of the Red Sea was a particularly accurate picture of a mirage.
Joshua 2:8-11 tells us "Before the spies lay down for the night, (the prostitute that protected the spies) went up on the roof and said to them, "I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us, so that all who live in
this country are melting in fear because of you.
We have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea for you when you came out of Egypt, and what you did to Sihon and Og, the two kings of the Amorites east of the Jordan, whom you completely destroyed.
When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below."
Interesting that a mirage would have such a powerful effect upon the people of Jericho - 40 years after the event. I don’t think so.
Another challenge that critics are fond of mounting against the Red Sea story is the Hebrew phrase for the Red Sea - "Yam Suph" (which means "sea of reeds"). Capitalizing on this seeming problem, skeptics suggest that the area where the Israelites crossed was only about 6 inches deep.
Hmmm. Yam Suph? Only a shallow shoal? According to I Kings 9:26 - Solomon’s Navy was in the Yam Suph. Must have been they had flat bottom boats.
But, of course, if the skeptics’ argument any had merit, then the greatest of all miracles in this whole event was that Pharaoh’s army drowned in 6 inches of water.
But really, the Bible is so obvious, and so consistent, that the world of agnostics and atheists have to do handstands to deny its realities.
But, of course, this is what we should expect from the world. They may want our qualities as church goers... but they don’t want our God.
They are just like Pharaoh in Exodus 14:5 "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!"
* Like Pharaoh, the world wants our examples as strong families, our reliability and trustworthiness, our good citizenship - but not our God!
* They want our votes but not our voices (in politics)
* They want our support but not your sanctions (our morality)
YOU GOTTA EXPECT THAT! The world is behaving just as Pharaoh did in days gone by. That is what you should expect from UNbelievers.
II. What is baffling is when those BELIEVERS act as if there were no God.
Ex. 14:10-12 tells us that the Israelites (who had seen the power of God in the 10 plagues) trembled in fear at the impending arrival of Egyptian army. In the midst of their chaos they shout out one of the funniest lines in all of scripture:
"Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? (Ex 14:11)
At this point, I believe if Pharaoh had said "all is forgiven...," these faithless followers would have hung Moses from the nearest tree and followed the Egyptians dutifully back into slavery.