Biblegateway Verse of the Day

Understanding the Exodus

Hebrews 11:29 says, "By faith they passed through 
the Red Sea as though they were passing through 
dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted
it, were drowned."

By Benjamin H. Liles

          When I start this, I want to quickly say and add on that Moses was a fore-runner of Jesus Christ. When people think about the word "Deliverer," a lot of people say rather fast, "Jesus of Nazareth." What do you say? Do you say, "Moses?" Or do you say, "Joshua?" I want to focus on what happened during the Exodus, not under the time of Joshua. Joshua is important, but I want to look at the man who came before Joshua, Moses.

          From scripture we understand that Moses came from two faithful, humble people of God, Hebrew slaves. What did they do to become this precious commodity of force that Pharaoh decided to enslave and abuse? I contend that they did nothing wrong. If we look even more closely there is a prophecy God gives Abraham concerning his children of Jacob, through Isaac:
          "When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep. Then great terror overwhelmed him. Then the Lord said to Abram, 'Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign country. They will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. But I will execute judgment in the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will come out with many possessions. But as for you, you will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit'" (Genesis 15:12-16).
          Moses recorded the words God gave him which is why we have the first five books of the Bible--Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Leviticus and Numbers. But for our sake here we will focus on Exodus. While God give this specific word to Abram, whom He later renamed to Abraham, concerning his descendants, He was giving Abraham peace about who was actually in control: "I will execute judgment," declares God.
          So, by the end of four hundred years, God is watching and listening to the Israelites within Egypt's borders. The cries are loud and piercing. Some voices cry out, "Our God, where is He while we toil under the hot sun, with little to no food, being beaten by those who have enslaved us?" God isn't just choosing to remain silent. He's recording all the wrong that this nation who has enslaved His people to give them back what they gave to Israel. Why is this?
           One of the many things God tells Abram is this, "I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Genesis 12:3, Holman Christian Standard). It is in this way we can see how the Pharaoh over Egypt has heaped calamity and woe on his head. For we read, "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, "Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them, or else they will multiply and in the event of war, they will also join themselves to those who hate us, and fight against us and depart from the land" (Exodus 1:8-10, New American Standard).
          In this manner, this ruler was acting out against God's people believing if he dealt with Israel harshly that some how, maybe, they would continue to serve him faithfully. I want to say this here and now to shed something on this situation: if you act out against a group of people, Jewish, Mid-Eastern, or even European, do you think in some way the crimes you commit won't go unpunished? There is a God in Heaven who records the wrongs you do to Him. Yes, in God's eyes Israel is a special and peculiar people, but all of us are loved by God!
          We know two things for certain because God said it:
          1) The sins of the Amorites had not yet come to pass, so that the Israelites could come out of Egypt (scripture never records their sins).
          2) God told Abram (Abraham) He would deal with the nation who mistreated His people.
          This tells me a huge thing about God here--He chooses whom He will bring justice to, and on top of that He will deal righteously with those who have chosen to live righteously. Why do I say that? The first and biggest thing is because of what God said to Abram in Genesis: "I will bless those who bless you" (Genesis 12:3).
          Faith is a funny creature. Once you have committed yourself to God and choose to live in the way He's prescribed, the good you do to God's people will come back to elevate you in such a way. I don't pretend to tell you all God has in mind for those who are faithful to Him, but I can let you know Jesus Christ will give to each man according to the work he has decided to do: "Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:22-23, New King James).
          Here's the thing on this whole issue of Moses and the Exodus, and this has come to make me wonder, Are Egypt's fears about the Israelites justified or are they heaping a curse on themselves? There is this proverb, "What the wicked fears will come on him; What the righteous desire will be granted" (Proverbs 10:24).
          I believe their heart was filled with wickedness. If you notice in Exodus this new king who came to power, he does not know Joseph. He does not recall how his fathers treated and allowed the Israelites to live freely in the land. He is choosing to go his own way, to do great evil, even to the point of murder, for we read: "And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, 'Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive'" (Exodus 1:22, King James 2000).
          While I can say this sounds to me like the dragon chasing down the woman who is about to give birth, which is recorded in Revelation: "Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child" (Revelation 12:3-4, New American Standard).
          What Pharaoh does with the male sons of Israel is the same as John records in Revelation, so I believe almost the same event is being re-written. And at the same time, if that's the case, the following is also true: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel" (Genesis 3:15). When Christ was crucified nails were driven into his wrists, without breaking bones, as well as into his heels. If nails went through His hands, bones would have been broken as there are many bones within a human hand. If you feel your wrist, however, there are two bones that allow the hand to bend, twist, and turn. There is a space between the bones where a nail could have passed without breaking a bone. The same can be done down at the heel.
          That being said: Moses turned aside in the wilderness, where God called to him from a burning bush, commanding him to go and tell Pharaoh the Israelites would be freed. God tells Moses, "But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt" (Exodus 7:3, Holman Christian Standard). I wonder why God would do that. But I don't think long on it either because as is previously stated, God does this to punish those who have sought out harm on His people of Israel. So, God sends His man of the hour--a deliverer. While the children of Israel lived in bondage, worshiping objects Egypt commanded them to do, to live as Egyptians lived, and to be enslaved by these things, God was busy recording every movement, every thought against Egypt and her people there in.
          Friend, that addiction you suffer from, you're in bondage to it. That affliction that stole your ability to walk? You've been made lame. The disease that took your speech? You have been made dumb or mute. Jesus has come so you can be restored. Just as Moses came to set the people of Israel free from Egypt and from bondage, Jesus came to set the captive free from being enslaved by the bondage of sin. Consider this: you hate all the sin you committed, you promise God you will live for Him. Know as of now Jesus died on the cross for you.
          Accept His gift to you, the grace and mercy He has, to make you free. Take it by faith and put it to work. He will heal you of those things that have taken life from you. And that's the thing here: He comes to us as we are. We don't have to come to Him cleaned up, fixed up, sobered up and washed up. No. Come as you are. Come with your hands held high in praise to God for the miracle God has done for you. Yes, God busts us for the sins we do, but He's given us Christ to redeem us from sin and death. The story of the Exodus happened. Israel was set free by God's strong hand. Jesus sets us free with His strong hand.
          I close with this for you, my friend. I pray for you daily here. I keep proclaiming Christ because Christ is life. I want Him to be made known to you. I'll admit I don't always have the words, but as the saying goes, "I will give you words and wisdom" (Exodus 4:12, Luke 21:15). I end up opening my mouth and letting the words God wants given to come out. I'm not saying I'm God because that would be a lie. But what I am saying there is what the word God wants spoken, let them be given. I pray this blesses you and sets you free. In the name of Jesus. Amen.