Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’ Then I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, that the Egyptians may know that I am the LORD.” And they did so. Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.
1And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD. Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.”
1lAnd Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
1lAnd 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. And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
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. 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.”
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.
3lSo 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.
The children of Israel were in dire straits here, caught between a vengeful army and an impassable sea.
Of course, that was the natural perspective. They complained to Moses from this perspective. However, Moses was leading from a SUPERNATURAL dimension.
We must remember that we lead from the glory. Our leadership is supernatural.
Let’s look at something here which is of massive importance to us as leaders…
In verse 13 Moses tells the people to stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. He then talks about what God is going to do for them. He says those inspiring words: “the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever”. Then in verse 14 he says YHWH will fight for them.
This is all bold talk and what we would expect from a real leader. However, there is clearly something deeper going on here. YHWH asks Moses “Why do you cry unto Me?”
It is clear that Moses was speaking to the people words of encouragement but privately asking God to do something. The implication is that Moses was “fronting it”. He was saying what looked like the right things publicly but was perhaps desperate privately. There is nothing necessarily wrong with leaders being positive in public, even if privately they are not as strong. Sometimes we can impress by using what seems to be the right language but it is only jargon.
Whether or not Moses was just putting on a brave face or not, the Lord had to correct his thinking and did so in a way that can be paradigm-shifting for us as leaders today. Moses was looking at what God was going to do in this situation but God put the emphasis on what Moses had to do.
The lesson here is that more is required from leaders. It isn’t enough to cry out to God or put everything on Him. Moses here was basically told: “Stop whining.”
Yes, only God can do miracles. Yes, it is God’s power we need. But we have OUR part to play and if we won’t step up to the plate, it won’t be done. God’s response to Moses was: “Tell the children of Israel to go forward”.
Going forward was the faith move. Your job as a leader is to take people forward, to make them take the faith steps.
God is not obligated by our desperation but He IS obligated by our faith response.
Leaders must never compromise and stay in a place of inertia or comfort. Standing at the Red Sea with Pharaoh’s army breathing down their necks was certainly no comfort zone but was a great opportunity to quit or be paralysed by fear. Going forward was the faith option.
God told Moses to lift up his rod. Remember that the rod was given to Moses to do signs with. We need to remember what we have been equipped with. We should never forget even in the enormity of our situation that we have been given what it takes to succeed as leaders. The Greater One indwells us.
Moses was told to divide the sea. Religious people say only God can do such things. Of course, that is right but it doesn’t change the fact that God told Moses to do it. Equally, we have been commanded by Jesus to heal the sick and raise the dead. Clearly the Lord is comfortable telling US to do these things!
We must understand as leaders that God has called us to be co-labourers with Him. Of course, it is always HIS power that does the works but God wants us to be involved with Him in the work.
This shows us that leadership is based on relationship, not by formula.
This momentous occasion – the drowning of the Egyptian army – is mentioned numerous times through the Word of God as a reminder of God’s delivering power. It is therefore a great encouragement for us as leaders that God can set free the people we lead and influence.