Day 11

Escape Through the Red Sea

Exodus 13:17-22, Exodus 14:1-31, Exodus 15:1-21, Psalm 106:1-12, Romans 6:1-4

Somehow, I remember the story of the parting of the Red Sea differently. When I recall this passage in Scripture, I picture Moses as a strong, bearded Charlton Heston, standing in front of the people of Israel and  facing down Yul Brynner’s cool and determined Pharaoh, who is attempting to put down Israel once and for all.

Heston, full of confidence, tells Israel that God will do battle for them before stretching out his staff to part the impassable sea. As the water moves the people cry out in wonder and amazement at the miracle of Moses’ leadership. The Israelites cross the dry ground and then, standing on opposite shores, Moses and Pharaoh face off once more, as the sea returns to its place and drowns the entire Egyptian army. In the film, the hero of the story is Moses, and God is merely Moses’ tool used to carry out Israel’s salvation.

Yet, as I read Scripture’s account of the parting of the Red Sea, the hero of the story doesn’t seem to be Moses at all. The leader isn’t Moses. The means of salvation isn’t Moses. All Moses does is tell the people of Israel to watch God at work (Exodus 14:13). As today’s passage tells us, the hero of the story—the one who fights—isn’t a man. The Lord is the one who does battle for the salvation of His people, from first to last.

God directed the people. God brought them through sea and onto the shore. God hardened Pharaoh’s’ heart. God stood between Israel and Egypt. God brought the east wind to divide the sea. God confused the Egyptian forces. And God brought the waters down upon Pharaohs’ head. Unlike Hollywood’s depiction of the story in The Ten Commandments, the Bible shows us that God alone saves His people. He does the fighting for us; we need only to wait for Him (v. 14).

We need this constant reminder when it comes to our salvation as well. Much like the storytelling twists of Hollywood, we can be tempted to believe that our salvation is the result of our own works or effort. We try to fashion God into some sort of talisman that finally gets the job done if we just believe hard enough—but the rest depends on our own efforts and goodness.

The good news is that God has done all the work for our salvation. Like the story of God’s power and work to rescue Israel, we need to remember the reality that Christ has come for our salvation. He lived perfectly to win righteousness for all who trust in Him. His death was a sacrifice for our sins. His resurrection was the death-blow to our greatest enemies: Satan, sin, and death. Our hero is Jesus, not our best versions of ourselves.

Written by Jeremy Writebol

Post Comments (6)

6 thoughts on "Escape Through the Red Sea"

  1. RN says:

    The Romans passage helps me remember that baptism is a symbol of death. The old man drowns, and the man renewed in Christ Jesus arises. The Israelites are renewed from the land of Egypt by the grace of God, and the Egyptians, having rejected God’s people and God, drown.

  2. Mark says:

    Someone yesterday in their response mentioned the animation of a scene. I think of how the crossing of the Red Sea was interpreted in the animated film The Prince of Egypt. And what struck me was that even though God did the hard work of parting the Red Sea, the path through to the other side was still rough and rocky and difficult to walk over. It always reminds me that even when God provides a path of deliverance our way out is not always a bed of roses but there is sometimes Difficult work still to be done on our part.

  3. Matt Baker says:

    There are so many times when I feel too weak to continue on my own. The world beats us down constantly, but we can take solace in knowing that God will always fight for us. When we are weary, the Lord picks us up. When we are strong, it is because we are being used as tools of the Lord’s strength. I feel so very blessed to have God in my life now and forever!

  4. Luke says:

    I really loved the emphasis that Moses isn’t the hero. It’s so easy to read scriptures like this and think “Wow, wasn’t Moses such a mighty man of God?” Or “Wow, didn’t Moses do some incredible things!” When actually, what I should be thinking is “Wow, what an incredible God!”

  5. Bill Wilson says:

    “Yet He saved them for His name’s sake.”

    This entire story of Israel’s rescue, from the time Moses is first called by Yahweh in the burning bush until the last wave of the Red Sea settled back into place on top of the Egyptian army, is about God’s glory. All of this is done so that *His name* would be made known on the earth and that he would be magnified. His glory was the purpose for Israel’s salvation. It is also the purpose of my salvation. Anytime a sinner is rescued by the LORD from their sin and imputed with Jesus’ righteousness, it is done so that God’s name may be glorified. So that He may be lifted up among the nations. God saves for His name’s sake. Let us remember this when we think of our salvation and praise and glorify His name.

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