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The Lord’s Salvation: Exodus 13:17-22, 14:10-14, 26-31

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The Lord’s Salvation

November 10, 2013

Lesson: Exodus 13:17-22, 14:10-14, 26-31

Key Verse: Exodus 14:13

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Introduction

David knew the way of salvation, calling upon the Lord who would hear his voice and save him from his enemies. He called upon God, saying, “Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God; for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.” Then he declares this truth: “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord; thy blessing is upon thy people” (Psa. 3:7-8).

The long trip begins for the people of God, having now been delivered from the hand of Pharaoh. Six hundred thousand men on foot tell us about the greatness of the number of all the tribes of Israel that left Egypt (Ex. 12:37). His people had dwelt in Egypt four hundred and thirty years (12:40). Now they were leaving for places unknown. They would have to remember that it was the Lord who delivered them, “Salvation belongs to the Lord!” and to Him alone. They would learn this lesson by way of trials given by their Lord and Deliverer. Commenting on Psalm 3:8, David Dickson writes these words which help us understand God’s providential care of His people through their wilderness travels: “The fruit of the Lord’s putting his own in straits, is to make them and all men see, that he hath ways of deliverance, more than they know of; and that he will save his own when men count their case desperate: for, salvation belongeth to the Lord.”

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The Way of the Wilderness –Exodus 13:17-22

It “came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the Philistines …for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.” The people would murmur and groan during their time in the wilderness. It would not take much for these unsteady and fickle people to cry for a return to Egypt. “We know how often they repented of having followed God as their leader, and thus were prepared to throw away by their ingratitude the grace offered to them” (Calvin). Slavery sometimes looks better because it seems an easier thing to do, than be delivered from darkness into light. God’s people were too unprepared to face an enemy such as the Philistines whose training for battle would overwhelm them. God, therefore, prepares His people wisely, desiring that they depend upon Him alone for deliverance from the enemy.

God lead His people “through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea.” The Lord has the situation well in hand. He knows the heart and plan of Pharaoh. Pharaoh would follow, not his own will, but the will of God, as He directs His people in the path that He makes. “He led forth His people in order. For, although they came out confusedly and hastily, still He restrained them, as it were, under His banner, and in companies, lest any disturbance should occur” (Calvin).

Moses takes the “bones of Joseph with him,” keeping the promise of Joseph as a sign of God’s deliverance. It is recorded in Hebrews 11:22 that “By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.” This is a lesson the people of God needed to know, that it is by faith we are saved, delivered from the bonds of darkness into His marvelous light. And yet we are like Israel, murmuring that we are really getting what we think we ought to get.

The people journeyed to Etham, “in the edge of the desert.” The Lord is ever with His people, giving them an outward sign of His redeeming presence; going before them “by day in a pillar of a cloud …and by night in a pillar of fire.” The people were to know His presence both day and night. Though there is not that visible sign for us today, we have the same glorious promise of the presence of our Lord. When we murmur or complain, let us remember these words of our Savior, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (see Hebrews 13:5-6).

Discussion: In what ways has God revealed his providential care of His people?

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The Way of the Lord –Exodus 14:10-14

The Lord gives a commandment to Moses that the children of Israel turn and encamp by the sea, for Pharaoh would follow after them, thinking that the people of Israel would be “entangled in the land.” However, what would happen to Pharaoh is of God’s will and purpose, “that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord.” As Pharaoh draws near “the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid.” The children of Israel cry out to the Lord. However, what is the purpose of their heart? They cry to Moses that “there were no graves in Egypt,” so why has he taken them away to die in the wilderness. They were slaves, but they were alive. Now they would die in a place of desolation. They further test the patience of God in telling Moses that they had let them know, before leaving Egypt, that they should have been left alone to serve the Egyptians, “For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than to die in the wilderness.” Their fear is real. But their faith in the Lord has lapsed. Our fear is real in the circumstances of this world, but our faith should rise above the world. We have been given assurance by God who has “given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:5-7).

Moses stands as mediator between God and His people (as a servant of the true Mediator). Moses is Christ’s  servant, saying to the people, “Fear ye not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever.” Why is this? Because the “Lord will fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Stand still! Hold your peace! Let God be your salvation! “‘stand still,’ meaning that we must ‘keep quiet;’ as much as to say, that there was no occasion for anyone to move a finger, because God alone would preserve them, though they were quiet and unmoved; …God promises to conquer for them whilst they hold their peace. But, in my opinion, it is not that he exhorts them to be quiet; but intimates that in God alone there would be strength enough to prevail” (Calvin).

Discussion: What is the difference between the responses of Moses to that of the people?

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The Way of the Sea –Exodus 14:26-31

The Egyptians shall know that “I am the Lord.” God reveals Himself to His enemy. All those who rebel against Him, the Lord will not only punish, but would reveal Himself as Creator and Sovereign. The angel of God, which went before the people of God, moves to the rear of the people. A cloud of darkness stands between the camp of Israel and the camp of Egypt, thus hindering Egypt from charging the people of God. It is the Lord who does battle with the enemy of His people. Moses stretches out his hand over the sea, and the Lord causes a strong wind to blow, dividing the waters, and making the sea dry land. What a scene, hundreds of thousands of people, their children and flock, passing through to the other side. And when the Egyptians are allowed to pursue them, they were confronted by the presence of the Lord. For “in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire.” They came to know that the Lord, He is God.

The Lord commands Moses to stretch forth his hand once more over the sea. The waters came upon the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen, and the “Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.” Not one of the Egyptians remained, but “the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea.” “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians… And Israel saw the great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.” “His power, appeared, because there was no difficulty in distinguishing between God’s wrath and His fatherly love, in preserving so miraculously an unwarlike multitude, and in destroying in the depths of the sea an army formidable on every account” (Calvin).

We must all go the way of the sea. To those who God has chosen to be His own, the sea is but a passage way to the place prepared for us by the precious blood of Christ. To those who deny and disobey their Creator, the sea is but an entrance into eternal punishment. Let us remember the great work of our Lord in His glorious plan of salvation, of being delivered from darkness into His marvelous light. They feared the Lord and believed His servant Moses. May faithful ministers proclaim that wonderful gospel of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. And may those who have ears to hear, believe them whom God has sent. Blessed, and how “beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Rom. 10:15).

Discussion: What are both the Egyptians and People of God to know?

Lessons are based on the International Sunday School Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright © 2013 by the Committee on the Uniform Series.

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