Like most everyone else, it seems I have always known the story of Moses and the Israelites. They were slaves in Egypt, God sent 10 plagues to rescue them, they crossed the Red Sea, and eventually made their way to freedom with God leading the whole way. Books have been written through the years, movies made over and over again filled with high drama, and even cartoons in graphic amination form.
This morning though, as I was reading in my Bible, I ended up in Exodus 14 and found things that I have never clued into before. It is so funny how that happens. God says His Word is new and we can never tire of it. How true that is.
As I was reading, this whole scene was playing out in my mind.
Not only had the Israelites just been released from 400 years of slavery, they had seen the amazing plagues in action as they were protected from every ounce of it, and now they were being led through the desert by an illuminating cloud and a pillar of fire. So, God tells Moses that it is time for this wandering nation to camp and rest a bit. And God says, by the way....tell the Israelites that Pharaoh is going to be coming...but through it all the Egyptians will know that I am The God.
Despite that statement.....those wanderers flipped out when they saw the Egyptians coming. They didn't even stop to think about all of the amazing things that they had just seen...all done for their sakes.
So, under the command of God, Moses raises his hand over the sea and the deep waters are blown back by the east wind. As all of this is going on, God puts a pillar cloud in front of them (to lead in direction) and a pillar cloud behind them (to protect them). This protective cloud pillar gives light to the Israelites and at the same time, robs the Egyptians of light and puts them in darkness. They have been in this spot before and are scared, but Pharaoh pushes forward.
It takes all night for this chain of events to happen. Eventually the nation of people and the cloud pillar have moved forward enough into the DRY sea bed that the Egyptian army follows. When the army is completely in the dry sea bed, God gunks up the wheels of the chariots and sends giant walls of sea water to crash down on them. Keep in mind now that the Israelite nation is STILL crossing the sea bed. I can picture it and it is so amazing. Waters so deep that you can't even swim through it... are on their right, left, and behind them. Yet the people are walking on dry land.....husbands and wives, chldren and elderly, cattle and wagons of property with not a speck of water on them. As they reached the shoreline, it is already riddled with the bodies of dead soldiers. The picture proclaiming yet once again that nothing is TOO big for God to handle.
It is so easy for me to look at those Israelites of old and say.....
"Why were you so quick to forget?"
"You were so ungateful and self centered."
"Couldn't you feel the love and acceptance?"
And yet, how many times have I had events happen in my life that measure on the scale with plagues, rescue, restoration, and devotion........and I look the other way.