Bible Readings for March 3rd
Although we might have thought Israel was finished forever with Egypt, neither Yahweh nor the Egyptians are done fighting over the possession of Israel. Yahweh again hardens Pharaoh’s heart (Ex. 14:4) so that Pharaoh and his servants wonder how they could have been so foolish as to let the Israelites go (Ex. 14:5). Accordingly, Pharaoh decides to send all his chariots and armies in pursuit of Israel to get their slaves back (Ex. 14:6–9).
Exodus 14 is a magnificent study in the foolishness of humanity. On the one side of the pillar of God’s cloud are the Egyptians, pridefully overconfident in the power of their war machinery to conquer Israel once again, but on the other side of the pillar of cloud are the Israelites, who aren’t much better. The people of Israel, certain they will be killed, are suddenly claiming that what they had really wanted all along was to remain in Egypt as slaves to avoid dying in the wilderness (Ex. 14:11–12).
So, pursued closely by the mightiest army on the planet and in the face of severe criticism from his own people, Moses must encourage the people by pointing them back to Yahweh and his power: “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Ex. 14:13–14). The right response to the situation was to fixate not on the power of Egypt nor on the powerlessness of Israel but on the promise of Yahweh to fight for his people.
Without fail, Yahweh acts mightily to deliver his people by nothing less than parting the Red Sea and allowing Israel to walk across the sea bed on dry land. Then, when Pharaoh’s armies attempt to pursue, Yahweh causes their wheels to stick in the mud, and after Israel has safely crossed through the sea, God brings the sea crashing down upon their heads, killing the entire army in a single blow.
Yahweh fought for his people, and Israel had only to be silent.
Today, the message of salvation remains the same: Yahweh has fought for you in Jesus Christ, and you have only to be silent. Your abilities, your accomplishments, and your resources count for nothing. You have only to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ—the one who battled for you to overcome sin, death, and the devil through his life, death, and resurrection—and you will be saved.
Fear not, stand firm, and look upon the salvation of Yahweh in Jesus Christ. Even when you find yourself pursued by all the powers of hell, remember that Jesus Christ—the Lion of the Tribe of Judah—has conquered. Fear him and believe upon him, and you will be saved.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.