The Miracle of the Red Sea Crossing and the 40 years in the wilderness.

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Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? Ps 78:19

Introduction:

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A. It was entirely by God's power that a city of 1.5 - 2 million survived in the desert for 40 years:

  1. "Moses said to the people, "Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place." Exodus 13:3
  2. "and the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders " Deuteronomy 26:8
  3. "Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 'Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians." Exodus 6:6-7
  4. "but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. " Deuteronomy 7:8
  5. Not just the miraculous ten plagues, but also direct continuous supernatural help for 40 years.

B. Non-Hebrews joined them in the exodus:

  1. "A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock. " Exodus 12:38
  2. The gentiles could see God was with the Hebrews and wanted to join them.
  3. Rahab joined Joshua.

C. They took their flocks, being expert herdsman who Pharaoh wanted tend his own herds:

  1. "Then Pharaoh said to his brothers, "What is your occupation?" So they said to Pharaoh, "Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers. ... The land of Egypt is at your disposal; settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land, let them live in the land of Goshen; and if you know any capable men among them, then put them in charge of my [Pharoah] livestock." Genesis 47:3,6
  2. ""Therefore, our livestock too shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we shall take some of them to serve the Lord our God. And until we arrive there, we ourselves do not know with what we shall serve the Lord." " Exodus 10:26

E. Their clothing and shoes and body did not grow weary:

  1. "Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. " Deuteronomy 8:4
  2. "I have led you forty years in the wilderness; your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandal has not worn out on your foot. " Deuteronomy 29:5
  3. "Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want; Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell. " Nehemiah 9:21
  4. The women must have been unhappy they never needed to go shopping for clothing!

E. They were given supernatural help crossing the sea so as to not even trip going down or up from the sea:

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"Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; As the cattle which go down into the valley, The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest." Isaiah 63:11-13

  1. "Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. " Exodus 14:21-22
  2. ""You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, And heard their cry by the Red Sea. "Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh, Against all his servants and all the people of his land; For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them, And made a name for Yourself as it is this day. "You divided the sea before them, So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground; And their pursuers You hurled into the depths, Like a stone into raging waters. "And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day, And with a pillar of fire by night To light for them the way In which they were to go. " Nehemiah 9:9-12
  3. "Then His people remembered the days of old, of Moses. Where is He who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of His flock? Where is He who put His Holy Spirit in the midst of them, Who caused His glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, Who divided the waters before them to make for Himself an everlasting name, Who led them through the depths? Like the horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble; As the cattle which go down into the valley, The Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So You led Your people, To make for Yourself a glorious name." Isaiah 63:11-14
  4. "Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. " Psalm 105:37
  5. On the other side of the Red Sea they grew weary: "Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt, how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God." Deuteronomy 25:17-18

G. God gave them supernatural food and drink:

  1. "and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. " 1 Corinthians 10:3-4
  1. "So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders. " ... "They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves. " Exodus 12:34,39
  2. "The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched Elijah and said, "Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you." So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God." 1 Kings 19:7-8
  3. "So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days' journey, and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them. ... He said, "Thus says the Lord, 'Make this valley full of trenches.' "For thus says the Lord, 'You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. 'This is but a slight thing in the sight of the Lord; He will also give the Moabites into your hand. 'Then you shall strike every fortified city and every choice city, and fell every good tree and stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.' " It happened in the morning about the time of offering the sacrifice, that behold, water came by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water. " 2 Kings 3:9,16-20
  4. "O God, when You went forth before Your people, When You marched through the wilderness,Selah. The earth quaked; The heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself quaked at the presence of God, the God of Israel. You shed abroad a plentiful rain, O God; You confirmed Your inheritance when it was parched. " Psalm 68:7-9
  5. "They asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. " Psalm 105:37-41

H. Christ, the cloud and pillar of fire, went led them like a shepherd who guided, fed and protected them.

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Temple's first appearance on earth:

Assurance, Guidance, Light

The presence continued:
-Pillar of fire by night
-Pillar of cloud by day

Guidance: Exodus 13:21; Shelter canopy from Sunlight and Rain: Isaiah 4:4-6; Psalm 105:39; night light to travel by: Exodus 13:22; Protection from pharaoh's armies: Exodus 14:19, 24.

  1. "The Lord was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people." Exodus 13:21-22
  2. "He spread a cloud for a covering [from heat of sun], And fire to illumine by night. " Psalm 105:39
  3. "When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain." Isaiah 4:4-6
  4. "Then He brought them out with silver and gold, And among His tribes there was not one who stumbled. Egypt was glad when they departed, For the dread of them had fallen upon them. He spread a cloud for a covering, And fire to illumine by night. They asked, and He brought quail, And satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock and water flowed out; It ran in the dry places like a river. " Psalm 105:37-41
  5. "The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them. " Exodus 14:19
  6. "At the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion. " Exodus 14:24
  7. "and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that You, O Lord, are in the midst of this people, for You, O Lord, are seen eye to eye, while Your cloud stands over them; and You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night. " Numbers 14:14

I. The Red Sea crossing was the actual point of deliverance from Egypt:

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At the straits of Tiran, they were finally free from Egypt!

  1. It is our conclusion, that the Bible describes Israel as being "out of Egypt" in three senses: 1. The day they departed. (civil residential sense) 2. The day they crossed the Red Sea. (theological and practical sense) 3. The day they crossed the Jordan and entered the promised land 40 years later. (final sense)
  2. Just before crossing the Jordan, Rahab came to Joshua and stated the general opinion of the gentile world: "For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt." Joshua 2:10. In other words, the Gentiles saw the Red Sea as when Israel left Egypt and was totally free. Even the Gentiles viewed that from the "practical" human perspective, the Red Sea was the specific point at which Israel formally escaped Egypt's control.
  3. In the "final" sense, Joshua confirms they hadn't fully made the transition out of Egypt until after they crossed the Jordan. Joshua 5:5 says "but all the people who were born in the wilderness along the way as they came out of Egypt had not been circumcised." This verse proves that even those born after the crossing of the Red Sea were still coming out of Egypt because they had not yet entered the promised land.
  4. From a "theological" point of view, the Bible clearly states that it was precisely at the crossing of the Red Sea that God delivered Israel from Egypt. Ask a Hebrew when they were free from Egypt and they will say after crossing the Red Sea.
  5. "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, 'I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.' " 1 Samuel 10:18
  6. "'I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea; and Egypt pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. 'But when they cried out to the Lord, He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them and covered them; and your own eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness for a long time. " Joshua 24:6-7.
  7. "Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. When Israel saw the great power which the Lord had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses." Exodus 14:30-31
  8. "So Jethro said, "Blessed be the Lord who delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the hand of Pharaoh, and who delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. " Exodus 18:10
  9. "but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. " Deuteronomy 7:8
  10. "Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods " 2 Kings 17:7
  11. "For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea; and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. " 1 Corinthians 10:1-4
  12. So theologically, the Red Sea was their deliverance from the bondage of Egypt. This is reinforced by Paul's statement in 1 Cor 10:1-4 that the Hebrews were "baptized into Moses" at the sea, which was a figure of the Christian's full immersion water "baptism into Christ" (Gal 3:27). The Jews were saved from the slavery of Egypt when they were immersed in the Red Sea. Christians are saved from the slavery of sin when they are immersed in water in the name of Jesus: Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet 3:21.

J. Perhaps even supernatural endurance to walk 24 hours without sleep:

  1. Even though there is not any direct evidence that Israel traveled at 3-4 days at a time without sleep en-route to the Red Sea crossing point, there are examples of this in the Bible.
  2. Elijah was given spiritual food from God and traveled 40 days and nights non-stop.
  3. It may be that God performed a similar miracle to assist Israel in their exodus out of Egypt.

Conclusion:

God can prepare a table in the wilderness: Ps 78:19

  1. When you reach your "Ethan" (boxed in with nowhere to go) and are under the devil's Migdol (military watchtower) fear not. God will provide the way of escape.
  2. We escape the slavery to sin when we are baptized. Now, as the church we are in the wilderness. We await the time when we will cross the Jordan.
  3. It is possible, but unlikely that this verse says they were still in Egypt at the Red Sea. More likely it says that while in Egypt proper (Goshen), then later after they left the suburbs of Egypt at the Red Sea, they did not believe. "Our fathers in Egypt did not understand Your wonders; They did not remember Your abundant kindnesses, But rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea. Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name, That He might make His power known. " Psalm 106:7-8
  4. "Nevertheless, with most of them God was not well-pleased; for they were laid low in the wilderness. Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written, "The people sat down to eat and drink, and stood up to play." Nor let us act immorally, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. " 1 Corinthians 10:5-13
  5. "He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, And He made the waters stand up like a heap. Then He led them with the cloud by day And all the night with a light of fire. He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths. He brought forth streams also from the rock And caused waters to run down like rivers. Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert. And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire. Then they spoke against God; They said, "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness? "Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?" Therefore the Lord heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel, Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation. Yet He commanded the clouds above And opened the doors of heaven; He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven. Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance. He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens And by His power He directed the south wind. When He rained meat upon them like the dust, Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas, Then He let them fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their dwellings. So they ate and were well filled, And their desire He gave to them. Before they had satisfied their desire, While their food was in their mouths, The anger of God rose against them And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel. In spite of all this they still sinned And did not believe in His wonderful works. So He brought their days to an end in futility And their years in sudden terror. When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God; And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer. But they deceived Him with their mouth And lied to Him with their tongue. For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant. But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; And often He restrained His anger And did not arouse all His wrath. Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passes and does not return. How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert! Again and again they tempted God, And pained the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the adversary, When He performed His signs in Egypt And His marvels in the field of Zoan, And turned their rivers to blood, And their streams, they could not drink. He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, And frogs which destroyed them. He gave also their crops to the grasshopper And the product of their labor to the locust. He destroyed their vines with hailstones And their sycamore trees with frost. He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones And their herds to bolts of lightning. He sent upon them His burning anger, Fury and indignation and trouble, A band of destroying angels. He leveled a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, But gave over their life to the plague, And smote all the firstborn in Egypt, The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham. But He led forth His own people like sheep And guided them in the wilderness like a flock; He led them safely, so that they did not fear; But the sea engulfed their enemies. So He brought them to His holy land, To this hill country which His right hand had gained. He also drove out the nations before them And apportioned them for an inheritance by measurement, And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents. Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God And did not keep His testimonies, " Psalm 78:13-56

  

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

 

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