God controls all things for one primary purpose: that you may know that He is the Lord.
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Exodus 14 Summary
The Lord's first command to His newly freed people is to wander around in circles in order to bait Pharaoh, whose heart God will once again harden, to chase after them. Pharaoh falls for it, gathers up a massive posse, and takes out to get His free labor back again.
The Israelites, who had just seen with their own eyes the ten plagues God had sent upon Egypt, instantly forget about God's power when they get pinned in between the Egyptian army and the sea, reasoning that they would have been better off as slaves. Moses will be hearing lots of this whining over the next 40 years.
But God hemmed them into their tight spot on purpose, and in one of the most audacious displays of His power in all of history, He opens the sea for His people to pass through and then instantly obliterates the most powerful army on earth at the time.
There were lots of more logical routes that God could have used to bring Israel up out of Egypt and into Canaan, but God wasn't interested in efficiency at this point. He makes His game plan clear to Moses right away in v4:
the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.
Ironically, the Israelites quickly forget this key fact when it seems to them that they're trapped. Setting a pattern they'll follow time after time, they complain to Moses that they'd rather go back into slavery than to walk the narrow, difficult road that leads to salvation.
Had God led Israel out the easy way, this episode would have been long forgotten about, even if it was recorded in scripture. Instead, God showed the world His character in a way that would never be forgotten: He is fully just, and fully merciful. He was just in punishing Egypt for their sin, and merciful in saving the incredulous Israelites.
Verse 14 is worth memorizing:
The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our omnipotent Father, who fights for us;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will trust Him, even when all else seems lost.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: