STUDIES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned.
What would it take to deliver two million unarmed men, women, and children from oppressive slavery to a superpower nation? It would require nothing less than superior might. Through His supernatural power, the almighty God liberated the helpless nation of Israel from their bondage to the great Egyptian empire.
The Lord God almighty brought Pharaoh and his people to their knees through the means of ten dreadful plagues. The final plague which prompted Pharaoh to order Israel to leave was the killing of the firstborn throughout Egypt.
Having second thoughts about losing a free-labor force, Pharaoh changed his mind and sent “six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them” (Exodus 14:7) after Israel. At the approach of this formidable army and with Israel’s back against the Red Sea, God miraculously made a pathway through the sea with a wall of water on either side so that Israel could safely leave Egypt.
What would it take for Moses and the Israelites to follow God’s lead for their deliverance? It would require nothing less than a Spirit-worked faith in God’s almighty ways to save them.
Moses, who had previously feared Pharaoh and fled from his presence (Exodus 2:15), now stood fearlessly before Pharaoh, demanding that he let God’s people go. Without any hesitation, Moses led Israel out of Egypt. Why the change of heart? Moses came to know by faith that the invisible God was with them to bring about their deliverance (Exodus 3:12ff).
How was Israel to prepare for their mass exodus? God instructed them to kill a lamb, smear its blood on their exterior door frames, eat a meal of lamb, and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. This didn’t sound like much of a preparation. But it was God’s way of sparing their firstborn from death and ensuring that they left Egypt unscathed. With faith in God, Moses readied the people for their departure.
When Israel thought they would be slaughtered by Pharaoh’s army at the Red Sea, the Lord mercifully restored faith in their hearts. Putting trust in the Lord’s control over nature, Israel passed through the sea without a fear that the walls would collapse and bury them in a watery grave.
Israel’s exodus from Egypt by the power of God has been used to picture our deliverance from a cruel bondage to sin, Satan, and eternal death. Like Israel, we are powerless to save ourselves from these mighty forces. What did it take to deliver us from our captivity? Nothing less than the almighty power of our Savior Jesus Christ! As true God, Jesus bore the accumulated weight of every human sin and suffered the punishment of hell to fully atone for them.
And how is it that sinners are able to benefit from Jesus’ rescue efforts? It is only through a Spirit-worked faith in His redemptive work.
Thank God for His infinite mercy and His great power to deliver us from our captivity and bring us safely to the promised land of heaven!
Mark Gullerud is pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Bowdle, South Dakota, and Zion Lutheran Church in Ipswich, South Dakota.