SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE
Heavenly Father, You created the world in which I live and built the church in which I serve. My heart overflows with thanksgiving to You.
Read Exodus 13:17 – 14:9
Crossing the Sea
17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.[a] The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the Israelites swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”[b]
20 After leaving Sukkoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.
5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen[c] and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectRecall a time when you asked God to give you direction. In what ways does God speak to you?
The people of God begin their journey out of Egypt, and all 600,000 people are guided in a special way. The Lord ‘went ahead of them’, providing a pillar of cloud in the day and a pillar of fire by night. These signs would be God’s way of directing his people on the route he wanted for them (vs 17–22).
At the start of the Exodus, God seemed to have a plan that confused the Egyptians. Why would the Israelites not take an obvious route (vs 17,18)? This is a good picture of how God’s ways are not always our ways (14:1–5). Meanwhile, Pharaoh decided he had made a mistake in letting his slaves go, and that he would go after the Israelites (14:5–9). Rather than let God’s people go, he wanted to put them back into bondage. God had a different plan and was still in control of the situation.
We see in the Gospels that people came against Jesus. They despised him, mocked him, and put him on a cross. It looked like he had been defeated. But God has the final say and he gives the victory.
‘Father, at times, when I look at my circumstances, I feel defeated. But you see all things, and you work all things together for good for your glory. Help me to see the bigger picture today. Amen.’
Father God, I know I will always have problems, that’s life. However, I thank You for Your strategies to deal with the problems and the strength to endure. I praise You for the abundant life.
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