The crossing of the Red Sea is one of the most iconic historical events of the Bible. It is both a powerful story of God’s redemption and a theme that is picked up throughout the biblical story. God will often point back to His rescue through the water of God’s judgment upon the Egyptians and His bringing His people out of the land of bondage to become a people for Himself. God will often say that He bought (the literal meaning of redeem) the people of Israel for Himself.

They Feared Greatly

After the Passover, when Egypt’s firstborn all died, Pharaoh says he will let the Israelites go. But when they begin to leave and come to the Red Sea Pharaoh gathers his army and chases after them. The Israelites found themselves trapped between the drowning in the Red Sea and massacre by the armies of Pharaoh. We should not be surprised to hear that “they feared greatly.”

And yet, let us remember, God has promised to bring His people out of Egypt. Just remember the remarkable, miraculous things that the Israelites have already seen! Would they again trust the Word of the Lord? Or would they see and hear only their own circumstances? Fear is always a question of salvation and belief. Where is one’s hope of salvation?

Moses’ response is beautiful in its faith:

Exodus 14:13-14
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.

Note the transformation that has taken place in the life of Moses. His response shows his confidence; not in himself, but in the work and word of the Lord.

  • The LORD works.
  • The LORD saves.
  • We wait.

Parting the Sea

Many people have tried to explain away this miracle in many ways throughout history. Some claim that it was just a shallow lake whose waters were driven back by an easterly breeze. It is all an attempt to explain the events of history only by natural means.

But consider this: There is nothing more natural than for the sea to obey the command of its Lord. This is the way of nature. But it is not the way of the rebellious human heart. For this reason, the obedience of the waters is both salvation for those who walk in faith and judgement for those who walk in pride.

The Moment of Salvation

When were the Israelites saved? It seems that God has rescued them over and over. Is it …

  • The moment the Lord chose them.
  • The moment the mediator announced salvation.
  • The moment He put in motion the mechanics of salvation.
  • The moment they began to follow the guidance of the Lord.
  • The moment they left slavery.
  • The moment the mediator led them through the waters of judgement.
  • The moment the enemy was crushed.
  • The moment they entered their promised inheritance.

My conclusion is that at every moment their salvation is in the hands of the Lord. Their salvation is according to His will, His mediator, His work. At every moment their salvation is only as sure as is the hand of the Lord to execute it. If the Lord’s hand fails at any moment their salvation is not only incomplete, it is no salvation at all. But if the Lord is sovereign and powerful to save at every moment then their salvation is as secure as the first moment when the Lord ordained it!

And yet, the moment of the crossing of the Red Sea was a defining, climactic moment. Exodus 14:30 says, “Thus the LORD saved Israel that day.” It was the moment when the people can point to the will and work of the Lord and say (as Moses will in his song in Exodus 15) the Lord has crushed the enemy and has redeemed a people for Himself.

The cross of Jesus is that climactic redemption moment of judgement and salvation. Even in the wilderness with all of its trials the people could say in faith, “We are saved. We crossed the sea. The enemy is crushed. We have crossed from slavery and death into worship and life. Surely, we will enter into our inheritance.” In Jesus, the redeemed have crossed over from death to life and can say, “Death is crushed to death. I am surely free (Song: Power of the Cross).”

It was the Red Sea moment that the Lord saved the people. The enemy was crushed and the people were saved. They believed in the Lord. It was the cross moment that the Lord crushed the enemy (as He has promises since Genesis 3). It was the resurrection moment that the redeemed, with Him, pass through to life and salvation. It is in the climax of the Gospel that Jesus has not only purchased our salvation, but secured our faith. And so we believe.

Consider For Yourself

You are four weeks in. You have read for yourself some of the most important stories that the Bible has to tell. Consider what you have read thus far. Especially if you consider yourself a Christian, think, reflect, consider. Where is your hope? What is the foundation of your belief? Is it solidly in the cross of Jesus Christ? I encourage you to spend a little time in prayer speaking with the Lord about His salvation.

If you have questions about God’s salvation through Jesus Christ, I encourage you to talk to a friend, a pastor, or even someone else who is reading with us. And as always, you are welcome to email Jeremiah at read@bibletogether.com.