November 26 – The Pillars As Offensive Weapons
Read Exodus 14:21-31
Morning light broke over the horizon. The children of Israel knew that the Egyptians were right behind them. They had heard the wind blowing all night long. When it was light enough, they couldn’t believe their eyes – the Red Sea was parted and there was a dry path right between two walls of water!
OK, I don’t know for sure, but I imagine Moses looking back at the people and shouting, “Let’s go!” The Israelites started marching between the walls of water on dry ground. The night before, it had been a huge body of water. Now, it was two bodies of water with a walking path between them.
The process of walking through the parted Red Sea took a while – remember, there was something like 2 million people on the trip. It was not all over in 15 minutes. With the Egyptians in close pursuit, something had to give. Sure enough, God did give – protection for His people.
Confusion and Chaos
We learn a little more about the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire in verse 25, “And in the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud looked down on the Egyptian forces and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic…” Notice – “the Lord in the pillar of fire and of cloud…” The Lord was in the cloud and the fire. The Lord was right there with them!
The Lord took action. He looked down and threw the Egyptian forces into a panic. Depending on your translation, the Lord either twisted or took off the chariot wheels. Now, I admit, I’ve never driven a chariot, but I imagine that a chariot with twisted or broken wheels doesn’t roll very well. At best, it is not going to go very fast.
The Egyptians had chased the Israelites into the Red Sea and then found themselves on disabled chariots. At just the right moment, when the Israelites were safe and the Egyptians were at their most vulnerable, God caused the walls of water to rush back into place (see verse 26). Verse 28 describes the scope of the destruction, “…of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained.”
God was in the pillar of fire and the pillar of cloud, protecting His people.
God does not always work like we expect. How did He work in an unexpected way to defeat the Egyptians?