Exodus 12:51-14:12



The Bible says in Exodus 12:51, And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.”


For 430 years the divine purposes of God had allowed the children of Abraham to suffer in a cruel and terrible slavery in the kingdom of Egypt. But now had come the time in which they were freed by the great power of God and would be led to the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. All things work together for good in God’s timing.


God promised the children of Israel He would deliver them. He emphasized to them His faithfulness and reminded them time and time again of His promises and the fact that God keeps His promises. And even though the children of Israel hardened their hearts because of their sufferings, God did not cast them aside, but He still fulfilled His promise to deliver them from slavery. II Timothy 2:13 says, “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself.


It was the very day after the Passover and finally after the ten terrible plagues upon the land of Egypt, when Pharaoh let the people go. Proverbs 21:1 says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it withersoever He will.” The pagan people of Egypt certainly experienced the power of God in these days, and they learned something of the fear of the Lord. An unknown host of them undoubtedly found faith in Jehovah, for the Bible says that “a mixed multitude” went with them out of Egypt. But not only did God deliver the children of Israel from their slavery, but this new nation left as an army and blessed with gold, jewels and raiment that the people of Egypt gave to them.  And even Pharaoh with his heart like stone, so resistant to God’s goodness and grace, still played a part in accomplishing God’s purposes. For God has created all things for His glory.


Exodus chapter 13:18-22 says, “But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.


If there is anything that we should know about God it is that He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  God has indeed done the greatest act of love by giving us Jesus so that we might be forgiven of our sins through faith in Christ. But God didn’t stop there. He is always doing so much every day to help us learn about who He is, so that; we might grow in our faith in Him and have a closer relationship with our heavenly Father. This is the great adventure of life: to seek each day to find the hand of God in our life, find just what He is doing and teaching us, and to use what opportunities He gives us to build upon His eternal kingdom. The day is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.


When God lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, He did a very great miracle for them. He gave them a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, so that; they might be aware of His presence, guidance and protection in their lives: as they prepared to face new circumstances and new challenges, which would be a test and trail of their faith. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good.” God is Holy. He is perfect. God is not limited by anything including space and time. Jesus promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Verse 22 says, “God took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” The presence of God was always with the children of Israel; even during the 430 years which they served in slavery, in the land of Egypt.


God gave the miracle of the pillar of fire by day and pillar of cloud by night, so that the children of Israel would have the faith that they need in God; to be enabled to face the challenges in their life.  Of course, back in those days; the Word of God had not been given in its complete form. In fact the children of Israel had very little of the Word of God. Therefore God did physical miracles to help them in their faith and to remind them of His promises.  But concerning physical miracles and concerning God’s Word the Bible says in II Peter 1:19, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.”


You might be tempted to think that if you had a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, as a sign from the Lord of His presence, then you would have great faith to be spiritual. But God says His Word is a more sure Word of prophecy. In other words the Word of God is a more powerful source for strengthening your faith than physical miracles. And indeed it is because Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”


Some people do not understand God or the presence of God. Such people think they must go to a building to find God, or that they must go out into the wilderness away from society. Such people do not have faith. Those that worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. If you ever feel like you are far away from the presence of God, then it is because you are not thinking about the promises of God; for the eyes of the Lord are in every place beholding the evil and the good. And Jesus hath promised His children He will never leave them nor forsake them.


Why is it important to be aware of the presence of God? Well it’s just as the proverb says; the eyes of the LORD are in every place beholding the evil and the good. If you are consciously aware of the fact that God is watching you, then you will think twice before doing something that is sinful; because God is Holy and every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of in the Day of Judgment. The next time that sinners entice thee or thine own flesh entices thee, remember; God is watching you. And Psalms 34:16 says, “The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.”


Another reason that we should attempt to maintain a conscious awareness in our minds of the presence of God is the very same reason that God gave the pillar of cloud and fire to the children of Israel: to encourage our faith, to give us courage and strength in the face of struggles, trials, and in the face of spiritual opposition from the forces of darkness. Just as the stars faithfully shine in the heavens to give light to the earth at night, so too is the presence of God in the mind and heart of Him who believes God’s Word.  Psalms 84:11, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: The Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” God is our protector and provider. God is the one who fights our battles for us. Vengeance is mine saith the Lord. Joshua 1:9 says, “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the lord thy God is with thee withersoever thou goest.” Be aware of the presence of God and you will have no need for fear.


Exodus chapter 14:1-12 says, “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all His host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of His servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them: and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”


If you are familiar at all with the Old Testament then you will not be surprised with the way the children of Israel reacted to this temptation of pharaoh in Exodus chapter 14.  Even with the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night, to remind the people of God’s presence, as soon as pharaoh and his army approached the people; the people cried out unto the Lord from a lack of faith and from a spirit of fear.  It seems strange does it not, that the children of Israel would be so quick and easy to fail in their faith in JEHOVAH? After all God had given them many promises and they had just experience the redemptive power of God, as God sent ten plagues to lay to waste the land of Egypt.


In looking at verse 2-3 of Exodus chapter 14, it is obvious that God brought the children of Israel to a specific place where they would be trapped between the red sea and the army of pharaoh. This is because once again God was going to reveal His power; in the parting of the red sea and in the destruction of pharaoh’s army. If God be for us who can be against us?


Why is it that the children of Israel so easily failed in their faith in this particular situation? Undoubtedly under normal circumstances it would be a fearful and bleak situation to be trapped between a sea and an army bent on destroying you. But with the recent experiences that the children of Israel had and the evident presence of God, the children of Israel should have had the strength and courage that they needed.


There are three basic reasons the children of Israel failed in their faith: they forgot the presence of the Lord, they did not remember God’s promises and the great works He had recently done for them, and they still had Egypt in their hearts.


Jesus said that those who worship God must worship Him in Spirit and in truth. The Bible also says that the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.  Before you are tempted by your physical circumstances, and when you are tempted by the storms of life and the spiritual opposition of the forces of darkness; you had better remember the presence of God. Jesus said in John 14:16-17, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwell eth with you, and shall be in you.” Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” We live in the age of grace. We don’t need physical miracles like a pillar of cloud and fire to help us see the presence of God, because we have the Spirit of God inside of us and we have the complete Word of God. The Bible says to grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed until the day of redemption. If you can’t seem to find the presence of God in your life, then perhaps you need to confess your sins. And you most certainly need to remember the promises of God, because Jesus said “Lo, I am with you always, even unto the ends of the earth.”


Jude 17 says, “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. How often do we find ourselves in the face of spiritual opposition or the physical storms of life, and we react just as the children of Israel did? If we remember the promises of God, we will not only be aware of the presence of God; but we will be aware of the great power that He has to protect us, provide for us, and to fight our battles for us. Because the Lord is my strength and salvation and a very present help in time of need. Psalms 34:6 says, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”


And thirdly the reason that the children of Israel failed in the face of opposition from pharaoh is because they still had Egypt in their hearts.  In Exodus 14:12 Israel said, “For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” Egypt is used in the Bible as a picture of the world. Israel had it wrong. It is better to serve God and die in the wilderness than to serve in Egypt and die in Egypt, because Jesus is the resurrection and the life and no man cometh to the Father but by Him. God may lead you into the wilderness in this life, but in the resurrection; He will lead you into the eternal land of promise.


I John 2:15-16 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”  If the world: the lusts of the world, the philosophies of the world, and all the lies of the world are in your heart; then you will most certainly not see the presence of God burning bright in your life, like a pillar of fire.  And you most certainly will not be meditating upon and delighting in the law, and promises of God; day and night.


God said, “Let there be light.” Do you see the Word of God burning the presence and the holiness of God into you mind and heart? “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Psalms 119:9 says, “Howwithal shall a young man cleanse His way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy Word.”


Perhaps you have never experienced the presence of God in your life.  Perhaps your life knows nothing but the destructive lusts of this world. Perhaps you know nothing but fear and defeat in the face of the storms of life. And perhaps you still are bound in the chains of sin, and are a slave to the Egypt of this world. Today is the day of salvation. Turn from your sins and turn to Jesus. Christ died for your sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day. There is forgiveness for sins, there is eternal life, and there is victory and peace in this life that awaits you: if you only accept the free gift of God’s only begotten Son. There is redemption in the blood of Jesus Christ. Will you pray to Him right now and receive Jesus as your Savior?




Copyright; 2003 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved