Sermon

The Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 13-15)

The Journey from Egypt to Sinai

The 10th plague came, and Yahweh killed the firstborn of the Egyptians. Pharaoh, in great distress, told the Hebrews to “go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel’ and go, serve the Lord, as you have said” (Ex 12:31). With the Plagues and the Passover occurring, we now enter a new section of Exodus in which the Hebrews journey from bondage in Egypt to Mount Sinai where Yahweh gave them His law for the new nation of Israel.

The Exodus from Egypt

The Hebrews were spared from the 10th plague because of the substitutionary sacrifice that God provided. The houses that sacrificed a lamb and applied the blood to the doorpost was passed over by the Destroyer. Yahweh then told Moses “sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me” (Ex 13:2). The first offspring of the beasts were to be sacrificed to Yahweh and the male firstborn were to be sanctified and devoted to the Lord to serve Him. According to one Jewish source, “Originally, the firstborn sons were to have been the priests of the Jewish nation, who would serve in the Tabernacle and in the Temple and be the spiritual leaders. When [Yahweh] spared the Jewish firstborn during the Plague of the Firstborn in Egypt, He ‘acquired’ them and designated them for this special role.”

God Leads His People

Yahweh leads the Hebrews out with a powerful hand (Ex 13:14). Yahweh “did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines” (Ex 13:17). Rather, He “led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea” (Ex 13:18). God did this because they were not prepared for the war that would come. They had been in Egypt for 430 years (Ex 12:40) and had known no other place. Undoubtedly, Yahweh could have driven out the Philistines without any difficulty, but His plan involved Mount Sinai. Remember, that Yahweh appeared to Moses at “Horeb, the mountain of God” (Ex 3:1) which is another name for Mt. Sinai (see Ex 19:23 & Deut 5:2) and told him that after the Hebrews are led out of Egypt they will worship Him “at this mountain” (Ex 3:12). He led them by a pillar of cloud by day and by a pillar of fire by night.

The Red Sea Crossing

Yahweh was not finished with Pharaoh yet and “hardened the heart of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he chased after the sons of Israel as the sons of Israel were going out boldly” (Ex 14:8). The Hebrews saw Pharaoh and his army coming after them “and they became very frightened; so the sons of Israel cried out to Yahweh” (Ex 14:10). They also railed against Moses saying, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?” (Ex 14:11). We also get a glimpse into the stubbornness of the people when they also said to Moses, “Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness” (Ex 14:12). They were so fearful that they could not see any hope and would rather go back to slavery in Egypt than go forward with Yahweh.

Moses said, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of Yahweh which He will accomplish for you today” (Ex 14:13). The angel of God moved between the Hebrews and the Egyptians to shield them. Then “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and Yahweh swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided” (Ex 14:21). The Hebrews went through on dry land. The Egyptians then began to pursue them across the Red Sea “so Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at day break, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then Yahweh overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea” (Ex 14:27).

The Song of Moses

With their deliverance from the Egyptians, Moses composed a song[1] of praise and thanksgiving to Yahweh. In this song, Moses reflected on Yahweh’s judgment on Egypt and deliverance of Israel. Moses praises Yahweh calling Him, “my strength and son and He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him” (Ex 15:2). Moses then mentioned how Yahweh’s power demonstrated through these events would cause their future enemies to be afraid. In this wonderful song, we are told of Yahweh’s excellent greatness. Moses speaks of Yahweh’s “excellence of Your greatness” (7), “glorious in holiness” (11), “in Your mercy have led forth” (13), “the greatness of Your arm” (16). Moses then declares, “Yahweh shall reign forever and ever” (18).

Our Song of Praise

The events of the Exodus serve as a reminder of God’s holiness, power, and mercy. It is a reminder that we can trust God completely, especially when we cannot see what His plan entails. As I prepared for this sermon, I could not stop thinking of the reaction of the children of Israel when they saw the Egyptians coming after them. In fear, they longed to go back to the slavery of Egypt. Even though they could not see how God was going to deliver them, God always had a plan and it was working just as He wanted.

There will be times in your life when you must trust that God is in absolute control even when everything around you seem to tell you otherwise. It is in these moments that you must have faith! God is faithful. God is merciful. God is glorious. God is love. God demonstrated His love for us through Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”


[1] This is most likely the first writing of Moses, composed soon after the Exodus.