Exodus 13 begins with the LORD commanding the Israelites to dedicate every firstborn male, human and animal to the LORD. From this point forward all firstborn males in Israel belong to the LORD. The clarification for this is that all of the firstborn Israelites escaped death in Egyptian plague, not because they did anything to be worthy, but because of God’s grace. Since God redeemed their lives, they now belonged to the LORD as will all future firstborn of Israel. The birth and dedication of every firstborn son was an occasion to remember what God did to rescue the Israelites. When you consider of the big picture, it was God that changed the course of history; He brought the Israelites out from slavery in Egypt and He made them into a nation. The Israelites are reminded that their survival and existence is because the LORD has saved and redeemed them.
Additionally God established the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a seven day annual commemoration of their exit from Egypt and the redeeming of every firstborn male and animal of the Israelites. This celebration and consecration will be a sign for the Israelites; the blood sign of the sacrificed lamb on the door posts of Egypt saved the firstborn of Israel, now the Israelites were to place a sign on their hand and forehead to indicate who they belonged to – the LORD God Almighty who redeemed them with mighty works.
God led the Israelites out of Egypt and into the desert. The Israelites went out from the land prepared for battle, that is with confidence and defiant attitude and they took the bones of Joseph with them; no turning back now. God led them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night; they traveled day and night following the direction of the LORD. God never left them; day and night he was leading the Israelites.
God has one more deliverance from Egypt; this will mark the division between bondage in Egypt and the establishment of Israel as a nation. The LORD will finally and completely deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh’s dominion. The LORD directs the Israelites to turn back and camp next to the Red Sea. This apparent wandering and camping in a vulnerable place cause Pharaoh to think the Israelites are confused and ripe for recapture. But God was in control, it was all a part of His plan and intended for His glory.
Pharaoh and his people decided they would defy the LORD and bring the Israelites back into slavery. Pharaoh sent his army, the elite of his officers and his best chariots to chase down the Israelites; they cornered the Israelites between the desert and the Red Sea. As the Egyptian army appears on the horizon the Israelite’s confidence and defiance quickly turns to fear. They instantly turned on Moses; their arrogance fails them with the present danger. Moses calmly delivers the LORD’s message, “Do not fear! Stand firm and see the salvation of the LORD that he will provide for you today; for the Egyptians that you see today you will never, ever see again. The LORD will fight for you, and you can be still”.
To stand firm means to station yourself without fleeing; the Israelites wanted to flee but when they stand, they will see the Salvation of the LORD. Moses assures the people that the LORD will do the work this day, you can be still – but even more you must be still and stand, then you will see, know and experience the LORD’s deliverance. What an incredible message for us today, we need to stand firm, in our faith knowing that the same God who delivered Israel by mighty works redeems us this day. We are still called to stand firm, be still and stand firm and then we will see the LORD’s deliverance.
God instructs Moses to tell the people to move and God opens the way. The LORD moved the dark cloud and pillar of fire from the front of the Israelites to the rear of the people; God stood firm without moving, stationing Himself as the rear guard. There was dark night was on the Egyptian side and bright light on the Israelites side for the entire night. Moses holds up his staff towards the sea and it separates so that the Israelites could run through the middle of the sea on dry ground. They crossed the Red Sea on dry ground during the night watch, from 2am to 6am; they did so with a wall of water on their left and their right. At dawn the Egyptians aggressively chase after the Israelites into the middle of the sea, they are seemingly unaware and confused about the imminent danger. Then God throws the Egyptian army into a panic, the chariots wheels are jammed, the horses can’t move, the pursuing hordes run full force into the army of one, the LORD God Almighty. The Egyptians attempt to flee, but cannot, God’s deliverance for Israel is also the judgment against the Egyptians.
The LORD tells Moses to again extend his staff toward the sea, and the waters flowed back trapping the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The Egyptian army that the Israelites feared was destroyed by the command of the LORD. “The LORD saved Israel on that day from the power of the Egyptians. When Israel saw the great power of the LORD, they feared the LORD and believed in his servant Moses”.
“We cannot move forward until we have had a time of standing firm, waiting upon God and anticipating the ways He has planned for us. When our eyes have seen and our hearts have discerned His plans, then we can go forward with the Lord. You may be sure the Lord will not give a command without providing the way for willing hearts to obey”.