When I think of this story I often think of the lyrics of the song ‘No longer slaves,’ which say “You split the sea so I could walk right through it. My fears were drowned in perfect love. You rescued me so I can stand and sing, ‘I am a child of God’.”
This is a rescue story of epic proportions and the incredible supernatural events that unfold in this chapter, which enable the Israelites to walk into freedom, are amazing. Because they were God’s children and they had cried out to Him, he made a way out of slavery and then certain death for them. Jesus did the same for us and it is no less breathtaking and spectacular what he has done for us.
But the salvation of the people wasn’t the only purpose and outcome of the events of this chapter. It was also about God’s glory. He had promised the Israelites an inheritance of the Promised Land. He had told Pharaoh to let His people go. He was now going to show both the Israelites and the Egyptians that he was absolutely capable of fulfilling His promises under any circumstances, and powerful enough to overthrow anyone who tried to oppose Him.
In verses 4, 17 & 18 we see God’s passion for His glory:
“ I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord.” (v4)
“And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” (v17-18)
God orchestrates every part of this story to maximise His glory, leading the children of Israel back on themselves and getting them to camp by The Red Sea, moving the cloud of smoke to shield them, interfering in the wheels of the chariots and controlling the sea to make a way and to destroy.
In verse 25 we see that the Egyptians are very clear on who is in charge and to be feared: “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
And finally in verse 30, “Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.”