Sep 17 – 15 Pentecost
Crossing the Red Sea
The Pursuers Drowned
Background: The book of Exodus chronicles the search for Israel’s identity. One could say that Exodus is Israel’s response to and explication for the questions “Who are you?” and “To whom do you belong?” The Israelites have taken flight from Pharaoh, initially with Pharaoh’s blessing. Israel prevails at the Red Sea as God makes a dry path for Israel and in the process destroys Egypt.
Theme: Following the final plague, Moses and Aaron lead the Israelites toward the Promise land. Pharaoh has a change of heart and attempts to recapture the Israelites as they reach the Sea. God intervenes and provides dry ground for Israel to cross ahead of the Egyptian army and then to utterly destroy the Egyptian army in the tumultuous sea.
Questions to Ponder:
* Please read Exodus 14:19-31. In addition, ready Exodus 14:1-18 for context.
* Place this reading in context; where does it take place, who are the characters, what is the relationship between the characters, etc.?
* What has happened that has led Israel to cross the sea as they are in flight in front of the Egyptian Army?
* Why might the Egyptian Army be chasing Israel considering the effects of the plague on all of Egypt?
* At what time do you think Israel was passing through the sea? Why would that time be incredible for the crossing to take place?
* Ironically, it appears the Egyptians were not afraid to pursue the Israelites into the sea in the darkness yet they became afraid to continue chasing as the sun came up. Why might that be?
* What is ironic about the fate of the Israelites, especially compared to the opening of Exodus when Pharaoh planned to decimate Israel by drowning?
* For what reason do you think the Egyptian Army would be panicking in verse 24?
* For what reason might the Egyptians believe that God (יהוה) was fighting for Israel (in verse 25)?
* Do you think the Egyptians recognized God (יהוה) for who God was or might they simply believe God (יהוה) was another powerful deity?
* In verse 31, it appears that Israel has had a change of heart and begins to fear God and trust Moses. Why might that be? What was the Israelite’s disposition to God and Moses before?
* It appears God may have set Pharaoh and the Egyptian Army up – essentially murdering them. Why might God’s hardening of their heart not be something for us to find disturbing?
* Do you think there is a time when we see God work in our favor in the way God worked in this story?
* What is the application of this story for us?
* Does this imagery apply to our message of hope and salvation today?