Burnsville Seventh-Day Adventists Church
Miracle at the Red Sea
By Pastor Ed Couser
Before retiring from the United States Air Force Reserves, I served as the Wing Reserve Chaplain at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. One of my responsibilities was to ensure that all the Reserve Chaplains were up to date on their required yearly training. So, once a year three days of training was scheduled to ensure that all were in compliance. Following this training, we would meet together as a team and go through a “lessons learned exercise.” Here we would identify what went well, and areas to improve for next time. Then we would send a written report to our superiors. In this article, I plan to take a similar approach to the miracle at the Red Sea. Why? Because I have a tendency to repeat Israel’s history in their experience with God, in my own heart.
After 400 years of bondage in Egypt the children of Israel were finally leaving and on their way to the promised land. The Passover was behind them, but soon they would be looking for an overpass. From their experience we learn that they did not need an overpass, because God was with them. Because of God’s intervention on their behalf, they were able to pass through the Red Sea on dry land.
Please read in your Bibles Exodus 13: 17, 18. To me, as the Red Sea miracle unfolds, there are four important points that emerge. They are: (1). God’s presence with Israel. (2). The pursuit of Israel. (3). The panic of Israel. (4). The provision for Israel. In this article, the focus will be on “the presence of God with Israel.” God’s presence is seen in His directions for them.
Read exodus 13: 17, 18. Now we would think God might direct them in the shortest route from Egypt to the Promised Land. But Exodus 13:18 says, “God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.” What could have been a rather short and easy trip became a long and difficult one. So why would God direct them the long and difficult way? Is it because they needed the exercise? They would appreciate their freedom more? Was it God being difficult with them? To me, there is one answer why God directed them the long and difficult way rather than the short and easy way. The answer is found in Deuteronomy 8:2: “And thou shall remember all the way which the Lord thy God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove to you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.” God directed them the long and difficult way rather than the short and easy way for the same reason He sometimes leads us the long and difficult way: to humble us and to see what’s in our hearts and whether we’ll obey His commandments.
To me, it seems the easier life is, the more self-sufficient we become. The more difficult life is, the more God-sufficient we become. Question: Do we seek God more when life is smooth sailing or when we find ourselves in a storm? That’s why I need to learn to praise Him in all things. Praise Him during the smooth times, and praise Him during the stormy times. We will never have a better opportunity to show those around us the difference Jesus makes in our lives, than during the hard times in life we face. When life is smooth sailing and we talk about how good God is and how wonderful it is to experience His blessings – those who do not know Jesus may think – “well if I had your life, your job, your money, I’d be praising God too!” But let the bottom drop out and hardship comes and then those around us hear us praising God and talking about how wonderful and trustworthy He is, some may be influenced to think “hey, there really is something to knowing Jesus.”
We will never have a better opportunity to influence others for Jesus than during the tests and trials of life. Because it is during these times, we learn what it really means to trust in God and lean on Him. Hebrews 13:5b says,” I (Jesus) will never leave you or forsake you.” It seems that God uses the difficult times to: test us, try us, toughen us up, to get ready for something wonderful to come – His second coming!
God Bless You,