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Exodus 13-15

by Chuck Smith

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine (13:1-2).

All right, now you see God had spared the firstborn. In all of Egypt they were all wiped out. So God is saying, “All right now set aside all the firstborn, they’re Mine.” The firstborn child always belonged to God; it was set apart for God. God claimed the firstborn, not only of the children but also of the animals that were born. So we get now the law of the redemption of the firstborn.

And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of the hand of the Lord he brought you out from this place: [and ye shall no more] there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day that you came out in the month of April. And it shall be when the Lord shall bring you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto your fathers to give to thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. Seven days thou shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day it shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be any leaven in all of your houses. For thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, the lord’s law may be in your mouth: for with a strong hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. And thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. It shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, to give it to you, That you shalt set apart unto the Lord all that opens the matrix, and every firstling that comes of the beast which you have; or the males shall be the Lord’s. And every firstling of a donkey thou shalt redeem it with a lamb; if thou wilt not redeem it, then you’re to break its neck: the firstborn of man among the children thou shalt redeem. And it shall be when thy son asks thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of the hand of the Lord he brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage (13:3-14):

So the firstborn son, whether it be the firstborn son or the firstborn animal, that was a male that had to be redeemed. The first donkey that was born of this particular mother was the Lord’s.

Now if you wanted to keep the donkey and use it, then you had to buy it from the Lord, was the idea. God claimed the firstborn of all the animals. If you wanted to keep it for yourself, then you had to purchase it from God. You had to redeem it. If you didn’t redeem it, then you had to kill it, the donkey, or the cow or whatever. If you wanted to keep—or the ox, you wanted to keep it, then you had to redeem it. You had to buy it from God.

The same with your child, the firstborn male child was God’s, belonged to God. Then you had to redeem that child from God, offering sacrifice unto the Lord to redeem the child. So when your children—again God is trying to create questions in the minds of the children. “When your children shall ask you, saying, What is this? Then you shall tell them how that the Lord brought you out of Egypt, slaying the firstborn by His strength,” and so forth, “He brought you out.”

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that opens the matrix, being males; but the firstborn of my children I redeem (13:15).

So the firstborn became a sacrifice unto God. But you couldn’t sacrifice a donkey; so you could keep the donkey and sacrifice the lamb. But the firstborn became a sacrifice unto the Lord.

It shall be for a token upon your hand, and for the frontlets between your eyes: for by strength of the hand of the Lord he brought us forth out of Egypt (13:16).

Now this “frontlets between your eyes and token upon your hands”, you’ll notice if you go over to the Wailing Wall how that the orthodox Jews when they come down, they’ll wrap themselves with these little boxes that they wrap on their wrists. Then they’ll wrap the strap up their arm before they go up to the wall to pray. Also, they’ll wrap another little leather box there on their forehead.

In these little boxes are copies of the commandments of God. So they are to bind them to their wrists, and to their forehead. It’s so that the idea on their forehead, that it might be in my mind to do the will of God; on your hand that it might be on the strength of your hand to do service to the Lord. And so the idea of doing service with my hands, and my mind being upon the law of God, and my hand doing the law of God. So they do this before they pray at the wall. They’ll strap themselves and it is on their hand and on the frontlet, on their forehead, that it might be signifying, really, the mind to do the will of God, and the hand to do the work of God.

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was the closest route; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led them about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had strictly sworn the children of Israel, saying, [Or he had strictly sworn the children of Israel, it was a strict thing with him.] that God will surely visit you; ye shall carry up my bones from here with you (13:17-20).

So they carried the remains of Joseph, the bones of Joseph that they might bury them when they came into the land, when they came out of Egypt.

Now the interesting thing is that by far the closest route to Israel would be right up the coast. It’d be the easiest way to go. Right through the land of the Philistines, right on into the land. They could actually make the journey within a week or so and be in the land. But God knew that they were not yet prepared. That if the Philistines would come out to meet them with war, their faith in God was not yet strong enough. Fear would grip their hearts; they would seek to return to Egypt.

So the wilderness experience is necessary in order that they might have the experiences of trusting in God, learning what it is to have faith in God, learning the power of God. So that when they did finally come into the land and face the enemies, they would have great confidence and faith in God to deliver the land into their hands. So we find the wilderness experiences are experiences where they are learning how that God can meet their needs no matter what they be. That God is sufficient to take care of their needs, and how that God will answer and will respond to their prayers and to their needs.

So they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light to go by day and night (13:20-21):

For they needed to get out of there, and so they were traveling day and night for a while. In the daytime the cloud was in front of them to lead them, following the cloud. At nighttime there was the light in the sky to lead them, and they walked in the light of this fire, this flaming fire at night in the sky that was there to direct them.

And he took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people (13:22).


Chapter 14

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baalzephon: before it shall encamp by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness has shut them in. And I will harden [or make stiff] the Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And so he made ready his chariots, and he took his people with him: He took six hundred chosen chariots, and all of the chariots of Egypt, and the captains over every one of them. And the Lord made stiff the heart of Pharaoh the king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with a high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and he overtook them as they were encamping by the sea, besides Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. And when Pharaoh drew night, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said to Moses, Hey was it because there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you’ve taken us away to die in the wilderness? why have you dealt with us like this, to carry us out of Egypt? Is this not the word which we told you in Egypt saying, Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? It would’ve been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than to die here in the wilderness (14:1-12).

The Lord led the children of Israel, and He turned them down into this valley, towards Baalzephon, a mountain range. On the other side of them was Pihahiroth another mountain range. So they went right down into the valley towards the Red Sea. A mountain range on the right, a mountain range on their left, the Red Sea in front of them. Now the dust of the Egyptian army as they come up behind them and they seal off the valley.

When they told Pharaoh where the children of Israel had gone, he laughed. He said, “Oh they don’t know anything about this land. They’ve gone right into a trap. They can’t get out of there, the land has swallowed them up.” They were trapped.

Now at this point the people started to cry against Moses, and well might they cry at Moses. He showed here a bit of stupidity leading them into this valley of which there is no escape. No way out. They said, “Hey, what are you doing? I guess there just wasn’t enough graves back in Egypt, you brought us out here to bury us in the wilderness because there, didn’t we tell you to leave us alone? What are we doing following you? We’d be better off being servants back there than being dead here. Better dead than red”, or red than dead or something. “Why have you done this to us?” Really began to give Moses a rough time.

This is the beginning of it for Moses. He’s going to have a rough time with these people from here on out. So many times we look at a leader in an envious way, thinking, “Oh my, he’s so lucky he gets to lead the people.” Just follow the account of Moses and you’ll see how lucky he was. “Why have you dealt with us to carry us out of Egypt? Didn’t we tell you to leave us alone? We’d been better to serve the Egyptians than to die here in the wilderness”.

Moses said unto the people, Fear not, [They cried out, “Oh great, our leader has a plan”, then he said,] stand still, see the salvation of the Lord (14:13),

“Oh he’s crazy, we were crazy to follow him. What are we doing here?” “Don’t be afraid. Stand still, see the salvation of the Lord.” “Come on, Moses.”

which he will show you today: for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see them again. The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me (14:13-15)?

Now Moses assured the people, then he started crying unto God. “Don’t be afraid, stand still. See the salvation of the Lord. Those Egyptians? You’re never going to see them again. God’s going to fight for you, now you just hold your peace.” Then he gets in, “Oh God”, you know. “What are we going to do?” I like this. The Lord said, “Hey, why are you crying unto Me?” “Well, I’ll tell you why I’m crying to you. I’m in trouble. We’re in a trap.” But God said, “Wherefore criest thou unto me?”

In other words, there’s a time to move. There’s a time for action. There’s a time when we get off of our knees and start moving. God has a time to pray for sure. But then there’s also the time when we need to start moving. That’s what God said, “Hey wherefore criest thou unto Me? Get moving. Now’s the time that you need to be moving.”

speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward (14:15):

“I can’t do that Lord they’ll stone me for sure. There’s a Red Sea in front of them. How can I speak unto them to go forward?”

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, they’ll follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh (14:16-17),

God says, “I’m going to get that guy yet.” He says, “Who is the Lord? I don’t know him.”

And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten honour upon the Pharaoh, and upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them (14:18-19).

Now the cloud had been leading them, and now the Lord takes the cloud and puts it behind them, and lets it settle down so that the Egyptians find themselves in a heavy fog; can’t see a thing. Now the light is still out in front of the children of Israel so they can see what’s going on. The pillar of fire is still there. The children of Israel are walking still in the light of the pillar of fire, but the cloud is settled on the Egyptians; they don’t know what’s going on in there in the camp of Israel. But what is going on is that God brought a strong east wind, and it divided the Red Sea. He heaped it up on both sides, and by the east wind, dried the bottom of the sea so that,

The children of Israel walked through the midst of the Red sea on dry ground (14:22):

You say, “Oh, I can’t believe that.” Well I feel sorry for you. Just how big is your god anyhow? You know I feel sorry for people that have to make excuses for God and say, “Well it was really the Sea of Reeds, and it’s really very shallow. It’s only a foot or so deep. Many times the strong winds will actually drive the sea back, and there are portions that you can cross that sea because it’s at the best two or three feet at the worst. And so it was just the Sea of Reeds, the shallow marshy pond, and they were able to cross it. You see it really wasn’t a miracle at all. God really didn’t heap up the waters on both sides as He said. It was just a shallow little marshy pond that they passed through.

My, what a marvelous miracle that God could drown a whole Egyptian army in a shallow, marshy pond. One way or another you’ve got to face a miracle in this story. You can’t get away from it. It’s there. Now I’d rather just believe it like it’s written. Just believe it like God said. God’s big enough. I have no problem with the power of God, the greatness of God. And as I told you, God is going to teach them now to trust in Him. But the first thing He has to teach them is that He can make a way when there is no way.

Now I want you to look at this thing again. They’re in a trap, very definitely in a trap. Why are they in the trap? Because God led them in the trap. God said to Moses, “All right, turn on down here towards Baalzephon.” It was God who led Moses and the children of Israel into the trap. God deliberately led them into a trap in order that He might manifest unto them His power of delivering them out of the trap, delivering them when there is no way of deliverance. God can make a way where there is no way.

Now many times in our lives, God leads us into impossible situations. Where we look to the right and the left, we see the mountains on both sides; we see the enemy behind and we say, “Oh woe is me. I’d have been better off if I’d stayed back there and died in slavery than to die out here in the wilderness. There’s no way out of this. There’s nothing we can do. Everything is gone. Oh there’s no hope.” We feel like God leads us into these places of just total desperation and desolation. There’s just nothing to do, in order that He might demonstrate unto us that He has resources we know nothing about. That He can make a way for us when there is no way.

It’s marvelous to be led by God because God will never lead you into anything that He won’t lead you and provide the way out. “There is no temptation taken unto you but what is common with all men, and God with the temptation will provide the way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13). “I can’t see any way out. I don’t know where to go. I don’t know where to turn. I’m surrounded. The outlook is dark. I look behind me and there’s the enemy. I look beside me and there are the mountains. I look in front of me and there’s the Red Sea.” Hey, don’t give up. Don’t despair; look up. When the outlook gets impossible, try the “up look”.

Now God has led them into the trap, and now God is going to lead them out. Takes the cloud that’s been leading them, moves behind them, and the Egyptians get lost in the fog, while God is doing His work out here. He parts the Red Sea, and by the pillar of fire, all night long the children of Israel walked through the Red Sea. The wall of water, walled up on either side of them, as they walk through the path that God has created; for God makes a way where there is no way.

Verse twenty two,

And the waters were a wall unto them on the right hand, on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them in the mist of the sea, even all of Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and the cloud, and he troubled the host of the Egyptians. And they took off their chariot wheels, that they drove them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let’s flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians. [They begin to get bogged down in the mire.] The Lord said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the mist of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses (14:22-31).

So God now is beginning to build their faith. God is beginning a work in them that is going to prepare them to come into a land of promise.

God has for each of you a glorious life of victory in Jesus Christ; many, many blessed experiences of walking with Him. But God leads us; it seems first, through the wilderness for a purpose of training and teaching us to trust in Him. Lessons of faith that are so important if I’m going to conquer and take the land that God has promised because the taking of the land is actually the appropriation of faith. “Every place you put your foot”, God said to Joshua, “I have given it you. But you’ve gotta go in and put your foot there. You’ve got to claim it.”

God has given to us exceeding rich and precious promises. You’ve got to claim them by faith. You’ve got to move in and take that which God has promised to you as His child. But before you can do it, you need to learn about God. You need to learn to trust in God, and God is teaching us the lessons of faith, and trusting in Him, showing us His abilities and His powers. So we find here the purposes of God. “The people feared the Lord”, or reverenced the Lord, “and they believed in the Lord.” Their faith now is growing.


Chapter 15

So Moses broke forth in song. Chapter fifteen is actually the song of Moses, of God’s deliverance and victory.

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and they spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war: and Jehovah is his name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his host has he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. The depths have covered them: they sank to the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O Jehovah, is become glorious in power: thy right hand O Jehovah has dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou has overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright [against them] as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea (15:1-8).

It is interesting to me, “The blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together”; the Bible says “A strong east wind”. Now this is putting it in sort of a figurative sense, “the blast of God’s nostrils, the strong east wind”. So next time the Santa Ana wind blows, just think the “blast of His nostrils”; sneezed.

The enemy said, [This is neat figurative language and I like it, it’s picturesque. “The enemy said”,] I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be satisfied upon them; I’ll draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. But you did blow with thy wind, and the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters. Who is like unto thee O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders. You stretched out your right hand, and the earth swallowed them. You and Your mercy have led forth your people which you have redeemed: and you have girded them unto thy strength unto thy holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold upon the inhabitants of Palestina. And the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; and the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; and all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away (15:9-15).

So the experiences now are preparing me for the future victories, for the future conquests. God through His work now is just preparing my life for that future work that He’s planning to do. Ephesians four tells us that, “Ye are His workmanship, created together in Christ Jesus, unto the good works that God has before ordained that you should walk in them”.

In other words, God already has the plan for your life, and He’s preparing you for that plan. Right now God is working in you. What is the purpose? That He might prepare you for those works He’s already prepared for you.

Now later on we’re going to have another song of Moses when we get into Deuteronomy where they acknowledge that all the way God led them. Through their wilderness experience, God led them. He went before them and prepared a place for them to pitch their tent. God was hovering over them as an eagle over her children. God hovered over them there in their wilderness experience; God was there. They were learning, trusting God. They were learning the providential care of God. They were learning the concern of God for His people. Even as we are learning now as God prepares us for those victories that He wants us to go into in His name. Into that territory that He wants us to conquer and to possess for His glory. And so this beautiful song of deliverance and praise, declaring the glory of God.

The fear that will come upon their enemies, Verse sixteen.

Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till the people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which you have purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, and in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever (15:16-18).

So that acknowledgment of God, of His power, of His glory, of His purposes that He shall bring to pass and how that He shall reign forever and ever.

For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. Now Miriam [Who was the older sister of Moses, and was called a prophetess.] she is also the sister of Aaron, [Who was the brother of Moses.] took a timbrel in her hand; and all of the women went out after her with their timbrels and with their dances. And Miriam answered them, Sing unto the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea (15:19-21).

Now the Jewish people are a beautiful people as far as exuberance, and life, and excitement. You get them going and it’s really—it’s really a joy. They love to dance; they love to sing.

You that were with us a couple of years ago, remember that last night up at Carphelagi (sp). We had the big celebration. And then all of the bus drivers that we had that year, all got together and started singing all the songs that they’d sung from the time that they were little kids in school. Sort of a time of, “Oh remember this one?” They’d start out, and man, they’d get into it. Clapping, standing up and stomping, and just, “Hey”, you know the whole thing. They really love to get into it, you know. You notice their music; it’s got a real beat. There’s a lot of life to it, and there’s just, you know, they really love to get into it. They’re great to be around because of their exuberance, and they really get into it.

Thus I can in my mind picture this whole thing. Moses breaking forth into song of God’s power, and God’s deliverance. Miriam now, his older sister, coming out with a tambourine, and all the women coming out. This big dance going on, and the celebration for God has brought great deliverance for His people. God has brought great victory. And you know, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little excited and showing a little emotion when you think of all that God has done.

Isn’t it interesting how that we go to a football game or a baseball game, and we see a guy dressed like a duck? Or a chicken? And he goes around and he gets all the people whooping it up, you know. He’s hitting, getting them to clap in a beat and all this kind of stuff. And you see this character down there and you say, “Oh man he’s a real fan.”

But if in church, a person dares to smile, they say, “Man, he’s a fanatic.” One’s a fan; the other’s a fanatic. You’re showing a little emotion because of what God has wrought. Really, I think that it’s great to, to sometimes get a little emotional over God, and over the things of God, and over the work of God, and over the victory of God.

Now I don’t believe in emotionalism. There’s a vast difference between emotion and emotionalism. Emotionalism is emotion just for emotion’s sake. But getting emotional over God I think is neat. Getting excited over God, getting excited over the work of God. I love it, you know, when there’s that charged atmosphere. “Oh, see what God did tonight? Oh isn’t that neat?” You know and you’re just really into it with the Lord. I love it.

I don’t think that God intended that all of our relationship with Him be very pious, and very somber and very formal. I think that God wants us to just enjoy His presence. And I think that He enjoys it when we get excited over Him, and over His victories. Actually there’s something exciting about victory. The Lord has triumphed gloriously. They’re singing of the victory of God. He’s triumphed gloriously. Oh, when I think of the triumphs of God in my life, oh praise the Lord He triumphs gloriously. Thank You, Jesus. It’s neat.

Now the difference between emotions and emotionalism would be if I would go to the football game and I’m watching my team, and I’m there in the stands rooting for my team, and we’re behind twenty-three to seventeen, and there’s eighteen seconds to go. But we’re clear back on our ten-yard line. We used up all of our time-outs. The quarterback gets the ball, and the linemen are rushing him. Someone missed their block, he’s just about tackled, but he lets go of the football, throws it down the field, and down the sidelines, the tight-end is racing. He reaches out his hands and the ball falls right in his hands, and he races into the end zone.

Do you know what I’m going to be doing? I’m not going to just be sitting there and saying, “My, isn’t that wonderful? My.” Listen, I’m going to be whistling. I’m going to be jumping up and down. I’m going to be waving my hands. I’m going to be screaming and yelling. I’m a fan. Then with the extra point, right through the middle of the upright. Again the screaming, the whistling, the shouting, the excitement. That’s emotion. “We won.” People don’t say, “What’s the matter with that weirdo? Look how emotional he is.”

Now the difference between that and emotionalism is that if I would go out the next day, when there are no teams on the field and alone in the stands. I go through the same actions that I went through the night before, jumping up and down, whistling, throwing up my hands in the air, yelling and screaming; that’s emotionalism. That I’m not interested in.

But I’ll tell you it doesn’t hurt to get excited over God, and over the works of God, and over the victories that God has wrought within our lives. I don’t know but that isn’t why God loves His people so much, because they show a little bit of emotion, when God works. They’re capable of showing them. I do think that God sort of appreciates our getting excited over Him and over His works.

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went for three days into the wilderness, and they found no water. [So, they’re in trouble.] And when they came to Marah, they could not drink the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore they called it Marah (15:22-23).

Which means “bitter”. Remember Naomi said, “Don’t call me Naomi which means “pleasantness”, call me Marah, because God has dealt bitterly with me.” So the waters of Marah. They came to this water finally after three days. They went to drink it and it was bitter. They couldn’t drink it. So they said, “Oh Marah”. Bitter.

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink (15:24)?

Oh, Moses you’ve got your hands full. Now here they are dancing, the timbrels are out, they’re singing of God’s victory, just wiped out the Egyptians. How quickly we forget the power of God. “We’re going to die of thirst. Give us water to drink.”

And so he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet (15:25):

So they’re learning, they’re learning about God. They’re getting acquainted with God. God can take the bitter experiences of your life and bring sweetness out of them. Those areas that are so bitter for us, we tasted them, and we found such bitterness. Yet God can turn them around and bring sweetness out of them. Of course the difference was the tree cast in the water. That tree, in our case, being the cross of Jesus Christ, which so transforms everything in our lives, and makes the bitter to become sweet.

And the Lord said, If [So it’s conditional, “If”,] you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am Jehovah that healeth thee (15:26).

So they’re coming now into an even deeper relationship with God, a covenant relationship. God said, “Right now if you will keep My statutes, My laws, My commandments, then I will keep you. I’ll not put upon you any of the diseases or afflictions that came upon the Egyptians. For I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Jehovah-Rapha, a healer, the Lord that healeth thee.

There is a very interesting book called, “None of These Diseases” written by a medical doctor, in which he goes into the law that God gave to Moses, and into especially the dietary aspects of the law, and into the washing ordinances within the law, and actually shows that if a person would keep the law of Moses; that it was a sanitary code among other things. And that by the keeping of the law, following the laws of sanitation, and diet and so forth, that a person would live a much healthier life, that there are the rules of health in the law of God. “None of These Diseases”; Dr. Maxwell is it that wrote the book? A medical doctor, but he’s taken the law and shown the value of the law as a sanitary code, as a health code, and so forth.

So the promise being if you keep the law and so forth, then I will keep you. “I’m the Lord that heals you.” But the healing is so often through preventative measures, of proper diet, proper sanitation and so forth. So as we get into the law of Moses, we’re going to find that much of it deals with just health, and healthy practices. God wants you to be healthy, and He’s given you the rules. He says, “Keep these and you’ll be healthy. None of these diseases that came upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”

And so they came to Elim, where there were twelve wells of water and there were seventy palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters (15:27).

So now God bringing them into that place of refreshment, refreshing themselves in Him. Learning the ways of God, learning about God, being prepared for the experiences that God has ahead for them, as He brings them into the fullness of His blessing and promises.

Next week we’ll begin with chapter sixteen moving on in the book of Exodus. Shall we stand? May the Lord bless and keep you in the love of Jesus Christ. May the Lord work in your life this week in a special way, bringing forth victory out of seeming defeat. Revealing that way when there seems to be no way. May you experience God’s hand upon your life as He trains, as He teaches, as He develops His work of love and grace within your life, as He prepares you for the future, and for those things that He wants you to possess of His grace and of His glory. May the Lord strengthen you, and cause your life to be a witness for Him in Jesus’ name.

Chuck Smith

Pastor Chuck Smith began his ministry at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, in 1965, with just twenty-five people.