Pharaoh fell headlong for the trap, and led his best and brightest into the heart of the sea. Can you sense the panic as the Israelites turned back to see Pharaoh storming after them? But Exodus 14:24 says, “During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion.”
What was the last watch? In ancient Israel, soldiers took turns standing guard throughout the night. The last watch, was just before the dawn of a new day.
Their crisis by the sea lasted all night long. Have you ever had a long night? St. John of the Cross wrote a book called, “The Dark Night of the Soul.” A dark night is a period of doubt, uncertainty, fear, and confusion. You know God is leading you, but the enemy is on your heels, showing no sign of retreat. You’re exhausted, tired of living in emergency mode. It seems like the night will never end.
During the last watch, God threw Pharaoh’s army into confusion. In the middle of the sea, surrounded by walls of water, their chariot wheels started falling off. In the chaos, they exclaimed, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” Moses then lifted his hands and the massive watery walls came crashing down. Exodus 14:28 says, “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”
It’s not surprising we find no outside historical account of this colossal defeat. The kings of Egypt would never commemorate such a humiliating loss, especially one suffered in pursuit of runaway slaves.
The great escape at the Red Sea teaches us that God is our deliverer. Throughout their history, whenever Israel was hemmed in, they pointed back to this moment for hope. Unfortunately, Israel would lose their homeland, and be exiled to Babylon centuries later. Their banishment reminded them so much of their years of slavery. To encourage them the prophet Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 43:2-3, “…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you…”
Ultimately, the parting of the sea helps us appreciate the even greater miracle of our salvation in Jesus Christ. We also were once trapped. On one side was our spiritual adversary, the devil, and on the other the record of our sins and failures, separating us from a relationship with God. But on the cross, Jesus made a way through the sea. His death and resurrection became the great bridge, allowing us to cross the divide and enjoy peace and friendship with God.
Have you crossed over yet? Are you still standing on the other side looking for another way to escape? There is no other way. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Put your faith in what he’s done, and he will deliver you.
God is worth waiting on. It might seem like the longest night of your life, but a new day is about to dawn. Don’t give up now. God is about to fulfill his promise. If God loved you enough to send Jesus to save you, every other trap we face is small in comparison.