The Torah: Crossing Your "Red Sea"

Moses arms outstretched
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground’ ” (Exodus 14:15-16).

Our illustration captures the epic qualities of one of the most spectacular events in Old Testament history — the children of Israel crossing the Red Sea. The majestic figure of Moses dominates the scene. His rugged Midianite tunic, softened with decorative Egyptian cuffs, waistband and hem-tassels, is draped with a cloak of red, white and black — the same colors that would later identify the priestly Levites. His gleaming face, framed with the white linen kaffiyeh that hugs his head and shoulders, reflects his inspiration and determination. Moses’ staff and his outstretched arms seem to beckon the Israelites to safe passage.

From behind the rock, to Moses’ right, we catch a glimpse of Aaron staring intently at the parted waters. Beside the rock, to Moses’ left, stands the courageous figure of Joshua, who proudly carries the standard of the tribe of Ephraim. The insignia of Issachar can be seen at the lower right. This dramatic scene from the Exodus makes a fitting introduction to a study of the Pentateuch — the name commonly given to the five books of the law — because it vividly pictures God’s great plan of redemption for all humanity that these books begin to describe.

As you start your journey through the Bible, keep in mind that the great God who called Moses and the nation of Israel also wants to lead you. The same God who spoke to Moses speaks to you today. His message, alive and vibrant, is one told through the lives of men and women like Moses, Joshua and Miriam.

The apostle Paul realized this truth when he wrote to the church at Corinth: “Our forefathers were all under the cloud and…they all passed through the sea…. These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come” (1 Corinthians 10:1, 11).

God speaks to all of us today. He speaks to you. So when you read of Moses, the tribes of Israel and Pharaoh’s armies at the Red Sea, remember that this is God speaking to you. Perhaps you are standing at a “Red Sea” of your own right now, being called out of the familiar and into the unknown journey ahead with God.

If you are, you need to answer some vital questions:

  • From what “Egypt” do you need to be freed?
  • Do you believe that God can provide you a way of escape?
  • Are you willing to follow his directions?

When you apply the truths of Scripture to your own life, you begin to appreciate their meaning and value more deeply. And you begin to hear God’s words of encouragement to you: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today” (Exodus 14:13).


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