Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

We've all seen Cecil B. De Mille's "Ten Commandments". I still get chill bumps at the parting of the Red Sea.  Even discovering that it was done with air jets underneath gelatin and then shot in slow motion doesn’t faze me.

But only the Bible contains the accurate account. And if you ask me, I think it's even more thrilling!

The Israelites were sure they had been following God all along, but surprisingly they arrived at an imposing dead end--the Red Sea.  And they weren't alone. That old devil Pharaoh and his entire army were just around the corner. Uh, God…hello?

To top it off, they heard their leader say, "Stand still and see the Salvation of the Lord". Oh, please! And one more thing.  It was night--pitch dark--couldn't see a thing.

Most of us have been familiar with this story since childhood. However, I've heard very few sermons about all of this occurring at night. Thanks, Cecil.

Exodus 14:21 reads: "And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea: and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind ALL THAT NIGHT, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided."

As if the situation wasn't pressing enough, the East Wind was added to the scenario. The dreaded East Wind in Palestine is called a "scorching wind" because it comes from the desert--hot, gusty, and laden with sand and dust.  Once it blows in, temperatures can rise 15 to 20 degrees within a few hours. One can imagine it intensifying hour after hour, swirling sand around the already frightened Israelites.

Comparing research from reliable scholars who looked at how armies marched in that time period, the Israelites more than likely moved in a line of 880 people wide and 774,400 deep in 3 sections across the Red Sea. This configuration would hold 2, 323,200 people.

Pastor David Reagan of Antioch Baptist Church, Knoxville, TN, says that assuming the group moved at the speed of one mile per hour they probably made in across in approximately 4 hours.

Why all these numbers? Stay with me.

Before the sea even parted, the Lord told the Israelites thorough His prophet Moses that they would SEE the Salvation of the Lord: even the Egyptians that they SEE, they would SEE no more! That really took a lot of faith to believe when they could hardly see each other, much less the enemy with all that hot sand stinging their faces!

More than likely, they started across around 2 AM because of Exodus 14:24:

"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 of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians..."

A Jewish day is from 6 PM to 6 AM, measured in 4 "watches" every 3 hours. This would be the 4th watch between 3-6 AM. So it is safe to say that God orchestrated it so that around daybreak, the last Israelite stragglers came to shore (you know how we are about being on time).

Next, the Egyptian chariots got bogged down, the wheels began to come off, and the men cried out as the walls of water closed over them.

It was light and the East Wind subsided.  All of God's people had safely made it across what initially appeared impassable...and in roughly four hours time (with all of their kids, livestock and belongings--including the gold and silver of Egypt)!

God kept His word: "Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians and Israel SAW the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore." (verse 29)

Now, what about you?

You thought you were following God, but now you have some serious doubts. In front of you is an immense obstacle. Behind you is the devil, nipping at your heels and out for blood.

The situation looks pretty dark. It's getting hotter by the minute. You're getting hit on all sides, and yet you've been told to stand still and SEE!

SEE? You can hardly open your 'spiritual' eyes under the circumstances. That's why you can only envision destruction while God sees that conditions are just right for a deliverance!

The strong East Wind you're feeling rouses you to readiness as it works on your behalf to push back that which is standing in your way! Its uncomfortable "sting' will not let you settle down and give up. Its purpose is to keep you where you are in order to NOT miss God's miracle!

It may take "all night" (whatever that means to you), but remember…not only did the water part, but the sea bed was dry. God is not going to clear a path just to watch you get bogged down along the way.  Be patient. He's taking care of things you haven't even considered.

Can you imagine the faith it took to obey the order to move forward under those conditions at 2 AM? But they did. You can, too.

And listen, you're not going to have to leave any treasures behind! You may have to go slow, but you will make it. Don't listen to the enemy's lies.

He wants that spouse, son or daughter back in Egypt working for him! He wants your financial blessings returned to his kingdom!

You ate of the Passover Lamb (Jesus) for your healing, but the devil wants you sick, worn out, and beaten so you won't threaten his plans.

He wants to throw you back into bondage again to that habit or addiction, but jealously guard the liberty you gained by crossing the Blood-stained threshold!

Just as the day breaks, the wind will finally subside; your feet will touch the shore of what you thought was the impossible. As you look back, you will SEE the devices of your enemy halted and your pursuers overcome in the mire.

Hey, did you happen to bring your tambourine?

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