Proper 19, Year A, Old Testament Lesson
Scripture: Exodus 14:19-31
The Israelites have fled Egypt, headed toward the Red Sea and are being led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. As they flee, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened once again (as God foretold) and he sends 600 picked chariots and other chariots with Egyptian officers after them. As the Egyptians close in on the Israelites, they begin doubting Moses and what God had told him to do. Moses tells them ‘Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.’ Then God tells Moses what to do to escape the Egyptians.
This is a plan by God so that the Egyptians will see God’s power and his might. The lead up and crossing of the Red Sea puts the power in God’s hand even though there are thousands of Pharaoh’s men following them in chariots with whips. Their power is useless against God’s power. This is an amazing reversal of the power that the Israelites had known, and they come to have faith in God.