Freshman high school English class. My first encounter with the study of literature. My teacher,
Mrs. Corbett taught us the elements of a good story. She told us that the most important part of any story is the climax, that moment when all of the characters of the story, and all of the issues came to a head. At the climax, the story changes, and the characters will never be the same. Everything before the climax is leading to that point, and everything that takes place after the climax is based on that event. The climax is the high point of the story.
This chapter is the climax of the Exodus story. We began with a little boy adrift in a basket on the Nile River, who was saved by the daughter of Pharoah. That boy grew up, made some mistakes, and then met God face to face at the burning bush and returned to Egypt. “Let my people go!” was the message Moses had for Pharoah, but Pharoah hardened his heart. In the process, God revealed his power over the most powerful man on the planet that time. It took ten plagues for God to finally break Pharoah, but after the loss of his firstborn son, Pharoah released the Hebrews. Yet, once again, Pharoah’s pride got the best of him, and now the most powerful man in the world sent the most powerful army in the world to destroy God’s people. The Hebrews came to a point of real crises. The reached the banks of the mighty Red Sea, a huge body of water. Swimming was not an option, so this would be a big obstacle. “Where does Moses think he is leading us?” some must have thought. Then they turned around to see the armies of Pharoah coming after them with their Special Forces leading the way.
Ultimately the battle was not Moses against Pharoah, or even the Hebrews against Pharoah. It was the God of the universe proving to all men and women that He is in control. God was revealing His power and might, and doing it at the hands of the most powerful man the most powerful army.
If I had a time machine and had the opportunity to visit events in the Bible, this event would be my second choice (my first would be the resurrection of Jesus Christ). Imagine these Hebrew people, who just left their homes and their slavery. They followed Moses into the wilderness. Now they were trapped, and in short order, they would be killed. But Moses knew God was in control and He had a plan. I love how the movie The Prince of Egypt pictures this scene, with the Hebrews walking through the parted sea, and the whales and fish swimming at either side. It must have been awesome!
So what does thepinnacle of the Exodus story teach? That God is in control, and He will fight the battles for those who trust Him and cling to Him. And that those who are opposed to his purpose will experience his power, but in a completely different way. He will even part the Red Sea, if that is what it takes to prove that He alone is worthy of our praise.