God used the journey of Israel from Egypt as a means to illustrate the path of salvation. It was the path of “salvation” for the infant nation of Israel and also marked the path for individuals even in our day. The message of Passover was deliverance. God delivered Israel from the most powerful nation of that day. The blood of the Passover Lamb distinguished the household of faith and the family within was delivered. The absence of the blood marked the household that experienced judgment and death. The message today is clear.
The events described as Israel passed through the “Red Sea” symbolizes water baptism in the life of the believer today. Moses parted the water of the sea to permit Israel to pass through. The water closed on the pursuing Egyptian army and destroyed them. This experience forever separated captive from captor. Moses declared:
“But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever”. (Exodus 14:13)
When a person experiences deliverance from the grasp of the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and is baptized, he is delivered forever from his captor whatever that may have been. He is on the path of “salvation”. We will return to this theme as we continue along the path that Israel traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.
“Now it came about when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was near; for God said, “Lest the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt.” Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 13:17-18)
This is an amazing statement. Israel was being led by the “Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire” by night, i.e., God was choosing the path of travel. He intentionally led them around about in such a way that the distance back to Egypt seemed too great to return even though the actual distance at any time was not over a few days journey. Have you ever considered the possibility that God may be guiding you in a similar way so your temptation to return to your former way of life seems too “far” for you to go back?
Another attribute of the Name of God was revealed in this section of the Bible. God declared to Israel:
“And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” (Exodus 15:26)
A little word study here is in order. The word “healer” means “doctor”. God declared to Israel, “I am your doctor”. Since God was addressing the nation we would expect the “you” that He is addressing would be plural. It is not, it is singular (2nd person, singular). This means that God chose to speak in a very personal way to the individual by declaring, “I am your doctor”.
Finally, as Israel approached Mt. Sinai they were challenged by Amelek (Mt. Sinai would be the place where God would reveal Himself is such an awesome way that Israel would never be the same again). The army of Amelek struggled to keep Israel from arriving at this crucial encounter with God on their path to salvation. Moses ascended the mountain and held up the “Staff of God” while Joshua led the army of Israel against the army of Amelek in the valley. As long as Moses held up the staff, Joshua prevailed. When Moses wavered, Amelek prevailed. Aaron and Hur helped support Moses, so Joshua prevailed over Amelek. Today this pattern should be followed by the real church. Our task is spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6:12) just as was the case with Moses. We should be standing on the mountain-side praying for and upholding Israel as Israel struggles against the enemies of God on the battlefield. This is our appointed job which we alone are equipped to do. For those who might waver because of the apparent unfairness of such an assignment, we are reminded of what God declares concerning those who struggle against Israel in the pursuit of the redemption process.
“and he said, “The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16)
A better translation of the Hebrew text is:
And he said, “Because a hand is on the throne of God, The Lord will make war with Amelek from generation to generation”.
Those who chose to struggle against God and His process of redemption working out through Israel will find themselves at war against God. These should be sobering words to the Palestinians, Iranians, the Moslem world, at least part of the Christian world and the United States under the leadership of the Obama administration. Each of these is attempting to put his hand on the throne of the Lord. The outcome for each will be the same as happened to Amelek.