Useful Bible Studies > Hebrews Commentary > chapter 11

The Israelites cross the Red Sea

Hebrews 11:29

Godís greatest act to save his people, the Israelites, happened soon after they left Egypt. You can read the account of it in Exodus chapter 14.

The Israelites had worked as slaves in Egypt. Soon after they left there, the rulers of Egypt sent their army after them. The rulers regretted that they had allowed their slaves to leave. And they wanted the army to bring them back.

Egyptís army found that the Israelites had camped by the Red Sea. They could not go further towards Canaan, the country that God had promised to them, because of the sea. They had no way to cross it. So it seemed an easy matter to force them to return to Egypt.

The Red Sea is a shallow sea. It reaches between the country called Egypt and the desert called Sinai. On the other side of that desert is the country called Israel, which was then called Canaan.

When the Israelites saw Egyptís army, they were very afraid. But Moses told them not to be afraid. God was on their side. They should believe and trust him. In other words, they should have faith. God would rescue them.

Moses spoke those bold words. But it seems that he too felt desperate. God told him that he must not continue to cry to him (Exodus 14:15). Instead, Moses must act. Faith must be active belief and trust in God.

So Moses did what God told him. Moses gave an order that the Israelites should prepare to move forwards, towards the sea. And Moses held his staff (long stick) over the sea.

When Moses did that, God acted too. God acts powerfully when people act in faith. God sent a strong east wind. And that wind made the sea into dry land. The Israelites walked across into the desert called Sinai.

There are reports that similar events have happened there by natural means, in modern times. But what happened then did not happen by any natural means. It was an extraordinary act that God did in order to rescue his people. He rescued them because they had faith, active belief and trust in God.

We know that because the army from Egypt tried to cross the sea, too. But, of course, they did not believe God, and they did not trust him. They had made themselves Godís enemies, and God acted against them. While they marched across the sea, the water returned. They all drowned.

Next part: The faith of Joshua at Jericho (Hebrews 11:30)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.