Lucia's Blog: 2014-02-09
Google Logo
Image Caption goes here.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014



The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth. They LORD led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. They did not journey toward the Mediterranean shores since they were not ready to battle against the mighty Philistines. Instead the LORD led them on a more southerly route. Their ultimate destination was the Promised Land of Canaan.

Back in Egypt Pharaoh was having second thoughts about letting the Israelites go. Thoughts of vengeance entered his heart gathering a chariot-borne army to chase after them. By this time the Israelites were camping next to the Sea of Reeds at Baal Zephon.


There has been so much debate over the years in regards to which sea the Israelites crossed and how they crossed it. Traditionally, the name of the sea was translated as "Red Sea," but most recently it has been translated as "Reed Sea." Unfortunately, some skeptic scholars believe the Israelites crossed at the northernmost tip of the Red Sea. These skeptics have theorized that this crossing was not miraculous. They insist that the Egyptian chariots got stuck in the mud while the Israelites waded across a swamp on foot.  But Scripture says that indeed they crossed the Red Sea.

"Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left." Exodus 14:21-22 NASB.

The Parting of the Sea is foundational to the Christian Faith and the Jewish Faith.   It cannot be dismissed or disregarded.  It was a miracle from God.  It was God's ability and determination to save His people. Those who refuse to believe that the Parting of the Sea really happened, also refuse to believe in God's salvation plan for us today.  It required a mighty and significant act of God!

According to the Exodus account, Pharaoh brought six hundred of his best chariots to pursue the Israelites.  He also brought other horses, officers and troops. When the Israelites saw them approaching they cried out to the LORD blaming Moses at the same time.

"Then they said to Moses, “Is it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you dealt with us in this way, bringing us out of Egypt?  Is this not the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'?  For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."  Exodus 14:11-12 NASB.

The LORD told Moses to move the Israelites toward the sea stretching out his hand over the sea. The angel of the LORD and the pillar of cloud started to move between the Egyptians and the Israelites making it hard for the Egyptians to see the Israelites. But God was with them giving them light.  That is amazing!

"Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. The sons of Israel went through the midst of the sea on the dry land, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.  Then the Egyptians took up the pursuit, and all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots and his horsemen went in after them into the midst of the sea. At the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and cloud and brought the army of the Egyptians into confusion.  He caused their chariot wheels to swerve, and He made them drive with difficulty; so the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from Israel, for the Lord is fighting for them against the Egyptians.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.  The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained." Exodus 14:21-28 NASB.

The Israelites had a hard time trusting in God to save them when they saw the Egyptians closing in behind them. Notice, that the Israelites had become a race of slaves, not fighters or warriors. They had no confidence in their ability to fight the Egyptians and most importantly they were not yet trusting and depending on God through faith to take care of them.

The same God that rescued Israel from slavery in Egypt can also rescue us from our own slavery to sin through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.


Monday, February 10, 2014


"The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.  So Moses said, 'I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up.'  When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.'  Then He said, 'Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.'  He said also, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.'" 
Exodus 3:2-6

Three sets of 40 years for Moses

Moses' 120 years of life were divided into 3 sets of 40 years each: 40 years as a young man in Egypt, 40 years in Midian, fathering two sons before he encountered the burning bush and returned to Egypt to save his people from the bondage of slavery.  Later, Moses led the Israelites through the wanderings in the wilderness for another 40 years.  And when this set of 40 years was over, Moses died, Acts 7:17-43.

In Exodus 3-4, Moses takes his sheep to the area of  Mount Horeb to find good pasture.  It is there that he has his first encounter with God.  Something interesting to notice is that Moses met God at this Mount Horeb and later received the Ten Commandments there.  It is also on this same mountain that God spoke to Elijah the prophet in a "still small voice"  I Kings 19. 

The angel of the LORD appeared to Moses in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush and when Moses looked he noticed that the bush was burning with fire yet it was not consumed.  So Moses, out of curiosity, decided to investigate it. It is then that God called Moses' name and asked him to remove his sandals since he was standing on holy ground. This practice of removing one's shoes was common when entering a home or a sacred place in those days.  Notice that God was not asking Moses to remove his shoes because the place was holy, but because God Himself is holy and was there.  Moses fell face down when he realized he had come into God's presence.  He hid his face in fear.  Then God said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”  He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Exodus 3:5-6.  We see many occasions in the Bible where men and women fell face down in God's presence, Genesis 17:3, Ezekiel 1:28.

God told Moses that the cries of the Israelites had reached his ears and that He intended to rescue them. God asked Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand the deliverance of His people. Moses perhaps out of shock asked "Why me?"

In this third chapter of Exodus, God tells Moses who He is in five different ways.  Let's consider the following:

1. (3:6) God tells Moses, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"
2. (3:14) God tells Moses "God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, I AM has sent me to you"
3. (3:15) Moses is instructed to tell the Israelites that God is "The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob"
4. (3:16) Moses is instructed to tell the elders that God is "The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob"
5. (3:18) Moses is instructed to tell Pharaoh that God is "The Lord, the God of the Hebrews"

Notice that Moses was reluctant to go and began giving reasons why he was the wrong person to go since no one would ever believe him.  But in response to Moses, God provided him with a series of signs he could use to prove God's power and authority:  1) God changed Moses' staff into a snake. When Moses grabbed the snake by its tail, it changed back to a staff.  2) God caused Moses' hand to become leprous like snow and restored and healed it.  3) God told Moses that if they would not believe him with those two signs, he should take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground and it would become blood on the dry ground.

Even though God had promised to Moses that He would give him the right words to say, Moses still wavered saying he was not eloquent but slow of speech and slow of tongue.  So Moses begged God to send someone else in his place. God was angry with Moses, but allowed Moses' brother Aaron to speak in Moses' place. Moses would start a journey as the leader of the Israelites. Exodus 5:10-16.

In Exodus 5-10, Moses and Aaron back in Egypt, approached Pharaoh saying "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let Israel go?  I do not know the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go. Instead, the Pharaoh increased the Israelites' work load.  He commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, “You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves.  But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it.  Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words.” When they couldn't fulfill their brick quotas, they were beaten and they blamed Moses for bringing trouble upon them. In turn Moses blamed God saying, "O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people?  Why did You ever send me?  Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all."  Exodus 5:22-23.  But God renews his promises and again He tells Moses who He is in four different ways:

God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the Lord; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them.  I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned.  Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.  Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage.  I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord."  Exodus 6:2-8 NASB.

When Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh again they used one of the signs that God had given them: Aaron threw down his staff and it turned into a snake. Notice that he did not use sorcery or chants, but simply threw it down. But the Egyptian court magicians were also able to turn their staves into snakes by their secret arts. Aaron's snake consumed the magicians' snakes, but Pharaoh was not impressed.

Interesting Fact: The Ancient Egyptians loved their snakes. Their favorite was the rearing cobra with its distinctive good spread. The Pharaoh's headdress often resembled the cobra's hood for protection as a symbol of royalty.  Snake charmers around the world still perform this trick today.  The real shocker of the day was when Aaron's snake ate the magicians' snakes.

In Exodus 7:14-24 - 12:1-51, we read about the 10 plagues.  When the signs failed to convince Pharaoh, God had to take drastic measures. God began a series of ten plagues on the Egyptians, both with the purpose of convincing Pharaoh of God's mighty power and authority and also to release the Israelites from the bondage of slavery.  The plagues would also demonstrate God's superiority to the Egyptian gods.  The plagues are usually divided into four groups, three groups of three plagues each and one final climactic plague.  The first three plagues affected all of Egypt.  After that the plagues spared the area around Goshen where the Israelites lived.

Hapi, Knum,
3. LICE/
Kheper, Geb
Apis (bull),
Hathor (cow)
(sky goddess)
Seth, Nepri,
Ra (sun god)

1. Blood
  • All the water in the Nile and in the streams, reservoirs, ponds, and even buckets and jars were changed to blood. All the fish in the Nile River died as a result.
  • The Magicians replicated this plague using their sorcery arts.
  • Pharaoh turned his back on Moses going into the palace.
2. Frogs
  • The frogs were so many that they were everywhere; in the houses, in the bedrooms and all the food. After Moses prayed their dead carcasses were everywhere with a foul smell.
  • The Magicians also made frogs appear using sorcery, but they couldn't remove the LORD's frogs.
  • Pharaoh begged Moses to remove the frogs promising to let the Israelites go to offer sacrifices to God if he succeeded.
  • After the frogs disappeared, Pharaoh hardened his heart.
3. Lice/
  • The lice or gnats descended upon everyone, people and animals.
  • The Magicians were unable to replicate this plague. They acknowledged God's hand.
  • Pharaoh would not listen.
4. Insects
  • The insects (flies or beetles) swarmed everywhere, eating almost everything and probably spread disease everywhere they went.
  • This plague affected only the Egyptians. The land of Goshen where the Israelites lived was spared.
  • Pharaoh tried to negotiate by suggesting that the Israelites could worship God in Egypt, but Moses stood firm, insisting that he let the Israelites go to the desert. Pharaoh agreed to let them go only if Moses would pray to have the insects removed.
  • After the insects were removed, Pharaoh hardened his heart again.
5. Livestock
  • The Egyptian livestock which included the cows, sheep, goats, camels, horses and donkeys died.
  • This plague affected only the Egyptians. The Israelites' livestock survived.
  • Pharaoh's heart was unchanged.
6. Boils
  • Open boils covered all the Egyptians and animals.
  • The Magicians were unable to heal themselves from this plague. They were ashamed of the impotence of their so called gods. They couldn't stand in Moses' presence.
  • Pharaoh's heart was still not changed.
7. Hail
  • The worst hailstorm ever known to man was this. It destroyed trees, flax and barley.
  • The land of Goshen was spared as well as some of the Egyptians who obeyed God's warnings and His power.
  • Pharaoh recognized that he had sinned against the Israelites and begged Moses to stop the hail. Moses agreed and prayed to God although he knew Pharaoh had not truly repented.
  • When the hail was over, once again Pharaoh hardened his heart.
9. Darkness
  • Thick darkness throughout all the land of Egypt.
  • The land of Goshen was not covered in darkness.
  • I think this darkness is a period of silence. Usually before the LORD's judgment, there was a period of this in Scripture,  Mark 15:33; Rev. 16. This ninth plague is the set up for the tenth and final plague.
  • Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go to worship God, but insisted that they could not take their livestock.
  • Moses refused causing Pharaoh to throw him out of the palace threatening to kill him if he ever returned.
  • Again, the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart.
10. Death
  • All the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, in each family whether slave or free were to die, except those that would heed the warning of the LORD and mark their door frames with blood.
  • After Pharaoh's firstborn son died, he sent the Israelites away in his own grief.
  • The people took their dough before it was leavened with their kneading bowls bound up on the shoulders.
  • Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the sons of Israel solemnly swear, saying, "God will surely take care of you, and you shall carry my bones from here with you."  Exodus 13:19.
  • They also took what Moses had requested of the Egyptians: articles of silver, gold and clothing. The LORD gave favor in the eyes of the Egyptians toward the Israelites so that they could take all these articles. So the Israelites began their great exodus from Egypt.

In Exodus 11-12, we read of the Passover and the final plague which killed all of the firstborn sons. This to me is very shocking! This may be interpreted as God's judgment on Pharaoh for killing all the Hebrew boys we read about at the beginning of the Book of Exodus. This is a powerful reminder to all, that God is the Master of life and death, and that what He gives to us, He may also take away from us. After the plague of darkness, Moses warned Pharaoh that at midnight all of the firstborn sons in all the land of Egypt were to die, except for the firstborn sons of the Israelites. They were to be spared. The Israelites were also to take heed and obey the instructions of the LORD so that the angel of death would pass over and not kill them. Pharaoh's heart has been hardened by God, and he did not listen to Moses.

The account of the Passover is one of the most important miraculous events in all of the Jewish history and the Christian faith.   Remember that Christ is our Passover.  A lot of the Jewish roots are based on this account. The narrative of events stops here briefly for a section on the procedures for Passover night, instructions for future celebrations of  Passover and a new Jewish calendar.

In Exodus 12:1-2, God instructs Moses and Aaron to direct the Israelites to abandon the Egyptian calendar and adopt a new one.   The Passover would now begin their new year.  Their new calendar would be the first step toward creating a new society a free people. The Egyptian calendar was built around the Egyptian gods and three festivals: the festival of the gods, the festival of the kings and finally the festival of the dead. The new Jewish calendar was not based on mythology or seasonal changes, but on a historic event.  Their new lives, free from the bondage of Egyptian slavery, to new lives under the True God who rescued them from this bondage.   

Procedures for the Passover (Exodus 12:3-13)
  • Lamb: The Israelites were to take a male lamb about a year old without blemish, taken from the sheep or the goats. Each family was to kill it at twilight. Each family was to take some of the blood and put it on the doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they ate it. They were to eat the flesh roasted with fire. Interesting fact: This same blood that was shed and saved the Israelites is a parallel with the blood required for the forgiveness of our sins that we read of in Hebrews 9:22
  • Herbs: For the Passover meal, they were to eat the roasted lamb with bitter herbs, most likely a salad made up of lettuce and other stemmed plants.
  • Unleavened Bread: They were also to eat unleavened bread, a kind of flat cake that could be prepared quickly since it didn't need to rise.
  • No leftovers: They were not to save food from the Passover meal, but were commanded to consume or burn it up. This rule was applied to food that had been used for an offering.
  • Loins girded: A flowing garment was the normal attire for an Israelite. When they needed to move quickly, they would grasp the garment at the bottom pulling it to the waist and tucking it to the belt. This would allow for easy maneuvering.
  • Sandals and staff: The Israelites were to be prepared to leave as soon as they were given the signal, so they were to eat with sandals on and a staff in hand. According to tradition, the sandals were to be removed inside the house and the staff was to be kept near the door in order to be taken up when one left.  But the Israelites were not to leave the house until morning, Exodus 12:22.  This highlights their urgent waiting on the LORD and their readiness to follow.  It emphasizes the need to wait on the LORD and to be ready to move when God decides to act upon.

In Exodus 12:14-20, we read of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Moses had instructed the Israelites about how to celebrate the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread before they even had their first one.  They were to celebrate it each year thereafter.  Although they had not yet been free from Egyptian bondage, God in His mighty power established a yearly commemoration of the Passover even before it actually was in effect.   Moses and the Israelites obeyed God's instructions. They placed the blood on their doors, readied themselves in their houses and waited for the Lord's Passover.   Isn't that amazing!

"Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.  Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead." Exodus 12:29-30 NASB.

In the last part of this study we will consider the 40 years that Moses led Israel from the crossing of the Red Sea unto the gates of the Promised Land.




Moses was born to a man and a woman from the house of Levi, the Hebrew tribe of priests.  Moses was born in the terrible time when the Pharaoh of Egypt had ordered that all male Hebrew babies should be killed at birth. They were to be thrown into the Nile River.  His mother hid him for three months.  When she realized that she could not hide him any longer, she put him in a wicker basket and sealed it with tar and pitch so that it would float.  The Hebrew word translated "basket" means "ark" and is the same word used for Noah's ark.  Moses' mother put him in this little saving ark and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile River.  His sister Miriam stood at a distance to watch over him.  Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river to bathe, along with her maidens. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it to her.  As soon as she opened the basket and saw baby Moses crying, she had pity on him and noticed he was of the Hebrews' children.  Miriam, Moses' sister, said to her, "Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?  Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Go ahead.' So the girl went and called the child's mother.  Then Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.' So the woman took the child and nursed him. The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, 'Because I drew him out of the water."'  Exodus 2:7-10.  We can clearly see God's providential hand when Moses was saved from Pharaoh's death sentence by Pharaoh's own daughter, and was able to remain with his mother until he was weaned, most likely between the ages of 3 to 5 years old.

Although Moses grew up as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, he was very aware of his origin as the child of a Hebrew slave.  When Moses grew up and went out to his Hebrew brethren and saw how oppressed they were with hard labor, he noticed an Egyptian beating one of his Hebrew brethren and became disturbed in his heart. Notice that there are 3 times in this section of Exodus 2 where Moses was willing to get involved where there was conflict.  Moses intervened in all three times of conflict with an action.  It is obvious to me that he was a peacemaker in all three cases.  He had compassion on the weak and the vulnerable and was willing to intervene to protect.

1. Egyptian abusing Hebrew
Moses kills Egyptian
Moses turns away from life of privilege

"Now it came about in those days.... and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren.  So he looked this way and that, and when saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand."  Exodus 2:11-12.

2. Hebrew fighting Hebrew
Moses attempts to reconcile them
Moses is forced to flee

"He went out the next day; and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, 'Why are you striking your companion?'  But he said, 'Who made you a prince or a judge over us?  Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?'  Then Moses was afraid and said, 'Surely the matter has become known.' When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses.  But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well."'  Exodus 2:13-15.

3. The Midianites drive off the shepherd girls
Moses defends the girls
Moses gains a wife, Zipporah

"When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well. Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.  Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock."  Exodus 2:15-17.

4. This period of Israelite history ends with the increased abuse of the Israelites by a new Pharaoh. Moses possibly knew this Pharaoh since he was raised in the Pharaoh's household. The Israelites begin to cry out to God, and a compassionate God hears their cry.

"Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died.  And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.  So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them."  Exodus 2:23-24.

NOTICE that in the same way that Moses responded to oppression, God also responded.  The oppressed did not go unnoticed by God when they cried out. God listened!   

Moses ran to Midian after he fled Egypt. The Midianites were descendants of Abraham, just as Moses was: "Now Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.  She bore to him Zimran and Jokshan and Medan and Midian and Ishbak and Shuah. Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim and Letushim and Leummim.  The sons of Midian were Ephah and Epher and Hanoch and Abida and Eldaah.  All these were the sons of Keturah."  Genesis 25:1-4.

The Hebrews' relationship with the Midianites was friendly allowing Moses to be welcomed in the house of Jethro, the priest and judge of Midian.  Moses married one of Jethro's daughters and had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, Exodus 18:2-4.

In Exodus 18, Jethro helped Moses set up a court system similar to the one he used as a priest and judge in Midian.  Together they brought offerings of worship to God for all that He had done for the Hebrews.

In Numbers 22:4-7, the Midianites have become the Israelites' enemies because of their conspiracy with the Moabites to curse Israel through Balaam becoming enemies until finally Gideon defeats the Midianites in Judges 6-7.

The first 80 years of Moses' life prepared him to take the leadership of a slave nation, the Israelites, and led them out of Egyptian slavery through another 40 years of wandering in the dessert.  The second part of this study concerns the deliverance of the Israelites from their Egyptian taskmasters.