After losing his son in the great plague, Pharaoh had had enough. He finally not only acquiesced to Moses’s request to free the Hebrew people, but actually commanded he take the people away.
But before the millions of Israelites had even reached the edge of the nation where they’d been enslaved for centuries, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and the king assembled 600 of his fastest chariots to chase down his most valuable resource.
Trapped between a rapidly approaching onslaught and a great sea, the people pointed fingers at the most readily available scapegoat—their new leader. They were slaves in Egypt, but at least they had food and shelter and air in their lungs. Moses hadn’t freed them. He’d only brought them to their bitter end.
So Moses looked to God for help as he’d done over and over to reach this moment of liberation, but God was becoming impatient with the man’s trepidation.
“Why are you looking to me? Haven’t we been through this enough times? Hold your staff out over the water and tell the people to start walking.”
As soon as Moses reached the staff out, a powerful wind swept down from the East, and as the hours of night passed, a dry path was carved right through the sea.
Protected by God’s presence in a cloud behind them, they newly freed people walked across, with nothing but water as far as they could see to their left and to their right.
As the last of the Hebrews stepped onto the opposite shore, the pursuers resumed their attack, charging as fast as their chariots could race, but by the time they had cut the distance in half, their wheels mysteriously locked up. Terrified of the Hebrew God, the soldiers tried to retreat, but it was too late. Moses again waived his staff, this time from the eastern shore and the great wind ceased.
The Hebrews stood gaping as they watched every single one of their pursuers crushed beneath the retreating waters. Moments passed before they recognized where they stood and what had just happened.
They were free.
by: Julia Kuo