When Moses led the children of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt and into the Promised Land, this was a type. Yes, it really happened and had implications on its own as an event, but – like everything from Genesis to Revelation – it also pointed to Jesus. Exodus was a type of salvation. It was a prophetic foreshadowing of when our Savior would take us out of the bondage of sin in this world and lead us to our heavenly home. Recently, I believe the Lord brought something to my attention about this story. Since then, I haven’t been able to get away from it. From the beginning to the end of the Israelites’ trip, there was a definite line of responsibility between the people and God.
Whose Responsibility Was It to Save the People? It Was God’s.
“I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”Exodus 20:2
Through a series of events, and fulfilling the prophecy God gave to Abram in Genesis 15:13, the Egyptians had enslaved the descendants of Jacob. The people couldn’t save themselves from their hard taskmasters, so they cried out to God (Exodus 2:23). God heard their prayers and had compassion (Exodus 3:7). He promised to deliver them and bring them to a “land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). So God sent Moses to lead them (Exodus 3:10) and promised to be with him (Exodus 3:12).
He then brought a series of ten different plagues which finally convinced the Egyptian pharaoh to let the people go. Through Moses, God brought them out of Egypt. He promised that if the people would obey His voice, they would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation unto God (Exodus 19:5-6). We see that Exodus is a type of salvation, and the people rejoiced when they were saved. They worshiped, sang, and danced (Exodus 15:1-12).
As Christians, you and I were also in bondage. We were under the yoke of sin in this world and had no hope to save ourselves. There was no way we could pay the huge debt of sin we owed. Knowing our great need, God sent His Son Jesus to save His people. God was with Him, and through his death, burial, and resurrection, He defeated the powers of evil that had us enslaved (Hebrews 2:14). He then called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. He named us as a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). Now we praise God and worship Him for the great sacrifice by which He saved us.
Whose Responsibility Was It to Lead the People? It was God’s.
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”Exodus 19:4
Knowing His people might get discouraged if they had to fight the Philistines too soon on their journey, God chose to take them another way. He used a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night to lead them (Exodus 13:17). The first place He led them was right into a “corner,” so to speak. He told Moses to camp the people by the Red Sea (Exodus 14:2). He then warned him that He was planning to cause the Pharaoh to give chase (Exodus 13:3-4). The Egyptians were on one side of the Israelites, and the Red Sea was on the other. There appeared to be no way out.
Then God told Moses to lift his staff, and He sent a wind to part the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21). The people were able to come through on dry ground (Exodus 14:22). He then led them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai where He made a covenant with them (Exodus 19:5) and then to Paran, just outside the Promised Land of Canaan (Exodus 12:16). Some forty years later, He would lead Joshua, Caleb, and the children into the land He had promised (Joshua 3:1-5).
Today, God leads us with His Holy Spirit. He knows each one of us and what we can handle and when. Sometimes He leads us into situations that seem impossible just to show Himself strong on our behalf. (Or to bring glory to Himself.) We never have to figure out how to get to Heaven by ourselves or worry that we won’t know the way. In John 14:6, Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” The story of Exodus is a type of salvation. Just like the children of Israel followed the pillars of cloud and fire, we can be confident when we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. We can trust that He will get us safely to our Destination.
God Saved Them and Led Them; It Was the People’s Job to Follow
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”John 10:27
God was responsible for leading, but the people were responsible for following. They had to pack and leave their homes in Egypt to be “saved.” When the cloud moved, the people moved. When the cloud stayed, the people stayed. They kept the charge of the Lord (Numbers 9:17-23). But when the twelve spies came back with a bad report of the Promised Land in Paran, the people balked and refused to follow Caleb and Joshua in. It seems that though the land did flow with milk and honey, there were giants already occupying the territory (Numbers 13:27-28).
The people were afraid. They decided that they would rather find leaders to take them back to the bondage of Egypt than to risk “certain death” by fighting giants too strong for them (Numbers 14:4). The taskmasters in Egypt were hard, but at least the food was good (Numbers 11:5). But if the people would have followed Caleb and Joshua into the Promised Land, God would have fought for them. Then they would have received their reward. Instead, God passed judgement on them and their unbelief. They would die in the wilderness. Only Caleb, Joshua, and the children aged 19 and younger would see the Promised Land some forty years later (Exodus 14:29).
As Christians, we are also responsible for following the Lord. It’s easy when He tells us to do things we want to do and things that make sense to our minds. But sometimes God will ask us to do something we are afraid to do. We look at ourselves and decide that we aren’t good enough, strong enough, or smart enough to do it, so we balk. We sit down in the sand in despair that we are in the position of moving forward into fearful territory or turning back (read that as sliding back) into the comforts of the world — but away from God’s purpose and path. The story of Exodus is a type of salvation. Moving forward with God in faith is our only option.
Whose Responsibility Was It to Fight for the People? It Was God’s.
“The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”Exodus 14:14
When the Israelites were backed up against the Red Sea, nobody asked them to fight or even to swim. Moses told them not to fear but to stand and watch what God would do for them (Exodus 14:13). Then God sent the angel that had gone before them with the pillar of cloud to the rear of the company. The cloud then became a darkness to the Egyptians that made a separation between the two parties (Exodus 14:19-20).
When the Israelites were safely crossed on dry land, the Lord brought the waters back onto the Egyptians (Exodus 14:23-28). Later in the trip, God also caused the Israelites to prevail over the Amalekites who sought to overtake them in Exodus 17. When Moses held up his arms, God would cause the Israelites to win. So when Moses got tired, Aaron and Hur held them up for him (Exodus 17:12). Then Joshua prevailed with the sword (Exodus 17:13).
The Lord will fight for us too. Psalm 34:17 says that when we cry, He will hear us. Psalm 139:5 says He has His hand on us and will also go behind and before us. Ephesians 6:10 says our strength comes from His might, and 2 Thessalonians 1:6 and Romans 12:19 both say that God will repay those who afflict us. 1 Corinthians 15:57 says, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
And what is the victory? 1 John 5:4 says, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” We must keep our faith strong and our eyes on Christ. Like Aaron and Hur were there for Moses, we should likewise love and support our brothers and sisters in Christ, both in prayer and with our actions (1 John 3:18).
Whose Responsibility Was it to Provide for the People? It Was God’s.
“Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.”Nehemiah 9:21
In addition to freedom, direction, and protection, God provided for the people’s physical needs as well. He gave them clean water at Marah (Exodus 15:25), water from a rock in Rephidim (Exodus 17:6), manna from Heaven (Exodus 16:4) and quail for meat (Exodus 16:13). Throughout their journey, their clothes and shoes never wore out (Deuteronomy 29:5 and Nehemiah 9:21), and their feet didn’t even swell (Deuteronomy 8:4).
One of God’s names is Jehovah-Jireh, “The Lord Will Provide” (Genesis 22:14). (It’s not the the Lord DID provide but the Lord WILL provide.) In fact, Jesus tells us not to even worry about what we will eat, drink, or wear (Matthew 6:31-32). God knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8). He will take care of us just like He did for the Israelites. And 2 Corinthians 9:8 says that He makes His grace abound toward us so that we have sufficiency in all things. Even our children will not have to beg for food (Psalm 37:25).
God Fought for Them and Provided for Them; It Was the People’s Job to Have Faith
“And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.”Exodus 14:31
The Lord brought the people out of Egypt and set them apart as His own, but they still didn’t trust Him to take care of them. They complained at the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10), asking Moses if he had saved them just to let them die (Exodus 14:11). They complained at Marah because of the bitter water (Exodus 15:24) and at Rephidim because of no water (Exodus 17:2-3). In Exodus 16:3, they complained about hunger and said they wished they would have died in Egypt because at least then they would have had a full belly (Exodus 16:3).
And again, in Numbers 11:4 they murmured and complained. They were sick of eating manna and wanted flesh to eat. Finally, they complained at the report of the twelve spies (Numbers 14:2). God had already shown them that He would fight for them when He caused them to prevail against the Amalekites (Exodus 17), but they still didn’t trust Him. In all, there were ten times the Israelites tempted God by not believing in Him (Numbers 14:22). Through the plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, and the miraculous provision of food, water, and clothes, the people just kept doubting God.
Looking at the story of the Israelites, it’s ridiculous that the people worried at all. God performed miracle after miracle and provided for them at every step. Still, at the first sign of trouble, they panicked, murmured, complained, and lamented their own salvation. At the end, the Israelites who fell in the wilderness didn’t miss the Promised Land because they didn’t know how to find it or weren’t strong enough to fight for it. They missed it because they didn’t trust God to lead them safely to their new home.
How many times do we do the same thing? We trust God just fine while the food holds out and peace reigns. But the moment we face a need or an enemy we don’t know how to fight, we freak out. God was with us yesterday, but today, we’re not so sure. If we would think about His great love for us for just a moment – remembering the time and time again he took care of us – we would stand on His love and promises. We would never question His loving intention to finish the journey He started with us.
We Must Remember Whose Responsibility is Whose
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”Hebrews 11:6
The story of Exodus is a type of salvation. There are 87 verses in the Bible about God bringing Israel out of Egypt. It was a big deal to God then, and it’s a big deal to Him now because it represents our salvation by the blood of Jesus. Whether then or now, when God calls out a people for Himself, He takes responsibility for them. He saves them, leads them, fights for them, and provides for them — because they can’t do it on their own. God is the one who is in charge of the entire trip to the Promised Land. As for us, it’s our job to follow Him, obey Him, and trust Him — honoring Him with our expectation that He will move on our behalf.
So the next time you’re in a tight situation, think of God parting the Red Sea and watch for God to make a way. The next time you face a fierce enemy, call your brothers and sisters in Christ to hold you up in prayer. God will fight for you. And any time you need provision, make your requests be made known unto God. Then wait and see what God will do. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t ever worry that God won’t take care of His responsibilities. Just remember yours. Follow Him and trust Him, and He will lead you Home.
One of my all-time favorite blogs was over this very topic in Hebrews 3-4. God boiled the whole thing down for me into 3 Simple Instructions from God to Us: listen, obey, and trust.
Like to look closer at Scripture? Try 2 Kings 18: When the Enemy Offers to Leave You Alone. Or, try Twinkly Trash: A Closer Look at Job 28. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email inbox. You can find that at the upper right of your screen (or at the bottom on a phone). Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.