“Beginning of Freedom” Sunday School Lesson, Exodus 14:21-30, November 17, 2013

 

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November 17, 2013

“Beginning of Freedom”

Exodus 14:21-30

(Click here for PDF: Beginning of Freedom Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below.  Enjoy!)

Devotion: Nehemiah 9:7-12

 Introduction

The story of the crossing of the Red Sea is one so familiar I think we often forget the power behind it.  God wants His people to be free in every way, shape and form.  Their journey was tied in His promise.  Sometimes we don’t understand the path but if we continue to follow God’s lead He will see us safely to the other side.

Exodus 14:21-23 “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.  And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.  And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.”

There are two basic paths one can choose in life: resist God or follow God.  In last week’s lesson, “Beginning of Passover” there was shown the results of both of those decisions.  For the Egyptians who resisted God they suffered devastation and loss.  Torment filled the land as all the firstborn of man and beast perished.  For the Israelites who obeyed God’s directives through Moses experienced liberation from bondage.

In this week’s lesson those same decisions to resist or follow are still reaping repercussions for good and for bad.  The children of Israel were following God who “went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead the way; and by night in a pillar of fire . . .,” (Ex. 13:21).  Whereas the Egyptians said, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” (Ex. 14:5).  That questioning caused them to make a decision to pursue and overtake God’s people in spite of all they just went through and witnessed, (Ex. 14:6-9).

Seeing their previous captors, “the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD,” (Ex. 14:10), and began to doubt their deliverance (Ex. 14:11-12).  But, Moses reassured the people that God was going to perform yet another miracle for His people.  Moses said, “The Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever,” (Ex. 14:13).  True to the way that God does things, He was going to take care of their deliverance forever!

It would do no good for Him to bring them out of Egypt and have them in a position of always having to wonder is the enemy coming after them.  He didn’t want them to live life in fear, always looking over their shoulder.  That wouldn’t be true freedom.  God brought them out to experience liberation once and for all.

With that God instructed Moses to “lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea,” (Ex. 14:16).  God was going to gain honor over the Egyptians once and for all on this night, (see Exodus 14:4, 17-18).

This is where today’s lesson picks up when “Moses stretched out his hand over the sea.”  Moses obeyed God’s directive from verse 16.  At this point we have to stop and wonder at all these awe-inspiring events that God was performing through the hands of Moses.  What must be going through Moses’ mind as he raises his hand holding that rod?  He knows that God said the sea would divide and the land will be dry – but can you imagine being in his position and watching these things be manifested by God using you?  Awesome!

“And the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all the night.”  When Moses raised his hand in obedience, God began to move in their circumstance.  There’s much to be said in relation to our obedience and God’s moving on our behalf.  The two go hand in hand.

“The LORD caused the sea to go back.”  Many times when you watch documentaries concerning these wonderful biblical events, man often tries to implore human knowledge to explain rationally how these things occurred.  The Bible already tells us how it occurred.  The same God that can call creation into existence out of nothing is the same God that can cause the sea to go back.  This was not a natural occurrence or a phenomenon – it was all God’s doing!

“By a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”  God prepared the way all night for His people to experience safe passage to the other side.  I love the fact that the God we serve is a very detailed oriented God.  He wants to see us make it to the other side.  He wants to see His people free and victorious.  So, He takes the time to prepare the best possible way for that to happen.

“And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground.”   Following the way God so preciously prepared for them they went into the sea on “dry ground.”  Many try to explain the different ways the ground possibly became dry.  I won’t do that because the fact that it was “dry,” and the fact that there was a “wall” of water on each side of them is a miracle.  And the definition of a miracle means essentially that it can’t be explained.  God was doing yet again a great wonder for His people on that night.

“And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea.”  Nobody knows exactly how long it took the children of Israel to cross the Red Sea.  Many assumptions are made without any exact calculations.  Through the night people went in.  They were a great mass of people and it would have taken some time to get them all through safely.

Viewing their progress the Egyptians “pursued.”  They wanted the people back in bondage.  They didn’t want God’s people to progress toward something greater.  They were intent on trying to regain their labor force and exalt their own pride.  They threw all caution to the wind (literally) and followed after the people in the sea.

Exodus 14:24-25 “And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians.  And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.”

“In the morning watch the LORD looked . . . and troubled the host of the Egyptians.”  Here, the enemy is in hot pursuit but the enemy is under the watchful eye of the Lord God Almighty.  This reminds us of the story of Job.  The enemy could do nothing outside of God’s will to Job.  God watches our adversaries.  He sees those who come against us and pursues us and He will not suffer long with them.

So, God “troubled the host of the Egyptians.”  God does not sit back and let the enemy do what he wants.  God will “trouble” the enemies of His people.  God will stir up some adversities in the lives of our adversaries much like He is doing to the Egyptians.  In verse 14 of this same chapter Moses just encouraged the people by telling them, “The LORD shall fight for you.”  They can pursue God’s people, but then they have to deal with the God who is fighting for them personally.  Ouch!

“And took off their chariot wheels.”  Psalms 20:7 tells us, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”  God is crippling the “trust” of the Egyptians by dismantling their prized “chariots” right out of underneath of them.

“Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians.”  Did they really not understand that it was God who had been fighting for them the whole time?  When the plagues invaded their land and none touched the Israelites, did they not comprehend that God had put a difference between His people and them and that He was taking care of His own (Ex. 11:7)?

They wait until they are in the midst of the sea with walls of water towering over them and wheels popping off before they confess “the LORD fighteth for them.”  With that they want to “flee from the face of Israel.”

Exodus 14:26-28 “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.  And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.”

Once again God instructed Moses to “Stretch out thine hand over the sea.”  When he does the Bible tells us “the sea returned to his strength.”  The miracle was performed for God’s people to experience safe passage to freedom.  Once they arrived safely to the other side that passage was no longer needed, especially not for an enemy pursuit.  God closes the way.  God prevents the enemy from reaching His people.

The lesson uses the word “overthrew.”  God defeated the Egyptians.  God’s plan, as always, ended in a victorious triumph.  God’s way to bring them out equaled success.  When God is the one fighting for us, we don’t have to fear because God will always come out the winner.  David said, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.  For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.  Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land . . .,” (Ps. 37:1-3).  God will take care of the enemy and see you safely to the other side.

“There remained not so much as one of them.”  God completely obliterated the Egyptians that were pursuing them.  All that went into the sea to chase down the families of God’s people would never return to their own.  When God offers freedom He does so with a plan of completeness, leaving nothing undone.  It was their choice to continue to pursue God’s people despite all the marvelous things their eyes witnessed, leaving them to suffer the consequences.

Speaking of the wicked, Proverbs 6:15 warns, “Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.”  There was no “remedy” for those Egyptian soldiers that day.  Once they went into the sea after God’s people there was no way out.  “There remained not so much as one of them.”

Exodus 14:29-30 “But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.  Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.”

“But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea . . . the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians.”  For God’s people, following His way and journeying through on that “dry land” brought them deliverance.  They were rescued out of the hand of their enemies in one of the greatest stories ever told.

“Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.”  In our Christian lives we are called to “walk by faith, not by sight,” (2 Cor. 5:7).  Yet, here God allowed them to see with their own eyes the outcome of the Egyptians choice.  What they saw would forever be burned in their memory and would serve as a warning and a reminder of God’s great power.  In verse 31 (not in today’s lesson) it says, “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.”

Conclusion

God will do what He has to do to bring His people out.  We have to be willing to follow His lead and have faith that He will do exactly what He has promised.

Below are activities to help support your lesson this week.  Enjoy!

Wordsearch:  Beginning of Freedom Wordsearch  Answers:  Beginning of Freedom Wordsearch Answers

Crossword:  Beginning of Freedom Crossword  Answers:  Beginning of Freedom Crossword Answers

Draw the Scene: Beginning of Freedom Draw the Scene

Word Scramble:  Beginning of Freedom Word Scramble  Answers:  Beginning of Freedom Word Scramble Answers

“Prince of Egypt: Parting and Crossing the Red Sea” (You Tube Video).  Awesome!

More Activities/Crafts/Coloring/Links/Resources:

“Crossing the Red Sea Craft” – This is such an Awesome craft for your students from my friend at Crafting the Word of God.  Go to their site, print the templates and create this wonderful project (pictured below). 

crossing-the-red-sea1

Photo Credit: Crafting the Word of God Click to visit for templates and instructions. Enjoy!

“We Crossed the Red Sea” – (Wow, visit this site for some very unique ways of presenting this lesson.  Including, using blue balloons as water to walk through.  Won’t your students have fun with this.  Enjoy!)

“Crossing the Red Sea Coloring/Activity Sheets”

“Moses and the Red Sea Paper Craft”

“Parting the Red Sea” (This one has a video link for an interesting object lesson)

“Crossing the Red Sea: God is Always There to Help” (I especially like the “Lifting Ice Impossibility” activity to help support this lesson.  Enjoy!)

“The Crossing of the Red Sea with Star Wars Figures” (This site brings out the kid in you even if you are an adult.  It’s called Toy Box Tales and it shows you how to use what you have to make an awesome lesson stand out even more.  Jello becomes the Red Sea.  How wonderful is that?!  Visit this site for some great inspiration 🙂  Enjoy!)

“Israelites Cross the Sea on Dry Ground Coloring Page”

“How Did Moses Cross the Red Sea Printable Booklet (Color)” (With this each students can make and take home their own booklet to forever remember this lesson with (click here for color cover).  For the link for the B/W version click here for booklet and here for cover. You may want to visit their main site for even more ideas. Enjoy!)

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