Where the world comes to study the Bible

5. Moses Leads the People Out of Egypt (Exodus 14)

Related Media



Main Point: God wants us to listen to Him and follow Him completely.

Key Verse:

Moses, go up close and listen to the LORD. Then come back and tell us, and we will do everything he says. - Deuteronomy 5:27 CEV


Say: God made a promise to Abraham that he would have an uncountable number of descendants - more than the stars in the sky! For exactly 430 years, Abraham’s descendants, the Israelites, had been slaves in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh was the ruler of Egypt. God sent Moses to Pharaoh to tell him to let God’s people go. What did Pharaoh say to Moses (and ultimately to God)? “No!”

Pharaoh would not listen to God. God sent terrible plagues upon the land of Egypt. Why did He do this? God was showing His incredible power. God had power over all the false gods that the Egyptians worshiped. Repeatedly God proved His power and might. Now remember, some of the Egyptians believed God - they were listening to Him. But Pharaoh would not.

The last plague that God sent was by far the worse plague. God sent the death angel to kill the first-born child of every family and the firstborn of every animal. The Bible says that there was loud crying in Egypt for there was not a household without someone dead. During the night, Pharaoh summoned Moses and told him to leave Egypt. This is exactly what God said would happen. Moses and all the Israelites left in a hurry. Their bread did not even rise, and this is why Jewish people today still celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Out Of Egypt (Exodus 14)

Say: Moses led 600,000 people out of Egypt in the middle of the night. God did not lead Moses and the Israelites through enemy land. Rather He led them through the desert toward the Red Sea as they journeyed to the Promised Land. God led His people with a pillar of clouds during the day, and a pillar of fire at night. Following these incredible sights would remind them that God was always with them, guiding them each step of the way on their journey to the Promised Land.

Ask: What has God given us so that we can know that God is always with us? The Bible - something the Israelites did not have.

Look to God’s Word for reassurance of His presence. Just as the Hebrews looked to the pillars of cloud and fire, we can look to God’s Word day and night to know He is with us, helping us through life.

Say: God told Moses to lead the people toward the Red Sea. God told Moses that He was going to make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn so Pharaoh would chase after the Israelites. God would then do something amazing so all the Egyptians would know that He was the one true God (Exodus 14:1-4).

Application: The Bible says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Earlier, we read in the Bible that Pharaoh hardened his heart against God and would not listen to Him, but now we read that God hardened his heart. This teaches us a VERY important lesson - we must ALWAYS be ready to listen to God! The hardening of a heart is a process - a repeated event. If a person hardens their heart too many times, he may come to a place where they cannot listen anymore.

Say: Once the Israelites had left Egypt, Pharaoh became upset that he released all of his slave workers, so he changed his mind - again. This happened just as God said it would. Pharaoh sent 600 of his best chariots after Moses.

The king of Egypt was told that the people had gotten away. Then Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them. They said, “What have we done? We’ve let the people of Israel go! We’ve lost our slaves and all of the work they used to do for us!” - Exodus 14:5

Say: As Pharaoh’s army came after Moses and the Israelites, it looked like an IMPOSSIBLE situation. To the east was the sea. To the south and west, there were mountains, and to the north was Pharaoh’s army.The Israelites were trapped.

Ask: Have you ever been trapped? Do you know how it feels to be completely trapped?

Say: To top it off, listen to what the people were saying to Moses:

They said to Moses, “Why did you bring us to the desert to die? Weren’t there any graves in Egypt? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? We told you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone. Let us serve the Egyptians.’ It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die here in the desert!” - Exodus 14: 11-12

Say: The Israelites were afraid. They were blaming Moses for being trapped. The interesting thing to note here is that GOD led them EXACTLY to this place where they would FEEL trapped. He was about to show the entire world His amazing power as the One who RESCUES His people!

Moses answered the people. He said, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm. You will see how the Lord will save you today. Do you see those Egyptians? You will never see them again. The Lord will fight for you. Just be still.” - Exodus 14:13-14

Say: WOW! Do you think it would be hard to STAND STILL in a situation like this? Now listen to what God said.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people of Israel to move on. Hold your wooden staff out. Reach your hand out over the Red Sea to part the water. Then the people can go through the sea on dry ground.” - Exodus 14:15-16

Say: The Lord told Moses to stop praying and get moving! Prayer must have a vital place in our lives, but there is also a place for action. Sometimes we know what to do, but we pray for more guidance as an excuse to postpone doing it. If we know what we should do, then it is time to get moving.

I will make the hearts of the Egyptians stubborn. They will go in after the Israelites. I will gain glory for myself because of what will happen to Pharaoh, his whole army, his chariots and his horsemen.

The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. I will gain glory because of what will happen to all of them. - Exodus 14:17-18

Say: Remember that earlier I told you that the Lord placed a pillar of clouds to lead the Israelites by day and a pillar of fire to lead them by night. Just at this moment, God moved these pillars in between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, so that the cloud brought darkness to one side and light to the other. Neither army went near the other all night long.

Then Moses reached his hand out over the Red Sea. All that night the Lord pushed the sea back with a strong east wind. He turned the sea into dry land. The waters were parted. The people of Israel went through the sea on dry ground. There was a wall of water on their right side and on their left. - Exodus 14:21-22

Say: There was no apparent way of escape, but the Lord opened up a dry path through the sea. Sometimes we find ourselves caught in a problem and see no way out. Don’t panic; God can open up a way.

Can you imagine walking across the Sea with a wall of water on each side? Do you think the kids poked at the water? Do you think it was exciting? Scary?

But Pharaoh’s army soon came in behind them. And listen to what God did next!

The Egyptians chased them. All of Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea.

Near the end of the night, the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud. He saw the Egyptian army and threw it into a panic. He kept their chariot wheels from turning freely. That made the chariots hard to drive.

The Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for Israel against Egypt.”

Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “Reach your hand out over the sea. The waters will flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” So Moses reached his hand out over the sea. At sunrise, the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians tried to run away from the sea. But the Lord swept them into it. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen. It covered the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the people of Israel into the sea. Not one of the Egyptians was left. - Exodus 14:23-28

Say: God had already sent TEN plagues upon the people of Egypt. He gave them many opportunities to listen and obey. Even after their firstborn sons were killed, they STILL did not listen to God. They chased after the Israelites, and died because of it. Terrible consequences come to those who will not listen to God. Disobedience brings punishment.

God delivered His people, the Israelites. Even in an impossible, trapped situation, God rescued them. All glory and honor belongs to Him!

Application: God knew that Pharaoh’s heart was hard toward Him because of sin and that Pharaoh was not willing to admit his sinfulness. Our hearts are also hard toward God from the time we are born because of sin. The Bible says the heart is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). Your sin separates you from God, because God is holy - perfectly pure (Isaiah 59:2). The good news is that God loves you in spite of your sin. His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died on the cross giving His life’s blood to take away your sin and its punishment (1 John 1:7b). Your sin does not have to keep you apart from God any longer. You can believe in Him and be forgiven forever. Pharaoh refused to believe God. He refused to listen to Him. His heart was hardened, and God knew what his sinful heart would cause him to do about the Hebrews leaving Egypt. (Child Evangelism Bible: Lesson: Crossing the Red Sea, page 89)


Main Point: God wants us to listen to Him and follow Him completely.

Note to the Teacher: To me, the most difficult thing for me to believe is not the parting of the sea, or of the Israelites passing through it, but the fact that the Egyptians followed them into the sea. Think of this for just a moment. Any well-trained army knows better than to plunge (pardon the pun) into an ambush. Whenever an army is faced with its enemy ahead and barriers are on both sides, there is a serious concern of being trapped in the middle by your opponent. Even worse, if you were to see the sea parted by the God of your adversary, would you be inclined to enter into that sea, knowing that you were seeking to capture the very people God was aiding to escape? To me, there are only two possible explanations to the entrance of the Egyptians into the sea, and both of them are incredible.

One surprising possibility is that the Egyptians entered into the sea without even knowing it. This possibility is usually one, which we would not even entertain, largely due to our own preconceived ideas of what happened. I do not know of anyone else who has come to this conclusion, so I would caution you to think critically here (as elsewhere). Nevertheless, there are several observations that make this an option that must be reckoned with.

First, we are not told anywhere that the Egyptians knew that they were entering into the sea. We are told that they entered the sea (v. 23), but it is not specifically reported that they knew this was the case. Second, the time of the passing through the sea (for both the Israelites and the Egyptians) was late at night (cf. 14:20, 24, 27). Third, the pillar that gave light to the Israelites produced or promoted darkness for the Egyptians (v. 20). True, the Israelites could see the sea in the light provided by the pillar, but could the Egyptians? Fourth, it would seem highly unlikely that the Egyptians would enter into the sea, knowing that God had parted it for His people. Fifth, the Egyptians appear to be guided only by the Israelites. The Egyptians were in hot pursuit. Where the Israelites went, the Egyptians followed. (It wouldn’t be difficult to follow the tracks of 2 million people, now would it?) The Egyptians were concentrating on the object of their pursuit (the Israelites), not the scenery around them. You tend not to see what you are not looking for. Sixth, since the seabed had become dry ground, there would be no particular evidence that the Egyptians were in the midst of the sea. If, perchance, my speculations here are correct, can you imagine the horror of the Egyptians when they first realized where they were? They really did get in “over their heads” this time.

Bob Deffinbaugh,The Red Sea: Israel’s Deliverance and Egypt’s Defeat (Exodus 13:17–14:31)

© 2007  All rights reserved worldwide. May be reproduced for personal, nonprofit, and non-commercial uses only. 

Unless otherwise noted the Scriptures taken from: Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version, (NIrV®)

Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society  /  Used by permission of IBS-STL.  All rights reserved worldwide.

Special thanks to John R. Cross, The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus, GoodSeed International.

Related Topics: Children, Children's Curriculum

Report Inappropriate Ad