God Triumphs Gloriously
God had a plan.
We see his plan unfolding in Exodus chapter 14, verses one through nine.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, 'They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.' And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord." And they did so. When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the mind of Pharaoh and his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, "What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?" So he made ready his chariot and took his army with him, and took six hundred chosen chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh's horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon. ()
God purposely made it look like the Israelites were wandering aimlessly. It says here, “for Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, ‘they are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’”
God confounds the enemy’s plans and turns them against him. For example, when the Son of God was on this earth, the enemy of our souls, the Devil, tried to destroy Him by hanging him on a cross. God confounded the Devil’s plan, and used the Devil’s plans to accomplish the salvation of our souls.
The Egyptians had a foul motive for chasing after the Israelites. Exodus 15 verse nine tells us that motive:
The enemy said, 'I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them. I will draw my sword; my hand shall destroy them.' ()
Here we see that the enemy wanted to divide the spoils or plunder them, ravage them or use them as an object to fulfill their desires and slaughter them. It is these evil motives that are behind the Devil’s workings in our world today, and it is the same evil desires that will be behind the invasion of Israel by the armies of Gog and Magog.
In Ezekiel chapter 38 verse four, God says to Gog:
And I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen... ()
This drawing out with a hook in the mouth is what God did with Pharaoh. God used Pharaoh’s own lust and desires against him. This is what God will do in the end with Gog and Magog.
Thus says the Lord God: On that day, thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme and say, 'I will go up against the land of unwalled villages. I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates,' to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. ()
Here we see that the motive for the invasion is to seize spoil and carry off plunder. The enemies of God’s people have always carried this motive, and God has used this to accomplish his purposes. He uses the motives of our enemies to accomplish his purpose in our lives.
Since God uses our enemies’ own plans against them, it often seems as if our enemies are winning. We see this happening in Exodus 14, verses 10 through 14.
When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, "Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: '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." ()
The Israelites were tactically in a horrible position out gunned and trapped between Pharaoh’s army and the sea. From a human perspective, they had nowhere to go. They were trapped. This is why they complained to Moses with such bitter words. They could see no way out.
I have been in situations where I could see no way out and no way of deliverance, and have probably said words with the same sort of implications to God. “Why have you brought me here? Why didn’t you leave me alone when I was enslaved, but at least I wasn’t trapped between the sea and an army!”
Is there any better definition of being afraid than what the Israelites were facing in that moment?
When your heart is overwhelmed with fear, read Psalms 55 and 56. The Psalmist had many fears and challenges. His life hung in the balance, and in the midst of his trials he said, “But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” ()
Although the Israelites were hemmed in and trapped, they had nothing to fear, because God had a plan. God’s plan was a perfect plan. Here is what the Israelites were singing the next morning:
I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. ()
Just hours before this song was sung, the Lord said to Moses:
Even the leader, Moses, had no idea what God was going to do, and while he tried to calm and control the panicked people, he was desperately calling out to the Lord for deliverance. However, the Lord had made a couple of clear statements of His purpose. He had said:
And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord." And they did so. ()
At this point, as Moses cries out to the Lord, the Lord repeats these words to Moses saying:
And I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they shall go in after them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, his chariots, and his horsemen. ()
These verses speak of God getting glory over the Egyptians. The problem that God had been dealing with Egyptians about was the fact that they exalted themselves above Him. The first commandment is not to have any god besides the One true God, and not to exalt any such god over God. With the Egyptians, God was not being a stickler for rules. He makes His reason for confronting their obstinance clear. He says, “...and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”
This is key for us to understand. All men everywhere must know that God is the Lord. Someday, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
We will not see the Egyptians drowned in the Red Sea. God did that a long time ago, but I can guarantee you that if you put your trust in the Lord, whatever obstacle you face will be defeated in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ so that all the world might know that God is the Lord.