young man looking over horizon February 6 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Exodus 13:17–15:27

Why Should We Trust God?

This is a question which many people have. Trust comes from knowledge and experience. People have to demonstrate worthiness before they can be trusted. Is God any different?

The Israelites had been enslaved by the Egyptians for 430 years. Other than old stories passed down from parents, grandparents, and elders, they had no experience with God. Then a fellow named Moses came out of the desert of Midian and told them that the God of their ancestors, the ever present eternal “I am” has seen their suffering and will deliver them. This gave them some encouragement, but then their sufferings increased when Moses made Pharaoh angry. Through ten miraculous plagues, however, God delivered them. The Israelites plundered the Egyptians and marched out of their land boldly by God’s Almighty hand.

In today's Bible reading, the Israelites leave Goshen and Rameses in Egypt, and believe their trials are ended. But then the Egyptians realize what they have done—they have lost the services of the Israelites! Pharaoh and his army mount their horses and chariots and quickly pursue them to take them back. The Israelites see them and are terrified. Now what can they do? The Egyptian army is behind them and the Red Sea is in front. They are trapped!

Why does God allow the Egyptians to follow them? First, God shows the Egyptians one more time that he is the LORD. He is the sovereign, self-existent one. He is all powerful.

Second, up to this point the Israelites haven't personally expressed their belief and confidence in the LORD who delivered them. They need to see that God is not only their deliverer but also their shield and defender (Exodus 14:1-4; 14:13).

Seeing the pursuit of the Egyptians, the people are trembling in fear. Moses answers them,

Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV).

Then God shields the Israelites from the Egyptians all night with a cloud of darkness, although the Israelites have light. Afterwards, God tells Moses to stretch his rod over the waters, and they part. With a strong east wind blowing all night, the LORD opens a wide path through the Red Sea for the Israelites to escape on dry ground. When the Egyptian army tries to follow, God makes the wheels of their chariots fall off so the soldiers have difficulty driving. When they try to flee, the high walls of water rush back upon them and they drown.

Are we trapped by our circumstances? We need to totally rely on God; we need to be still and watch for the salvation of the LORD. Let's not panic, get angry, curse God, blame others, quit acting in faith, surrender, deliver ourselves in ways he does not direct, or commit suicide. Let's stay faithful and wait expectantly for the LORD to do something. He is our shield and defender. When God does make a way for us, we will be like Moses’ sister, Miriam—we will rejoice with singing!

The LORD is not only our deliverer, shield and defender; he is also our provider. Shortly after the deliverance from Pharaoh’s army, the Israelites travel into the desert wilderness of Shur, where there is little water. How will all their masses of people and cattle be fed? Did God deliver them just to kill them in the desert? Then, when they do find waters at Marah, they are bitter and undrinkable. When the people complain, God tells Moses to cast a piece of wood into the waters and they miraculously become sweet. This object lesson provides a good illustration of God's promise. He says,

If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you. (Exodus 15:26, NIV)

When Israel obeys the LORD, she sees he is faithful and she comes to know him by experience. God can be trusted. There is no foe which can defeat her. God is able to provide for her needs, even in the desert.

Lessons to Live By

  • Is God your shield and deliverer? He is a shield and deliverer for all who trust in him (more...).
  • God cares for us, provides for us in even the most unlikely circumstances—he is worthy of our trust.
  • Those who are faithful and obedient to God come to know him by experience, and they rejoice!

Today’s Bible Memory Verse

Exodus 15:2 (NIV) “The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him.”

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A Look Ahead: An initial experience with God is not enough; we will have difficulties. We have to Learn Live by Faith. Find out how in our Next Lesson.

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