Exodus 12:31-42, 13:17-14:31
After the final plague on Egypt (when all of the first born sons died), Pharaoh and the Egyptians encourage the Israelites to leave quickly. They feared that if the Israelites didn’t leave, all of Egypt would die! Thus the Israelites left in a hurry. They didn’t even have time to bake the bread that they were preparing. They just took the dough with them and baked it on the way. (Thus began the tradition of having bread without yeast during the Passover, or Feast to remember the Exodus) The Egyptians even gave the Israelites gold, silver and clothes to help them on their journey. This is what is referred to as the exodus or leaving (think exit!)
God led the people in a very special way. During the day a pillar of clouds led them and at night a pillar of fire lit the way. Can you imagine seeing so many miraculous things? The children of Israel had just seen all the plagues in Egypt, now pillars of clouds and fire are guiding them! God even led them around the land of the Philistines because He didn’t want them to get discouraged! Finally they get to the Red Sea. Unfortunately, but this time, Pharaoh has decided that letting them go was a bad idea and has come out with all his chariots to bring them back.
Now we need to take a minute to think about what this group of Israelites looked like. This was not a small group! The Bible tells us there were 600,000 men, not counting women and children. Some scholars estimate this means there were more than one and a half million people walking through the desert!! And they had also brought all their animals and goods. This was going to be a slow moving group! So when an army in chariots comes up behind them, with a sea in front of them, how do you think they felt? They got scared!! But worse than that, they began to doubt Moses’ leadership. They asked if he brought them all that way to die!!
But God had another miracle planned. The pillar of cloud and the Angel of God that had been guiding them got behind them and brought darkness on Pharaoh’s army and light for the Israelites. They stayed this way into the night and while they waited Moses stretched his hand over the sea and God drove the sea back with an east wind. Late into the night the Israelites crossed the sea on dry ground between 2 walls of water. Can you imagine the walls of water? Do you think they saw the fish in the water? The Egyptians followed them into the sea bed, but while there the wheels feel off their chariots. They began to run but Moses stretched his hand back over the sea and as the dawn broke the sea flowed back together and drowned the Egyptian army. When the Israelites saw this, the Bible tells us that they put their trust in god and his servant Moses!
But what can we learn from this story? God provided for His people, even when it took a huge miracle. He led them the long way to keep them from getting discouraged. We need to remember that God always provides for His children and since we are his children through acceptance of His son, Jesus, we can trust He will provide for us as well!
Make a mosaic of the Red Sea. Cut blue paper and brown paper into small squares or shapes. Glue the brown in the middle for dry ground and create walls of blue on each side. Consider adding fish stickers to the water. Discuss how amazing this miracle was and remind your kids of the greatness and power of our God!