1. Has there been a time in your life when you were following the Lord, only to find yourself “between a rock and a hard place?” (Teachers, be prepared to share from your own experience if no one else shares.)
2. What did God teach you during that time?
The Israelites were trapped by the sea on one side and the Egyptian army on the other, with no visible means of escape. Yet they had followed God to the exact place He wanted them to be.
Suddenly the history of God’s faithfulness—even recent history—wasn’t enough to give them confidence in God’s plan and power. Fear and uncertainty became all consuming. God asked them to trust Him with the victory they couldn’t yet see.
As we consider the Israelites’ actions and attitudes let’s turn the spotlight on our attitudes and actions when God calls on us to trust Him in seemingly impossible situations! There are times when we are exactly where God wants us and yet there is no obvious solution to our situation. In those times we are forced to trust God as our only means to realize victory!
(If time permits, consider reading Exodus 14:1-12.)
Notice in Ex. 14:4 that all of this was so that God would receive glory.
1. Do we desire deliverance from our circumstances so that God receive glory or so we can simply be freed from our difficulties and perhaps even receive recognition for ourselves?
The Setting! Read Exodus 14:13-18
2. What fears and uncertainties did the Israelites have here? (God instructed His people not to fear, to stand firm, and to entrust the fight to Him before He told them specifically what He would do with the Egyptians or the Red Sea.)
3. How did Moses express his faith in verses 13-14? (God had not yet told Moses how He would deliver the people but Moses knew He would deliver them.)
4. What insight did verse 14 reveal about The Lord?
5. What role did faith play in the situation the Israelites faced? (It was absolutely necessary for Moses to trust God as leader and for the people to trust both Moses and God.)
6. Which of the fears the Israelites faced are familiar to you? (Scripture urges us again and again to not be afraid. We can find comfort in knowing God is victorious and able to deliver His people.)
Giving in to fear constricts perspective and prevents us from moving forward.
7. What resources, habits, or convictions keep us equipped to go where God leads? (Eph. 6:10-20—Soldier prepared for battle.)
8. What may we need to let go of or change to stay ready to respond to God’s leading? (Rich young ruler in Matt. 19:22.)
The wonderful truth is that we can entrust all our relationships and possessions safely to the Lord and find freedom!
Act 1: The Separation! Read Exodus 14:19-20
The indication here is that the “cloud” provided light for the Israelites and utter darkness for the Egyptians as it stood to separate them. No one doubted that God was the dominate power.
1. What words would you use to fill in the blank in the following statement? The Cloud equals God’s __________! (Some possible responses: glory; guidance; protection; presence; etc.)
2. How does the promise of God’s presence give hope?
3. How does the promise of His presence impact a person’s faith?
4. How might seeing God’s actions with your physical eyes impact your willingness to trust Him more deeply? (Jesus’ Disciple, Thomas, is a good example. But there were people who saw Jesus bring the dead to life that walked away without trusting Him.)
Authentic, healthy faith in the Lord cannot be based solely on an assured situational outcome. Many times God’s way is not what we envision!
Act 2: The Crossing! Read Exodus 14:21-22
1. For Moses and the Israelites, sight followed obedience, not the other way around. Imagine stepping into perfectly dry ground between the walls of water. Was that an act of faith on the part of the people?
2. How does this miraculous event help you understand freedom from sin? (Often God asks us to trust Him before the outcome becomes visible. Paul described anyone without Christ as slaves to sin in Romans 6:12-22. Being freed from slavery is a powerful image, demonstrating the hopelessness and destructive power of sin and the dilemma every person faces, and our desperate need for the help only Jesus can give.)
3. What is the relationship between faith and obedience? (It is like the relationship between life and breath—there isn’t one without the other.)
Faith finds its expression through obedience!
Act 3: The Victory! Read Exodus 14:23-28
1. What words or phrases in this passage point to the fact that God is paying attention and is at work?
2. What are some other examples in Scripture that demonstrate the fact that God won the victory? (Jericho, Gideon, Elijah and the Baal worshipers, Jesus’ resurrection, Peter and John with the lame man at the Temple asking for alms.)
3. How do you think witnessing God’s mighty power impacted the Israelites that day?
4. How can witnessing a display of God’s power cause us to gain a deeper understanding of God?
5. What do these verses teach about God’s judgment? (We don’t hear a lot today about God’s judgment. Being an enemy of God is serious business. The Egyptians rejected God, though He was gracious to give them warnings and opportunities to acknowledge Him as God above all others. All people are sinners and face God’s judgment without the intervening sacrifice of Jesus. His judgment is for eternity.)
6. How are you moved to worship God in response to these verses? (We are often more comfortable with God as Suffering Servant than God as mighty Victor. He is both, and so much more. He is everything we have ever needed or will ever need Him to be!)
Israel had deeply feared their Egyptian overlords for hundreds of years. Seeing them overwhelmed by God’s power changed everything. God’s stated intention was for the Egyptians to know He was Yahweh. Knowing He is God is the beginning point to knowing Him. In Exodus 15 the Israelites expressed their praise in song.
Summarize and Challenge!
If time permits, read Exodus 14:29-31.
1. How has this study enhanced your faith in God as Deliverer and Victor? (God knows how to deliver His people. He’s done it! Slavery to freedom; dead in sin to alive in Christ!)
God will never use His might in a way that is unjust. He is good. He wants us to seek Him and He will fight for us!
Reflecting on God’s saving of His people, how are you encouraged? Say a prayer of thanks to God for doing the work to save you from the sin to which you were once captive!