Crossing the Sea



     It was not an easy thing to hold the hosts of Israel in waiting before the Lord. They were excited and full of terror. They lacked discipline and self-control. Impressed by the horrors of their situation, they became violent and unreasonable. They expected speedily to fall into the hands of their oppressors, and their wailings and recriminations were loud and deep. The wonderful pillar of cloud had accompanied them in their wanderings, and served to protect them from the fervid rays of the sun. All day it had moved grandly before them, subject neither to sunshine nor storm; and at night it had become a pillar of fire to light them on their way. They had followed it as the signal of God to go forward; but  now they questioned among themselves if it might not be the shadow of some terrible calamity that was about to befall them, for had it not led them on the wrong side of the mountain into an impassable way? Thus the angel of God appeared to their deluded minds as the harbinger of disaster.

     But now, as the Egyptian host approaches them, expecting to make them an easy prey, the cloudy column rises majestically into the heavens, passes over the Israelites, and descends between them and the armies of Egypt. A wall of darkness interposes between the pursued and their pursuers. The Egyptians can no longer discern the camp of the Hebrews and are forced to halt. But as the darkness of night deepens, the wall of cloud becomes a great light to the Hebrews, illuminating the whole camp with the radiance of day.

     Then the hope that they might be delivered came to the hearts of Israel. And Moses lifted up his voice unto the Lord. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto Me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."

     Then Moses, obeying the divine command, stretched out his rod, and the waters parted, rolling up in a wall on either side, and leaving a broad pathway across the bed of the sea for the children of Israel. The light from the pillar of fire shone upon the foam-capped billows, lighting the road that was cut like a mighty furrow through the waters of the Red Sea until it was lost in the obscurity of the farther shore.





    All night long sounded the tramping of the hosts of Israel crossing the Red Sea; but the cloud hid them from the sight of their enemies. The Egyptians, weary with their hasty march, had encamped upon the shore for the night. They saw the Hebrews only a short distance before them, and as there seemed no possibility of escape, they decided to take a night's rest and make an easy capture in the morning. The night was intensely dark, the clouds seemed to encompass them like some tangible substance. Deep sleep fell upon the camp; even the sentinels slumbered at their posts.





    At last a ringing blast arouses the army! The cloud is passing on! The Hebrews are moving! Voices and the sound of marching come from toward the sea. It is still so dark that they cannot discern the escaping people, but the command is given to make ready for the pursuit. The clatter of arms and the roll of chariots, the marshaling of captains and the neighing of steeds, are heard. At length the line of march is formed, and they press on through the obscurity in the direction of the escaping multitude.

     In the darkness and confusion they rush on in their pursuit, not knowing that they have entered upon the bed of the sea and are hemmed in on either hand by beetling walls of water. They long for the mist and darkness to pass away and reveal to them the Hebrews and their own whereabouts. The wheels of the chariots sink deep into the soft sand, and the horses become entangled and unruly. Confusion prevails, yet they press on, feeling sure of victory.

     At last the mysterious cloud changes to a pillar of fire before their astonished eyes. The thunders roll and the lightnings flash, the waves roll about them, and fear takes possession of their hearts. Amid the terror and confusion, the lurid light reveals to the amazed Egyptians the terrible waters massed up on the right hand and on the left. They see the broad path that the Lord has made for His people across the shining sands of the sea, and behold triumphant Israel safe on the farther shore.

     Confusion and dismay seize them. Amid the wrath of the elements, in which they hear the voice of an angry God, they endeavor to retrace their steps and fly to the shore they have quitted. But Moses stretches out his rod, and the piled-up waters, hissing, roaring, and eager for their prey, tumble down upon the armies of Egypt. Proud Pharaoh and his legions, gilded chariots and flashing armor, horses and riders, are engulfed beneath a stormy sea. The mighty God of Israel has delivered His people, and their songs of thanksgiving go up to heaven that God has wrought so wonderfully in their behalf.




     The history of the children of Israel is written for the instruction and admonition of all Christians. When the Israelites were overtaken by dangers and difficulties, and their way seemed hedged up, their faith forsook them, and they murmured against the leader whom God had appointed for them. They blamed him for bringing them into peril, when he had only obeyed the voice of God.

Testimonies for the Church

Volume Four  P 23-25