Feasts, Pillars, Red Sea Crossings, Provisions and Grumblings

Thoughts on Exodus 13-17

Upon leaving Egypt Moses tells the people to remember what the day that God brought them out of Egypt and out of slavery. They should honor this for a whole month with a feast of Unleavened bread. They should use this feast as an opportunity to tell their children about what the Lord did for them via a Strong Hand.

The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. It had to be a striking visual of God among the people and leading the people.

At the Red Sea, God told Moses that their dealings with Pharaoh were about to climax again. Pharaoh decides that the Israelites are wandering around. He would chase them and capture them.

Let the Grumbling Begin!

The people see the Egyptians chasing them and whine to Moses, “We could have just died in Egypt instead of you dragging us out in the desert to die.” Moses tells them to fear not, stand firm. The Lord will fight for you.” Which was exactly what was about to happen. God was about to get the glory. Even the Egyptians would know who I AM was.

Moses stretches out his hand over the Red Sea and God holds back the waters so that the people of Israel could walk across on dry land. The Egyptians cross too, but as we know the waters come back down upon the Egyptians killing them. Chapter 14 ends:

Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians. They feared the Lord and believed in him and in his servant Moses.

Chapter 15 begins with a retelling via song of the story just told. In oral traditions of communication, song was often used to carry stories from generation to generation.

However, only 3 days later after crossing the Red Sea, the grumbling and whining begin again. The people are thirsty and wish that they could be in Egypt again where there was water to drink. God tells them to believe in Him and he will be known to them as Healer.

Moses tries to remind the Israelites that they are openly grumbling against God. Not something that they would want to do.

Similarly in Chapter 16 they start to hunger and long for Egypt again. God provides with Manna. This bread from heaven was freely given. They only needed to obey God and collect enough for that day’s need. God allowed for Sabbath to be honored on the seventh day. With this day of rest, the people could collect two day’s worth and it not spoil during Sabbath.

In Chapter 17, again they grumble and begin fighting with each other. Moses tells them again that they are testing the Lord. At the end of Chapter 17, they are at war with Amalek, and we have the story in which Israel defeats him while Moses’ arm is raised and his staff is held high.

At this point, God asks Moses to write all this down that has happened in a book. He is to write it down and recite it within ears reach of Joshua. Joshua has begun his training for future leadership.

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