The Hebrews, after their departure from Egypt, set out for
the Red Sea. The Egyptians however, after burying their dead firstborn, began
to regret having let the Hebrews go. Pharaoh, gathering all his army with
chariots and mounted men, set out to pursue the Hebrews. He overtook them at
the edge of the sea.
Upon seeing the terrible hosts of Pharaoh behind
them, the Hebrews were terrified. Instead of supplicating God for help, they
began to complain to Moses for bringing them out of Egypt. While offering them
encouragement, Moses prayed in his heart to God and the Lord heard his prayer.
The pillar of cloud stood behind the Hebrews and hid them from the Egyptians.
The Lord said to Moses, "Take thy staff and stretch thy hand over the sea
and divide it." Moses stretched his hand and staff over the sea. Then the
Lord sent a strong east wind which blew all night, and the water drew back. The
Hebrews went along the dry bottom as the water became like a wall on their
right and left sides. When they heard movement in the Hebrew camp, the
Egyptians chased the Hebrews into the depth of the sea and came as far across
as the middle of the sea. At that time the Hebrews came out on the other side.
Moses, again at God’s command, stretched out his hand with his staff over the
water. The water of the sea fell back into place and covered the entire army of
Pharaoh and drowned the Egyptians.
Then the people of Israel, the Hebrews, with great
joy sang a hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord God, their helper and protector.
Miriam the Prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a
tambourine in her hands, and all the women went out with their tambourines
rejoicing. Miriam sang before them, "Sing unto the Lord, for He hath been
greatly exalted; horse and rider hath He cast into the sea."
The Hebrews’ passing through the Red Sea, whose waters separated and delivered the Hebrews from
iniquity and bondage in Egypt, foreshadowed Baptism by which we are freed from
the power of the Devil and slavery to sin.
At the time of the Hebrews’ journey out of Egypt
into the Promised Land, the Lord worked many other miracles as well. Once the
Hebrews came to a place where the water was bitter. They could not drink it and
complained against Moses. The Lord showed Moses a tree. As soon as they had placed
the tree in the water, the water became sweet.
This tree which took the bitterness from the water
was a foreshadowing of the tree of the Cross of Christ, which took away
the bitterness of life — sin.
When the Hebrews had used up all the bread they had
taken from Egypt, the Lord sent them bread from Heaven — manna. It
looked like little white crumbs or pieces of hail and had the taste of bread
with honey. This bread was called manna, because when the Hebrews saw it for
the first time, they asked each other, "man-na" or
"What is this?" Moses answered, "This is the bread which the
Lord has given you for food." Manna covered the earth in the morning
around the camp of the Hebrews, for the entire time of their journeying, on
every day except the Sabbath.
When the Hebrews came to the place in the desert
called Rephidim, where there was no water at all, they again began to complain
against Moses. At God’s command Moses struck a stone cliff with his staff and
water flowed from it.
the desert and water from the stone cliff, which saved the Israelites
from death, foreshadowed the true food and drink for us, which is the Body
and Blood of Christ, which the Lord gives to us in Holy Communion, saving
us from eternal death.
In Rephidim, desert dwellers, the Amalekites,
attacked them. Moses sent out Joshua, the son of Nun, with an army. Moses then
went up to the nearest mountain with his brother Aaron and with Hur and began
to pray, lifting both arms to Heaven, forming a cross.
Aaron noticed that when Moses held his hands up,
the Hebrews prevailed over their enemies, but when he let them fall out of
weariness, the Amalekites overcame the Hebrews. To ensure victory Aaron and Hur
placed Moses on a stone and held his arms stretched out. Thus the Hebrews
conquered the Amalekites.
Moses, when he was praying with his hands
stretched forth, foreshadowed the victorious Cross of Christ, by whose power
faithful Christians now conquer visible and invisible enemies.
In Rephidim Moses visited his father-in-law,
Jethro, and brought him his wife and sons.
Exodus, chaps. 14-18.
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