This week’s parasha is entitled B’Shalach which means “In His Sending” it covers Exodus 13:17-17:16. Broken by the last and most terrible plague, Pharaoh finally submitted to the will of the Almighty, and let the Jewish people leave Egypt.
Israel departed Egypt in an orderly way, and Moses took the bones of Joseph with them. Adonai led His people toward the Red Sea. In His wisdom, God lead His people the safer way, not the shorter way.
God led His people through the wilderness by a pillar, which took the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
As chapter 14 begins, the Israelis had been traveling in a southeasterly direction and camped at Etham. Now the Lord redirects the people to turn back to Pi-Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea.
This change in direction would lead Pharaoh to think that the Israelis were confused.
Pharaoh, who had changed his mind yet again, will attempt to recapture the Jewish people, and God will unleash His awesome power on Egypt one last time.
As Pharaoh’s chariots and troops approached, fear struck the people. Israel appeared to be trapped, with the Red Sea in front of them and a deadly army approaching behind them.
Israel cried out, and forgetting all the mighty miracles God had performed, they accused Moses of leading them into the desert to die.
Sadly, as Israel came to their moment of deliverance, the chosen people were overwhelmed with distrust, fear and doubt.
Moses was instructed by the Three-In-One God, to raise his staff over the Red Sea. As he did so, Adonai sent a strong east wind and the waters were divided, and amazingly Israel crossed through the midst of the sea on dry ground. All that night God, put the pillar of fire and cloud between Israel and the Egyptians as a protective shield, while Israel made their crossing.
That next morning, Pharaoh’s chariots foolishly pursued Israel into the sea. Moses raised his staff one more time, and God demonstrated once more His power and glory by causing the waters of the Red Sea to come back together, destroying the Egyptian military. Adonai proved to Egypt and all the world that he is the Lord.
Moses and the people sang a song of joy to the Lord. Aaron’s sister Miriam took a tambourine, and led the women in singing and dancing. Miriam repeated the words, “Sing to the Lord, for He has done great things, He threw horse and rider into the sea.”
The song, found in chapter 15, describes the destruction of the Egyptian military. The song is in three sections, each one concluding with a triumphantly, showing that Adonai will reign forever and ever. Portions of this song also appear in Revelation 15 – the victory song over the antichrist.
When the Israelis came to Marah, a place where the water was bitter, they complained loudly. God showed Moses how to make the water drinkable by putting a tree into the water. Then Adonai gave His people a simple principle: obedience brings blessing, and disobedience brings judgment. Our God is the Lord God who heals us.
In chapter 16 the congregation again complains because they are hungry. God hears their murmurings and graciously meets their needs, promising manna from heaven in the morning and quail meat in the evening. The Almighty was also testing Israel to see if they would believe and obey.
In chapter 17, the nation complained once again; this time about the lack of water. Israel had been away from Egypt just 30 days when they again accused Moses and Aaron of deliberately leading them into the wilderness to kill them.
Moses complained to Adonai, and the Lord told him to take the rod in his hand and strike the rock and water would come forth. He did as God instructed him, and Israel was provided with water.
Next we read that Israel was suddenly attacked by a fierce desert people called the Amalekites, who were descendants of Esau. Israel’s victory over the Amalekites involved three elements: the power of God in Heaven, the skill and determination of Joshua and the army on the battlefield, and the intercession of Moses, Aaron, and Hur on top of the hill. But let there be no doubt, the victory was given by Adonai.
In closing, there are lessons that we can take from this parasha.
Adonai sometimes permits trials to come into our lives so that He can build godly character in us and make us more like Yeshua. When circumstances are difficult, instead of praying, “Lord, how can I get out of this?” we ought to pray, “Lord, what should I get out of this?”
Godliness doesn’t happen automatically; often it involves bearing burdens, fighting battles and experiencing pain.
There are great messianic types and shadows in Parasha B’Shalach. For example, the manna the Israelis ate in the wilderness points to something much greater – to Yeshua our Messiah, the True and Living Bread, whom God sent from Heaven to nourish our souls. And the rock that was struck is also a type of Yeshua, who was struck for us on the cross, so that we might drink of the water of life.
Israel’s mistreatment of Moses and Aaron was evidence of their contempt for God Himself. Moses was God’s chosen representative, so naturally he would receive the brunt of their attacks.
We need to remember that when we walk in the Spirit and uphold the Word of God, we also will experience opposition – sometimes from the very people we are trying to serve. So please pray earnestly that God would strengthen us so that we will be found faithful and empowered to endure to the end.