Exodus 13-16

Sunday Evening Bible Study

March 16, 1997


Four over four hundred years, the descendants of Israel have been in Egypt.

Now, as a nation of slaves, God has heard their cry for deliverance, and sent a reluctant man, Moses, to deliver them.

The long, hard process of deliverance began through the working of miracles.

There were nine plagues, all wonderfully aimed at showing the Egyptians how much more powerful Yahweh was than their own gods.

But it wasn't until the final, tenth plague, with the firstborn of all in Egypt being slain, that the people are finally allowed to leave Egypt.

The deliverance began with the first "Passover", when the Jews covered their door posts with lamb's blood, and the angel of death went through Egypt, killing the firstborn sons, except those with blood on the door posts.


Some of the plagues made a distinction between Israel and Egypt.

Some didn't.

Why make it so uncomfortable for the Israelites as well as the Egyptians?

To make it easier to get the Israelites out of Egypt.

Sometimes we complain about hard times we go through, but perhaps God is trying to move us on! Perhaps He's trying to get us out of Egypt.

Exodus 13

:2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn it is mine.

All firstborn are now God's property, whether animals or human children.

We'll see this a little clearer in the chapter.

:4-10 Summarize

Moses simply retells the requirement of keeping the feast of the Passover in coming years, to remind the people of what God had done.

:12 matrix

the womb

:13 thou shalt redeem with a lamb;

Those animals that you did not want to give up in sacrifice to the Lord, you had to "buy them back" from Him, by "redeeming" them.

In other words, you traded a lamb for the baby donkey.

The baby donkey belonged to God, but since you wanted to keep the donkey, you gave God a lamb instead.

Firstborn children would then be redeemed in the same way, exchanging a lamb for the child.


Substitutionary sacrifice.

God is continuing to prepare the people for the time when His own Son, the Lamb of God, would be substituted for us, dying in our place on the cross.

:15 the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt,

It was at the price of all the firstborn that Israel was delivered from Egypt.

And so, from that time, all the firstborn where to be sacrificed to the Lord, or else redeemed, as another reminder of how the Lord delivered them from Egypt.

I wonder if God is building in another prophetic reminder for Israel, concerning His firstborn Son, Jesus.

:16 a token upon thine hand,

Ryrie: On the basis of Exo. 13:9,16, coupled with Deut. 6:8 and 11:18, some Jews still wear phylacteries (little leather pouches containing short sections of the law, bound on the forehead and on the left arm above the elbow).

:17 God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines,

God was concerned that this nation of slaves, unaccustomed to warfare, might not make it if they went the short route.

Sometimes we can kind of criticize the Israelites for being in the wilderness, but we forget that it was God who brought them there in the first place.

Maybe they shouldn't have been there so long, but it was God who took them there in the first place.


Slow growth is good.

Sometimes it's better to grow slower than quickly.

We would all like to grow up quickly, but truthfully, it takes time.

The lesson from the seeds:

(Mat 13:5 KJV) Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

(Mat 13:20-21 KJV) But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; {21} Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

Quick growth can be shallow growth, and that might not last when hard times come.

:18 Israel went up harnessed

Ryrie: Organized and equipped for the march. Perhaps armed, but not in disarray as fleeing fugitives would be

:19 Moses took the bones of Joseph

This is an example of faith, the faith of Joseph.

(Gen 50:25 KJV) And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.

(Heb 11:22 KJV) By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.


Sometimes promises take a while to fulfill.

It's been four hundred years, but it finally came to pass.

:21 by day in a pillar of a cloud by night in a pillar of fire

A cloud to protect from the sun, as well as a way of guiding the people.

A fire by night also for guidance, for light in the darkness.

All the people had to do in order to know where to go, was to follow the pillar of cloud.

If the cloud moved, they moved.

If the cloud stayed, they stayed.


Led by His presence.

Did you notice that it was the LORD leading them IN the pillar of cloud?

All they had to do to know where God was leading them, was to follow His presence.

This isn't always easy for us, since we don't have a huge pillar of cloud to see with our eyes.

(John 3:8 KJV) The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

(John 3:8 NASB) "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Where is the Spirit moving today?

Are we going to be in "tune" enough with His movement that we'll follow?

It takes some sensitivity to keep up with the blowing of a gentle breeze.

Exodus 14

:2 they turn and encamp

These places are unknown to us.

Pi-hahiroth = "place where sedge grows"

Migdol = "tower"

Baal Tsphon or Baal-zephon = "lord of the north"

The best we can envision, is that God is kind of leading them up a valley, with mountains on either side, and the sea at the end of the valley.


God can lead us to a Red Sea.

They're soon going to be trapped by Pharaoh's army.

And God is the one who led them there.

This isn't one of those situations where they got themselves into a mess.

It's going to look like the wrong place, between a rock and a hard place, but it's just where God wants them.

But if He doesn't lead us into difficult places, we'd never see a Red Sea part before us.

:12 For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.

This is the attitude we get when we're caught with a Red Sea in front of us.

Sometimes we'd rather run back to our old ways, where we didn't have to face the hassles that Satan gives us now.

But is it really better back in bondage? Is it really better back in Egypt?

:13 Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD,

This isn't always the case.

There are going to be times when the Israelites have to take up swords and fight for their lives.

But here they are instructed to just watch God do the fighting.


It's not always your battle.

There are times when the best thing we can do is NOTHING.

There are times when the best thing we can do is to be still and watch God work.

:15 Wherefore criest thou unto me?

Here's the balance to the last lesson.

Apparently Moses has been on his face praying to the Lord, and God tells him to get up and get the people moving.


There's a time to pray, and a time to move.

If all we do is sit around on the couch all day, "praying" for a job, I'm not so sure that it's going to happen.

I think there's a time for action, when we need to get up and do something.

:20 it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel

Now we see the pillar acting as a defensive weapon, hiding the Israelites from the Egyptians, while they make their escape.

It puts the Egyptians in darkness on one side, and on the other side it is giving light to the Israelites, so they can cross the Red Sea at night.


:22 into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground:

Was this a miracle? Was it just the "sea of reeds"?

If so, there was a great miracle, the drowning of the Egyptian army in a shallow marsh!

:25 took off their chariot wheels

NIV - He made the wheels of their chariots come off so that they had difficulty driving.

:31 Israel saw that great work which the LORD did

Are you between a rock and a hard place?

Look for the Red Sea!

Stand and see the salvation of your God.

Exodus 15

:1 Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD

They response to God's work with worship

:8 with the blast of thy nostrils

Is this to say that God sneezed?

You have an impossible problem, and God only has to sneeze!

:11 Who is like unto thee, O LORD

A beautiful description of God.

It looks as if they're getting to know God better and better.

Are you?

:14 Palestina

or, "Philistia", referring to the land of the Philistines.

It's interesting to think that the current "Palestinians" take their name from the "Philistines", that ancient foe of Israel (even though they are most likely NOT descended from the Philistines).

:15 the dukes of Edom

Not the dukes of Hazzard.

:16 Fear and dread

News of the great deliverance from Egypt and the passing through the Red Sea would reach the inhabitants of the land, and cause them to fear.

Rahab the harlot (in Jericho) said:

(Josh 2:9-10 KJV) And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. {10} For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.

:20 Miriam the prophetess

Moses and Aaron's sister.

She's a prophetess, she can speak for the Lord.

:20 timbrel and with dances

Interesting forms of worship!

:21 Miriam answered them

It appears that the men sang a phrase of the song, and then the women echoed back, kind of like when we sing "He who trusts in the Lord "

:22 they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.

Remember, the "wilderness" in the land of Israel is a desert.

This is not good for two million people to not have water!

:23 Marah

Marah = "bitter"

Remember Ruth's mother-in-law, Naomi?

For a while she changed her name to "marah" because she was so bitter over the deaths of her husband and sons. (Ruth 1:20)

:25 the LORD shewed him a tree

I don't think this is an instance where the chemicals of the tree balanced the pH of the water.

I tend to see this as a supernatural healing of poisonous waters.


The cross turning our bitterness into sweetness.

We too have a tree to put into our bitter waters.

It's our unforgiveness that brings great bitterness in our lives.

It's at the cross that we learn to forgive, just as Jesus said, "Father forgive them "

Come to the cross, let Jesus turn your bitterness into sweetness.

:26 I will put none of these diseases upon thee

It's not mentioned, but I wonder if the people were beginning to wonder if God was going to do to them what He had done to the Egyptians.

They were having a tough time in the wilderness (even though it had only been three days!)

God tells them that they only need to obey Him.

Exodus 16

:1 the wilderness of Sin

Preachers like to talk about this, and joke about them being in "sin", but keep in mind, there's a need to translate from Hebrew into English.

Here, the word "sin" (pronounced "seen") is a Hebrew word, meaning "thorn" or "clay"

:2 the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured

murmur - luwn - to grumble, complain, murmur

As we're going to see, this is one of the things that the Israelites did over and over again while they wandered in the wilderness.

Concerning the time in the wilderness, Paul wrote:

(1 Cor 10:5-13 KJV) But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. {6} Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. {7} Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. {8} Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. {9} Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. {10} Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. {11} Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. {12} Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. {13} There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

God takes our grumbling and murmuring seriously.

It demonstrates that we don't trust Him.

It's one thing to be aware of your need, and to cry out to God.

It's another to be complaining about it.

:3 in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots

Again, beware of looking back to the "good old days".

We have "selective" memory, and tend to only remember the good times, and forget what it was like living under slavery to Pharaoh.

The danger of looking back at the old life.

:3 when we did eat bread to the full

You have to admit, it would be a logistical nightmare to follow two million people through a desert, feeding them!

:4 that I may prove

God wants to see how obedient they are going to be.

:5 sixth day

So the people won't have to work on the Sabbath, they will be able to take twice as much of this bread, and eat leftovers on Saturdays.

:9 he hath heard your murmurings

God even hears our complaints. Hmmm.

Sometimes we tend to think that all the junk gets filtered out before it reaches God.

Maybe it doesn't.

:14 hoar frost

NIV - thin flakes like frost

:15 It is manna

better translated, "What is it?" (NIV)

They stood around and looked at each other and said, "What is it?"

:16 an omer

a dry measure of 1/10 ephah (about 2 liters)

:20 it bred worms, and stank:


Spiritual "leftovers" stink.

If you think you can get by with what you heard from the Lord a year ago, forget it.

You need to receive from the Lord EVERY DAY! Fresh and new.

:21 they gathered it every morning

What a picture of our quiet times in the morning!

Every day, before the sun gets hot, spending time gathering today's "Manna".

Everyday asking the Lord "What is it" for today?

:26 Six days ye shall gather it

God promised to give them enough on the sixth day to carry them over on the Sabbath day, without working for it.


Where God guides, God provides.

If God has the idea that we should rest on the Sabbath, then God will provide for us to do it.

And watch Him do it.

:34 Aaron laid it up before the Testimony

This would be in the future, since they haven't even built the Ark of the Covenant, let alone even gotten the tablets of the testimony from God.

A pot full of manna would be kept either before, or inside the Ark of the Covenant, as a reminder of how God had provided for them in the wilderness.

By Solomon's day, the pot of manna had disappeared.

(2 Chr 5:10 KJV) There was nothing in the ark save the two tables which Moses put therein at Horeb, when the LORD made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of Egypt.

:35 until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan

When they entered Canaan, the manna ceased.


God's provision can change.

While in the wilderness, the people had no way of providing for themselves, so God provided manna.

When they get to the Promised Land, they'll be able to work, and so that's how God will provide for them.