Isaiah 59

Sunday Morning Bible Study

July 2, 2000


In the last chapter, Isaiah spoke of how the people were misusing the practice of fasting and how they were frustrated because God didn’t seem to be paying any attention to them.  God tried to encourage them that if they were going to fast, to do it for the right reasons, in the right way.

Now we get back to the subject of why God hasn’t answered their prayers. Have you ever wondered why God hasn’t answered your prayers?

:1-8  Sin problem

:1  Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened …

shortenedqatsar – to be short, be impatient, be vexed, be grieved

saveyasha‘– to save, be saved, be delivered

heavykabad – (Qal) to be heavy, be insensible, be dull

Paraphrase:  “God’s arm isn’t so short that He can’t reach out and help you, neither is He so hard of hearing that He can’t make out what you’re saying”.

:2 … and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

iniquities ‘avon – perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity

separatedbadal – (Hiphil) to divide, separate, sever; to separate, set apart; to make a distinction, difference; to divide into parts

hidcathar – to hide, conceal, literally, “caused Him to hide His face”


Sin hinders your prayers

David wrote,
(Psa 66:18 NIV)  If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
This does not mean that God “can’t” hear us, but that He “won’t” hear us.  He chooses to ignore our prayers when we have sin in our hearts that we haven’t dealt with.

It’s like “caller I.D.”.  At home, when the caller I.D. says it’s “Joe’s Carpet Care”, we choose to not answer the phone to talk to the salesman.

When I choose to hold on to some certain sin in my life, and I refuse to do anything about it, then I’m going to find that God will also make a choice.  He will choose to disregard anything I say.


“But what about people I know who are away from God, who get their prayers answered?”
Answer:  That’s God’s grace.  God gives kindness to even those who don’t deserve it.

(Mat 5:43-45 KJV)  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. {44} But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; {45} That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

God does good things, even to those who are wicked and hate Him.  If He didn’t, we’d all be dead.

That also doesn’t mean that God has any kind of real relationship with these people either.

Does this mean that if God answers my prayer with a “no”, that there must be some kind of unconfessed sin in my life?
Answer #1:  It might be.

Be sure to give God a chance to point out what might need changing in your life.  David prayed,

(Psa 139:23-24 KJV)  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: {24} And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Be teachable.  Don’t be in a place where God can’t work with you.

Answer #2:  It might not be. 

It might just mean that God just wants to say “no”.

It may not be for any other reason than God thinks you’re asking for the wrong thing (1Jo 5:14,15).  It’s not an issue of sin, just an issue of asking for the wrong thing.  It may also simply be the wrong time to answer that prayer.

If God doesn’t point out something in your life that needs changing, then don’t condemn yourself either.

:3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies,

defiledga’al – to defile, pollute, desecrate

La 4:13-14 For the sins of her prophets, [and] the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her, 14  They have wandered [as] blind [men] in the streets, they have polluted themselves with blood, so that men could not touch their garments.

liessheqer – lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood

:3  your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

perverseness ‘evel – injustice, unrighteousness, wrong; violent deeds of injustice; “perverse misrepresentations of others”

(Isa 59:3 NLT)  Your hands are the hands of murderers, and your fingers are filthy with sin. Your mouth is full of lies, and your lips are tainted with corruption.

:4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies;

justicetsedeq – justice, rightness, righteousness

truth ‘emuwnah – firmness, fidelity, steadfastness, steadiness

vanitytohuw – formlessness, confusion, unreality, emptiness

liesshav’ – emptiness, vanity, falsehood

:4  they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

conceiveharah – to conceive, become pregnant, bear, be with child, be conceived, progenitor

mischief ‘amal – toil, trouble, labour; mischief

bring forthyalad – to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail

iniquity ‘aven – trouble, wickedness, sorrow; trouble of iniquity

It’s a word picture of getting pregnant with “mischief”, and giving birth to trouble.


Giving birth to sin.

We see the same kind of progression in:
(James 1:13-15 KJV)  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: {14} But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. {15} Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Sometimes people come up with crazy ideas like, “Well, if I wasn’t supposed to commit this sin, then why did God allow me to be tempted like this?”

Giving into temptation is your fault, not God’s.

Here’s the process:

You are faced with “The Situation” (temptation).

The “temptation” interacts with your heart, your sin nature, in order to “draw it away”.

If you let your sin nature get interested, you’re going to get “pregnant” with sin.  You’re going to sin.

It’s not a sin to be tempted.  But when you dwell on the temptation and begin to develop a strong desire for it, a “lust” for it, then you’ve already sinned.

Sin results in “death”, a spiritual separation from God (like Isa. 59:1-2).


Handling temptation.

There are several times during this process (Jam. 1:13-15) where you can stop the conveyor belt that leads to death.
1)  You can avoid some temptations.

Solomon tells the story of a foolish young man who decides to take a walk one evening in a section of town he shouldn’t have been in.  He just happens to walk by the house of a woman who comes and tempts him to do something he shouldn’t.

(Prov 7:21-25 NLT)  So she seduced him with her pretty speech. With her flattery she enticed him. {22} He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter or like a trapped stag, {23} awaiting the arrow that would pierce its heart. He was like a bird flying into a snare, little knowing it would cost him his life. {24} Listen to me, my sons, and pay attention to my words. {25} Don't let your hearts stray away toward her. Don't wander down her wayward path.

Sometimes temptation can be conquered by not even going there.

2)  You can choose to not dwell on the temptation and flee from it.

(2 Tim 2:22 KJV)  Flee also youthful lusts…

When Joseph was working for his master Potiphar, there came a day when Potiphar’s wife reached out, grabbed him, and asked him to commit a sin with her.  Joseph responded by getting up and running away from the temptation (Gen. 39:12).

3)  You can die.

(Rom 6:11-12 KJV)  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. {12} Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

Scripture calls it “crucifying the flesh”.  I’m not talking about putting nails through your hands.  Crucifying the flesh is even harder than that.  It means saying “no” to the temptation.  Have you ever said “no” to a stubborn, willful child?  It isn’t pretty.  Sometimes that “willful” child is you.

:5 They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web:

hatchbaqa‘– to split, cleave, break open, divide, break through, rip up, break up, tear

cockatricetsepha‘– poisonous serpent; a viper snake or adder

:5  he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

breaketh outbaqa‘– to split, cleave, break open, divide, break through, rip up, break up, tear

The same word is translated “hatch” earlier in the verse.

viper ‘eph‘eh – a viper, snake

The result of the “eggs” is only death and danger.

:6 Their webs shall not become garments

garmentsbeged – treachery, deceit;  (CLBL) garment, clothing (used indiscriminately)

Garments are “woven”.  But the things that are woven by these people aren’t like garments that cover a person, they are as protective as a spider’s web.

:6 neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

coverkacah – to cover, conceal, hide; (Hithpael) to cover oneself, clothe oneself

worksma‘aseh – deed, work; thing done, act

iniquity ‘aven – trouble, wickedness, sorrow

violencechamac – violence, wrong, cruelty, injustice

:7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity;

evilra‘– bad, evil; distress, misery, injury, calamity

hastemahar – (Piel) to hasten, make haste; hasten (used as adverb with another verb); to hasten, prepare quickly, do quickly, bring quickly

Ps 119:32  I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.

Ps 119:60  I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

:7  wasting and destruction are in their paths.

wastingshod – havoc, violence, destruction, devastation, ruin

destructionsheber – breaking, fracture, crushing, breach, crash, ruin, shattering

:8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths:

judgmentmishpat – judgment, justice, ordinance

made them crooked ‘aqash – (Piel) to twist, distort, pervert, make crooked

:8  whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace…

This is almost the same wording as the beginning of verse 8.

The people on this path don’t know peace (8a).

The people that are going to be on this path won’t know peace (8c).

:9-15  “Our” sin problem

:9 Therefore is judgment far from us

judgmentmishpat – judgment, justice, ordinance

us … we – Isaiah had been writing about “them”, but now it’s the nation speaking, and Isaiah includes himself with the group.  Sin is “our” problem, not “their” problem.


We’re all sinners.

For some reason all these words make me think of the images like some evil, wicked person.  It makes me think of the guy in the horror movies where the music gets really “screechy”.  It makes me think of the images that some of the hard rock bands portray of young, angry men.  It makes me think of people I don’t want to meet in a dark alley.  It makes me think of dangerous people.  Paul will use some of the same pictures, even drawing from Isaiah 59
(Rom 3:10-17 NLT)  As the Scriptures say, "No one is good-- not even one. {11} No one has real understanding; no one is seeking God. {12} All have turned away from God; all have gone wrong. No one does good, not even one." {13} "Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their speech is filled with lies." "The poison of a deadly snake drips from their lips." {14} "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." {15} "They are quick to commit murder. {16} Wherever they go, destruction and misery follow them. {17} They do not know what true peace is."
(Rom 3:21-23 NLT)   But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight--not by obeying the law but by the way promised in the Scriptures long ago. {22} We are made right in God's sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. {23} For all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious standard.

The truth is, we’re ALL sinners.  But though we’re all sinners, we don’t have to be without hope.

Our hope is in trusting in Jesus.

He is the One who died to pay for our sins.  As we trust in Him to pay for our sins, He gives us forgiveness and takes away our sins.

:9 neither doth justice overtake us:

justice[email protected] – justice, righteousness

:9  we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

contrast this with Isaiah 58, when God’s people do things properly (like fasting) –

(Isa 58:8-10 KJV)  Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. {9} Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; {10} And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

:11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none;

roarhamah – to murmur, growl, roar, cry aloud, mourn, rage, sound, make noise, tumult, be clamorous, be disquieted, be loud, be moved, be troubled, be in an uproar

mournhagah – to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot, speak

:11 for salvation, but it is far off from us.

salvation[email protected]‘ah – salvation, deliverance; welfare, prosperity; victory

Very, very similar to the Hebrew name for Jesus, Yeshuwa‘


Help isn’t that far away.

It may seem that God is far away at times, but He’s much closer than you think.
(Psa 139:7-10 KJV)  Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? {8} If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. {9} If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; {10} Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), the son who ran away to a “distant country” finally came to his senses and decided to return to his father.
(Luke 15:20 KJV)  …But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
You may seem far from God right now, but you’ll find that if you’ll just turn around and take a step towards Him, that He’ll come running to you.

:12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us

transgressionspesha‘– transgression, rebellion

are multipliedrabab – to be or become many, be or become much, be or become great

sinschatta’ah – sin, sinful

:12  as for our iniquities, we know them;

iniquities ‘avon – perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity


You know you’re guilty.

You really don’t need anyone to tell you you’re guilty, do you?
After a two-week criminal trial in a very high profile bank robbery case,  the judge turns to the jury foreman and asks, “Has the jury reached a  verdict in this case?”  “Yes, we have, your honor,” The foreman responded.  “Would you please pass it to me,” The judge declared, as he motioned for  the bailiff to retrieve the verdict slip from the foreman and deliver it to  him.  After the judge reads the verdict himself, he delivers the verdict slip  back to his bailiff to be returned to the foreman and instructs the foreman, “Please read your verdict to the court.”  “We find the defendant Not Guilty of all four counts of bank robbery,”  stated the foreman.  The family and friends of the defendant jump for joy at the verdict and hug  each other as they shout expressions of divine gratitude.  The man’s attorney turns to his client and asks, “So, what do you think  about that?”  The defendant, with a bewildered look on his face, turns to his attorney  and asks, “Well, does that mean I can keep the money, or do I have to give  it back?”
We may be able to convince others we’re not guilty, but inside we know we are.
 (Psa 32:1-5 KJV)  A Psalm of David, Maschil. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. {2} Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. {3} When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. {4} For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. {5} I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

:13 In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

lyingkachash – (Piel)  to deceive, deny falsely; to act deceptively; to cringe; to disappoint, fail

departing awaynacag – to move away, backslide, move, go, turn back

oppression ‘osheq – oppression, extortion, injury; gain by extortion

revoltcarah – apostasy, defection, turning aside, withdrawal

conceivingharah – to conceive, become pregnant, bear, be with child, be conceived, progenitor.  Same word used in verse 4 (“conceive mischief”).

It all starts in the heart.

utteringhagah – to moan, growl, muse, mutter, meditat;  (Poal) to utter

heartleb – inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

falsehoodsheqer – lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood

:14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

truth ‘emeth – firmness, faithfulness, truth; sureness, reliability; stability, continuance; faithfulness, reliableness

equity[email protected] – straight in front, be in front of, straight, right, straightness; true things (of prophecy); rectitude (subst)

:15  and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey:


Get ready for the attack

If you are a person who has chosen to follow the Lord and to “depart from evil”, be prepared for trouble. Don’t let your guard down, thinking that because you’ve chosen to serve the Lord that the struggle is done.  It’s only just begun.
(1 Pet 5:8 KJV)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

:16-21 Messiah comes

:16  wondered that there was no intercessor

wonderedshamem –to cause to be desolate; to be appalled, be astounded; to cause oneself desolation, cause oneself ruin

intercessorpaga‘– to encounter, meet, reach, entreat, make intercession

God saw that man’s situation was impossible.  It is only with God’s help that we can be saved.

Woven through this next section is a mixture of the first and second comings of Jesus.

It was because of man’s hopeless condition that God sent His Son to earth to bring salvation by dying for our sins.

:17  righteousness as a breastplate and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.

righteousness[email protected] – justice, righteousness

breastplateshiryown – body armour; a weapon; perhaps a lance, javelin

helmetkowba‘– helmet

salvation[email protected]‘ah – salvation, deliverance

garmentsbeged –garment, clothing.  Same word translated “garments” in verse 6.

vengeancenaqam – vengeance

clothingtalbosheth – garment, clothing, raiment

zealqin’ah – ardour, zeal, jealousy

(Psa 69:9 KJV)  For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.

:17 For he put on …

When the Messiah comes, He’ll come prepared, wearing His armor. Some of these weapons you’ll find are also things we’re supposed to have (like righteousness and salvation), while others are things that only Messiah will wear (like vengeance and zeal).

The bottom line is, when Jesus comes back, He’ll be prepared for battle.

God’s armor is made up of four things:

1. Breastplate of righteousness

2. Helmet of salvation

We are to take up these same two things (Eph. 6:13-17)
(Eph 6:13-17 KJV)  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. {14} Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; {15} And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; {16} Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. {17} And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
It’s the “armour of God” because it’s the same armor that He wears.
We don’t have to allow our hearts to be attacked with condemnation, but can protect our hearts with His righteousness.
We protect our minds with the assurance of our salvation.

3. Cloak of zeal

4. Garment of vengeance

We aren’t to be wearing these.  Only God wears this.
At Jesus’ first coming, He demonstrated “zeal” when He cleansed the temple (John 2:13-17), but nothing like when He comes back again.

(John 2:13-17 KJV)  And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, {14} And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: {15} And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; {16} And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. {17} And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.

Vengeance is what will happen when He comes again (2Th. 1:8-10).  This is God’s responsibility, not ours (Rom. 12:17-21).

:18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay

deeds[email protected] – dealing, recompense

repayshalam – to be in a covenant of peace; (Piel)  to complete, finish; to make safe; to make whole or good, restore, make compensation; to make good; to requite, recompense, reward

Things will be made right by giving people what they’ve given to others.

(Mat 7:1-2 KJV)  Judge not, that ye be not judged. {2} For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

:18 fury to his adversaries, recompense to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompense.

furychemah – heat, rage, hot displeasure, indignation, anger, wrath, poison, bottles

adversariestsar – narrow, tight; straits, distress; adversary, foe, enemy, oppressor; hard pebble, flint

recompense[email protected] – dealing, recompense, benefit

enemies‘oyeb   enemy

islands ‘iy – coast, island, shore, region

:19 So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun.

fearyare’ – to fear, revere, be afraid

:20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion

Redeemerga’al – to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman. Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer. He’s coming back.

Paul quotes this in Romans 11:26.

:20 and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

turn fromshuwb – (Qal) to turn back, return; to turn back (to God), repent

transgressionpesha‘– transgression, rebellion

:21 My spirit that is upon thee, and my words

spiritruwach – wind, breath, mind, spirit

wordsdabar – speech, word, speaking, thing

Two promises to those who repent – the Spirit and the Word.

:19  When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

enemytsar – narrow, tight; straits, distress; adversary, foe, enemy, oppressor; hard pebble, flint

floodnahar – stream, river

Re 12:15  And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

Spiritruwach – wind, breath, mind, spirit

lift up a standardnuwc – to flee, escape; (Polel) to drive at (intensive or repeated action)

There is some major disagreement among the translations as to what this is saying, but after studying it, I think I’ve got to stay with the King James here.

One group says it’s talking about God, not the “enemy” –

(Isa 59:19 NIV)  From the west, men will fear the name of the LORD, and from the rising of the sun, they will revere his glory. For he will come like a pent-up flood that the breath of the LORD drives along.
(Isa 59:19 NASB)  So they will fear the name of the LORD from the west And His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream, Which the wind of the LORD drives.

The other group is like King James

(Isa 59:19 NKJV)  So shall they fear The name of the LORD from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the LORD will lift up a standard against him.

One commentator (Adam Clarke) wrote that all the rabbins say this refers to the coming of the Messiah.  They would say that if you see a generation which endures much tribulation, then expect the Messiah to come.

One commentator (Kimchi) says that the standard-bearer was always the first into battle and the struck the first blow against the enemy.  It’s the Spirit’s job to fight our battles.

Gill – one rabbi, Aben Ezra, compares it to the description of the Tribulation in:

Da 12:1  And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.


God’s victory

At times, our enemy doesn’t seem to let up on us. You may win a victory over him in the morning, but he will be back in the afternoon.  You may close the front door on him but he will come around to the back door.  Sometimes he comes in like a flood with his air force, artillery, and ground troops, all with guns firing.
Those are the times when it’s best to sit quietly and let the Lord take over.
When Moses and the Israelites were cornered against the Red Sea with the Egyptian chariots closing in on them –
(Exo 14:10-31 KJV)  And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. {11} And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? {12} Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.
Things looked pretty bleak.  The enemy was coming after them like a flood.
{13} And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. {14} The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
Moses promised the people that GOD would be the one doing the fighting.  They would see His deliverance.
In a sense, as far as doing battle was concerned, all they needed to do was to stand by and watch God work.
{15} And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
Even though they were to just “stand and see” as far as the battle was concerned, there was something they were to do.
God didn’t just want them standing around doing nothing.  He wanted them moving forward.
{16} 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. {17} And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. {18} And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. {19} And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: {20} And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
Last week we talked about moving forward and how God promises to be our “rear guard” (Is. 58:8).  Here it is, literally.
{21} And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. {22} And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. {23} And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. {24} And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the LORD looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, {25} And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the LORD fighteth for them against the Egyptians. {26} And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. {27} And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. {28} And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. {29} But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. {30} Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. {31} And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
God took care of His people. But don’t forget how the story started. The people were scared.  It looked hopeless.  They thought they were doomed.  But by the end of the story, they had seen the Red Sea parted.  If there were never a Red Sea in your life, then you’d never see God part it.