Two Miracles: A Parted Sea and a Hardened Heart

June 6, 2014 at 10:52 am | Posted in Exodus | 13 Comments
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The parting of the Red Sea is one of the most awe-inspiring events in the Bible. It is a miracle that confounds Bible skeptics. Some scholars claim that, because the word translated as “red” can also mean “reed sea,” the place where the Israelites crossed was shallow enough for them to walk across without any supernatural “parting.” The Egyptian chariots, they go on to surmise, attempted to follow through this swampy muck, but got stuck in the mud, allowing the Hebrews to escape.

I once heard a joke where a little boy learned about the parting of the Red Sea in Sunday School from his very liberal, skeptical Sunday School teacher. After church, when his dad asked him what he had learned that day, the little boy replied that they had learned about the awesome miraculous power of God, Who who brought the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage by leading them through a stretch of six-inch-deep water. “What’s so miraculous about that?” asked the dad. His son replied, “What’s so amazing and miraculous is that God drowned the whole Egyptian army in six inches of water!” (See Exodus 14:28-30 below.)

As faithful Christians, we believe the literal truth of the Bible when it reports on miraculous events, but I can also honestly tell you that there are many serious Bible scholars and historians and archaeologists that are fully convinced based on the evidence that there is ample support for the literal Biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea.

And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so. And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?

Exodus 14:4-5

After all that Pharaoh and the Egyptians had suffered because of the refusal to release the Israelites, only the extreme hardening of Pharaoh’s heart could explain his obstinate and outrageous change of mind. When they asked the question “why have we done this?” meaning “why did we let them go?” if I had been a servant in Pharaoh’s court I guess I probably would have been executed or banished for doing my Arnold Horshack impression.

“Oooh, pick me, pick me! We let them go because of the bloody Nile River, and the frogs, flies, locusts, boils, hail, darkness, and death! REMEMBER??!! I know exactly why we let Israel go from serving us!”

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. 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. 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. 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, 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. 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.

Exodus 14:21-31

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