I would like to first say that I believe that what we read in the Bible is literal, and also has a spiritual message. I believe that the message in the story of the exodus tells us that, as believers, we all have to go the long way for our development, answering the prayers of those who ask God why our journey seems so hard. At time, I myself have felt discouraged, asking God to "take me home", not understanding that I too have to go through my own "wilderness". I write this because, after reading through the story of the exodue, I have a better understanding, and I want to share this understanding with whoever is willing to understand why our walk with God seems so hard. I ask that whoever may read this to share with me your opinion and feelings about what you have read.
Ex. 13:17-18: We read in theses verses that after the Pharaoh had let the people of Israel go, that the Lord had decided to lead them through the wilderness of the Red Sea, and the reason for this was stated that if the people got into a battle too soon, then they would become discouraged and return to Egypt. I believe that this is the same course of strengthening that God has us go through in our walk with Him. If we look at the spiritual meaning for the wilderness, we can see that God uses this as a place of hardship, a place to grow, and a place where God is the only one you can count on. When we read through the Bible, we will find that there are three hundred and four occurrences involving people being sent out or left in the wilderness, as a punishment or development. Also, Jesus often taught when He was in the wilderness, and of course, we have the famous account of Jesus being led by the Holy Spirit to fast in the wilderness, where He was tempted by the devil. Plus we read in verse seventeen that God wanted to take the Jewish people the long way lest they run into conflict too early, become disheartened, and want to return to Egypt.
Ex. 13:21-22: In these two verses God went before the people of Israel as a pillar of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. I believe that this is symbolic of�God's promise that He will always be there to guide us. We can read many times in the Bible where God tells us that He will always be there to guide us, protect us, will be our light, lighting our way through the darkness of the world. Before we come to the knowledge of the truth that God is real, we are first in the dark, and have the same chances�as anyone of surviving the harshness of the world, until God guides us. As we fix our eyes on God's lead, we do not have to worry about where we are going or how we will get there.
Ex. 14:1-9: In these verses, we will read that as Israel stopped to camp, God says that he will harden the Pharaoh's heart, and then he will gather his army and pursue the people of Israel. I believe that the part about camping lets us know two things. One being that there will be times when we must stop, times to rest. The other reason I will give after this next statement. Let's look at the reason why and what the Pharaoh saw to cause him to pursue the Israeli people. The Pharaoh saw that the Jewish people are walking around in circles, like they are confused. I believe that this tells us that, to onlookers and our enemies,�we look as if�we keep sinning.�They come to judge, punish, and want to bring us back into slavery, because we do not meet the standards of Jesus' or God's commandments. The New Testament states many times that we were slaves to sin. Thus, I liken the slavery in the book of Exodus to the type of slavery mentioned in the New Testament. Now, as for the second reason for camping out, it is that-at times-we will have to "camp out" on certain issues and sins, giving more reason for our "enemy", whether it be Satan and/or onlookers, to pursue, judge and punish us. One thing is sure, as is made clear in these chapters of Exodus, that the "enemy" will pursue us, seeking to put us back into the state that God has freed us from.
Ex. 14:10-20: In these verses we find that as the people of Israel camped by the Red Sea, they see that the army of Egypt are coming upon them.�The Jewish people become afraid, cry out to God, and say to Moses that it would have been better if they stayed in Egypt as slaves. They go on to say that they had told Moses in Egypt to "Let us alone", that it would have been better to live and serve Egypt, than to die in the wilderness. After Moses tries to calm them with the promises of God, God speaks to Moses, asking why the people cry out to him. He then�tells Moses to stretch out his hand, explains to Moses why the Pharaoh is coming, and then uses His pillars to keep distance between Israel and the army of Egypt. I believe that this is a message to both the faithful and the pastors who are chosen to lead the faithful. To the people that God has chosen, the message is that when we feel like it is hopeless, feeling trapped, God is there and He is faithful.�God knows�our troubles, so do not worry and let what we see with our eyes�cause us to doubt God. The message to the pastor is that they will experience the issues of people second guessing their leadership from the people they pastor and to act in faith.
Ex. 14:21-31:�The last verses state that after Moses stretches out his hand, the waters part, and the people of Israel cross the Red Sea.�As the army of Egypt try to cross, they are destroyed by the walls of water crashing down on them. The chapter then ends with how Israel saw the great work�of God, and that they feared the Lord and believed the Lord and His servant Moses. I believe that the waters symbolize the the way we are surrounded by walls of darkness, trials, and fears. The land being a representation of Jesus, and on the other side, a promise that they could not see, but must be taken in faith. I also believe that the army of Egypt being destroyed is a promise from God.
In conclusion, I believe that Exodus chapters 13:17 through all of chapter 14 tells us-in a spiritual sense-that our journey with God will be hard and long,�the devil and our enemies will judge us because of our imperfection, and will desire to bring us down and re-enslave us to a life spent away from God. The long way that God will take us is meant to give us strength for future battles, and to make us more like Christ. On this journey, God will be with us, and if we keep our eyes on God, do not give up, and keep moving towards promises we can not see-in faith-then we will find ourselves free of the things that have enslaved us and step in to our promises and destiny in God.