The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen; of all the host of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea, not one of them remained. But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses. (Exodus 14:28-31 ESV)
After the plages, the Egyptians practically pushed Israel out giving them clothes and treasure as they went. God led them toward the wilderness and the Red Sea. The Egyptians were hardened again and went after them armed for battle to bring them back and make them slaves again. Israel was frightened when they saw the Egyptian army coming, trapped as they were against the Sea. But God worked a mighty miracle through Moses as he parted the Red Sea and brought Israel through on dry ground. When Egypt followed, he clogged up their wheels to slow them down and then brought the walls of water back together on top of the Egyptian army, destroying it utterly and saving the people. And the people believed.
This teaches us an important lesson of God’s salvation. God saves and then the people believed. That order is important for us to see. It is important so that we might understand the true nature of our need and the true graciousness of God’s salvation. Our true nature is one that rejects God. In the Psalms we read,
The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. (Psalms 14:2, 3 ESV)
We require God to do a mighty work against our will. It is after God graciously does the work to set us free from this corruption (like he did with Israel’s bondage), that we have the wherewithal to turn to Him and believe. His salvation is by grace, as he brought us, who were dead, to life.
Lord, how humbling it is to read about the great redemption of the Old Testament in that it reminds us of the true hardness of our heart from which we must be saved. It reminds us that we have no rightful claim upon you. And yet, Lord, you give us the right of sons! May we come boldly to your throne, not because of anything in ourselves, but because of the degree of grace you have shown in making us your children.