Parting the Red Sea Bible Story Study Guide

The Red Sea crossing showed God's miraculous power

Moses Parting the Red Sea
Israel Crosses the Red Sea.

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Moses parting the Red Sea is one of the most spectacular miracles in the Bible. The dramatic story plays out as the Israelites are escaping from slavery in Egypt. Trapped between the sea and the pursuing army, Moses tells the people to "stand firm and see the deliverance of the Lord." God opens a miraculous way of escape by clearing a dry path through the sea. Once the people are safely on the other side, God sweeps away the Egyptian army into the sea. Through this epic miracle, God reveals his absolute power over all things.

Question for Reflection

The God who parted the Red Sea, provided for the Israelites in the desert, and raised Jesus Christ from the dead, is the same God we worship today. Will you put your faith in Him to protect you too?

Scripture Reference

The story of Moses parting the Red Sea takes place in Exodus 14.

Parting the Red Sea Story Summary

After suffering devastating plagues sent by God, the Pharaoh of Egypt decided to let the Hebrew people go, as Moses had asked.

God told Moses he would get glory over Pharaoh and prove that the Lord is God. After the Hebrews left Egypt, the king changed his mind and was angry that he had lost his source of slave labor. He summoned his 600 best chariots, all the other chariots in the land, and marched his massive army in pursuit.

The Israelites seemed to be trapped. Mountains stood on one side, the Red Sea in front of them. When they saw Pharaoh's soldiers coming, they were terrified. Grumbling against God and Moses, they said they would rather be slaves again than die in the desert.

Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:13-14, NIV)

The angel of God, in a pillar of cloud, stood between the people and the Egyptians, protecting the Hebrews. Then Moses stretched his hand out over the sea. The Lord caused a strong east wind to blow all night, parting the waters and turning the sea floor into dry land.

During the night, the Israelites fled through the Red Sea, a wall of water to their right and to their left. The Egyptian army charged in after them.

Watching the chariots race ahead, God threw the army into a panic, clogging their chariot wheels to slow them down.

Once the Israelites were safe on the other side, God commanded Moses to stretch out his hand again. As morning returned, the sea rolled back in, covering the Egyptian army, its chariots, and horses. Not one man survived.

After witnessing this great miracle, the people believed in the Lord and his servant Moses.

Points of Interest

  • The exact location of this miracle is unknown. It was common practice among ancient kings not to record military defeats or to remove them from accounts of their country's history.
  • Some scholars argue that the Israelites crossed the "Reed Sea" or a shallow, weedy lake, but the Bible account notes that the water was like a "wall" on both sides and that it "covered" the Egyptians.
  • Despite being eyewitnesses to God's power in the parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites did not trust God to help them conquer Canaan, so he set them wandering in the desert for 40 years until that generation was dead.
  • The Israelites took with them the bones of Joseph, the Hebrew who had saved the entire country of Egypt some 400 years earlier with his God-given wisdom. After their ordeal in the desert, the 12 tribes, representing descendants of Joseph and his 11 brothers, reorganized. God finally let them enter Canaan, and they conquered that land, led by Moses' successor, Joshua.
  • The Apostle Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 that the Red Sea crossing was a representation of New Testament baptism.

Key Verse

And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant. (Exodus 14:31, NIV)