Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

Hebrews 11:29

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, December 25, 2014

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they were drowned.

The arm of the Red Sea that extends north along the old Egyptian border is the Gulf of Suez. A string of large saltwater lakes, the Bitter Lakes, falls in line between the Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea. The Suez Canal uses some of these lakes, especially the Great Bitter Lake, as a natural part of the canal. Although no part of the Gulf or the lakes reaches a depth of over 300 fathoms (1,800 feet), the depth is more than enough to allow a large amount of ocean-going shipping. Imagine what this area would have been like in April of 1446 B.C., when the Israelites realized that they were being pursued by the chariots of Pharaoh as they journeyed toward the Promised Land.

A reconstruction of a chariot buried with King Tut (some 150 years later) has shown that Egyptian chariots could travel as fast as 25 miles per hour. With this force coming from the west, and nothing but the Red Sea (whatever part they were facing—the Gulf or the Great Bitter Lake) to the east, the people were in a jam. To the north was the road where the Egyptians expected them to travel, and to their south was the eastern Egyptian mountain range, with rocky peaks jutting five or six thousand feet into the desert sky (lofty Shaiyb al-Banat is a peak of 2,187 meters).

They were trapped. But the Lord told them to move ahead, and the water of the Red Sea parted. By faith they stepped down into what had just been a sea bed, their wagons and carts and cattle and goats moving along where fish had been swimming just hours before. They were able to breath deep in what had been the depths of the sea, and it was not their faith that kept the watery walls surging to their left and to their right, it was the power of Almighty God himself. All they had to do was walk; God did everything else. He kept back the Egyptians and he kept back the water. He brought his people through while everything else had to stand aside. What does our faith in this same God tell us? He will hold back even the ravages of death and make the devil stand aside, and he will bring us out of the grave and into eternal life, like the Israelites stepping up out of the path through the Red Sea and on to safety. This is our God who saves. This is our God who has given us eternal life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.