“Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a people of his own, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
In the example of the parting of the Red Sea at the start of the exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt, the perfect timing of God waits until all of the parties are together on the banks of the Red Sea before He begins to part the waters. The Egyptian chariot army is stalled on one side of the pillar of fire, and on the other side the Israelites are watching the Red Sea open up through the supernatural hand of God. The unarmed and defenseless Hebrew slaves are just beyond reach of the Egyptian army.
This sets in motion the infuriation of the proud Egyptians at this yet-again miraculous intervention of the Hebrew God on behalf of the heretofore lowly Israelites, and fuels the determination of the Egyptian army to continue their pursuit of the fleeing Israelites into the parted waters of the Red Sea, and to their eventual judgment of God and final doom. It is the emotionally charged energy that is generated by having both the Israelites and the Egyptians together in close proximity at the shoreline of the Red Sea that propels the actions and events that lead to the deliverance of the Israelites and the destruction of the Egyptians.
All of the competing issues of character that make up the long period of exploitation, servitude, and inhospitality the Jews experienced while sojourning in the land of Egypt are brought together into a final climax at the parting of the Red Sea. The demonstration of God’s loving deliverance, the need for faith in God on the part of the Israelites, and the judgment of evil are all divided, separated, and exposed in this monumental collision of forces and purposes at the banks of the Red Sea. It is the perfectly timed choreography of these events that allows God to craft and shape a final outcome that both reveals His character and establishes some important truths having eternal application.
If God had started the parting of the Red Sea a day earlier, with the exodus of the Israelites already in progress and nearing completion when the Egyptian chariot army arrived at the shoreline, much of the power and impact of God’s message would have been deflated. Seeing the tail-end of the Israelites nearing the opposite shore across a long dry-land passage through the sea, a crossing which had begun sometime the day before, would probably have been a discouraging and anticlimactic ending to the Egyptian’s final pursuit of the Israelites, resulting in the Egyptian chariot army simply giving up and possibly returning to Egypt. In this scenario, the Israelites would have already perfected their escape, at least for the time being.
It is the closeness together in time and physical proximity of these two extremely dissimilar groups of people, the Egyptians and the Israelites, which allows God through the events of the parting of the Red Sea, to ignite this explosive mixture into the outcome that He anticipated, designed, and orchestrated. This divinely crafted outcome of deliverance and salvation for the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was in complete frustration and consternation to the forces of spiritual opposition. Instead of the destruction of the children of God, the Israelites are safely across to the opposite side of the Red Sea and heading toward Canaan, while the Egyptian army with all of their chariots and swords and continued plans of domination are drowned at the bottom of the sea.
This was a preview and a foreglimpse of God’s many imaginative and powerful tales of salvation to come, recorded in the Bible, that today we can by faith “cut and paste” forward into our own upcoming, immensely challenging end-times period.
The plagues in Egypt and the parting of the Red Sea at the beginning of the exodus of the Israelites heading toward their Promised Land, and the upcoming last seven-year tribulation period at the close of human redemptive history, are on a relatively equal magnitude level of truth-revelation. If the perfectly timed choreography of events during the parting of the Red Sea was designed by God to contrast the difference between the power of loving salvation, and the utter destructive judgment of self-centered evil, surely there is a similar level of purpose of revelation contained within the last seven-year tribulation period for mankind. Identifying some of these central purposes is critical to evaluating the truth-content of the various end-of-time scenarios being discussed today.