Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. They took their belongings and their cattle with them. God went with them, guiding them onto the right path. He took them through a desert.
Following God’s command, the Israelites took a roundabout route through the desert. God did not want them to change their minds and return to Egypt. God went ahead of them in the form of a big pillar of cloud by the day and guided them on their way.
At night, God led them in the form of a pillar of fire. It gave them light. The cloud helped shade the people from the hot desert sun during the day and the fire helped keep them warm at night. So, they could travel day and night. God took utmost care of His people.
But then, the trouble began. As soon as the Israelites had left Egypt, the Pharaoh realized that he didn’t have slaves to do all the work the Israelites had done before they left. So, he changed his mind.
He commanded, “We have made a great mistake by letting all the slaves go free. We must bring them back!” So, the Pharaoh set out with his best men and chariots to bring the Israelites back.
The Israelites had reached the Red Sea when they noticed the cloud of dust caused by the approaching soldiers. There was panic. In front of them was the sea and behind them were the soldiers coming to kill them; they had no escape. They were on the horns of dilemma.
Now, some of the Israelites were ready to fight against the Egyptians; others preferred to get drowned in the sea than to risk defeat and a return to slavery.
And the rest of the people blamed Moses. “You have tricked us! You have led us to death!” they cried, “We would rather have been slaves to the Egyptians than to die here.”
“Why do you worry? The Lord is with us,” Moses told the people, “Fear not; just stay calm! The Lord himself will fight for you today.” Then, God told Moses, “Lift up your stick and hold it out over the sea.”
Moses followed God’s command. Suddenly, strong winds parted the Red Sea to create a narrow dry path. On each side of this path the waters rose like high walls.
The Israelites hurried along the dry path in the sea. The strong winds continued to blow through the night till all the Israelites with their animals and other belongings crossed over safely to the other side.
Meanwhile, God started giving trouble to the Pharaoh’s army. Their horses got entangled in the harnesses and their feet began to sink in the sand. The chariot wheels came off. “Let us go back!” the soldiers cried.
At dawn, when all the Israelites were safe on the other side, the winds slowed down. God told Moses to stretch his hand out over the sea again. Moses followed God’s command. The water went back into
its place. The Egyptians who had managed to follow the Israelites into the sea were in for a big shock. The water rushed and covered the people and their chariots. Not a single Egyptian survived.
When the people of Israel saw the great power with which the Lord had defeated the Egyptians, they were filled with awe. They now had faith in God and his servant Moses.
The Israelites worshipped the Lord and sang praises to Him. They happily followed Moses, when he led them away from the Red Sea, through another desert.
Finally, led by Moses, the Israelites reached Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees. There, they camped by the water. They stayed here for some time.