Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear and oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.” After leaving Succoth they camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night. Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people. Ex. 13:19-22
The Lord never left them! In fact, He showed them the way to go!
Now, the Egyptians pursued them. Remember, if we are pursuing our Promised Land, you better bet that the enemy is out to get us. He wants nothing more than for us to fail. Because when we succeed – to God be the glory!
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, "What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!" So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh's horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. Ex. 14:5-9
You may be asking, why did God allow this? I thought He was going to free His people?
He will do what He says He is going to do! But, He will also be glorified! He will display His power, majesty and strength not only to the Israelites but also to the Egyptians. Exodus 14:4 says, “And I will harden Pharoah’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD.”
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Ex. 14:10-12
Ok, so now the Israelites are ready to retreat! They would rather return to slavery than face the battles that lie ahead for the pursuit of their Promised Land! We can not retreat!
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." Ex. 14:13-14
What a beautiful picture of our Warrior King! He will fight for us! We need only to be still!
I do believe He has called us to fight. I have also experienced times of such defeat where I felt as if I could not fight for myself. Cry out to Him. Be still. He will fight for you!
I encourage you to read the account of the parting of the Red Sea in Ex. 14 and also the song of praise and victory in Ex. 15.
The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. Ex. 15:3