Exodus: Week 10 Study Guide

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you had your back against the wall? As a believer, what are we called to do in those situations? In part 10 of the Book of Exodus, we’ll look at Exodus 14 as the Israelites cross the Red Sea. Discover how the Lord both leads us to and through those moments, all while bringing about good and being glorified!


Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to consider, questions to personally reflect on and/or discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, and some action points for the week. 

Memory Verse of the Week: Exodus 14:13–14 (NIV)

“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.’”

Dead End?

READ: Exodus 14:1–12

Sometimes God leads us to impossible places. Here, we see Moses has just led the Hebrew people (a few million men, women, and children) out of Egypt. Pharaoh finally released his grip on them, and they were on their way to the land God had promised their founding fathers, which was then known as the region of Canaan. It seemed like a happy conclusion to the plague-ridden conflict that must have seemed endless for all involved. But then, God does something very unexpected and deliberate. It would have made all the sense in the world for them to take the direct northly route to Canaan, which ran parallel to the coastline of the Mediterranean Sea. However, the Lord instructs Moses to go in a different direction and stop at the edge of the Red Sea which wouldn’t seem to make much sense because it would mean they couldn’t move ahead and were vulnerable to being overtaken. 

But it’s essential we understand it was God who deliberately led the children of Israel to this exact spot. It wasn’t misfortune or Moses’ bad leadership that put them in what seemed to be, quite literally, a dead end.

You see, the Lord knew that when the reports came to Pharaoh that his workforce had put themselves in such a vulnerable position, it would be too much for him to resist. Pharaoh would marshal his military might and pursue the people who had just escaped his tyrannical rule. So, the immediate purpose for taking this route is to provoke Pharaoh to chase after them.

Okay, but this still leaves us with the question of “why.” Why draw Pharaoh out like this? The answer we’re given is so God would gain honor and that all of Egypt would be left with an undeniable testimony of who He is. But in the heat of the moment, with their backs against the wall (or the water!), the Israelites didn’t see the big picture. With the weight of Pharaoh’s forces bearing down on them and the expansive Red Sea blocking any possible escape, their fear displaced any faith they may have had in God’s desire to deliver them.

We really can’t point an accusing finger at them, can we? Because if we’re altogether honest, we do the very same thing. We allow fear to displace our faith—fear in the Pharaoh’s of this world, fear in the impassable seas of circumstance, fear in all that’s happening around us to take hold of us and dominate our hearts and minds. And fear has a tendency to warp our view of God and His heart towards us. We lose confidence in the promise of Him leading us to a new and better land. All that gets buried beneath our fear, which would lead us to believe He’s only led us to a dead end. 

Fear sees death where God promises life, despair where He decrees joy, and anxiety where He wants peace. Fear takes us captive and lead us in the opposite direction of God’s will for our lives. We see this demonstrated over and over in the Word of God as well as our daily experience. So, the question of all questions cannot be avoided, “Why do we allow fear to have such an influence over us?”

The answer is actually given to us in this account as we examine it closely. Everything seems to be going along without a hitch until the children of Israel saw the Egyptians marching after them. It’s from this moment onward they’re filled with the fear that distorts their sense of reality and robs them of all God wants for them. It was their focus, what they looked at, which shifted their faith to fear—and the same holds true for us.

Let’s truthfully consider what has our focus. “If I’m being brutally honest, my focus in life tends to be on _______.” And if we fill in anything other than our all-knowing, all-powerful, everlasting, and ever-loving Lord, we’re prone to falling to our fears. 

This doesn’t mean we have a one-track mind that never gives a thought to anything but God. That’s unrealistic and weird! But what it does mean is that just as a compass will always point to magnetic north, our lives are always oriented to the truth of who God is and all He’s done for us. That’s the sort of focus that strengthens faith and quenches fear. 

Discussion Question 1: Why did God lead Israel by a route that didn’t seem to make much sense? Why does He sometimes lead us to seemingly impossible places?

Discussion Question 2: Where did the children of Israel go wrong in their response to Pharaoh’s pursuit? How can we learn from them and apply these lessons in our daily lives?


The Sea Between Me and Freedom 

READ: Exodus 14:13–14

Did you know the most frequently stated command in all of Scripture is “fear not” or “do not be afraid”? It’s said 365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year! Why? Because God knows fear is one of the most pressing issues we’ll face our entire lives, and we need to be reminded daily to trust in Him, stand firm in Him, and find our security, comfort, strength, relief, and peace in Him. 

Imagine being the Israelites at the foot of the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his officials pursuing you. Exodus 14:10 (NIV) says, “They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.” Not only that, and because of their fear, they said to Moses, “It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert” (Exodus 14:12 NIV)! 

Again, we can’t really fault them here, because even now, knowing Jesus and having the Holy Spirit indwell us, in moments of crisis or difficulty we still doubt, give fear a foothold, and freak out over what might happen. And if we’re being honest, most of us have never personally faced anything as scary as the Egyptian army bearing down on us with the sea between us and freedom.

But look at the command: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today” (Exodus 14:13 NIV). In fact, it was so they, their descendants, and you and I today could see His deliverance clearly, so we could behold His glory and know the name of the Lord! And every trial, tribulation, tragedy, difficulty, desert, valley, mountain, and army we face is also ordained for His glory, for our deliverance, redemption, and sanctification, and so we and others would know the name of the Lord! 

If all we experience and encounter is for our good and His glory, then let’s pray we never let our hearts sink or stagger through unbelief, but with quiet, confident minds may we look up to and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). May we stand firm in faith and walk in peace and obedience. May we overcome fear because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4), and He who is in us has overcome the world (John 16:33)! And not only that, because of this, we can count it all joy when we encounter trials (James 1:2), and we can glory in our sufferings because we know they produce perseverance, character, and hope that doesn’t disappoint because God’s love is poured on us through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:3–5)! 

Discussion Question 3: Why is “do not fear” the most frequent command in the Bible? 

Don’t Just Stand There

READ: Exodus 14:15–20

There’s a time to pray, and a time to act. With the Israelites fearful, Moses told them not to fear because the Lord will deliver them! But after delivering these powerful words of inspiration and faith, it’s implied that Moses cries out to God, who responds, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” He then proceeds to give Moses instructions and says, “And I will gain glory through Pharaoh.”

So, here we see Moses seemingly full of faith before the people which was good for the people because Moses was able to encourage their faith. But before God, he seemingly cried out in a desperate prayer (though not recorded here, it is textually implied), even after God had explained to Moses what was going to happen (Exodus 14:1–4) and that He’d have the victory and would gain glory. Again, it wasn’t time to cry out and double or triple check, it was time to act in accordance to His will and walk forward in faith!

Was God angry at Moses? No, He was simply keeping him on task. God essentially asks Moses, “Why do you keep crying out when the victory has already been granted?” And then He gives Him instructions on how to move forward in that victory. But the principle is clear: Pray without ceasing and do so in faith according to God’s will, but don’t neglect to act in faith and walk in the purposes and plans God has for you. He gives us revelation and direction, and He speaks to us clearly through His Word and prayer. May we be a people with the boldness to go forth in faith! 

Discussion Question 4: What keeps you from walking forward and acting in faith?

God Makes a Way Through the Impossible Place

READ: Exodus 14:21–31

Now having been encouraged by Moses’ words, the people marched with assurance knowing the Lord would fight for them, and they would see their salvation and never see their oppressors again (Exodus 14:13–14). Yet, no one knew how God would defeat the enemy. With faith and trust, they simply walked. To their sides, the seawalls stood for them as a bulwark, and the angel of God defended them from the back. All they saw was what lay ahead (freedom) and later what lay behind (the dead).

Now, let’s consider something more. It’s been suggested the crossing of the Red Sea is analogous to Christ’s resurrection. In both cases, the hand of God ushered in deliverance by miraculous means: the Egyptians were defeated and Satan was defeated. Even the water symbolizes a cleansing and separating effect: baptism of a nation and baptism of a person. If we take this view, then it stands that we can also walk in this freedom knowing that God has us on all sides and the enemy is subdued. Sure, Satan is there, but he has zero control. He’s desperately sinking.

Now, let’s take this even further. When the Hebrews finally moved into the land God had given them, the celebration of their journey faded to stark reality. They still had to make their way in the land. They still had battles to fight and victories to gain. It’s no different for those who follow Jesus. We have battles, we have victories, and we have no inkling how God will help us fight. We just faithfully trust He’s there on all sides. And, until Jesus returns, we’re still going to fight those spiritual battles, those daily temptations, and sometimes end up in those impossibly tight places. 

But one day, one glorious day, we’ll realize our ultimate release when Christ returns and establishes His kingdom. Like the Egyptian army, death will be swallowed up in victory (Isaiah 25:8), the God of peace will crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20), and we can stand with Jesus and shout, “Oh death, where is your victory? Oh, death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55 ESV). Until that day, let’s walk in faith with the assurance of hope and the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). 

Discussion Question 5: What steps can you take to walk in faith and not fear?  


Is there any area where the Lord has spoken in your life and you’re hesitating to act? Whether out of fear, doubt, comfort, or lack of faith, I implore you to take the step of faith and move forward. It’s time to act and walk in faith according to the will of the Lord!


In our next study, we’ll study Exodus 15 as we look at Moses and Miriam’s songs.

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About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.