Parashat Beshalach (When He Sent)

Shemot (Exodus) 13:17-17:16

In our Scripture portion this week, Pharaoh releases the Children of Israel from slavery in Egypt. It is a very dramatic exodus, and we witness the mighty hand of the Lord working on behalf of His people.

When it comes to the Word of God, I love the way the Hebrew language reveals that which is to come. Sometimes, important details can get lost in translation, so to speak. In Exodus 13:18, the English translation of the verse reads, “Hence God led the people around by the way of the wilderness to the Red Sea; and the sons of Israel went up in martial array from the land of Egypt.”

In Hebrew, the name for the “Red Sea” is “Yam Sof”, which literally means, “the end (or final) Sea.” The name of the sea actually foretells what was to happen to Pharaoh and his army. Amazing!

The children of Israel left Egypt fully equipped with everything that they needed; in addition, the Lord Himself moved before them and guided their path during the day with a pillar of smoke, and during the night with a pillar of fire:

“And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.” Exodus 13:21-22

All that the Children of Israel needed to do was keep their eyes on the Lord and trust Him as He guided their path.

However, as we learn in chapter 14, the Lord was not finished displaying His sovereignty and might; He once again hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and once he and his people realized that their slaves were free, they went back on their word and chased after the Children of Israel.

What always amazes me when I consider this event is how quickly the Children of Israel began to panic, especially after all they had witnessed the Lord do for them! The people of Israel once again forgot God and everything that He did for them and instead of choosing to trust Him, they cried out to God and complained to Moses! But is that not like all of us? How quickly do we forget all that God has done for us in the past whenever we face a new trial?

When they said they’d rather go back to being Pharaoh’s slaves than face the Egyptians running after them, Moses quiets them with powerful words:

“But Moses said to the people, “Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the LORD which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. “The LORD will fight for you while you keep silent.” Exodus 14:13-14

My brothers and sisters, keep your eyes on the Lord! Do not focus on the mountain in front of you, but instead focus on the One who can move that mountain! Trust in the Lord and witness His amazing power; look on His salvation, watch His faithfulness, see how He will bring victory for His namesake, and you will be at a loss for words!

We serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Nothing is impossible for Him. What do you need to release to Him today? What mountain stands before you that only He can remove? Trust that He can accomplish anything that concerns you!

Shabbat Shalom,


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