Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to camp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. 3 Pharaoh will think, “The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.” 4 And I will harden Pharaoh’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.’ So the Israelites did this.
5 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!’ 6 So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. 7 He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. 8 The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. 9 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.
‘Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got till it’s gone?’ So says a well-known song. After the Israelites had left Egypt, Pharaoh bitterly regretted the loss of all the free labour (5), so he and his armies went after them. No doubt they thought the people of Israel were trapped, but it was the Egyptians themselves who were walking into a trap.
As we saw yesterday – the Lord knows what He is doing! Pharaoh proposed and God disposed!
Someone observed that making moves against God is like playing a chess grand-master. Even the moves you make against him he will use to defeat you. The greatest example of this is seen at the Cross where the devil and the powers of darkness thought they had put Jesus in ‘check’ – only to find themselves checkmated!
“In a sermon entitled “God’s Providence,” C. H. Spurgeon said, “Napoleon once heard it said, that man proposes and God disposes. ‘Ah,’ said Napoleon, ‘but I propose and dispose too.’ How do you think he proposed and disposed? He proposed to go and take Russia; he proposed to make all Europe his. He proposed to destroy that power, and how did he come back again? How had he disposed it? He came back solitary and alone, his mighty army perished and wasted, having well-nigh eaten and devoured one another through hunger. Man proposes and God disposes.” Jerry Bridges