Introduction: I read a story about how a covered birdcage
helps a bird to concentrate on learning a specific song. You
know the expression, “bird brain?” It is not a compliment!
Are people like birds? Do they need to be focused to learn
vital lessons? Is suffering a way to focus our attention?
Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

I. The Trap

A. Read Exodus 14:1-3. We are picking up the account
of God’s people leaving Egypt after 400 years of
living there, the last part living in slavery. Who
is directing where the people travel? (God.)

1. What is Pharaoh supposed to conclude about the
wisdom of their movements? (They are confused,
“wandering,” and they have mistakenly taken a
dead end.)

B. Read Exodus 14:4. What does walking into this
apparent trap cause Pharaoh to do? (He pursues
God’s people. He apparently wants to bring them
back as slaves.)

1. Who is responsible for all of this? (The
reasonable conclusion from these verses is
that God is responsible. However you may
interpret “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart,” God
directed the movement of His people that
caused Pharaoh to believe they were trapped
and vulnerable.)

2. What does God say are His motives in this?
(The Egyptians will know that He is Lord.)

C. Read Exodus 14:9-11. How do the people respond to
this situation? (“They “feared greatly.” They were

1. To whom did the people turn? (God and Moses.)

a. What was the nature of their request for
help? (It was hardly a request for help.
It a complaint for which they blamed

D. Read Exodus 14:12. Is that really how they looked
at this? If it was, why did they leave in the
first place? (Read Exodus 5:20-21. It was a long-
standing problem that the people were not
completely on-board with the rescue plan.)

E. Read Psalms 23:1-3. Is being terrified about the
future something the people should have expected?
Is it something you should expect?

F. Read Exodus 14:13-14. How does Moses believe the
“still waters” will arrive? (When we decide to be
a spectator to the battle. God said that He is
proving who He is, and Moses essentially says,
“Just watch how this plays out.)

G. Read Exodus 14:15-16. Do Moses and God disagree on
the course forward? Moses says to watch and God
says to get moving? (Moses did not understand the
full plan.)

1. Are both “watch” and “get moving” good advice
to us when we view a terrifying future? (Yes.
It is not our fight, but we need to follow
God’s direction.)

H. Read Exodus 14:20-22. Is this a solution that the
people of God could have predicted?

1. Did the terror focus their minds?

2. Did the people have to do anything except

3. How much of their protection was supernatural?
(None of this was within their experience.
First, a cloud drops between them and the
Egyptian army. The cloud gives the Egyptians
darkness and the Israelites light. Then a wind
divides the waters and dries the seabed.)

I. Read Exodus 14:23-25. What conclusion did the
Egyptians reach about the power of God?

1. Who, did it turn out, were the truly trapped
people? (Not God’s people.)

J. Read Exodus 14:26-28. What would you conclude
about the meaning of Psalms 23 (our first study in
this series) if you had just gone through this

1. Would you regret your previous terror?

K. Read Exodus 14:31. Have the people reached the
same conclusion you would have reached?

II. Rinse and Repeat

A. Read Exodus 15:22-24. What reaction should the
people have had?

B. Read Exodus 15:25. Is this a supernatural
solution? (A log would never have made bitter
water sweet. Thus, this is a supernatural
solution. But, it does not look like it on the

C. Read Exodus 16:2-3. What is the complaint about
this time? (Food. It was water, now it is food.)

D. Read Exodus 16:4. How does God solve this problem?
(Supernaturally. He promises to “rain bread from
heaven” for them. The rest of Exodus 16 describes
how this worked.)

E. Read Exodus 17:1-4. We have been down this
specific path before. How do you explain this
complaint, which was so serious that Moses thought
the people might try to kill him?

F. Can you explain why the people react the way they
do in light of the previous miracles? In short
order they were saved from the Egyptian army,
saved from a water problem, saved from the food
problem, and now they face a water problem for a
second time. Are they fools? Were their minds
insufficiently focused at the Red Sea?

III. God’s Reaction and Ours

A. I’ve skipped over the section where God gives
specific instructions on how to prevent this
repeated failure of faith. Read Exodus 15:25-26.
How does this fit the problem? (If we look at this
the way many Jews and Christians have, then you
would conclude that you need to diligently work to
avoid the problem of being terrified of the future
and being worried about disease.)

1. Does that conclusion make any sense given the
stories that God tells us just before He
issues His “statute and rule?” (No. In all the
stories the people needed to trust God. They
did nothing to defeat the problem except to
cooperate with God as He cured the problem.)

a. Does this suggest a deeper meaning to
God’s “statute and rule?” (Yes! God’s
commandments and rules are all about
trust. Want to live a better life? Want
to avoid terror and enjoy green pastures
and still waters? Don’t resist God. Just
obey Him. God is not testing you, He is
giving you shelter. Watch how God wins!)

B. Read 1 Peter 1:6-7. In light of what we have just
discussed, what does it mean to have the
“genuineness” of our faith tested? (Will we trust
God? Will we watch in confidence while He wins the

1. The way I’ve looked at this text in the past
is that I’m being beaten up and I barely hold
on with my last ounce of strength to prove my
faith. In our stories the people faced real
terror and serious problems. It would have
been so much better for them if they simply
trusted God and watched Him work. That is the
place God wants our faith to be.)

C. Read 1 Peter 1:8-9. What attitude results from
this kind of faith? (Joy! Rejoicing! A confidence
in our salvation.)

1. Does this seem completely counterintuitive?
That we face problems with joy and rejoicing?
(We can understand how this works through
these stories.)

D. Friend, so you want joy, happiness, and rejoicing
to be the tone of your life? The Bible teaches us
that this is possible (indeed the goal) even when
we face terrible challenges. Will you accept Jesus
as your Shepherd and Savior right now so you can
live in joy?

IV. Next week: Seeing the Goldsmith’s Face.

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.