Check-Mate

Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.

Exodus 14:1-4 (NIV)
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon. Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’ 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.

Exodus 14:1-4 (MSG)
God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon. “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them. And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.” And that’s what happened.
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“Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Tell the sons of Israel to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. You shall camp in front of Baal-zephon, opposite it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ I will harden (make stubborn, defiant) Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will be glorified and honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians shall know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that I am the Lord.” And they did so.” -AMPLIFIED

God is setting the game up for the final move; “Check-Mate”. For those of you who are not chess players, this means that God has the king in a position of no escape and there is absolutely nothing that Pharaoh will be able to do to remove this threat. The game will be over. God will come out victorious.

The Israelites had left Egypt hurriedly. I am sure they were trying to get away as quickly as possible because there was the fear that Pharaoh would change his mind once again. Plus, there was always the possibility that he would take his anger and sorrow out on them for what God, Almighty had done.

Strangely, God speaks to Moses and says, ” Tell the Israelites to go back and set up their camp facing Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Set up your camp facing north—by the sea.” (GW) Go back? What? That would be certain death, God. Just in case you have not noticed, Pharaoh is not too happy with us right now.

God goes on to explain why though. “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are just wandering around. The desert is blocking their escape.’ I will make Pharaoh so stubborn that he will pursue them. Then, because of what I do to Pharaoh and his entire army, I will receive honor, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” (GW)

Ah, here is God’s Master move in the game. He has stigmatized what is about to happen; and since He knows what Pharaoh’s haughty heart and calloused attitude will choose to do, the plan is laid. Scripture tells us how things came to a culmination in this story. “When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?” So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along. God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.” -Exodus 14:5-9 (MSG)

Once again, Pharaoh thinks he has the upper hand, but he is deluded; he never did. God always was the Supreme Authority. God’s check-mate is about to happen.

My Prayer:
Lord, when will I learn that I have nothing to fear with you in charge? Just as you were watching over and protecting the Israelites; so too do you watch over your children and protect them. Help me to trust you in every situation. Remind me that you have my back. Help me to have confidence in You and in the fact that one day even the wicked will receive their reward. I will trust in you, Lord.

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