Thursday April 25: 20 Aviv
According to Jewish tradition, it was on this day that Pharaoh, thinking that the wilderness had shut them in, caught up with the Hebrews while they were encamped at Pi Hahiroth – “the mouth of the gorges.” Israel came to be at this place because, as they were leaving Egypt, God told them to make a turn. It’s recorded in Exodus 14:
Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are bewildered by the land; the wilderness has closed them in.’” (Exodus 14:1-3).
This is very interesting considering that Moses knew he was to lead Israel to Mt. Sinai; he was told that before he ever returned to Egypt. Understanding that, we can conclude that Moses knew how to get to Mt. Sinai because he’d already been there and back. Therefore, it seems unlikely that, left to his own devices, Moses would have chosen this route because, to end up at the mouth of a gorge means, they took a path that led them through a gorge and directly to the Red Sea. Furthermore, to be led through a gorge, known in that part of the world as a wadi, suggests they compelled to take a pathway that did not allow them to turn to the right or to the left. The only option they had was to go forward through a straight and narrow path.
That they encamped by the sea further implies that there was only one way into the gorge and there was only one way out. Pharaoh made sure to cut them off from any retreat. In short, God led them into a situation that, to the carnal mind, would have amounted to a deathtrap. Pharaoh was certain that he was going to annihilate Israel on that day, only to find that it was he who was to be annihilated.
The point in all of this is that most people would have balked at following this narrow passageway opting, instead, to travel the wider and more familiar road. Yet we are told by the Messiah that the broad path will ultimately lead to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). If Israel had not turned and taken the direct route to Sinai, Pharaoh would have been able to overtake them, surround them and destroy them.
Israel could not have imagined that being by the sea, cut off from retreat and with nowhere to go was exactly where they needed to be. At just the right moment, the Creator opened up the sea and extended the straight and narrow path through the sea, permitting Israel to cross to the other side on dry land and into freedom from their oppressor.
So whenever you feel as if you are being squeezed, that you’ve reached the end of your rope and there is no hope, remember this: all the Heavenly Father has to do is breathe. With a blast from His nostrils He opened up the sea. What had seemed to be the end of the line for Israel was, in reality, the beginning of a new life made possible by the only way that led to life.