Moses Didn’t Part the Red Sea, by Carole Sparks

Moses stood on an outcropping of rock beside the Red Sea. Below him, the Israelites paced, wrung their hands, and threw glances up at him. Pharaoh’s army was fast approaching, and there were no boats to ferry the more than one-million people (Exodus 12:37-38) plus all their animals across the water. Around sundown, Moses lifted his hand out toward the sea. A strong east wind began to blow across the sea, and within a few hours, the water was gone. The Israelites walked across the sea bed like it was an empty Walmart parking lot.

All the movies, all the Bible storybooks, all the ways we tell this story lead us to think Moses parted the Red Sea, but it wasn’t him.

It was God.

If God parted the waters, what was Moses doing there? Why did he raise his hands like that? Because God commanded it. God said, “Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground” (Exodus 14:16 NIV). Some other things happened, “then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land” (Exodus 14:21).

The Lord drove the sea back.

An entire sea doesn’t just evaporate overnight. God was working a salvation-style miracle here.

You know the rest of the story. By sun-up, the Egyptian army was demolished. God had accomplished the most significant miracle of Israel’s history, one they would point to for centuries as clear proof of God’s commitment to His chosen people.

I’m captivated by Moses’ encouragement to the people before he stretched out his hand.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.  -Exodus 14:13-14

Do not be afraid.

Stand firm.

Be still.

Like Moses raising his hand, we must do the small thing He gives us to do. Sometimes there’s an action like laying our hands on someone. Sometimes we are simply to watch (Habakkuk 1:5). Usually, we pray. Always, we be still and let Him do the work. Let Him fight the fight. Let Him get the glory.

It’s easy—simpler really—to make Moses the hero of this story. We can all-to-quickly make ourselves the heroes of our stories, too. In Gospel Fluency, Jeff Vanderstelt challenges us to pay attention to the hero of our life stories.

When you talk about things that have happened in your life (the good and the bad), who is the hero of your story? I had to make some adjustments in my narration so God was always the hero even when the story seemed to be about me.

Like Moses at the Red Sea, the story doesn’t change, just the way we tell it.

Carole Sparks-82
Guest Blogger Carole Sparks

Carole is passionate about God’s Word—about how it can change our everyday lives! After years of globetrotting, she now lives, learns, and loves (plus a good bit of writing) in the hills of East Tennessee. Connect with Carole through her blog,, or on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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