Let’s look at a lot of Scripture.
“And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly.” —Exodus 14:8 (ESV)
“Lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go through the sea on dry ground.” —Exodus 14:16 (ESV)
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.’ ” — Exodus 14:26 (ESV)
“So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal course when the morning appeared. And as the Egyptians fled into it, the LORD threw the Egyptians into the midst of the sea.” —Exodus 14:27 (ESV)
“Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.” —Exodus 14:30 (ESV)
“Israel saw the great power that the LORD used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.” —Exodus 14:31 (ESV)
The same Hebrew word appears in all six of these verses from chapter fourteen of Exodus. Can you identify it?
Having problems? Maybe these two alternate translations for the first verse and the last verse will help.
“And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand.” —Exodus 14:8 (KJV)
“And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.” —Exodus 14:31 (NIV)
If you answered “hand,” give yourself a hand.
Israel leaves with a high hand. This gesture can mean defiance and insult (Numbers 15:30), or power and triumph (Micah 5:9). But more important that what is who. Whose hand? Israel went out with a high hand, but was it her hand?
“But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.” —Exodus 3:19 (ESV)
“Then Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place.’ ” —Exodus 13:3 (ESV)
I believe the mighty hand Israel is going out by is Yahweh’s.
The middle passages where “hand” is clearly translated all deal with Moses’ hand save one. Moses’ hand holds a staff (Exodus 14:6). That staff represents God’s power, or, God’s hand. When Moses strikes the Nile with the staff, it is God striking the Nile with the staff (cf. Exodus 7:17, 25).
One more hand is mentioned, and that is the hand of the Egyptians. God delivers Israel from the hand of the Egyptians by a mighty hand.
I don’t care how well you believe the deck is stacked in your favor, you can’t beat Yahweh’s hand. I don’t care how badly you may think the cards are stacked against you, Yahweh’s hand cannot be beaten.
The hand of the Lord is to be feared, and those who fear it are to trust it.