PARALLEL #4: FAITH IN GOD'S DELIVERER WAS REQUIRED OF THEM--AS IT IS OF US.
When God called Moses to speak to Israel and lead them out of bondage, Moses was not enthusiastic. But God assured him that He would be with him, and would surely deliver His people. Moses appeared before Israel, with God confirming his words by signs, wonders, and miracles. And the people believed Moses. But more was required of them than just mental assent! They were called on to do all that Moses commanded them, and they did. They had an obedient faith which was clearly seen on the eve of the 10th plague when they followed exactly the commands that instituted the Passover. That next day they left Egypt after the destroyer had taken the life of every firstborn left unprotected by blood on the doorpost. Pharaoh let them go and they traveled toward the Red Sea.
They had repented of bondage, so to speak, in that they had turned their backs on slavery in order to become free. But, even at this time, they were still not free! Their enemy pressed hard after them, and even at the water's edge, they feared for their lives. The Egyptians would not willingly release their slaves permanently; they wanted them back! Israel was not yet delivered! But then Moses raised the rod, and the waters of the Red Sea divided, and Israel marched through with water on both sides, and the cloud hovered above. Just as Paul declared to us in I Corinthians 10:1,2 - "All our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea." This cloud was the assurance of God's presence with them. How is this passing through the sea called a baptism? First of all, the cloud was over and behind them. Second, the water was like a wall on both sides of them. Finally, they were in a very real sense "buried" or hidden from the sight of the pursuing Egyptians. Notice that it was only after this successful "baptism" that they sang the song of deliverance! After they were safe on the shore, the sea closed in on their enemies and destroyed them. Simply stated, Israel believed in God's prophet and deliverer Moses. They had turned from their bondage and were then baptized into their deliverer. Then and only then, could they rejoice in freedom and salvation from bondage!
In like manner, we were just as hopelessly bound to sin when God raised up for us a Deliverer. God had promised Moses - "I will raise up for them, a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him" (Deut. 18:18,19). How vividly this was fulfilled! Jesus of Nazareth came forth as a spokesman from God, and He worked great miracles and taught as one who had authority. "And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book, but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30,31). Thus, we can see that miraculous signs of both Moses and Christ had the same purpose: to confirm the word and develop faith in people to accept the Deliverer! Without faith, there can be no deliverance! And this ties in closely with our next point of comparison.
PARALLEL #5: FAITH MOTIVATED ISRAEL'S OBEDIENCE--AS IT SHOULD OURS.
In each instance, faith had to motivate obedience. The people had to develop a faith in Moses that He was led by God and capable of delivering them. Even so, our faith must be sufficient to motivate our obedience! As Israel had to turn from bondage, so we must repent of going into sin! Jesus clearly taught in Luke 13:3 - "I tell you no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." Just as Peter taught in Acts 3:19 - "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out." But even though Israel believed and repented, they were still not free until they were baptized into Moses as I Corinthians 10:2 tells us. In the same way, one cannot be made free from sin until he has believed in Christ (our Deliverer), repented of going into sin, and been baptized into our Deliverer! We must be "baptized into Christ" to sever our bondage to sin (Gal. 3:27); "in Christ" is where salvation is (II Tim. 2:10). Faith and repentance will lead us to the water. And our obedience at the water will wash away our slave master, just as the waters of the Red Sea washed away the Egyptian bondage. And we too, like Israel, should rejoice when we break free from slavery. Acts 8:39 is an example of rejoicing after baptism. Israel could not have been saved without being baptized into Moses, and we cannot be saved without being baptized into Christ. True, genuine faith motivates obedience to God's directives.
We will conclude this study in our next lesson.