Exodus 14–15

Old Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2003), 73–74


Introduction

Exodus 14–15 teaches about more of the miracles the Lord performed for the children of Israel, including parting the Red Sea and healing the waters at Marah. As you read this scripture block and the next one (Exodus 16–17), notice how quickly the people changed from rejoicing over their miraculous deliverance from Egypt to murmuring over desert hardships, even to the point of wishing they were back in Egypt. Apparently, it was easier to get the children of Israel out of Egypt than it was to get Egypt out of the children of Israel.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

Suggestions for Teaching

Exodus 14:5–31. The Lord has power to deliver His people. (25–30 minutes)

Ask students if they have ever been in a difficult situation that appeared hopeless, without any possible solution. If the experiences are appropriate and not too personal or sensitive, you might ask one or two students if they would like to share their experiences.

Have students read Exodus 14:5–12 and identify the perilous situation the Israelites were in and why they felt it was hopeless. Have students read aloud two or three verses each from Exodus 14:13–31 to find out how the Israelites were delivered from that situation. Pause from time to time and discuss important words and phrases that students could apply to their own lives in solving problems with the help of the Lord. You might emphasize some or all of the following:

  • Verse 13: “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.” We sometimes react hastily, listen only to our fears, and then make a wrong decision. Fear is the opposite of faith. Ask: What does it mean to “stand still”? Can we ever get so busy or work so hard on solving our own problems that we do not take time to include the Lord?

  • Verse 14: “The Lord shall fight for you.” Even when they complained against Him, the Lord was merciful to His covenant people. He helps those who repent and obey His commandments.

  • Verses 15–18. Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3 says that when the Lord commanded Moses to perform this miracle, the revelation came in the same way we most often receive revelations: in the mind and the heart by the power of the Holy Ghost. There was no dramatic voice from heaven that immediately opened the water.

  • Verse 15. Notice that the first command in the miracle, before the water even started to part, was “go forward.” This suggests that faith precedes the miracle.

  • Verses 19–20. The cloud, representing the Lord’s Spirit, darkened the sight of Israel’s enemies but gave light to the Israelites.

  • Throughout this miracle, the power given to the Lord’s prophet was significant. We can have faith in the power the Lord gives His prophets.

Help students understand that sometimes the Lord does not remove the problems but, instead, strengthens us to be able to endure them (see Mosiah 24:14–15). Share your testimony that if we have faith in Him and if it is His will, the Lord can deliver us from situations that appear hopeless. You may want to conclude by having students do activity A for Exodus 14 in their student study guides (p. 48).

Exodus 14:19–20. Jesus Christ is the Light of the World and will guide us if we follow Him. (15–20 minutes)

Show your students a picture or a drawing of a lighthouse and ask what its purpose is. Have students read Exodus 13:20–22 and find what the Lord gave the children of Israel to guide them to safety. Tell them this cloud and pillar of fire signified the Lord’s presence guiding Israel. Ask: How was the Lord’s presence even better than a lighthouse? (It not only gave light but it went before them to lead them.) Have students read Exodus 14:19–20 and ask them what else the Lord’s presence did that was better than a lighthouse. (It protected the righteous from the wicked.) Discuss how this experience of the Israelites might be symbolic of our entire mortal experience.

Have students search the following scriptures, and then list and discuss what the Lord has given us today that is like this pillar of fire:

Some young people may feel that it is difficult to discern the light or guidance that comes from God—as opposed to the advice that comes from the world or from Satan—because we do not have a pillar of fire to look to today. Ask students who the children of Israel followed before the cloud appeared. (Moses.) Read Doctrine and Covenants 21:4–6 with your students. Ask them who the prophet follows and what the Lord has promised those who follow the living prophet.

There are several hymns that celebrate the guidance we receive from the Lord. Consider reading or singing one of the following with your students:

  • “Redeemer of Israel” (Hymns, no. 6)

  • “Guide Us, O Thou Great Jehovah” (no. 83)

  • “Lead, Kindly Light” (no. 97)

  • “Teach Me to Walk in the Light” (no. 304)

Exodus 15. We should express gratitude to the Lord for our blessings. (25–30 minutes)

Ask one or two students to share with the class how they felt after achieving an important goal or being successful in some other accomplishment. Have them relate the details of the experience and tell exactly what they did to celebrate. Ask the class: What is one of the most important things we should do to celebrate the good things that happen to us?

Have students read Exodus 15:1–21 and look for how Moses celebrated the blessing of crossing the Red Sea. Discuss some of the following questions:

  • Is singing an appropriate expression of thanks? Why? (see D&C 25:12).

  • What is your favorite part of Moses’ song?

  • How do you think the Lord feels when we do not show gratitude for our blessings? (see D&C 59:21).

Read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve:

“The Prophet Joseph is reported to have said at one time that one of the greatest sins for which the Latter-day Saints would be guilty would be the sin of ingratitude. I presume most of us have not thought of that as a serious sin. There is a great tendency for us in our prayers—in our pleadings with the Lord—to ask for additional blessings. Sometimes I feel we need to devote more of our prayers to expressions of gratitude and thanksgiving for blessings already received. Of course we need the daily blessings of the Lord. But if we sin in the matter of prayer, I think it is in our lack of the expressions of thanksgiving for daily blessings” (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 364; see also D&C 25:12; 59:21; 78:19).

Have students read Exodus 15:22–24 and find what the Israelites were “murmuring” about. Ask:

  • How long had it been since the parting of the Red Sea? (About three days; see v. 22.)

  • How do you think the Lord felt about their short-lived faith and gratitude?

Elder Neal A. Maxwell, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said:

“Murmuring seems to come so naturally to the natural man. …

“… Murmurers have short memories. Israel arrived in Sinai, then journeyed on to the Holy Land though they were sometimes hungry and thirsty. But the Lord rescued them, whether by the miraculous appearance by quail or by water struck from a rock (see Numbers 11:31; Exodus 17:6). Strange, isn’t it, brothers and sisters, how those with the shortest memories have the longest lists of demands! However, with no remembrance of past blessings, there is no perspective about what is really going on.

“This powerful verse in the Old Testament reminds us of what is really going on:

“‘And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no’ (Deuteronomy 8:2)” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1989, 103–4; or Ensign, Nov. 1989, 82–83).

Ask students to share examples of faith and gratitude that they have noticed in their lives. Encourage them to take time in their personal prayers to ponder the blessings they have received from the Lord and to express their gratitude to Him. Invite students to choose a modern hymn that expresses gratitude to the Lord, such as “Count Your Blessings” (Hymns, no. 241), and sing or read it as a class.