According to tradition, it was on this day that Pharaoh was informed that the Hebrews were escaping, and soon after, he began his pursuit.
“Now it was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled, and the heart of Pharaoh and his servants was turned against the people; and they said, ‘Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?’ So he made ready his chariot and took his people with him. Also, he took six hundred choice chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt with captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; and the children of Israel went out with boldness. So, the Egyptians pursued them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen and his army, and overtook them camping by the sea beside Pi Hahiroth, before Baal Zephon.” (Exodus 14:5-9)
Why, after permitting Israel to leave, did Pharaoh change his mind? Perhaps it has something to do with what we don’t see in the Scripture: Moses never told Pharaoh, “Let us go that we may return to the land of Canaan.” Actually, Moses said, “Let us go that we may hold a feast to the LORD,” and “Let us go that we may serve him in the wilderness.” He never said anything about letting their intention to return to the land of their fathers. So when Pharaoh did relent, he told Moses, “Go and serve the LORD as you have said,” meaning that he was expecting Israel to go into the wilderness, three days journey, and keep a feast to the Lord as Moses had told him.
Now, here’s the point: contrary to Pharaoh’s opinion – “the wilderness has shut them in” – our God is a good general. He doesn’t always reveal every detail to us and He certainly doesn’t reveal all the details to the adversary. He tells us what we need to know, because in the end, Pharaoh’s conclusion that the wilderness has shut the children of Israel in, conceals the fact that he is the one who has been lured into a trap and destined for destruction.
What do you and I learn from this? Maybe one lesson we can glean is that we are on a “need to know” basis and, so sometimes, it’s better just to close our mouths, mind our business and continue trusting the Creator – He knows what He’s doing. The last thing we need to do is start running our mouths and reveal information which gives our enemy an opportunity to exploit and undermine the Father’s purpose in our life and the body at large. Here is a verse that comes to mind in these situations:
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah.… Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:1-3, 10)
Let us strive to be content in realizing that we are on a need-to-know basis. God doesn’t have to tell us everything. He doesn’t have to and probably shouldn’t reveal every step of the way. We need to better understand what it means to “be still and know” that He is God. We must place our trust and confidence in Him, believing that He knows what He’s doing. When we come to this place, then we can live in true peace and contentment.