Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea.
Go back with me to Eden for a moment, friend, and notice that serpent dangling at the heart of it, slurping down forbidden fruit as if it’s his daily bread. Just like Adam and Eve, he, too, thinks he’s getting away with sin. He, too, thinks that because he can’t hear God’s footsteps in that particular corridor of the Garden, God must be absent, that God must not see, that God must not know. It strikes me that evil rarely stands out in the open like some hulking Goliath to call God out to His face. It’s more like a prowling lion than a roaring one. More like the Sanhedrin who stole Christ away under the cover of night, blindfolding Him so that they didn’t have to look directly into the striking, all-seeing eyes of Providence. More like the snake who offers poisoned fruit to others because he can’t see the harm he’s done to himself.
Think of that as you read God’s injunction to Moses here in Exodus 14:1, because Baal is just another name for that devilish serpent of old. And the ancient worship of Baal was devil worship at its core. And Baal was effectively feeding his flock the same stolen fruit he’d fed Eve in Eden. And his wine was a bestseller in the black markets of the ancient world, and entire nations were getting drunk by it, and he probably thought God was far off in the universe somewhere, not seeing, not knowing, not caring. But God has a direct message for this serpent. He tells Moses to camp out ‘in front’ of Baal-Zephon, ‘facing it’; why? Because Truth doesn’t hide from error; He confronts it. The Lion of Judah doesn’t strike the old serpent from behind; He pulls the serpent out into the light, looks him dead in the eye, and reveals the abiding lesson that devils hate most and never seem to learn:
“I’m still here!”