The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. He clogged their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.
Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.
Peter came and said to Jesus, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
The story of the Israelite exodus from Egypt continues. Remember what has led up to today's readings of events. Moses is convinced by God that he is to lead the people out of Egypt. Then Moses has a difficult time convincing pharaoh to let them go but finally after a half dozen plagues he does. Moses and the Israelite head out only to be chased by pharaoh and his army. Now Moses is stuck. He has the Egyptian army behind him and the Red Sea in front of him.
As Pharaoh and his army draw near the Israelites start saying things to Moses like, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? … It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
Moses tells them not to be afraid and he uses the power of God to separate the Red Sea so the people can escape and the Egyptian Army drown.
So what are we being told through this story? Have faith in God!
What are we being told in the new testament reading today? Jesus tells Peter to forgive seven times seven and then he drives the point home by telling him a story of a king and his slaves. What this tells me is that God forgives us for our misdeeds when we are heartfelt in asking for His forgiveness. Yet, there are those of us who hold grudges.
Jesus was the perfect example of forgiveness. Even as he was dying on a cross he said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
As a more current example, the shooting of the Lancaster County Amish school children eleven years ago comes to mind. The families of those murdered children forgave the man who committed this atrocious crime. They new that God's message of forgiveness applies to us as well in our relationship with others. It is often not easy and it does not mean one should not forget what happened.
The Amish community in Pennsylvania will never forget what happened to their children but they understand that vengeance is not theirs to give. The same holds true for me and you.