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Verses of Exodus 13

17

Exodus 13:17 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 80
GOD’S CONDESCENSION TO HIS PEOPLE’S WEAKNESS

Exo 13:17-18. And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: but God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.

IN whatever light we view God, whether as a God of power or of love, we are constrained to say, “Who is like unto thee, O Lord!” Behold the issue of his contest with the haughty Pharaoh: the very instant that the full time is arrived, the time predicted four hundred and thirty years before, the proud monarch not only consents to the departure of Israel, but urges them to go with all possible expedition; and the whole land of Egypt is become so anxious for their departure, that every person is glad to give his most valuable raiment, together with his jewels or vessels, of silver or of gold, to any Israelitish woman that asks them of him [Note: Exo 3:21-22; Exo 11:2-3; Exo 12:35-36. The Israelites did not borrow them with any promise of returning them; but asked for them, and required them: and the people, partly through fear, and partly through a temporary willingness to compensate for the injuries they had sustained, hastily gave them whatever they desired.]. Yet, though thrust out by the inhabitants, the Israelites do not go out as by night, but, in an orderly manner, “harnessed,” that is, arranged as an army, in five different divisions [Note: The marginal reading in the Bible says, five in a rank: but this, allowing three feet between each rank, and two thousand ranks in a mile, would make the van and rear to be sixty miles apart: for there were no less than six hundred thousand men, besides women and children.] ; yea in a triumphant manner also, laden with the spoils of their vanquished enemies: “nor was there one feeble person among their tribes;” not one was left behind; nor was one single person unfit to undertake the journey. Thus was the power of Jehovah magnified in the completest victory that can possibly be imagined; a victory, not over their arms merely, but over their proud, obstinate, rebellious hearts.

But we are no less called to admire the kindness of God to his people, than his power over his enemies. He knew, that his people were dispirited through their long and cruel bondage; and that, if he led them the near way to Canaan through the land of the Philistines, (which was at most only a journey of eight or ten days [Note: Gen 43:2; Gen 43:10.],) they would be intimidated by the hostile appearance of the Philistines, and be ready to return to Egypt, rather than enter on a warfare for which they were unprepared. He therefore condescended to their weakness, and led them another way. This may appear an unimportant circumstance in this astonishing history; but we think it will afford us some useful hints, while we call your attention to the following observations:

I.

As long as we are in this world, successive trials must be expected—

[The trials of the Israelites did not cease when they came out of Egypt: whichever way they had proceeded, they would have met with difficulties. Thus it is with those who are redeemed from spiritual bondage: they come not into a state of rest, but of conflict. The fluctuating state of the world cannot but place many difficulties in their way — — — And Satan, even if he knew that he could not finally prevail against them, would not cease to harass them to the utmost of his power — — — And their own hearts, if they had no other enemy to encounter, would afford them many occasions for labour and sorrow — — — To every person that is desirous of reaching the promised land, this life is a state of warfare: and if he would gain the victory, he must “put on the whole armour of God,” and “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,” and “fight the good fight of faith.”]

For these conflicts God fits his people: but,

II.

Whatever deliverances we may have experienced in past times, we are ever liable to faint under future trials—

[One would have thought that persons who had so recently seen the irresistible power of Jehovah engaged for them, would not have feared any enemies they might be called to encounter. But God knew that the appearance of new difficulties would soon efface from their minds the remembrance of past deliverances. How just his estimate of them was, appeared, as soon as ever they knew that they were pursued by the Egyptian armies. They instantly murmured against Moses and against God for bringing them out of Egypt; and regretted that they had ever left the land of their captivity [Note: Exo 14:11-12; Exo 16:3.]. And when they had actually reached the borders of the promised land, so terrified were they at the report of their spies respecting the stature of the Canaanites, and the strength of their fortresses, that they proposed even there to appoint a captain over them, to conduct them back again to the land of Egypt [Note: Num 14:2-4.]. This principle of unbelief is so deeply rooted in our hearts, that even the most eminent saints have yielded to its influence under severe trials: David, notwithstanding God had promised him the throne of Israel, thought he should one day perish by the hands of Saul [Note: 1Sa 27:1.] ; Elijah, who had so boldly withstood Ahab, fled from his post through fear of Jezebel [Note: 1Ki 19:1-3.] ; and the Apostles, who had seen on numberless occasions the almighty power of Jesus, expected nothing but death, even while He was in the vessel together with them [Note: Mar 4:38.]. No wonder then if we find “our spirits fail” in seasons of extraordinary difficulty or danger. Indeed, who amongst us is so firm, that he can enter into a cloud, and not be afraid [Note: Luk 9:34.] ? Who, when a cloud is ready to burst over his head, can say at all times, “I know whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed to him [Note: 2Ti 1:12.],” and will overrule these troubles for my eternal good [Note: Rom 8:28.] ? Under great temptations more especially, and under the hidings of God’s face, it is not uncommon for truly upright persons to doubt, whether they shall ever get safe to Canaan; and almost to regret, that they have ever turned their backs on Egypt.]

Not that we shall be really and finally deserted: for,

III.

God, in condescension to his people’s weakness, proportions their trials to their strength—

[What he did to the Israelites on this occasion, he did to the Christian Church in its infancy: the Apostles were screened from persecution till “they had received more power from on high:” and, for a considerable time after the day of Pentecost, they alone were noticed by the ruling powers: opposition, till the death of Stephen, was limited almost exclusively to them; and very little affected the Church at large. In the experience of individuals, the tender mercy of God is often very conspicuous at this day. Whilst they are yet young and feeble, he is pleased to screen them from that fierce opposition, which, at a more advanced period, they will have to encounter: and oftentimes their very corruptions appear to be almost extinct, when, in fact, they are only dormant: their joys also in the Lord are made to abound in such a manner, that they are ready to think they shall never more be called to conflict with sin or sorrow. These are mercies to them from the Lord, to strengthen their resolution, and animate their exertions. God is graciously pleased to hide from them at the present the trials which they will hereafter sustain, well knowing that they would be too much discouraged by a sight of them, and perhaps be tempted to despair. “He does not put new wine into old bottles,” but only into vessels capable of enduring the expansive efforts of fermentation [Note: Mar 2:22.]. He will not overdrive the lambs, lest they die of fatigue [Note: Gen 33:13-14.]. In the mean time he expressly assures us, that he will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it [Note: 1Co 10:13.] ; “and that as our day of temptation is, so shall also our strength be [Note: Deu 33:25.].”]

On these truths we would ground a word of exhortation—
1.

Fear nothing in the way of duty—

[Had the Israelites considered what God had already done for them, they would not have been afraid of any armies that could be brought against them: for, could not the angel that destroyed the Egyptian first-born destroy them also? And what have we to fear when once we are enlisted under the banners of Christ? Is not “the Captain of our salvation” at hand to fight for us [Note: Jos 5:14.] ? and “if He be for us, who can be against us [Note: Rom 8:31.] ?” Let us not then be afraid, even though earth and hell should combine against us: “let us not cry, A confederacy, a confederacy, or fear like other people; but sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself; and let him be our fear, and let him be our dread [Note: Isa 8:12-13.].” “The waves of the sea may rage horribly; but He that sitteth on high is mightier [Note: Psa 93:3-4.]:” “therefore we should not fear, though the earth were removed, and the mountains cast into the depths of the sea [Note: Psa 46:2-3.].” It is a fixed unalterable truth, sanctioned and confirmed by the experience of millions, that “none can harm us, if we be followers of that which is good [Note: 1Pe 3:13.].” If we be weak as “worms,” yet shall we “thresh the mountains,” and make them as the dust of the summer threshing-floor [Note: Isa 41:10-16.].]

2.

Commit yourselves to the divine guidance and direction—

[God is the same now that he was in the days of old. What he did for Israel in a visible and external manner, he will do invisibly and internally for his Church at this time. Only “acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will direct your paths [Note: Pro 3:6.].” We say not that he will guide you by visions, or voices, or revelations; but he will by his word and Spirit: in reference to them we may say, “You shall hear a voice behind you, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand or turn to the left [Note: Isa 30:21.].” If your situation be painful at the present, or even contrary to what you have expected, do not hastily conclude that God has forsaken you. The way in which the Israelites were led was circuitous; but it was “the right way [Note: Psa 107:7.].” Commit yourselves then to Him, and he shall accomplish for you that which shall ultimately be best for you [Note: Psa 37:5.]. “He will lead you by a way that you know not; He will make darkness light before you, and crooked things straight. These things will he do unto you, and not forsake you [Note: Isa 42:16.].” He will guide you by his counsel; “even to hoar hairs he will carry you [Note: Isa 46:4.] ;” and after that “receive you to glory [Note: Psa 73:24.].”]


Verses of Exodus 13

17

Consult other comments:

Exodus 13:17 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Exodus 13:17 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 13:17 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Exodus 13:17 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Exodus 13:17 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Exodus 13:17 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 13:17 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 13:17 - Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Exodus 13:17 - F.B. Meyer's Through the Bible Commentary

Exodus 13:17 - Gaebelein's Annotated Bible (Commentary)

Exodus 13:17 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Exodus 13:17 - Geneva Bible Notes

Exodus 13:17 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 13:17 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 13:17 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Exodus 13:17 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 13:17 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Exodus 13:17 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Exodus 13:17 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Exodus 13:17 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Exodus 13:17 - A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by Lange

Exodus 13:17 - The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Exodus 13:17 - Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Exodus 13:17 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Exodus 13:17 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Exodus 13:17 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Exodus 13:17 - The Complete Pulpit Commentary

Exodus 13:17 - Scofield Reference Bible Notes

Exodus 13:17 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 13:17 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 13:17 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)