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Verses of Exodus 14

15

Exodus 14:15 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 82
THE COMMAND GIVEN TO THE ISRAELITES IN THEIR STRAITS

Exo 14:15. Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.

IT is truly said by the prophet, “He that believeth shall not make haste;” that is, he shall not yield to any fears, so as to be driven by them to adopt any hasty or improper measures for his deliverance. We may say on the other hand, He that believeth shall not delay: he shall, in proportion to the degree in which his faith is exercised, discern the seasons for action, as well as for prayer: nor shall he be so occupied in one duty, as to overlook and neglect another. That Moses believed God’s gracious promises of deliverance, we can have no doubt: for he reported them to the Israelites with unshaken confidence: yet it should seem, by the continuance of his urgent petitions after he had received these promises from God, that he was almost afraid that his enemies would be upon him, before the promises could be fulfilled. Doubtless God was pleased with his fervent prayers at other times: but here he gently reproves Moses for remaining occupied in one duty, when there was another which the immediate occasion more urgently required: “Wherefore criest thou unto me?” Go and give the proper directions to the people: go and execute your office as their leader, and command them to “Go forward.”
Though this command was given under peculiar circumstances in which it cannot literally be applied to us, yet, in the spirit of it, it is applicable to all the Lord’s people when reduced to difficulties in the way of their duty. And it may, not improperly, suggest to us the following reflections. Difficulties in the way of our duty,

I.

May be expected—

God is pleased sometimes to screen his people from trials, so as scarcely to let them suffer at all from persecutions, and very little even from internal conflicts. As he led not the Israelites the near way to Canaan, lest they should, in their unprepared state, be discouraged by entering into immediate contests with the warlike Philistines [Note: Exo 13:17.], so he sometimes leads his people now in a comparatively safe and easy path. But generally speaking we must expect difficulties—

[It cannot be thought that Satan will relinquish his vassals without making repeated efforts to reduce them to their former bondage. When commanded to depart from the youth whom he had so long possessed, he cast him down, and tare him in such a manner, that the spectators conceived him to be dead [Note: Mar 9:26.]. Thus does he also at this time frequently deal with those, whom by the superior strength of Jesus he is compelled to relinquish [Note: Luk 11:21-22.]: he endeavours to shut them up in despondency, or perhaps even to drive them to suicide. And when he has not prevailed in the first instance, he departs from them (as he did even from our Lord himself), only “for a season.” Methinks he is in this the very archetype of Pharaoh; who, having liberated the Israelites only by compulsion, rejoiced in a prospect of wreaking his vengeance on them, and collected all his forces to bring them back again to his dominion. To the latest hour of their lives will he avail himself of every opportunity to assault them, and will use all his wiles, and all his devices, to harass, if he cannot finally destroy, them.

Nor is it to be supposed that the world will sit contented with the loss of their former companions. It is said of Noah, that in building the ark, “he condemned the world [Note: Heb 11:7.]:” so, in turning from sin to God, we, in fact, condemn the world: our faith condemns their unbelief; our fear, their security; our obedience, their disobedience. This is clearly declared by Solomon; “They that forsake the law, praise the wicked; but such as keep the law, contend with them [Note: Pro 28:4.].” Our actions speak, though our lips should be silent: and the more bright our light shines, the more visible must be the surrounding darkness. The world are driven to the alternative of condemning either themselves or us, seeing that it is impossible that such opposite lines of conduct should both be right: we must not wonder therefore if they load us with reproach and ignominy, and if “those especially who are of our own household become our greatest foes.” This is the natural result of their self-love; I may add too, of their love for us.

Neither can we hope that all our former habits should be at once changed, so that we should feel no difficulty in mortifying our deep-rooted lusts, or in exercising graces, to which till lately we were utter strangers. Old passions will revive; old temptations will recur; and our natural indisposition to holy exercises will shew itself; however much we are on our guard, and however diligently we address ourselves to the great work that is before us. If even the Apostle Paul, after so many years spent in the service of his God, had reason to complain of “a law in his members warring against the law of his mind,” so that “the things which he would, he did not, and the things that he would not, those he did;” we cannot expect such an entire exemption from conflicts, but that we must sometimes have to cry out with him, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?”
Thus may all of us take to ourselves the advice that is given in the Book of Ecclesiasticus; “My son, if thou set thy heart to seek the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation.”]
It is well to be aware of the difficulties that are in our way; for they,

II.

Must be encountered—

[We must not dream of neutrality. It is indeed said by our Lord on one occasion, “He that is not against us is with us [Note: Luk 9:50.] ;” but that referred only to persons really interested in his cause, though not moving exactly in the same way; and was intended to teach candour in judging those who differ from us. On another occasion he said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad [Note: Mat 12:30.]:” and this was to inform us, that His cause admits of no neutrality: we must take a determined part against sin and Satan: and even to deliberate, in such a case, is to be guilty of treason and revolt.

Nor must we give way to fear. Let the trials that threaten us be ever so severe, we must not shrink back, as though we had not counted the cost. We must be prepared to “deny ourselves, to take up our cross, to follow Christ;” we must “be ready not only to be bound, but even to die for him,” at any time and in any manner that he shall see fit. If we saw the furnace now before us, and burning with seven times its accustomed fury, and men ready to cast us into it, we must take the same decided part that the Hebrew youths did: “Be it known to thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up [Note: Dan 3:18.].”

Nor must we be discouraged by difficulties. To what purpose is there a complete set of armour provided for us, and a victorious issue assured to us, if we are to faint as soon as difficulties press upon us? We should rather rise to the occasion. “If the iron be blunt, we must whet the edge, or put to more strength [Note: Ecc 10:10.].” As soldiers of Jesus Christ, it is our very profession to endure hardships [Note: 2Ti 2:3.]. If at any time we find our strength decay, we must go to Him, who has promised to “renew” it to such a degree, that we may “mount up with wings, as eagles” after their plumage is restored, and pursue our course as racers, without weariness or fainting [Note: Isa 40:27-31]. Whatever be our trials, it is at our peril to draw back from the encounter [Note: Heb 10:38-39.]. “We must not even look back, after having put our hands to the plough.” It is “he only that overcometh,” who shall possess the crown of victory [Note: Rev 3:21.].]

To meet all difficulties thus, we are encouraged by an assurance, that they,

III.

Shall be vanquished—

[Consult the promises of God, and see what they say: are they not as extensive as our necessities? What is there that arrests your progress, or obstructs your way? Is it a mountain? You may say to it, “Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain [Note: Zec 4:7.].” Is it a sea? God will “make even the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over [Note: Isa 51:10.].” Is it your own weakness that disheartens you? Behold, “one of you shall chase a thousand, and two shall put ten thousand to flight [Note: Jos 23:10 with Deu 32:30.].” Is it rather your unworthiness? “It was for his own name’s sake that he made you his people; and for his own name’s sake he will not cast you off [Note: 1Sa 12:22.].” You will not suppose that there was any great worthiness in the Chaldeans; but see how assured they were of victory when God was on their side [Note: Jer 37:10.]. And shall your weakness or unworthiness be any effectual obstruction, if your God fight for you? You would not think there was any great cause for a lion to despair when contending with the defenceless lamb: yet that is the very image by which God has been pleased to designate the contest in which you are engaged, and the victory that awaits you [Note: Mic 5:7-8.].

If you need any thing else to encourage you, look at “the cloud of witnesses” that are now in heaven, with palms in their hands, and crowns on their heads, and everlasting songs of triumph in their mouths: were not they once in your state, conflicting with the same enemies, and complaining of the same discouragements? Do you not find amongst them many whose trials were far more severe than you ever experienced? And yet were they not crowned at last? Did not their difficulties yield to their repeated efforts; and was not “the grace of Christ sufficient for them?” Why then should not you. also triumph? “Is God’s arm shortened that he cannot save; or his ear heavy that he cannot hear?” Doubt not then but that you also shall see your enemies dead upon the sea-shore, and that, “through the strength of Christ you shall be more than conquerors.”]

To you then who have escaped from bondage, and are going under the guidance of your God towards the heavenly Canaan, we say, “Go forward.” But, that we may not leave you without some more particular directions, we say, Go forward,

1.

Warily—

[Your way is not so manifest, but that you need to explore it with continual care. You have indeed the pillar and the cloud; but it is visible only in the Holy Scriptures; it is to be found only in the precepts of the Gospel, and in the example of our Lord. If, because your views of Christian doctrines be clear, you suppose that you are not liable to err materially in your practice, you are greatly mistaken. The Apostle tells us, that “they who strove in the games were not crowned, unless they strove lawfully [Note: 2Ti 2:5.],” that is, according to the rules prescribed them. So neither shall we be approved by our Judge, if we do not regulate our spirit and conduct altogether by the rules contained in the inspired volume. Hence we need “to walk circumspectly [Note: Exo 23:13; Eph 5:15.] ;” to look well to our ways; to consult the Scriptures; to mark the footsteps of our blessed Lord; and, above all, to pray, with the Psalmist, “Lead me, O Lord, in the right way, because of my enemies. [Note: Psa 27:11.] ”]

2.

Steadfastly—

[It is not on some particular occasions only that you are to serve the Lord, but at all times, and on all occasions. Whatever advances you have made, we still say, “Go forward.” Whatever obstacles are in your way, we repeat the word, “Go forward.” Yea, whatever sufferings await you, we say again, “Be not discouraged because of the way [Note: Num 21:4.],” but “Go forward.” Only be sure that you are in the way of duty; that you are following the Lord’s will, and not your own; and then go forward with all patience and perseverance. You must “know no man after the flesh:” you must, as our Lord says, “hate father and mother, and your own life also [Note: Luk 14:26.],” in comparison of him. Having nothing in view but the glory of your God, you must “forget what is behind, and press forward towards that which is before.” You must “be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; and then your labour shall not be in vain in the Lord.”]

3.

Triumphantly—

[In every other contest, men exert themselves with a degree of uncertainty respecting the issue: and to “boast, when girding on their armour, as though they had put it off [Note: 1Ki 20:11.],” would be only a mark of folly and presumption. But things are far otherwise with you. Your victory depends, not on an arm of flesh, but on the power and veracity of God. While therefore you are yet on the field of battle, you may advance with David’s confidence against Goliath, even though you are only “a stripling with a sling,” and your enemies are deemed invincible. It was thus that Paul triumphed, and hurled defiance against all the foes that could assault him, whether on earth or in hell [Note: Rom 8:35-39.]. Thus also may you anticipate the shouts of victory, and say, “The Lord God will help me: therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint; and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me: who will contend with me? Let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up [Note: Isa 50:7-9.].”]


Verses of Exodus 14

15

Consult other comments:

Exodus 14:15 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Exodus 14:15 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 14:15 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Exodus 14:15 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 14:15 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Exodus 14:15 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Exodus 14:15 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Exodus 14:15 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 14:15 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 14:15 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Exodus 14:15 - Geneva Bible Notes

Exodus 14:15 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 14:15 - The Great Texts of the Bible

Exodus 14:15 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 14:15 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Exodus 14:15 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 14:15 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Exodus 14:15 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Exodus 14:15 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Exodus 14:15 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Exodus 14:15 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Exodus 14:15 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Exodus 14:15 - The Complete Pulpit Commentary

Exodus 14:15 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 14:15 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 14:15 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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