Verses of Exodus 14
Exodus 14:31 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)
ISRAEL’S DELIVERANCE AT THE RED SEA
Exo 14:31. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.
THE state of man on earth is diversified with trials and deliverances, more or less, to the latest hour of his life. Even when we have the clearest evidence that we are in the Lord’s way, we shall yet meet with many things which will involve us in trouble and perplexity. The disciples were ordered by their Lord to cross the sea of Tiberias: but in passing it, they were overtaken with a storm, which threatened them with destruction. It was not possible for the Israelites to doubt, but that they were precisely in the place where God would have them; yet were they menaced with instant death by the proud vindictive monarch, from whose tyranny they had just escaped. But this grievous affliction was only introductory to a signal deliverance. God now interposed on their behalf, and wrought for them a “great work.”
That we may make a profitable use of this part of scripture history, let us consider,
The work referred to—
This is justly called “great:” for it was no less than the destruction of all the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. But that we may view it distinctly in all its parts, we observe, that it was,
A discriminating work—
[The pillar which had hitherto gone before the Israelites, to lead them in the way, removed, and stood behind them, as soon as their enemies had come within sight of their camp. But to the Egyptians it presented only a dark side, increasing thereby the natural darkness of the night, and preventing them from continuing their march; while to the Israelites it was a light of fire, enabling them to do whatever their situation and safety required.
Again, the sea which was divided by the east wind, opened a secure retreat for all the hosts of Israel: but as soon as the Egyptians attempted to follow them, it resumed its wonted state, and overwhelmed them utterly; thus affording a passage to Israel, but only a grave to Egypt.
Now this manifest distinction which God made between the Israelites and the Egyptians, might well exalt the work in the eyes of those who were so greatly benefited by it.]
A judicial work—
[Pharaoh and his courtiers had hardened their hearts against him, so that all the successive plagues could not bring them to submit to his will. Now therefore God gave them an opportunity to harden their hearts yet more against him. Instead of leading the Israelites at once into the wilderness, he led them aside to a situation, from whence apparently there was no escape. Rocks and morasses were on either side, and the Red Sea before them. This seemed a favourable opportunity for Pharaoh to overtake them, and to wreak his vengeance upon them: and Pharaoh, instigated by his resentment, determined not to lose the opportunity: he instantly collected all the chariots and horsemen in his army, and pursued them: and he rushed into the very snare, which God had predicted he would fall into.
Again, Pharaoh had destroyed the male children of the Israelites in the river Nile: and now God visited this iniquity on him, and on all his army, in the Red Sea. Who does not see in these things a judicial infatuation, and a judicial sentence; both of which, when contemplated by the Israelites, must raise this work yet higher in their estimation?]
A glorious work—
[God had said, that he would get himself glory on Pharaoh and on all his subjects; and that the Egyptians should at last be constrained to acknowledge Him as the one supreme God of all the earth. And truly this work did bring glory to God [Note: Isa 63:12-14.] ; for it displayed and magnified everyone of his perfections: his wisdom in so accomplishing his own will, while no restraint whatever was imposed on the will of Pharaoh; his power, in dividing the sea, and making the waters to stand as a wall, while the Israelites passed through “dry-shod;” his justice, in suffering the Egyptians to proceed so far, as that, when enclosed in his net, they might all be destroyed; his truth and faithfulness, in accomplishing to the posterity of Abraham the deliverance which he had promised four hundred years before.
This work did indeed manifest to Egypt and to Israel, that Jehovah “is the Most High over all the earth,” “a God, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders.”]
Let us now proceed to notice,
The effect it produced—
Stupid and insensible as that nation had shewn themselves in the midst of all the mercies vouchsafed to them in Egypt, they could not but be affected with this. Accordingly we find that, on seeing the hand of God thus stretched out for them, they began to feel,
A regard for his authority—
[Fear is of two kinds, filial and servile; and it is probable that in some of the people the former predominated, and in others the latter. On an occasion somewhat similar, where God, in testimony of his displeasure against his people for desiring a king, sent a tremendous storm of thunder and lightning, we are told that “the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel [Note: 1Sa 12:18.].” This was certainly a servile fear: and it should seem that the greatest part of the Israelites at the Red Sea were affected with no higher principle; because they even “within a few days forgat this work [Note: Psa 106:12-13.],” and all the others that God had wrought for them. Indeed temporal deliverances, however great, will produce only transient impressions, if not accompanied with the grace of God. But a view of that redemption which we have in Christ Jesus—what will not that effect I That will implant a fear in the heart, a fear that shall be mighty and uniform in its operation [Note: 2Co 5:14-15.], a fear that shall expel all other fear, and “bring the whole soul into a willing captivity to the obedience of Christ” — — —]
Confidence in his protection—
[As fear, so faith also, is of different kinds. We read of many who, when they saw the miracles of Jesus, believed in him; and yet he would not commit himself to them, because he knew that their hearts were yet unrenewed [Note: Joh 2:11; Joh 2:23-24.]. And Simon Magus is said to have believed [Note: Act 8:13.], whilst yet he remained “in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.” Such in too great a measure, we fear, was the faith which the Israelites now reposed in God, and in his servant Moses. They were struck with an irresistible conviction, that God was all-sufficient for them, and that Moses was infallibly directed by him to manage every thing for their good. In the very next trial, however, they lost the remembrance of their present convictions, and began to doubt and murmur as before. Not so the persons whose faith is truly spiritual; who, being united to Christ, are partakers of his redemption: they “know in whom they have believed;” and, whatever difficulties occur, they “hold fast their confidence,” saying with the Apostle, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” — — —]
Let us take care that our religious affections be sincere and permanent—
[Many good feelings may be excited in the heart by some particular occurrence, or some moving discourse. But “our goodness is apt to be like the morning dew, or the early cloud that passeth away.” Such affections however will afford us no support in a trying hour; much less will they benefit us at the bar of judgment. Let us see to it therefore that we obtain, not merely some transient feelings of good, but a new nature: that so our fear of God be such as to make us obedient to his will, and our faith such as shall enable us to commit ourselves entirely to his disposal.]
Let us, for the purpose of generating those affections in our hearts, contemplate deeply the great work of Redemption—
[We never improve aright a typical deliverance, unless we turn our thoughts to the deliverance which it prefigured. What was intended by that before us, we can be at no loss to determine, since God himself has declared it to us [Note: Isa 51:10-11.]. The redemption of the world by Christ’s obedience unto death, and our consequent deliverance from death and hell, should never be far from our thoughts. It is so stupendous a work, that it has filled all heaven with wonder; and the “riches” of divine grace contained in it are absolutely “unsearchable.” To know this, to feel this, to be interested in this, will produce a change in our hearts, which shall last for ever [Note: The conversion of the soul is spoken of in terms directly referring to this event. Isa 11:15-16.]. And when we shall see our enemies dead upon the sea-shore, and ourselves placed beyond the reach of harm, it will furnish us with an inexhaustible subject of gratitude and thanksgiving.]
Verses of Exodus 14
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Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)
Charles Simeon (1759 - 1836) was an English evangelical Anglican cleric.
Horae Homileticae reflects the rich source of Biblical understanding of Simeon, a towering figure in the history of evangelical theology.