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Verses of Exodus 15

26

Exodus 15:26 Commentary - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

DISCOURSE: 86
CHRIST THE HEALER OF HIS PEOPLE

Exo 15:26. I am the Lord that healeth thee.

SCARCELY had the Jews passed the Red Sea before they began to murmur: as the Psalmist has said, “They provoked him at the sea, even at the Red Sea [Note: Psa 106:7.].” True it was that they must have suffered greatly, both they and their cattle, when they were three days without water; and when, on finding water, it was so bitter that they could not drink it. But, when they had been conducted thither by God himself, (for the pillar and the cloud never left them day or night [Note: Exo 13:22.],) they might be assured that He, who had so miraculously delivered them hitherto, would, if they cried unto him, supply their wants. They should have had recourse to prayer therefore, and not to murmuring. But this conduct of theirs gave occasion for a rich display of God’s mercy towards them, and for an explicit declaration on his part what the rule of his procedure towards them in future should be. They were delivered from the Egyptian yoke: but they were not to cast off obedience to their God. They were, as his redeemed people, to consecrate themselves to him, and to obey his voice in all things: and, according as they performed or neglected their duty to him, he would extend to them his favour, or visit them with his displeasure; either loading them with, or exempting them from, the diseases with which the Egyptians had been visited, and which they greatly dreaded [Note: 6 with Deu 28:27; Deu 28:60.].

This declaration of God to them was so important, that the Prophet Jeremiah, a thousand years afterwards, referred to it, to shew, that, from the very first moment of the people having been taken into covenant with God, their sacrifices had been held as of no account in comparison of obedience. “I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices. But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you [Note: Jer 7:22-23.].” Nor is it less important to us, at this day; for God will still deal with us according as we conduct ourselves towards him. The retribution indeed may not now be so visibly marked by external dispensations; but it shall be maintained in reference to our souls, God either healing our spiritual maladies, or giving us up to the power of them, according as we approve ourselves to him, or walk contrary to his commands. If we offend him by a wilful and habitual disobedience to his will, none shall be able to protect us: but, if we surrender up ourselves unfeignedly to him, “none shall be able to harm us:” whatever we may either feel or fear, we may assure ourselves of his favour; for he is, and ever will be, “The Lord that healeth us.”

In further discoursing on these words, we shall be led to point out,

I.

The office which God executes in behalf of his people—

As God inflicts judgments on his enemies, so does he administer healing to his people: and this he does,

1.

In a way of gracious exemption—

[The Hebrews were exempted from the various calamities with which Egypt was overwhelmed. And this is particularly noticed in the words preceding my text: “I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” In like manner, if we are exempt from many diseases under which others labour, and by which their whole lives are imbittered, we should acknowledge God as the Author of this distinction, and receive it as a special mercy at his hands. We know that even under the Christian dispensation bodily diseases are often sent by God, as the punishment of sin [Note: 1Co 11:30 and Jam 5:14-15.]: and we cannot but feel that we have merited, on many occasions, such tokens of his displeasure. If therefore we, like the Hebrews, have been more highly favoured than others, we must, like them, be instructed that it is God alone who has healed us.

But in this general description of Jehovah we must not overlook that which, after all, was chiefly intended—his special favour towards his redeemed people, in reference to spiritual disorders. Thousands are given up, like Judas, to an obdurate heart and a reprobate mind; whilst some, like David and Peter, are recovered from their falls. To whom must the recovery of these be ascribed?—to themselves? They had in themselves no more strength or power than the unhappy Judas had. It was to sovereign grace alone that they owed their restoration to the divine favour, and their return to the paths of holiness and peace. And have not we similar obligations to our heavenly Physician? How often have we indulged in our hearts propensities, to which if we had been given up, we should have fallen a prey, and perished for ever! The sins of the most abandoned of the human race were small in their beginning, and by repetition became inveterate. O! what do we owe to God, who, whilst he has left others to follow the imagination of their own hearts, has restrained us, “hedging up our way with thorns, and building a wall, that we might not be able to prosecute the paths” which our corrupt hearts so perversely sought! As far then as by his preventing grace he has kept us from evil, we have reason to adore him as “the healer” of our souls.]

2.

In a way of effectual interposition—

[On many occasions did God visit his people with severe chastisements; which he as often removed, at the intercession of Moses, or on the humiliation of their souls before him. And have there not been times when, by disease or accident, are have been brought low; and when, if the evil inflicted had been suffered to attain the same resistless power as it has acquired over others, we must have fallen a sacrifice to its assaults? Whence is it, I would ask, that we have been restored to health, whilst others have sunk under the influence of the same disease? Greatly do we err, if we ascribe our recovery to any thing but the gracious favour of our God. He may have made use of medicine as the means: but whatever may have been the secondary cause, the one great primary cause of all has been the good pleasure of God, whose province alone it is “to kill and to make alive, to wound and to heal [Note: Deu 32:39.].”

And what shall we say, if we have been healed of spiritual disorders? It is well known that man is altogether corrupt; so that we may apply to him that description which is given of the Jewish state, “from the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in him, but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores [Note: Isa 1:6.].” In every faculty of our souls we are corrupted and debased by sin: our understanding is darkened; our will rebellious; our affections sensual; our very conscience is blind and partial. Now, if God has dealt with us as he did with the springs of Jericho [Note: 2Ki 2:20-22.], if he has cast the salt of his grace into our souls, and healed us at the fountain-head, have we not cause to bless and magnify his name? It is expressly in reference to such a miracle as this that God assumes to himself the name contained in our text. The waters of Marah being so bitter as to be unfit for use, God directed Moses to cast a certain tree into them, by means of which they were instantly made sweet [Note: 5.]. And are not we also directed to “a tree, whose very leaves are for the healing of the nations [Note: Rev 22:2.] ?” Its virtue indeed is not known by thousands, in whose presence it stands; and therefore they continue ignorant of its healing efficacy. But was its virtue ever tried in vain? No: nor ever shall be. Only let Christ be received into the heart by faith, and the whole man will be renewed; the understanding will be enlightened, the will subdued, the affections purified, and the whole soul be “changed into the divine image in righteousness and true holiness. Now, what if God has pointed out this tree to us? What if we have experienced its healing efficacy? Then have we in ourselves an evidence that our blessed Saviour sustains the office claimed by him in our text: and then are we called to acknowledge it with gratitude, and to adore him for this stupendous exercise of his power and grace.]

Such being the office of our blessed Lord, let us consider,

II.

The duty which we owe him in reference to it—

This, though already in a measure anticipated, may with great propriety be now more distinctly noticed.

1.

1. We should acknowledge him in the mercies we have received at his hands—

[Sure I am, that his preventing goodness is by no means appreciated as it ought to be. We see others sick and dying; and little think to whom we owe it, that their lot has not been awarded to us. We are restored after sickness; and how soon do we forget the hand that has delivered us [Note: If this were a Spital Sermon, or on occasion of a deliverance from childbirth, this would be the place for some appropriate observations.] ! Nor are we less insensible of our obligations to God for preservation from great and heinous sins; whereas, if we noticed the falls of others who were in every respect as likely to stand as ourselves, we should be filled with wonder and admiration at the distinguishing mercies vouchsafed unto us. Even converting grace, alas! how little gratitude does it excite in our hearts! We can see clearly enough the goodness of God to Israel in bringing them out of Egypt, and in making them a peculiar people to himself, whilst their Egyptian taskmasters were left to perish. But “that deliverance, though glorious, had no glory,” in comparison with that which is vouchsafed to us. But I call on all to look at the mercies which they have experienced, and at the means by which they have been procured for a ruined world. The tree that heals us has been felled: the Saviour has been “wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; and by his stripes we are healed” Yes, the Saviour himself has died, that we may live [Note: Isa 53:5 with 1Pe 2:24.]. Shall any one, then, that has experienced the virtue of his blood and the efficacy of his grace, not bless him? O! let every soul stir himself up to praise his God, and break forth like David, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits; who forgiveth all thy sins, and healeth all thy diseases [Note: Psa 103:1-3.] !”]

2.

We should apply to him for the mercies which we may yet stand in need of—

[Wherefore does the Saviour proclaim to us his office, but that we may apply to him to execute it in our behalf? That you are all labouring under a mortal disease, is certain: and that there is but one remedy for all, is equally clear. But that remedy is all-sufficient: none ever perished, who applied it to their souls. See our Redeemer in the days of his flesh: was there any disease which he could not cure? Was not even a touch of his garment instantly effectual for one who had spent her all upon physicians, and to no purpose? Methinks I hear one complaining, that sin and Satan have such an entire possession of his soul, as to render his state altogether hopeless. But “is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no Physician there?” Look at the demoniac in the Gospel: so entirely was he possessed by Satan, that no chains could bind him, no restraints prevent him from inflicting deadly wounds upon himself. But a single word from the Saviour expels the fiend, and causes the maniac to sit at his feet, clothed, and in his right mind. Fear not then, thou desponding sinner; for there is nothing impossible with him. And if thou say, ‘True; but he has already tried his hand upon me in vain, and given me up as incurable;’ hear then what he speaks to thee by the Prophet Isaiah: “For his iniquity I was wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth; and yet he went on forwardly in the way of his heart.” (Here is your very case: and what says he to it? Does he say, ‘I have therefore given him up as incurable?’ No; but (“I have seen his ways, and will heal him.” Heal him, does he say? Yes; “I will heal him, and will restore comforts to him and to his mourners [Note: Isa 57:17-18.].” Go then to him, thou desponding soul. Say to him, as David did, “Lord, be merciful unto me: heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee [Note: Psa 41:4.].” — — — If you reply, ‘There is no hope for me, because I have once known the Lord, and have backslidden from him;’ be it so; yet, as a backslider, hear what a gracious message he sends thee by the Prophet Jeremiah: “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings [Note: Jer 3:2].” One thing only would I guard you against, and that is, “the healing of your wounds slightly [Note: Jer 6:14.].” Let your wounds be probed to the very bottom: and then, as the waters of Marah were healed so as that the fountain itself was changed, so shall your soul be purified throughout, and “the waters flowing from you spring up unto everlasting life [Note: Joh 4:14; Joh 7:38.].”]


Verses of Exodus 15

26

Consult other comments:

Exodus 15:26 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Exodus 15:26 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Exodus 15:26 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Exodus 15:26 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Exodus 15:26 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Exodus 15:26 - Geneva Bible Notes

Exodus 15:26 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Exodus 15:26 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 15:26 - Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 15:26 - The People's Bible by Joseph Parker

Exodus 15:26 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Exodus 15:26 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Exodus 15:26 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Exodus 15:26 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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