Israel's deliverance at the red sea.

BY REV. C. SIMEO, M.A.
Exod. xiv. 3 1 . And Israel saw that great work which the Lord
did tipoji 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
3l2 EXODUS, XIV. 31- [59.
had just escaped. But this grievous affliction was only
introductory to a signal deliverance. God now inter-
posed 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,
I. 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,
1. 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 conti-
nuing their march ; while to the Israehtes it was a hght 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 Egyp-
tians 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.
ow 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.]
2. 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. ow 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 oppor-
tunity : he instantly collected all the chariots and horsemen in
his army, and pursued them: and they 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 ile : and now God visited this iniquity on him, and
on all his army, in the Red Sea.
Who
59.] Israel's deliverance at the red sea. 313
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.]
3. 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"; for it di-
splayed and magnified every one 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 Egyp-
tians to proceed so far, as that, when inclosed in his net, they
might all be destroyed ; his truth and faithfulness, in accomplish-
ing 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,
II. The effect it produced —
Stupid and insensible as that nation had shewn them-
selves 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,
J . 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''."
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 for-
gat this work%" and all the others that God had wrought for
them. Indeed temporal deliverances, however great, will pro-
duce 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 ? That will implant a fear
in the heart, a fear that shall be mighty and uniform in its
operation,
* Isai. Ixiii. 12 — 14. ^ 1 Sam. xii. 18. ' Ps, cvi. 12, 13.
314 EXODUS, XIV. 31. [59.
operation ^, afear that shall expel all other fear, and "bringthe whole
soul into a willing captivity to the obedience of Christ" ]
2. 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*. And Simon Magus
is said to have believed^, whilst yet he remained " in the gall of
bitterness and the bond of iniquity." Such in too great a mea-
sure, we fear, was the faith which the Israelites now reposed in
God, and in his servant Moses. They were struck with an irre-
sistible 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 remem-
brance of their present convictions, and began to doubt and mur-
mur as before. ot 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 diffi-
culties 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?" ]
Improvement —
1 . 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.]
1. Let us, for the purpose of generating those affec-
tions 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 deter-
mine, since God himself has declared it to us^. The redemption
of the world by Christ's obedience unto death, and our conse-
quent
'*2Cor.v, 14, 15. « John ii. 1 1, 23, 24.
' Acts viii. 13. * Isai. li. 10, II.
quent 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 con-
tained 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"". 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.]
^ The conversion of the soul is spoken of in terms directly refer-
ring to this event. Isai. xi. 15, l6.
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