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they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
18. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
19. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and slood behind them :
20. And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it
gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21. And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Phuraoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25. And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
26. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand oder the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after *them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea-shore.
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.
We left the Israelites, at the close of the last Exposition, terror-stricken at the approach of their old and cruel enemies, and already beginning to murmur against their Almighty Leader. Their situation was, indeed, one of peculiar danger and perplexity; before them was the Red Sea, for the natural passage of which they possessed no means; on either side of them was a fort or city of the Egyptians, and immediately behind them all the chivalry of Egypt, commanded by its king. When we consider the life of degradation and bondage to which the Israelites had been so long inured, and the invariable effects of such a state upon the moral and physical nature of man, we cannot feel surprised that, under circumstances such as these, they should have been both helpless and hopeless. Even Moses, although evidently convinced that they should receive succour, appears to have been completely ignorant of the method by which the help from on high should visit them. So much so, indeed, that he commands them to stand still," "and see the salvation of the Lord;" “the Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” The intention of the Almighty, however, was not at the present moment to succour Israel in that manner; they were not to stand still, but to “go forward,” that their faith and dependence might be fully manifested before the Lord appeared in their behalf; and then, a word and not a battle was to decide the fate of their enemies.
6 The Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” No sooner was the miracle-working rod stretched forth over the waters, than the very nature of the element was changed; for it is in vain to attempt to account for it by natural causes, as many have endeavoured to do, since it is expressly said, not merely that the wind blew back the sea, and left a channel dry for the passage of the Israelites, but that the sea was so divided, that “the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. A fact which, so long as the element retained its usual nature and temperature, nothing but the miraculous interference of the God of elements and the God of nature, could account for. Then did the Lord fulfil that solemn declaration, of which we spoke in the last Exposition, “I will get me honour upon Pharaoh.” Very briefly does the apostle to the Hebrews narrate this wonderful event, when he says, “By faith they (the children of Israel) passed through the Red Sea, as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do, were drowned."* Yet, short as this little sentence is, it is the key to the whole transaction. Here was the great, the mighty distinction; the Israelites entered upon that road of miracle, in a full
* Heb. xi. 29.
and assured faith in the protection of Him who made it; “By faith, they passed through the Red Sea." The Egyptians rushed into the same fearful abyss, strong only in the pride of their own strength; and this is enough to teach us, what would naturally be the result; the walk of faith, whether it be on the waters or through the waters, is infallibly secure; but the footsteps of unbelief, however apparently firm the ground on which they tread, are on a quicksand, which must inevitably lead down to death,
How seasonable to the young Christian, is the command of the Lord given on this occasion to his people, “Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Advice needful, indeed, in every portion of the believer's path, but peculiarly so, when first called from the land of bondage, to know, and to love, and to follow the Redeemer. Often impeded by the many natural hinderances of the way; sometimes borne down by its trials or disappointments; occasionally led aside, and even tempted by the corruptions of his own heart, to return unto Egypt, how important is it for him to “hear a voice behind him," continually saying, “Go forward.” Whatever are your difficulties or troubles, your safety lies in advancing. Like the Israelites, to return, is bondage and death. To go forward in faith is freedom, peace, and life. He who has given you the command will never leave you, never forsake you, while you are striving to obey it. He who breaks not the bruised reed, nor quenches the smoking flax, despises not the day of small things, and cannot forget or desert the youngest or the feeblest traveller to Zion.
Happily for you, your strength and power exist not in yourself: “Without me ye can do nothing," are our Lord's own words; but grafted into Him, the true and living vine, drawing continually from his unfailing grace, receiving daily of his fulness, you may say, without boasting, and in St. Paul's own words, “I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.” No journey shall be too long, no labour too severe, no battle too fierce for him who runs, and strives, and fights in the strength or under the shield of Omnipotence. Go forward, therefore, for the present, steadily, perseveringly, prayerfully, and
you shall certainly arrive at your journey's end joyfully and triumphantly, through Him who loved you and gave himself for you.
CHAP. xv. 1-21.
1. Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into
2. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation : he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
3. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.
4. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea.