Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove back the sea with a strong east wind that turned it into dry land. So the waters were divided,
"The waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left." It is amazing what a blessing the things that we dreaded most become to us, when we go straight toward them at the call of God! The sea of business troubles, which looked as if it never could be crossed, but which we had no choice but to enter, how it opened right and left as we came to it, and then became to us a wall against competitors on either side, because we had ventured into its very depths when it was our clear duty to do that and nothing else! That desert life of danger which we entered with fear and trembling, at the call of our country, or of some loved one of our family, or of some dear friend, how its very exposures and trying experiences toughened us and trained us, and made us stronger and manlier and happier, so that its results to-day — its physical and mental and moral results-are as a wall of protection to us on our right hand and on our left! There is no place in all the world so safe for us as the place of danger, when danger is a duty. The best way of caring for ourselves is not to care for ourselves. If we want to walk dry shod, with a wall shielding us on either hand, the better way is to plunge right overboard into a sea of work or of trial or of peril, when God says Go forward.
We are told that as the Israelites were about to cross the Red Sea, the fiery-cloudy pillar changed its position, and came between them and the Egyptians. It was the self-same pillar, but it wore a very different aspect to friends and foes respectively. "It was," we read, "a cloud of darkness to them (the Egyptians), but it gave light to these (the camp of Israel)." We should notice that the same double aspect belongs to all God's manifestations of himself, in Law and Gospel, in matter and spirit, in the world, and in the Church.
I. GOD'S ATTRIBUTES have this double aspect. Not one of his attributes but has a bright side turned to the believer, and a dark side to the wicked. This is true even of such attributes as holiness and justice, from which the believer, as a sinner, might seem to have most to fear. "Faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). So God's omnipotence, which is hostile to the transgressor, is pledged to defend, bless, and save the saint (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 1:24). God's eternity, in like manner, is given to the believer for a dwelling-place (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalm 90:1), but how terrible an aspect it has to the evil-doer! The dark side of love is wrath. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). But on the other hand, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31).
II. GOD'S LAWS have this double aspect.
1. Physical laws. The constitution of nature is favourable to virtue, hostile to vice (See Butler's Analogy).
2. Moral law, for this, while awarding life to the obedient, is a ministry of condemnation to the sinner.
3. Mental and spiritual laws. Take e.g. the law of habit. "The law of habit, which applies alike to all our physical, mental, and moral actions, must be regarded in its design as a truly benevolent one. But the law of habit, when the soul yields to sin, works death to the sinner: - like the pillar of cloud which made day to Israel, and was darkness to the Egyptians, so the law, which is bright to the well-doer, sheds night upon the path of the sinner, until he is plunged into the sea of death" (Theodore D. Woolsey).
III. GOD'S WORD has this double aspect. To the prayerful, believing, docile mind, it is a source of unfailing light. It is a lamp to the feet and a light to the path (Psalm 119:105). But to the proud, the unbelieving, and the presumptuous, it is only darkness. These can see nothing in it but difficulties, incredibilities, contradictions, moral monstrosities. It is full of stumbling-blocks. The more they read it, the more are they blinded by it. They read only to discover some new fault or error.
IV. GOD'S VERY GOSPEL has this double aspect. "The preaching of the Cross is to them that perish foolishness, but to us who are saved it is the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:18-24). It repels the one class, and attracts the other. To the one, it is a savour of life; to the other, a savour of death (2 Corinthians 2:16). - J.O.
THE DEED OF VALOUR. Moses walking down the gravelly beach into the sea; Israel following. A lesson to us to come with boldness.
II. THE MIRACULOUS WAY. We walk in new and unseen ways.
III. THE OVERTHROW OF THE ENEMY.
1. His wrath.
2. His foolhardiness; forgetting the plagues. All sin is irrational.
3. His sudden destruction. Death surprises the impenitent.
IV. THE SAME INSTRUMENTS BOTH DEFENDING AND DESTROYING.
1. The cloud.
2. The water.
3. The gospel.
V. WHAT ISRAEL FOUND IN THE SEA-PATH.
1. Rebuke for the murmuring.
2. Filial fear.
3. Trust in God.
4. Trust in Moses.
5. Nationality; before, they were all slaves, then free men, now a nation.Learn:
1. All people must struggle and dare.
2. Our characters come from soul-struggles where self is abandoned, and trust is put in God.
3. Man's extremity is God's opportunity.
4. God will, out of every temptation, make a way of escape.
"An easy conquest!" said the eagle, attracted by the glittering scales of a large fish, which shone through the clear, deep waters of the lake. "An easy conquest!" As he dashed into the water, it was as if lightning had smitten the cliff and a fragment of it had fallen into the lake. There was a struggle; the fish dived, and drew the eagle with it. "Ah!" exclaimed the drowning king of birds, "had I been in the air, who would have dared to measure strength with me? But in this strange and treacherous element, I am overcome by one whom elsewhere I should have despised."
Overthrew the EgyptiansConsider this destruction of Pharaoh and his host as —
I. A JUDGMENT. It was —
1. Sudden in its execution. No warning given.
2. Terrible in its nature. Involving the destruction of a whole army, the picked men of the most powerful nation in the world.
3. Well merited by the subjects of it. Repeated warnings were conveyed in the plagues, yet all were now disregarded.
II. A DELIVERANCE. Israel delivered from Pharaoh —
1. Out of a perilous situation.
2. Notwithstanding their want of faith.
3. By a glorious miracle.
III. A LESSON to —
1. The sinner. Beware lest your end be like Pharaoh's; heed the warnings given to you.
2. The Christian. Learn to know the greatness of your deliverance from the host of Satan.
()A place that is the safest in the world for one man may be the most dangerous in the world for the next man. The portcullis which comes down to shut in the endangered refugee, may crush to death his close pursuer. Because another man actually saves his life and acquires new strength by exposing himself in some sea of battle, or pestilence, or perils of search for a lost one, it is no reason why you should venture in that same line. II God told him to go there, the very waves of danger were a shield to him; but if you have no call there, those waves may overwhelm you. His risks in business prove his safety, because he made them in faith, when God commanded them. They would be your ruin if you presumed on them without a command from God, The question for you is not, Is that other man safe in that sea? but, Do I belong there? The call of God settles the question of your place of duty and your place of safety. God gives the walls of protection to His children when they are where He tells them to be. God throws down those very walls on those who have no business to be there.
PeopleEgyptians, Israelites, Moses, Pharaoh, Zephon
PlacesBaal-zephon, Egypt, Etham, Migdol, Pi-hahiroth, Red Sea
TopicsCaused, Causeth, Cleaved, Divided, Drove, Dry, East, Ground, Maketh, Parted, Stretched, Stretcheth, Strong, Swept, Towards, Waters, Wind
Outline1. God instructs the Israelites in their journey
5. Pharaoh pursues after them
10. The Israelites murmur
13. Moses comforts them
15. God instructs Moses
19. The cloud removes behind the camp
21. The Israelites pass through the Red sea, which drowns the Egyptians
Dictionary of Bible ThemesExodus 14:21
1418 miracles, responses
4854 weather, God's sovereignty
1416 miracles, nature of
7908 baptism, significance
1320 God, as Saviour
LibraryA Path in the Sea
'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 stood 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, …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Entangled in the Land
"For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in."--Exodus 14:3. ISRAEL WAS CLEAN escaped from Egypt. Not a hoof of their cattle was left behind; nor foot of child or aged man remained in the house of bondage. But though they were gone, they were not forgotten by the tyrant who had enslaved them. They had been a very useful body of workers; for they had built treasure cities and storehouses for Pharaoh. Compelled to work without wages, …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891
Epistle Lxiii. To Brunichild, Queen of the Franks.
To Brunichild, Queen of the Franks. Gregory to Brunichild, &c. What good gifts have been conferred on you from above, and with what piety heavenly grace has filled you, this, among all the other proofs of your merits, intimates evidently to all that you both govern the savage hearts of barbarians with the skill of prudent counsel, and (what is still more to your praise), adorn your royal power with wisdom. And since, as you are above many nations in both these respects, so also you excel them in …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
They who have not Been Promoted to that Office. ...
They who have not been promoted [to that office] by the bishop, ought not to adjure, either in churches or in private houses. Notes. Ancient Epitome of Canon XXVI. No one shall adjure without the bishop's promotion to that office. Balsamon. Some were in the habit of "adjuring," that is catechising the unbelievers, who had never received the imposition of the bishop's hands for that purpose; and when they were accused of doing so, contended that as they did not do it in church but only at home, they …
Philip Schaff—The Seven Ecumenical Councils
The Personality of Power.
A Personally Conducted Journey. Everyone enjoys the pleasure of travel; but nearly all shrink back from its tiresomeness and drudgery. The transportation companies are constantly scheming to overcome this disagreeable side for both pleasure and business travel. One of the popular ways of pleasure travel of late is by means of personally conducted tours. A party is formed, often by the railroad company, and is accompanied by a special agent to attend to all the business matters of the trip. A variation …
S.D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on Power
The Faults Committed in this Degree --Distractions, Temptations --The Course to be Pursued Respecting Them.
As soon as we fall into a fault, or have wandered, we must turn again within ourselves; because this fault having turned us from God, we should as soon as possible turn towards Him, and suffer the penitence which He Himself will give. It is of great importance that we should not be anxious about these faults, because the anxiety only springs from a secret pride and a love of our own excellence. We are troubled at feeling what we are. If we become discouraged, we shall grow weaker yet; and reflection …
Jeanne Marie Bouvières—A Short Method Of Prayer And Spiritual Torrents
Answer to Mr. W's Sixth Objection.
6. and lastly, Let us consider the intrinsick absurdities, and incredibilities of the several stories of these three miracles, p. 36.--As to Jairus's daughter, and her resurrection from the dead, St. Hilary  hints, that there was no such person as Jairus;--and he gives this reason, and a good reason it is, why he thought so, because it is elsewhere intimated in the gospel that none of the rulers of the synagogues confessedly believ'd on Jesus, John vii. 48. and xii. 42. St. John's words in the …
Nathaniel Lardner—A Vindication of Three of Our Blessed Saviour's Miracles
The Hardening in the Sacred Scripture.
"He hath hardened their heart."-- John xii. 40. The Scripture teaches positively that the hardening and "darkening of their foolish heart" is a divine, intentional act. This is plainly evident from God's charge to Moses concerning the king of Egypt: "Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not harken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the …
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit
Blessed are they that Mourn
Blessed are they that mourn. Matthew 5:4 Here are eight steps leading to true blessedness. They may be compared to Jacob's Ladder, the top whereof reached to heaven. We have already gone over one step, and now let us proceed to the second: Blessed are they that mourn'. We must go through the valley of tears to paradise. Mourning were a sad and unpleasant subject to treat on, were it not that it has blessedness going before, and comfort coming after. Mourning is put here for repentance. It implies …
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12
Epistle iv. To Cyriacus, Bishop.
To Cyriacus, Bishop. Gregory to Cyriacus, Bishop of Constantinople. We have received with becoming charity our common sons, George the presbyter and Theodore your deacon; and we rejoice that you have passed from the care of ecclesiastical business to the government of souls, since, according to the voice of the Truth, He that is faithful in a little will be faithful also in much (Luke xvi. 10). And to the servant who administers well it is said, Because thou hast been faithful over a few things, …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
The Sovereignty of God in Reprobation
"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God" (Rom. 11:22). In the last chapter when treating of the Sovereignty of God the Father in Salvation, we examined seven passages which represent Him as making a choice from among the children of men, and predestinating certain ones to be conformed to the image of His Son. The thoughtful reader will naturally ask, And what of those who were not "ordained to eternal life?" The answer which is usually returned to this question, even by those who profess …
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God
Of the Necessity of Divine Influences to Produce Regeneration in the Soul.
Titus iii. 5, 6. Titus iii. 5, 6. Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. IF my business were to explain and illustrate this scripture at large, it would yield an ample field for accurate criticism and useful discourse, and more especially would lead us into a variety of practical remarks, on which it would be pleasant …
Philip Doddridge—Practical Discourses on Regeneration
The book of Exodus--so named in the Greek version from the march of Israel out of Egypt--opens upon a scene of oppression very different from the prosperity and triumph in which Genesis had closed. Israel is being cruelly crushed by the new dynasty which has arisen in Egypt (i.) and the story of the book is the story of her redemption. Ultimately it is Israel's God that is her redeemer, but He operates largely by human means; and the first step is the preparation of a deliverer, Moses, whose parentage, …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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