Pulpit Commentary Homiletics
I. FROM WHENCE THE SOUL WAS SET FREE.
1. From Egypt, the true type of the world. At first so pleasant, so prosperous, so Goshen-like, so free from care, life so easy and secure.
2. But at length its true character is revealed. They are a strange - a barbarous, or tyrant, so the word is variously rendered - people. And the redeemed soul has found that out.
II. WHAT HAPPENED AT THIS EXODUS. (Ver. 2.)
1. There was the indwelling of God. The soul became his shrine. He was worshipped, beloved, trusted day by day.
2. There was willing obedience. God was the Lord of their life. The soul becomes the dominion, the domain, of God.
3. Things beforehand impossible, happened. (Vers. 3, 4.) The sea, symbol of the whole power of spiritual death, saw and fled. "You hath he quickened who were dead," etc. It is a true picture of what takes place at the real conversion of a soul. Old things pass away. The stream and course of life are turned in an opposite direction, as was the Jordan. On and on, rapidly flowing downwards to the Dead Sea, so was it with the Jordan; so is it with the soul till its redemption comes. But then there is a conversion, a complete turning round, in the aims, principles, and motives of the life. The fixed habits and propensities - fixed like the mountains and hills of Sinai - the pride, unbelief, selfishness, love of sin, all which seemed firmly settled in our nature, are shaken, plucked up by the roots. The rock-like heart, so hard and barren and lifeless, becomes transformed as into a standing water, a very fountain of waters (cf. John 7:37, 38). The soul is blessed, and becomes a blessing.
III. HOW IS ALL THIS TO BE EXPLAINED? Men will ask this, and no answer will they find save that it is the presence of the Lord (vers. 5-7). It is the standing miracle of the Christian Church. - S.C.
I. WE MAKE OUR ESCAPE FROM A STATE OF BONDAGE - EGYPT.
1. A life of sin is a life of spiritual bondage. (Romans 6:16.)
2. Such a life of bondage brings us into "strange" and unnatural relations. (Ver. 1.) Egypt was not the home of the Israelites.
II. THE SPIRITUAL EXODUS BRINGS US INTO OUR TRUE, OR DIVINE, RELATIONS. (Ver. 2.)
1. We become consecrated temples for the indwelling of God. (Ver. 2.) "Judah was his sanctuary."
2. We are kingdoms over which God reigns. "And Israel his dominion."
III. THIS EXODUS IS ACCOMPANIED BY GREAT EXCITEMENTS.
1. There is a grand revelation of the presence of God. (Ver. 7.)
2. A wonderful proclamation of the Law of God. Sinai is shaken by it, and so is the soul of man. Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake."
3. There is a revelation of the abundant mercy of God. (Ver. 8.) This manifestation of God "turned the rock into a standing water, the flint into a fountain of waters." - S.
I. GOD'S PRESENCE AND POWER WERE THE GLORIES OF THE NATION FROM THE FIRST. This truth was impressed by the marvels which were wrought in connection with their deliverance from Egypt. The plagues were indeed judgments; but they were, even more truly, teachings, sanctifying impressions made upon the people of Israel. They taught them God, and helped them to realize what God with them would involve. The truth was impressed by such signs as dividing the sea; but this only illustrated God's presence as the Ruler, Rewarder, and Judge of the people. From all material signs of the Divine relations, we should rise to discern the far more important moral signs. God himself moulding the national life; God himself directly ruling the moral and religious life of the nation; - these are the marvels of grace and wisdom which the Jews never tired of contemplating.
II. GOD'S PRESENCE AND POWER WERE THE GLORIES OF THE RESTORED NATION. But what a moral advance had been made when men could discern God's working in ordinary providences, and no longer needed miracles of astonishment! To the restored exiles common providences became signs of direct working on their behalf. And they were right in so thinking. God was making things work together to work out the fulfillment of his promise.
III. GOD'S PRESENCE AND POWER ARE THE GLORIES OF THE CHURCH TO-DAY. But we have risen above the reach of the restored exiles. To us God is present and working - not in miraculous act, not specially even in providential orderings, but in the spiritual indwelling of the Holy Ghost. Then we may be reminded that there are conditions of this abiding in us, and that jealousy of our supreme possession is our fitting attitude of mind and feeling. - R.T.
says as well as what she is. The poet tells us what Nature says. In these verses we are made to understand that the sea felt God working in it, and yielded to his touch. Jordan felt God working in it, and stopped its flowing. Sinai felt God working in it, and responded with a trembling of reverence and holy joy. The response of Nature is a lesson for man. God would work in his higher powers and his higher spheres; and his response should be more prompt than the hurrying waves, more complete than the check of the river's flowing, and more joyous than the trembling and dances of the divinely honored hills. The psalmist was the moral teacher of his times, and had a definite purpose before him in thus recalling the most impressive events of the national history. His point may be thus briefly stated: Nature does respond to God and serve his purposes, - and man should.
I. NATURE DOES RESPOND TO GOD AND SERVE HIS PURPOSES. This may be illustrated from the usual and the unusual. Pagans peopled the woods and streams and hills with fairies; Wordsworth poetically conceived of Nature as a living being. Religion finds God working out his thought everywhere, and everything responsive to his use. Nature is not God; it is distinct from him. But it is so kin with him that, unhindered, his thought finds expression in it. And so responsive is Nature to God, that it readily yields itself to the unusual, to the miraculous, when these are necessary to God's purposes. Seas will part, rivers will stop, mountains will tremble, in response to him. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof."
II. MAN SHOULD RESPOND TO GOD AND SERVE HIS PURPOSES. He should, because he is a part of Nature, and ought to be in harmony with her. But man is a higher being than any thing or being in Nature - a being with a will, a being made in God's image. It is his willing response, it is his loving and obedient outworking of the Divine purposes, that God asks of restored exiles and of us. - R.T.
all supernatural. - R.T.