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 the sea.
These words are part of an outburst of national song, the triumphant song of God's chosen people when they, by God's strength, escaped from the tyranny of Egypt, and found themselves a redeemed, free, delivered people. The Lord has continued to exercise His triumphant power in the Christian Church. The standard of spiritual life in individual Christians at the present day warrants the expectations which have been awakened by the first promises of the Gospel. It is possible to look at this in two or three aspects.
I. The thought of God's triumphs as a man of war seems to be valuable as giving in its degree a proof of the truth of Holy Writ. The moral expectations raised by our Lord's first sermon on the Mount are being actually realized in many separate souls now. The prayer for strength to triumph against the devil, the world, and the flesh is becoming daily more visibly proved in the triumph of the Spirit, in the individual lives of the redeemed.
II. The triumphs of the Lord in the individual hearts among us give an increasing hope for unity throughout Christendom. We cannot deny the debt we owe to the labours of Nonconformists in the days of the Church's lethargy and neglect. We cannot join them now, but we are preparing for a more close and lasting union, in God's own time, by the individual progress in spiritual things.
III. We must do our part to set our seal to the triumphant power of Divine grace. It is the half-lives of Christians which are such a poor proof of the truth of our Lord's words. They do not begin early enough; they do not work thoroughly enough. We have the promise that this song shall be at last on the lips of all who prevail, for St. John tells us in the Revelation that he saw those who had overcome standing on the sea of glass, having the harps of God, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb.
Bishop King, Penny Pulpit, No. 569.
Reference: Exodus 15:6.—J. Keble, Sermons for the Christian Year: Easter to Ascension Day, p. 34.
Exodus 15:9-11Israel was, in the first place, delivered from the hand of God, and then, as the result of this, Israel was delivered from the hand of Pharaoh.
I. The state of the Israelites when Moses came to them. (1) They were in bondage. (2) They were so far conscious of the misery of their position that they had a strong desire for liberty. (3) They were by no means ready at first to accept the message of God's deliverance. (4) They had their comforts even in slavery. In all these things we have a picture of ourselves.
II. The deliverance. (1) The moment the Passover is observed, that moment Pharaoh's power is broken. The moment that all is right between us and God, that moment Satan's power is broken, and he can no longer hold us in bondage. (2) The waters of judgment which saved the Israelites were the means of destroying the vast host of Egypt. The power of Satan is broken by the very means by which he intended to destroy. (3) It is our privilege to take our stand on the other side of the Red Sea and see ourselves "raised up with Christ" into a new life.
W. Hay Aitken, Mission Sermons, 1st series, p. 121.
Reference: Exodus 15:22-27.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 113.
Exodus 15:23-27From the story of Marah we learn these lessons:—
I. The water was deleterious, not distasteful only. Had the people drunk it, it would have wrought disease, but it was healed by the obedience of Moses to God's directions. So if we are attentive and obedient to His voice He will find us remedies from all things that might hurt us.
II. It was not possible, perhaps, that the children of Israel should, by persevering in the unwholesome draught which is there typical of sin, have vitiated their taste till they delighted in it. But it is too possible in the antitype.
III. Though we are compelled by God's providence to pass through difficulty and temptation, we are not doomed to dwell there. If we are faithful, it is but in passing that we shall be endangered. If we use the remedy of obedience to God's word to-day, to-morrow we shall be beside the twelve ever-springing fountains, and under the shade of the palm-trees of Elim.
Archbishop Benson, Boy Life: Sundays in Wellington College, p. 197.
We have in our text a parable of the deep things of Christ.
I. Israel was in those days fresh from their glorious deliverance out of Egypt; they had sung their first national song of victory; they had breathed the air of liberty. This was their first disappointment, and it was a very sharp one; from the height of exultation they fell almost at once to the depths of despair. Such disappointments we have all experienced, especially in the outset of our actual march, after the first conscious sense of spiritual triumph and freedom.
II. Of us also it is true that God hath showed us a certain tree, and that tree is the once accursed tree on which Christ died. This is the tree of life to us, although of death to Him.
III. It was God who showed this tree unto Moses. And it was God who showed it to us in the Gospel. Applied by our faith to the bitter waters of disappointment and distress, it will surely heal them and make them sweet. Two things there are about the tree of scorn which will never lose their healing power—the lesson of the Cross and the consolation of the Cross; the example and the companionship of Christ crucified.
IV. The life which found its fitting close upon the Cross was not a life of suffering only, but emphatically a life of disappointment. Here there is comfort for us. Our dying Lord must certainly have reflected that He, the Son of God, was leaving the world rather worse than He found it in all human appearance.
V. Whatever our trials and disappointments, let us use this remedy; it will not fail us even at the worst.
R. Winterbotham, Sermons and Expositions, p. 46.
References: Exodus 15:23-25.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 20; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 540; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii., No. 987. Exodus 15:23-27.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. v., p. 453; Homiletic Magazine, vol. xiii., p. 275. 15:23-16:36.—W. M. Taylor, Moses the Lawgiver, p. 128. 15-18.—J. Monro Gibson, The Mosaic Era, p. 61. Exodus 15:24, Exodus 15:25.—J. Burns, Sketches of Sermons on the Parables, p. 257. Exodus 15:25.—J. Hamilton, Works, vol. v., p. 177; J. M. Neale, Sermons for the Church Year, vol. ii., p. 185. Exodus 15:26.—A. D. Davidson, Lectures and Sermons, p. 161; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii., No. 1664; J. Van Oosterzee, The Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 394; Parker, vol. ii., p. 319. Exodus 15:27.—T. Kelly, Pulpit Trees, p. 314. Exodus 16:1-8.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. ii., p. 459.
The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him.
The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.
Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.
And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?
Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them.
Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.
The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.
Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away.
Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O LORD, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased.
Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.
The LORD shall reign for ever and ever.
For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.
And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.
And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.
And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.