Why, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence…
See Israel at the Red Sea. By the wilderness, and the mountains, and the sea, the people are shut in; and behind them is Pharaoh in close pursuit, with his great and well-equipped army. If we look simply at man's valour or wisdom, resistance and escape are equally and utterly hopeless. The cry of Israel to Moses is, "Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?" But Moses said to them, "Fear ye not: stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will show you today. The Lord shaft fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." At this point, you observe, they are called to be simple spectators of "the salvation of the Lord" looking on with adoring wonder at the mighty work which only the Divine hand could accomplish — the opening of a pathway for them through the midst of the great waters. But afterwards, for the "Stand still and see," comes a command to display energetic activity. "The Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea." So with you and me, dear brethren. The expiation of guilt, the "working out of our salvation" meritoriously, could be achieved only by the God-man; and our part is to "stand still," and "behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." But now, when, by the Lord's propitiatory sufferings and death, a way, broad and clear, has been opened for us through the midst of the waters of avenging judgment, His command, loud and explicit, to every one of us is that, by persistent, growing faith and holiness, we "go forward."
(R. Johnstone, LL. B.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.