Exodus 13:17-15:21 March 28 2010
In this chapter we have, The commands God gave to Israel, To sanctify all their firstborn to him. To be sure to remember their deliverance out of Egypt and, in remembrance of it, to keep the feast of unleavened bread. To transmit the knowledge of it with all possible care to their children. To set apart unto God the firstlings of their cattle and to explain that also to their children. The care God took of Israel, when he had brought them out of Egypt. Choosing their way for them. Guiding them in the way . Their care of Josephâ€™s bones
1. (Exodus 13:17-18) Josephâ€™s bones carried with the Israelites, They come to Etham.
Exod. 13:17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, â€œIf they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.â€ 13:18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan. One was only a few daysâ€™ journey; the other was much further about, through the wilderness, and that was the way in which God chose to lead his people Israel. The Egyptians were to be drowned in the Red sea; the Israelites were to be humbled and proved in the wilderness. Godâ€™s way is the right way, though it seems about. If we think he leads not his people the nearest way, yet we may be sure he leads them the best way, and so it will appear when we come to our journeyâ€™s end. The Philistines were powerful enemies; it was needful that the Israelites should be prepared for the wars of Canaan, by passing through the difficulties of the wilderness. Thus God proportions his peopleâ€™s trials to their strength, 1 Corinthians 10:13. They went up in good order. They went up in five in a rank, some; in five bands, so others, which it seems rather to their faith and hope, that God would bring them to Canaan, in expectation of which they carried these bones with them while in the desert.
2. (Exodus 14: 9-14) The Israelites murmur, Moses comforts them.
Exod. 14:9 The Egyptians â€”all Pharaohâ€™s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops â€”pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon. 14:10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. 14:11 They said to Moses, â€œWas it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? 14:12 Didnâ€™t we say to you in Egypt, â€˜Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptiansâ€™? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!â€ 14:13 Moses answered the people, â€œDo not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. 14:14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.â€
There was no way open to Israel but upward, and thence their deliverance came. We may be in the way of duty, following God, and hastening toward heaven, yet may be troubled on every side. Some cried out unto the Lord; their fear led them to pray, and that was well. God brings us into straits, that he may bring us to our knees. Others cried out against Moses; fear set them murmuring as if God were not still able to work miracles. They quarrel with Moses for bringing them out of Egypt; and so were angry with God for the greatest kindness ever done them; thus gross are the absurdities of unbelief. Moses says, Fear ye not. It is always our duty and interest, when we cannot get out of troubles, yet to get above our fears; let them quicken our prayers and endeavours, but not silence our faith and hope. â€œStand still,â€ think not to save yourselves either by fighting or flying; wait Godâ€™s orders, and observe them. Compose yourselves, by confidence in God, into peaceful thoughts of the great salvation God is about to work for you. If God brings his people into straits, he will find a way to bring them out.
3. (Exodus 14:15-18) God instructs Moses, The cloud between the Israelites and the Egyptians.
Exod. 14:15 Then the LORD said to Moses, â€œWhy are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. 14:16 Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. 14:17 I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. 14:18 The Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.â€
Mosesâ€™ silent prayers of faith prevailed more with God than Israelâ€™s loud outcries of fear. The pillar of cloud and fire came behind them, where they needed a guard, and it was a wall between them and their enemies. The word and providence of God have a black and dark side toward sin and sinners, but a bright and pleasant side toward the people of the Lord. He, who divided between light and darkness, Genesis 1:4 , allotted darkness to the Egyptians, and light to the Israelites. Such a difference there will be between the inheritance of the saints in light, and that utter darkness which will be the portion of hypocrites for ever.
4. (Exodus 14:31) The Israelites pass through the Red sea, which drowns the Egyptians.
Exod. 14:31 And when the Israelites saw the great power the LORD displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.
We have here the history of that work of wonder which is so often mentioned both in the Old and New Testament, the dividing of the Red Sea before the children of Israel. It was the terror of the Canaanites (Jos 2:9,10), the praise and triumph of the Israelites, Psalms 114:3 ; 106:9 ; 136:13,14. It was a type of baptism, 1 Co. 10:1, 2. Israelâ€™s passage through it was typical of the conversion of souls (Isa. 11:15 ) and the Egyptiansâ€™ perdition in it was typical of the final ruin of all impenitent sinners, Rev. 20:14 . Here we have,
The departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt (which was indeed the birth of the Jewish church) is made yet more memorable by further works of wonder, which were wrought immediately upon it. Witness the records of this chapter, the contents whereof, together with a key to it, we have, Heb. 11:29 . â€œThey passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned;â€ and this they did by faith, which intimates that there was something typical and spiritual in it. Here is, The extreme distress and danger that Israel was in at the Red Sea. Notice was given of it to Moses before. The cause of it was Pharaohâ€™s violent pursuit of them. Israel was in a great consternation upon it. Moses endeavours to encourage them . The wonderful deliverance that God wrought for them out of this distress. Moses is instructed concerning it. Lines that could not be forced are set between the camp of Israel and Pharaohâ€™s camp . By the divine power the Red Sea is divided and is made, A lane to the Israelites, who marched safely through it But, To the Egyptians it was made, An ambush into which they were drawn And, A grave in which they were all buried. The impressions this made upon the Israelites