Notes on the Exodus! (127)

“Exposing the Exodus”

The way, the truth and the life!

The Lord’s Promise  (Chapter 14 Verses 1-14)

The Israelites came out of Egypt triumphant looking to the grace and glory of God. But their faith had to be tested, for a faith that is not tested is worth nothing at all. They were given the unmistakable signs of God’s presence, they were assured by his divine promises. Now they are further assured of his presence as they leave Egypt with the assuring pillars, of fire by night and cloud by day (Exodus 13:21-22). But there is no indication of their looking to these pillars signifying God’s dynamic presence. It was not only the Egyptians but Israel too had forgotten God. This was to become a besetting sin in Israel. For many, it would cost them dearly, eternally even (Jude 5). There is such a thing as faithless praying (v10). They are overwhelmed by fear. Now fear is not necessarily a bad thing altogether, but it is bad when it controls us, paralyses us. They jump to a wrong conclusion here based on immediate appearances. And inevitably they get it wrong. Yes, from a human perspective the situation is a difficult one, impossible even. But in such times and circumstances, we need to pause and ponder the facts of our salvation. God does not deliver by half measures, he does begin a work and leave it half finished as we often do. When he commits himself, when he promises to do a thing, we can be assured he will see it through to its conclusion, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). “Fear not, stand firm” (v14). And now their fear turns to fury (v11-12). Expressed to Moses the servant of the Lord, which means ultimately against the Lord himself.

A torrent of scorn, of contempt and criticism. What short memories people have? You cannot pray in faith and reveal the man God’s appointed to lead you. And especially so when his ministry has borne signs confirming his appointment. Note their criticisms. One, they consider themselves to be dead men walking (v11). Two, it is all the fault of Moses (v11b). Three, they told Moses it wouldn’t work (v12). Four, they wish they had not listened to him (v12). But the man God intervenes with a military-like command, “Fear not, stand firm” (v13-14). But faced with such an impasse how can you not be afraid? Well, you stop and think. Who brought me here, and for what purpose did he bring me here? The honour of God’s name is at stake here, for he promised deliverance. The integrity of his work is at stake also, has he ever done a thing before and failed at it? The safety of his people is also at stake, what will all the nations say of God’s purpose for them fails? When we find ourselves in trouble like this, faced with what appears to us to be an impasse if our concept of God is wrong, so too will we be. It is at times like this that we need to be solid on the doctrine God, nothing else will keep us afloat. If our expectations of life are wrong we will also be in serious trouble. God has promised eternal life to those who believe in him through Christ Jesus. We will only stand at such times as these as and when we stand upon and know the doctrine of God. Then we will be able to obey this command, “fear not, stand firm” (v14). This command is thundered out before them by Moses as a military leader would, in order to turn them from themselves to God, the Lord of hosts. “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31)? Who else can deliver us, surrounded by a sea of sin, a world of flesh, the devil and his army? “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today…The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:13-14).

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
Sermon Audio

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