Category Archives: Notes on Exodus

Notes on the Exodus! (133)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The God of Mercy!  (Chapter 15 Verses 15-1-22)

The constant theme of this beautiful song of triumph is God himself. Who he is, his uniqueness (Deuteronomy 6:4). His majesty and his activity on behalf of his people whom he has redeemed. It is a call to us to consider much the God with who we have to do with, “the LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him” (Habakkuk 2:20). It is not just the past, the present but the future also that is his. There is prophetic vision here (v13-18). This is the reason we ought must trust him because all is in his good and strong hand. What God has done in the past is a guarantee of the promised land to the people of Israel. And is a guarantee of the real promised land, heaven itself, of which Canaan is a type, for us today. Already the nations are a tremble because Israel is on the march (v16). Remember when the spies got to Jericho and were hidden by Rahab and what she told them? “Before the men lay down, she came up to them on the roof and said to the men, “I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red Sea before you when you came out of Egypt” (Joshua 2:8-10). Just as declared here (v16). All that is required of us to trust him, “he delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him, we have set our hope that he will deliver us again” (2 Corinthians 1:10). Because it is impossible for his enemies and ours to separate us from him (Romans 8:35-39). We can all as God’s people join in heartily and sing this song, with a resounding finale, “The LORD will reign forever and ever” (Exodus 15:18). The song has a very definite purpose, as should all that we sing in praise to God. This is not just to give the congregation an emotional fix until they gather again to praise God. Nor it’s purpose so Miriam and the other musicians can get their gear out and use their “gifts.” It is theologically sound, it is sober, it is thrilling, it fits the occasion, their foes have just been overthrown, once and for all. When they were faced with what they thought was an impasse, and there was no hope, and why? Because they did not exercise faith. To live with a God-consciousness takes the effort of faith. It is only when we do so we can live in peace. The sovereignty of God is not just a theological concept, it is a practical reality. If we truly believe God is sovereign that will affect how we react to all the stuff life has to throw at us.

So this is a proper response (v20-22). Worship! It was Miriam and the other women-folk with their tambourines that led this particular offering of praise. It is worth noting that the Old Testament worship of Israel is cultic, this is not New Testament worship, neither can you project this into the New Testament church. But you certainly can project the heart response into the New Testament church. Surely if the Lord has redeemed us at the cost of his Son’s precious blood, then our call as his gathered folk, is to stand up and bless the Lord. For we are the people of his choice, and so with heart and soul and voice to praise and thank the Lord. Not just simply going through the motions of a worship service, but as the New Testament has it, in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). This is our reasonable service, our spiritual worship, “I appeal to you, therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2). Because the Lord has delivered us from our worst enemy, our sinful selves. Alas God’s temporal blessings, as we walk through this vale of tears, doesn’t remove all our trials, there is always more to come. In fact, they may well increase, they often do. He saves us now in the midst this earthly scene, but then he begins to teach us, to discipline us. As we come to the concluding verses of this chapter we see Israel faced with yet another test of their faith. Three days into the desert and no water is a serious situation. What will they do, what should they do, what would you do? It seems as they violently assail Moses they demand of him what only God can provide.

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on the Exodus (132)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The God of Justice!  (Chapter 15 Verses 15-1-22)

The history of redemption is often called a drama. This here is the original soundtrack. The first three verses are about God and his glory. The next verses, four to twelve are about what he has done. The king’s very own words condemn him (v9). He was God-defiant, self-centred, note the repetition of the word ‘I’ in verse nine. He was the one who ended up destroyed, everlastingly. And so God’s people sing triumphantly of the divine perfection in his administration of justice. Take note will you, that it was God’s work, he drowned them in the sea (v4-5). It wasn’t natural causes as some liberal scholars would have us believe. Neither was it human causes, it was a divine act of judgment. But before you accuse God of being harsh remember this was a man who was spoken to by God, who saw the mighty, miraculous works of God. This was the man who was responsible for the harsh, oppressive, unjust treatment of the Hebrews. This was the man commanded the Hebrew children to be drowned, was it not fitting that God should drown him? A pretty fair transaction don’t you think? In Egypt, the natural order was deified. They worshipped the sun, the moon, the stars, the river Nile, the entirety of creation but not the Creator. It was the natural order that became Pharaoh’s death. The nation that embraces false religion is a nation facing death. This was a ruler and nation that stood in defiance of God (v6-9). The majesty of God was violated. The original language here expresses that of a demolition job, God brought down the entire structure of the nation of Egypt. There was nothing but dust and rubble left. God had pledged to his people freedom and the promised land. Pharaoh in his defiance dared to say no. We must understand how black this sin is, it is a great evil. Every sin is, but to stand in deliberate, conscious defiance of the Almighty when he is clearly speaking to you and demonstrating his mighty power, is to invite serious trouble, very serious trouble. This Pharaoh did, and this Pharaoh got.

The wrath of God against the ungodly is a constant state of mind, “for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). It’s not a case of God getting uptight, flying into a rage and lashing out. That’s how we sinners operate. No, it is a constant, even attitude of holy displeasure that hangs over the ungodly. The only thing that will remove that wrath is the all atoning blood of God’s Son Jesus Christ (John 1:29), nothing else. This holy displeasure was displayed here in the Red Sea in this act of justice upon the Egyptian forces, and the same wrath hangs over natural born sinners today. This is an act of divine vengeance, retributive justice (v10-12. And we, as Christians, ought not to be making excuses for God’s justice nor denying it. Lest he deny us (Matthew 10:33). The evil is displayed as strong, but God simply blew upon it (v10). This should be a great comfort to the believer, especially in times of much evil. “Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-8). For many Christians in our day, their God is way too small, their Jesus is too nice. Believe me, he is good, always, but he is not always nice. And our God is strong, mighty, almighty to deliver his people in the day of evil, and he will deliver. He is majestic (v11). His holiness is an awesome concept, “and one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3-5)! For those who believe in his Son, have experienced his lovingkindness, who love him, his character inspires awe, fear i.e., deep respect, worship, and trust. Worship him, the Triune God today, fall down before him, love and adore him!

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on the Exodus! (131)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The God of Glory!  (Chapter 15 Verses 15-1-22)

A glorious song of praise is offered up to God for this mighty deliverance. And for God’s judgment upon Israel’s and God’s enemies. The righteous shall rejoice when he seeth the vengeance: he shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked. So that a man shall say, Verily there is a reward for the righteous: verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth” (Psalm 58:10-11). They express themselves in a way that is very natural to their Hebrew culture. It is praise as praise should be, there is nothing man-centredness, no glorification of man. All the praise is to God alone. It is in recognition of the personality, the supremacy and holiness of Almighty God. It is in praise of his vindictive, retributive justice. It is a Divinely inspired song, for it is not in squeamish man to write such concerning the justice of God. The glorified saints in heaven, they know better (Revelation 20:1-6). It is for us the people of God confirmation and remembrance also. It is prophetic in that it reminds the church of its final victory of Satan and the defeat of the AntiChrist (Revelation 15:1f). It is a reminder for the church too as she also struggles and battles with her enemies through the wilderness of this barren world. The victory over Satan is ours and Golgotha assured us of that, “having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:15). This song of praise unto the Lord is for this victory over Egypt, the then world-power, Pharaoh who is a type of the Antichrist, and Satan who is the architect of all evil (v1). The first thing they do when delivered, they sang a song of praise to God. This is fitting. All inanimate creation sings (Job 38:7). The king of Israel does (Psalm 40:3). The ransomed of the Lord do, their sighing and sorrowing us turned to singing (Isaiah 51:11). How has Israel’s victory been wrought? By the blood of the Lamb and the power of Almighty God. The latter most conspicuously displayed in both the land of Egypt by signs and wonders and lately by means of the Red Sea.

They sing of the trustworthiness of their God (v2). He proves able to deliver, again and again, giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:12-13). He alone is our salvation and does not the experience of such salvation lead us to glad, grateful confession of God as our deliverer and our salvation. This God is our God, he is the God of all history, he is our faithful covenant Lord, never changing, always the same. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). He acts for his own, takes issue with our foes, deals with the powers arrayed against us, both persons and powers of evil. Our God is a warrior God (v3). To his enemies, he is a terrible, fearsome warrior (v3). This is an aspect of God’s character ignored by and large, seldom made mention of. The often sickly sentimentality expressed as love is of the flesh, not faith. Israel is looking and singing from a divine perspective here, this is Spirit inspired praise! God is the faithful performer of what he promises, “the Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace” (Exodus 14:14). And did he not? Here is the practical proof, Israel has, as he promised, been delivered. As Joshua would tell Israel much later on, “and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord your God spake concerning you; all are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof” (Joshua 24:14). Nor ever shall. Trust him!

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on the Exodus! (130)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The Destruction of Egypt  (Chapter 14 Verses 15-31)

The deliverance of Israel spells judgment for Egypt. Zion is redeemed by judgment. We see this time and again through redemptive history. The last plague poured out upon Egypt broke their power, their resistance. But they are still not humbled. There may be fear, there may be sorrow and grief but without the sorrow that leads to a biblical repentance, the end is more God hardness, “for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation” (2Corinthians 7:10). The further hardening is evidenced by their recovery from the fear caused by the last plague. Now they are in hot pursuit of the Hebrews again (v23). And that to their certain and final destruction (v23-25). Pharaoh’s intelligence service informs him that the Israelites are trapped. But after what he has already seen, i.e., the power of God at work in destroying his nation. And Egypt’s infrastructure razed to ground zero. Plus what he sees here before his eyes ought you would think to at least warn him of imminent danger. But here is the fury of blind rage against the Almighty (Psalm 2). The wind, the walls of water, the darkness, the manifestations of the wrath of God are screaming in his face! Blinded by enmity against and hatred of God (Romans 8:7). The awful black raging look of Jehovah is upon the Egyptians (v24). He is about to strike in wrath. Their fall is great (v26-28). Again the rod of Moses is lifted (v27). The walls of water begin to crumble and fall, the Egyptians try to turn back but it’s too late. God shakes off his enemies in the raging waters of the Red Sea, overtaken and swallowed up in judgment. O don’t leave it too late, “now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2Corinthians 6:2). “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men….as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2Corinthians 5:11, 20-21). God is glorified in both the salvation of his people and the judgment of the wicked. The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil” (Proverbs 16:4).

This signifies the salvation of the church and the judgment of the world. It is a down payment a guarantee of what is to come at the end of the age. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (2Peter 3:10-12). The ruin of the ungodly will be great, “he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great” (Luke 6:49). Pharaoh heard, Pharaoh saw the manifestations of God’s power but he would have none of it, he perished and took his army down with him. Now amongst God’s people there is both fear and salvation (v29-31). Noah and his family were saved in the judgment upon the then world by a flood. Israel is saved here in the judgment of Egypt is delivered by the hand of God. Times are often dark for God’s covenant people, seemingly hopeless even. But God has promised, he has pledged himself to us and his promise of a future paradise, the real promised land is not empty hope. Jehovah, our faithful covenant Lord, remains true to his name, faithful. He always and always will deliver his church. Here typically through the Red Sea, in reality through Christ and his finished work, our only hope of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Behold! The sufficiency and salvation of the Lord (Hebrews 7:25). Who has the ability to deliver his elect in every circumstance 0f life and whatever the world has to through at us? Only believe (Mark 9:23)!

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on the Exodus! (129)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The Deliverance of Israel  (Chapter 14 Verses 15-31)

This calls for radical faith here and places a huge responsibility upon Moses the servant of the Lord. God makes a great demand upon him and the people in this matter. But when we stop and consider all that has gone before, the signs and wonders performed in Egypt bringing about their liberty, is is really a big ask? They have been given every assurance and encouragement to trust and follow wherever the Lord would lead them. Remember it is God who is in the pillar, not a bystander, a spectator. He moves with his people, he has promised them his dynamic presence, ever working on their behalf. The same pillar lit up the night, there was no darkness to contend with or to add to their fears (v19-20). The enemy was out of sight. So again you see they have a visible sign indicating that their safety is from the Lord. He stood between them are their foes, “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 121). In the darkest valley, in the presence of our enemies he sets a table for us (Psalm 23). He always surrounds his people, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore” (Psalm 125:2). The words,“fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again” (v13), is not just a command, it is designed to dismiss their fears.

But if we stop and think in the midst of our own crises the promises and the commands of the Lord are not just feeble words. They carry divine power. He spoke the entire created order into being and sustains it the same way, “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3. After calming the storm he speaks to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith” (Mark 4:40)? All the elements, the wind and the sea are his servants, they do his bidding. And so too does the Red Sea here. No, it is not some shallow crossing that they were able to wade across, it was deep, very deep. It was deep enough to drown the Egyptian army with all its equipment in. We speak of the laws of nature, they are no such thing, they are God’s laws, and he is a liberty to suspend those laws at will. That is what a miracle is, God intervening and suspending his own created laws. He, God, controls the natural and the supernatural. In fact if we stop and think about it all is supernatural because all is upheld by the supreme power of God. The parting of the Red Sea for the Israelites was a wonder of grace, a sign that he was here present in grace on their behalf. It was a gracious act of deliverance to redeem his people and to strengthen their faith. However again we have a type of the cross here. First, Egypt is the world, the house of sin. Two, Canaan where Israel are headed, is the promised land. Three, the Red Sea is the way from the house of sin to the promised. In faith they must pass through the Red Sea to get to the promised land. “All passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:1-2). Here Israel is separated from the world to Christ, all of them, children two. God, as he did at Calvary, strikes away

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on the Exodus! (128)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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The Divine Glory  (Chapter 14 Verses 15-31)

The sheer logistics of this move is a nightmare without the added threat of the Egyptian armies coming at the people of Israel. They hit the panic button. But that doesn’t alter anything, it’s not only unproductive it is destructive, paralysing. The thing to do is to stop and think, and think in terms of what God has said and promised. This way you begin to see and realise the sufficiency and the trustworthiness of God. That way faith is also encouraged and strengthened for the future. Of course, it’s the Devil who seeks to destroy our faith and peace. Our safety is in the Lord. There is some irony in the complaints of Israel (v11). They appear to be obsessed with death, they have been living for too long amidst the tombs and pyramids of Egypt (Proverbs 8:36). There is no true and saving faith with these people at this juncture in their history, the New Testament appears to affirm that. Jesus destroyed most of them (Jude 5). It is only the gospel that reverses this obsession of and terror of death (John 11:25). If anyone has a problem with the signs already performed in the Exodus account, they will have mega problems with this one. Faith needs a promise, this they have (v14). And command needs obedience, go forward (v15). Faith must see the invisible, the salvation of the Lord (Hebrews 11:8). This is a dead end, an impasse, no way out. Only faith, only believing in God. There is a divine impatience with is servant, “wherefore criest thou unto me” (v15)? It’s a time for action not praying. This in faith life is where you move from the theory to the practical. Both are necessary and important. If the theory isn’t right the practice won’t be. We need to study, meditate, engross ourselves in the theory, in God’s word. Only then are we ready for action. The thing is these people have heard and seen enough, they ought by this time to be trusting in God. This is a test to see to discover faith. There are times when God takes and leaves us in extremities for this end, to test and to discover faith before he puts forth his hand to deliver. See the book of Job for example. See the trials of the apostles (2Corinthians 1:8-9).

God would have us look to him, do what he says, even when it seems beyond us. Then he works, opens a way, and we get the benefit, our faith is increased (Hebrews 11:29). Otherwise, our pilgrim walk would be by sight and not faith (2Corinthians 5:7). The Lord begins to open up the way, but not completely, each step forward is a fresh step of faith (v16). Such is the way of faith in any generation, even now. Yes, there is fear, confusion, sometimes totally baffled, but God isn’t. He always knows what he is doing and going to do. It is afterwards, we look back afterwards, then understand what God was doing. We must keep in mind that God is doing things here, he is judging Egypt and he is delivering Israel. Yes, unlike me God can do more than one thing at once. Both are for his own glory (v17-18). The Egyptians would not plough into the see were they not blinded, “God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear” (Romans 11:8). The secret counsel of God’s purposes are being worked out here, that is, “the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth” (Romans 9:11). There is a double sign, miracle here. Israel, God’s covenant people are saved (v13a). Egypt, i.e, the unbelieving world is destroyed (v13b). The full final weight of God’s justice falls on Egypt. If men will not serve the Lord they will be judged. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish Psalm 1:1-6).

(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)
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Notes on the Exodus! (127)

“Exposing the Exodus”

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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)
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