The key verse for our lesson gives us the key to understanding the deliverance of the people of God from the dreadful arm of Egypt: “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” (Ex. 15:19). Judgment came upon the Egyptians who had made the people of God their slaves. God’s judgment upon His people came upon those who transgressed His law. God’s grace came upon them in their deliverance: “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou has redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation” (Ex. 15:13). Just as a faithful shepherd is with his sheep, so the Lord is with his people, the sheep of His pasture. The Lord first establishes a place of habitation, where He will dwell with His people; and from this place the Lord will bless them with much fruit, of praise and labor: “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” (Ex. 15:17).
Moses and the children of Israel had a song to sing. The nature of the best of songs is when it is sung to the Lord: “I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously.” Victory belongs to the Lord alone. Moses rejoiced and sang to the Lord because it was He who had thrown the horse and his rider into the sea. The Lord does not claim victory in secret, but before the eyes of His people.
Because Moses saw the hand of the Lord in being delivered from the Egyptians, he testifies that his faith in the Lord is not in vain: “The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him a habitation, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” The habitation of the Lord is His people. In Christ, we have a fellowship “with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19–22). David’s testimony is that of Moses and of us: “Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth” (Psa. 16:8). The Lord dwells with His people, which is called His habitation where His name will be praised and honored. It is David’s song we all sing: “I will love thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower” (Psa. 18:1–2).
Moses sings, “The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name.” The mighty Jehovah God, the Triune God who is Creator, Savior, and sustainer of His people, is the Lord who has delivered His people from Egypt. The destruction of Pharaoh’s chariots, of the drowning of his army, is but a small example of the “man of war”—the Lord who is strong in battle! “As a God of infinite power: The Lord is a man of war, that is, well able to deal with all those that strive with their Maker, and will certainly be too hard for them” (M. Henry). The Lord alone is the righteous Judge: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Rev. 19:11). Our Lord is not inactive, He is the risen Lord who rides forth and advances His Kingdom today and each day to come; He judges the nations in His righteousness and truth.
Moses led Israel, the people of God, “from the red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days into the wilderness and found no water.” They were delivered by the mighty hand of the Lord from the Egyptians. Within three days, they would face a trial of faith. For each trial that we face is not given that we might fail, but that we might be made strong in the mighty hand of the Lord. The Spirit teaches us: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:6–8).
We must be in constant study of the Word of God and in prayer to our heavenly Father that we might not forget the darkness from which we have been delivered by the death and resurrection of our Lord.
Moses and the people of God “came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.” Twelve large cities of people set up their camps in that place in the wilderness. The first thing they did was to murmur against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” Moses’ response was a cry unto the Lord. The “Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them.” Moses spoke the word of the Lord to the people: “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: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” M. Henry reminds us: “God is the great physician. If we be kept well, it is he that keeps us; if we be made well, it is he that restores us; he is our life, and the length of our days.”
Scripture records that Moses and the people “came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and three, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.” The Lord provides for us that which we need, His promises are true. Therefore we sing with David: “Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name, bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles” (Psa. 103:1–5).
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