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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 14

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13

THE LORD’S SALVATION

‘Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.’

Exodus 14:13

I. These words, which to fleshly Israel must have seemed so strange, and which to weak faith echo so strangely still, contain two parts, a duty and a blessing.—They were to ‘stand still,’ and so should they see the salvation of God. And this condition of blessing runs continually through the whole history of the Jewish and Christian Church. When God has tried His chosen servants or His chosen people, the most frequent trial perhaps has been this, whether they would tarry the Lord’s leisure, be content to receive God’s gift in God’s way, hasten not, turn not to the right hand or the left, but ‘stand still’ and see the salvation of God. By patient (the word implies suffering) waiting for God, an unresisting resistance unto blood, did the Church take root in the whole world.

II. It is for instruction only that we may ask why God should so have annexed the blessing of conquest to enduring suffering, and made patience mightier than what men call active virtues. (1) It may be that it has some mysterious connection with the sufferings of Christ. Vicarious suffering may be so far well-pleasing to God as having a communion with the sufferings of His beloved Son, and doubtless it may make those who are partakers of it more capable of the communication of the merits and influence of His passion. (2) Then, also, it may be needful, in the wisdom of God, for the perfecting of His saints. As all trial implies pain, so the trial of the most precious vessels, it may be, is to be accompanied by pains proportionate. (3) It is evident, that so God’s power and glory are most shown in averting suffering, or in crowning the enduring faith by His blessing. (4) Since man’s self-will was the cause of his fall, God would thus teach him to renounce dependence upon himself, to quit his own wisdom and his own schemes, and do God’s will.

Dr. Pusey.

Illustration

(1) ‘With the deliverance of that day, the independent life of the nation was to commence, and it was to be a Divine deliverance, kept ever in mind by a religious ceremony. The civil year began with the first new moon in October, the sacred with the first new moon in April. In Egypt the fixed year began in June, at the rise of the Nile. The Babylonians began the year at the vernal equinox. The Hebrew names are Tisri, at the autumnal equinox, and Abib, or Nisam, at the vernal equinox. Spring is the true beginning of the year; everything then begins to live again. Fitting type of the beginning of a nation’s life.’

(2) ‘There are two commands which come to us when we are in perplexity. The first is to stand still and see God’s salvation. If you do not know what to do, wait to see what God is about to do. Only be still, cool, calm, collected. Look not around at the imminent danger, but up to his very present help. And when He says, “Go forward,” do not hesitate for a moment to advance. For as your feet touch the fringe of the brine, a way will cleave down into the heart of the sea, and through the depths.’

Verse 20

DARKNESS AND LIGHT

‘It was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these.’

Exodus 14:20

The guiding cloud severed the camp of Egypt from the camp of Israel. It marched between them. To the one it was God’s presence, cheering despondency, comforting weakness, guaranteeing victory; to the other it was a perplexing, baffling, vexing apparition, betokening they knew not what, yet this at all events, that Israel had a friend, a guide, a comforter, and they must drive after him their chariots of earth, with such hope and such might as earth fighting against Heaven can muster.

I. Every word of God is at once a cloud and darkness to Egypt and a light by night to Israel.—So far as revelation goes, it is to the believing what it calls itself—a light and a lamp. The real mysteries of our being were there before revelation: the mystery of life, the mystery of death, the mystery of an omnipotent God resisted, and the mystery of a holy God co-existent with evil. Whatever revelation does in reference to these aboriginal mysteries is in the direction of explanation.

II. Trinity Sunday is, in an especial sense, the Festival of Revelation.—Trinity and unity are not contraries. The word Trinity was invented to preserve the unity. Trinity is triunity. The doctrine of the Trinity is this, that Holy Scripture, while tenaciously clinging to the unity, does present to us our Lord Jesus Christ as very God, and does present to us the Holy Spirit of God, not as a thing, but as a Person. Leave out of sight for one hour the Divinity of Jesus, and darkness settles again upon the soul which He died, which He lives, to redeem. Leave out of sight for one hour the personality of the Spirit, and darkness settles again upon the soul of which He is the Light, because the Life. We may listlessly dream or purposelessly loiter; but when a work is proposed to us, and we must do it or die, then we want that help, and must have it, which only a Trinity in unity can supply.

Dean Vaughan.

Illustration

‘The same cloud was darkness to the Egyptians and light to the Israelites. This illustrates God’s relation respectively to His friends and His enemies. To His own people He is light, protection, shelter, friendship, help; but those who are not reconciled to Him do not find these things in God. To the impenitent the thought of Him always brings terror and alarm. God’s providence in like manner has this double aspect. The Christian sees love everywhere. He knows that all things are working together for good to Him because He is God’s child. He sees His Father ordering all things with love and wisdom, and never is afraid. When He cannot understand, He trusts and waits. But to the unreconciled man this same providence is not only a dark mystery but is full of alarm. There is no sense of safety, no assurance of protection, no consciousness of love anywhere in the universe for Him. To the unbeliever death is a dark cloud, filled with thunders and lightnings; but to the Christian it is a glorious radiance of Divine love. So will it be in the judgment. To His own people, Christ will then be all glorious, His appearance will give unspeakable joy. But to the ungodly His presence will bring terror.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Exodus 14". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cpc/exodus-14.html. 1876.
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