Exodus 15

* The song of Moses for the deliverance of Israel. (1-21) The

bitter waters at Marah, The Israelites come to Elim. (22-27)

1-21 This song is the most ancient we know of. It is a holy

song, to the honour of God, to exalt his name, and celebrate his

praise, and his only, not in the least to magnify any man.

Holiness to the Lord is in every part of it. It may be

considered as typical, and prophetical of the final destruction

of the enemies of the church. Happy the people whose God is the

Lord. They have work to do, temptations to grapple with, and

afflictions to bear, and are weak in themselves; but his grace

is their strength. They are often in sorrow, but in him they

have comfort; he is their song. Sin, and death, and hell

threaten them, but he is, and will be their salvation. The Lord

is a God of almighty power, and woe to those that strive with

their Maker! He is a God of matchless perfection; he is glorious

in holiness; his holiness is his glory. His holiness appears in

the hatred of sin, and his wrath against obstinate sinners. It

appears in the deliverance of Israel, and his faithfulness to

his own promise. He is fearful in praises; that which is matter

of praise to the servants of God, is very dreadful to his

enemies. He is doing wonders, things out of the common course of

nature; wondrous to those in whose favour they are wrought, who

are so unworthy, that they had no reason to expect them. There

were wonders of power and wonders of grace; in both, God was to

be humbly adored.
22-27 In the wilderness of Shur the Israelites had no water. At

Marah they had water, but it was bitter; so that they could not

drink it. God can make bitter to us that from which we promise

ourselves most, and often does so in the wilderness of this

world, that our wants, and disappointments in the creature, may

drive us to the Creator, in whose favour alone true comfort is

to be had. In this distress the people fretted, and quarrelled

with Moses. Hypocrites may show high affections, and appear

earnest in religious exercises, but in the time of temptation

they fall away. Even true believers, in seasons of sharp trial,

will be tempted to fret, distrust, and murmur. But in every

trial we should cast our care upon the Lord, and pour out our

hearts before him. We shall then find that a submissive will, a

peaceful conscience, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, will

render the bitterest trial tolerable, yea, pleasant. Moses did

what the people had neglected to do; he cried unto the Lord. And

God provided graciously for them. He directed Moses to a tree

which he cast into the waters, when, at once, they were made

sweet. Some make this tree typical of the cross of Christ, which

sweetens the bitter waters of affliction to all the faithful,

and enables them to rejoice in tribulation. But a rebellious

Israelite shall fare no better than a rebellious Egyptian. The

threatening is implied only, the promise is expressed. God is

the great Physician. If we are kept well, it is he that keeps

us; if we are made well, it is he that recovers us. He is our

life and the length of our days. Let us not forget that we are

kept from destruction, and delivered from our enemies, to be the

Lord's servants. At Elim they had good water, and enough of it.

Though God may, for a time, order his people to encamp by the

bitter waters of Marah, that shall not always be their lot. Let

us not faint at tribulations.
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