And Moses said to the people, Fear you not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day…
As man is capable of different forms of actions, so is he susceptible of various kinds of emotions. There are two kinds of emotions which govern mankind more than any others — faith and fear. These comprehend almost all the interests, and sway almost all the actions of life. They are often opposed to each other, and frequently fear conquers faith. Fear is a power governed more by sense than faith; it is more selfish and timid than it. Faith is a more spiritual and religious power than fear, and must conquer all fear and all opposing powers before men can be powerful and triumphant.
I. Let us observe, first, THE TRIUMPH OF FEAR OR FEELING OVER FAITH.
1. Faith is often opposed and conquered when immediate danger appears, and when it cannot point to immediate deliverance.
2. When the superficial inclination of man is opposed and self-denial demanded, faith often is vanquished, and feeling triumphs.
3. Faith is often conquered by sense or feeling when reason cannot comprehend and explain things in God's dealings towards His creatures.
4. Feeling often overcomes faith when religion appears to militate against what men consider their present interest.
5. Feeling sometimes gets the advantage over faith on the ground of ease and indulgence.
6. Faith also is often conquered for want of free and open heart and mind to receive truth and conviction. Prejudice and narrowness of mind are deadly enemies to faith, as they are to the advancement of truth and right life everywhere.
7. I mention another ground on which faith is too often conquered by feeling — namely, because it looks to the future for its full reward. Feeling has no patience to wait; it must be satisfied with its objects now; whilst faith rises above the visible and the present to the unseen and the future.
II. We shall now notice THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH OVER SENSE AND FEELING. Though faith is above feeling, it is not necessarily opposed to it; it works through it, and makes it subordinate to its influence and end. The unity of the two is essential to make men strong and happy; when they are divided the happiness of men is marred, and their strength of heart and character is shorn.
1. When the mind is profoundly convinced of truth it conquers. In the degree the mind is capable of deep conviction, it is strong, and this also is one of the strongholds of faith. When the mind becomes thoroughly imbued with the importance and truth of anything, it possesses the first qualification of conquest over all opposition and difficulty; and never till then can great things be accomplished.
2. Another condition under which faith proves itself triumphant is a deep conviction of need. Conviction of need, either personally or relatively, is both the reason and power of any and every effort, and no great sacrifice and conquest will be accomplished without.
3. For the development and triumph of faith, it is requisite as a condition that the soul should be convinced of the failure and insufficiency of all sensuous and finite things to satisfy its requirements.
4. It is requisite that the moral perception and feeling of the soul should be opened and awakened to see and feel things as they are before faith can conquer. Though faith is a power of confidence in the dark, it is nevertheless a power that thrives in light, and demands all the evidence the case in hand permits.
5. Faith conquers whilst the soul lives in close union with God, and carries with it a consciousness of His presence; for conscious communion with God is the power as well as the life of the soul, and so long as this is enjoyed faith is triumphant.
III. We come now to THE TRIUMPH OF GOD OVER NATURE — "See the salvation of the Lord, which He will show to you to-day." Such a salvation was not wrought in the ordinary course of nature. Apparently the forces and laws of nature were against the possibility of it; it was a Divine display of Divine triumph of God over nature.
1. The event is represented as authentic and real. It is not an allegory, or any ideal manifestation representing a potential possibility, or a thing to excite human fancy.
2. The event was a manifestation, and produced in subordination to the purpose of mercy.
3. The event was produced for a moral and religious end. God had repeatedly promised to deliver them, and the act was a fulfilment of an old and repeated engagement. The promise was made and performed on the ground of religion.
4. The event is in harmony with its conditions. The event is not professed to be the production of ordinary power, which would be inconsistent; for it is an extraordinary one, and there must be some equality between the power of production and the production itself. The event is professed to be an extraordinary manifestation of an infinite power; and unless this power itself is denied in the fact of its existence, it is hard to guess how the event can be considered impossible. The event is professed to have been produced for a wise and sufficient reason.Lessons:
1. The dealings of God are suitable always to the occasion. He works in the right time and place, when and where the thing is needed.
2. It is possible to be in a condition which is beyond all human and natural deliverance.
3. God sometimes delays His deliverance to an extreme hour.
4. Where duty is clear, difficulties should not prevent an effort to perform it.
5. The difference between the real and the unreal is seen most clearly in extreme conditions.
6. There are things in life which we meet once, and we pass on and never meet again.
7. Genuine and deep-rooted faith shows its superiority in circumstances that baffle sensuous reasoning.
Parallel VersesKJV: And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.
WEB: Moses said to the people, "Don't be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which he will work for you today: for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall never see them again.