And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
I was led to take this subject from seeing a sheet almanac upon which was painted a boy who had got his satchel full of apples, which, I presume, he had been stealing. He was hanging by the tips of his fingers from the top of a wall, and just above the wall on the other side was the owner, while at the bottom was a big bulldog, chained to a kennel — he could not go up for fear of the owner, he dare not drop down for fear of the dog; and it said at the bottom, "In a fix." It would be very well for us if that represented the only fix in which we had ever been. I might talk for a considerable time in a general way about men who have been in a fix, but now I want you to give me your attention while I try to point out to you a nation that was once in a fix, and, if I can, teach some lesson, s that may be of use to you and me. There they are — the river before them, rocks on either hand, and the Egyptians behind them. They could not make boats to cross the sea; they could not fly; and were unable to fight — they had not the skill, neither the weapons. The most remarkable thing is this, that God, who had sent Moses to deliver them, had brought them into this very position! Observe, they were in the path of duty — doing just as He had commanded them; suggesting to us the thought that if we would serve our God faithfully, sometimes we may find ourselves "in a fix." There will be times when dark clouds will gather, and we cannot see our way, and we shall feel inclined to give up in despair. But wait a bit. If God has brought them into this fix, He will bring them out of it. There they are; and, see! Pharaoh is following. He did not let the people go until he had been compelled; and, like a man shamed out of half-a-crown for some charitable purpose, he repented afterwards. He went after them designing their ruin, but God designed to ruin him. He designed to put the Lord's people into a fix, and the Lord — who always protects His own — designed to fix him. And then comes this thought: That what seems to tend to our ruin is often over-ruled to our good. A great many years ago there used to be the old stage coach, and in those days they were the chief means of travelling. I have heard some old men say what a terrible thing it was to take a long journey. One day the locomotive was invented; they were going to take goods and people in such quantities and at such a speed as the stage coach never could. The owners of the coaches might declare they were all to be ruined! What would become of them? The stage coach was ruined, but what of its owners? They shared the common advantages of the "puffing billy." This same principle will apply to things of the present day. Years ago, tailoring was said to be a good business. Their sewing was then done by hand. By and by the sewing-machine was invented; and when it was brought to something like perfection, clothing was sewn with it. The tailors were in such a state — it would destroy their prospects! it would ruin their trade! And the dressmakers were in the same excited condition. When were tailoring and dressmaking better than now? They are, I am told, more profitable than they ever were. I give you these illustrations to prove my statement — that very often that which seems to tend to our injury is over-ruled by a merciful Providence to our good. These Egyptians were following the Israelites, and were about to destroy them; they appeared now in the jaws of death, but it was over-ruled. "The wicked," says Solomon, "diggeth a pit, and falleth into it." "He layeth a snare, and his own feet are taken therein." Ah I there are many things you and I cannot understand now. Many a cloud sweeps over our path; many dark things we cannot quite see through. If we could rise above all these things, and see God's doings, perhaps we should rejoice that He sometimes puts us in a fix. We do not see through it all now; we shall by and by. "Sometimes God brings us into straits that He may bring us to our knees." You know that to be true. Often in your sorrow you have looked unto your Father for the help you could not get elsewhere. Observe, if they were in a fix, Moses was not. What did he do? He cried, "Fear not, God will fight for you"; though God has led you here, He will lead you elsewhere. He knew they could do nothing, so he commanded them to stand still. Man's extremity is God's opportunity. Have you never been in a fix like this? Your business has failed, your prospects blighted, your heart smarting through some bereavement. A darling child or wife has been snatched from you. In utter helplessness you have cried, "What can I do?" You can do nothing. You have been doing too long. God has brought all this to teach you to stand still, and let Him do. "Stand still." Oh! there is reason in that. If your God brings you to see your helplessness and poverty, and He reveals His true riches to you, it is worth your while to "stand still." Have salvation; you may. Get His love into your hearts; stand till He makes you free; and when once He does, then comes the cry as Moses gave it, "Forward!" and though there be before you a dark night and a troubled sea, you may go forward with safety. There is this further thought: that though sometimes God allows the enemies of His people to bring them into a fix, be assured the Lord will turn the scales, and bring the enemies into a fix. What He did for these Egyptians — the haters of the friends of God — He may do for you. Many a faithful man o! God has been annoyed, perhaps by you; but be assured, God will annoy you. See what He did for these Egyptians. There was, first, darkness. That which gave light to His people became dark to His enemies. It is dark where the enemies of God are — so dark! Secondly, God troubled them. The children of God crossed the sea, and you know how in following them the Egyptians all perished in the waters, through which the Israelites had passed in safety. One word more. If you are on the side of God and truth, He will be with you, and bring you out of every fix into which you may get whilst serving Him. On the other hand, if you refuse to acknowledge Him, you may get into a fix which you will never be able to get out of.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,