Exodus 15:18
As long as these deities - the deities, say, of Egypt, Philistia, Edom, Moab, Canaan - were simply to be compared among themselves, there might be room for rivalries among them; there might be reasons for asserting superiority because of a more splendid worship and a larger host of worshippers. But, when Jehovah steps in upon the scene, all discussions as to the comparative excellences of other deities cease to have interest. The most renowned of them becomes of no more account than the most obscure. Even the temple of the great goddess Diana is then despised, and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. At Ephesus, under the very shadow of the far famous building, Paul persuades and turns away much people, saying that they be no gods which are made with hands. Whether stars be of the first magnitude or not ceases to be a question of interest when the sun rises; for then they all vanish alike. "Who is like unto thee, Jehovah, among the gods?" Nor is this question left as a mere vague vociferation. It is pursued into instructive detail, and illustrated by the mention of three particular features of pre-eminence. These words are spoken with the signs of Jehovah's glory right before the eyes of those who speak. Not mere symbolic signs, such as the burning bush, the rod changed to a serpent, and the leprous hand; but signs that were also great benefits and judgments. Fresh from the miraculous passage, and with the destruction of Pharaoh's host scarcely faded from their eyes, these singers of praise very fitly ask, Who is like to Jehovah, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises doing wonders?

I. GLORIOUS IN HOLINESS. Some word is needed to indicate the distinction between deity and all lesser existence, and that word we find in "holiness." Hence holiness and even some sort of glory in their holiness might be attributed to all the gods. All places and symbols associated with them would be approached with scrupulous veneration and only too often with abject terror. But who had such holiness as Jehovah possessed? We may take the question as running - "Whose glory in holiness is like unto thine?" Then, standing in our position as Christians, with the light we thus enjoy, and considering all the conceptions of Deity which our present knowledge of the world, in all lands and through past ages, supplies, we can put this question with a richness of meaning which was not possible to Moses or to his brother Israelites. Consider the deities of the Grecian and Roman mythology - for with that we are perhaps best acquainted - or any deities the wide world over, either among barbarous peoples or civilised; and then consider the Jehovah of the Hebrew Scriptures, the God who revealed himself more fully and in due time by his Son. Look how the worship of an idolater drags him down. Think of the unutterable prostitution and sensualities connected with certain idolatries. Think of those miserable parents in whom idolatry had so destroyed natural affection that they could cause their sons and daughters to pass through the fire to Moloch. Many are rigorous, fanatical and even furious in their religion, who yet show by their lives that they care nothing for great duties; their religion, alas! seems to make them worse instead of better. How great, then, is the privilege of him who has indeed come to perceive that Jehovah is glorious in holiness! He is light, and in him is no darkness at all. lie is love - such love as is set forth in John 3:16. His wrath is revealed against all unrighteousness of men. The very nation that he chose, sanctified and cherished, he made to be "scattered and peeled," because it would not do righteousness according to his will. What a cheering and inspiring thing to turn from the inspection of our own hearts with its dismal results, and from our observation of the seething selfishness of the world, to think of the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ! For Christ moves before us in the beauty of holiness, a great, attractive, rebuking reality; and we know that as is the Son, so is the Father; as is the visible and Incarnate One, so is the invisible and purely spiritual Jehovah above. It is through the Son we know the Father; and it is everything to feel that he is not a mere imagination. He is drawing us to himself; so that as he is glorious in the holiness of the Uncreated and Pure, so we, even though sadly fallen, may become glorious in the holiness of the restored and the perfected. We have yet to sing the new song from those who are glorious in the holiness of matured sonship to him who is glorious in the holiness of our Father in heaven.

II. FEARFUL IN PRAISES. Though this expression is beyond exact definition, yet it is obvious that a certain way of understanding it is appropriate to the present occasion. Jehovah is a God to be praised for his terrible doings. It is part of his very holiness that he makes that holiness to be respected by his treatment of those who presumptuously despise it. If he he not approached with reverence and obeyed with promptitude, and from the heart, he can make the irreverent ones to feel the evil consequences. He is not one to make claims which he cannot authenticate and enforce. It was not as the priest of some foreign deity, with empty pomp, that Moses came forth before Pharaoh, trusting by a great show to terrify him into acquiescence. There is manifested power; power so widespread and various in its manifestations, so overwhelming in its concluding operations, that even the most ignorant can appreciate it. If God is not loved, he must be feared; if his good and perfect gifts are not accepted, then his visitations of perfect and holy wrath must take their place. The mercies for which Israel had now to praise Jehovah were such as could not be sung without recounting an awful story. Nor must we ever shrink from dwelling on such scenes when needed. We must praise God for his severity to the wicked, as much as for anything else. We could not truly praise him for his love, unless we were also able to praise him far his wrath.

III. DOING WONDERS. Here is another peculiar Divine prerogative. Jehovah does wonders such as none among the gods can do. One has almost forgotten the magicians, it is so long since they retreated into obscurity and shame. This is praise to Jehovah, which at once pushed aside all magicians and pretenders to the supernatural. The wonders they do would cease to be wonders, if they would only allow us to become a little better acquainted with them; and not only would they cease to be wonders, they would even become despicable, as we consider the lying with which they are supported, and the knavish ends for which they are produced. A conjurer's tricks are only like common things hidden away; show us where they are hidden, and the mystery ceases. The mystery is in the concealment and nothing else. But Jehovah's dealings, as in Egypt, are true wonders. They are brought out to the light so that all men can gaze on them and examine them, and the more they are examined the more mysterious they prove, it would not be good for us - it would, indeed, be very bad, as starving a thing as could happen to our imagination and our highest capacities of enjoyment - were we to cease from wondering in the presence of God. Wonder must ever arise within us when we consider his operations, alike in nature and in grace. - Y.







Hast led forth the people which Thou hast redeemed.
1. God's future providence as well as past deliverance is the matter of faith's praise.

2. God, as a shepherd, leadeth His people through their course to rest, and will lead, as if it were done.

3. Mercy is the rule of all God's conduct to His Church here below.

4. God hath saved, and will redeem His Israel out of all their troubles. It is His promise (Psalm 130:8).

5. God's holy habitation, Sion in type and heaven in truth, is the end of all His providential guidance unto His.

6. God's strength secureth the Church's conduct to His holy habitation.

7. Tender, sweet, and gentle is God's guidance of His Church through their way to rest (Isaiah 40:11).

8. All this promised guidance faith must return to the praise of God.

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

I. PAST MERCIES ACKNOWLEDGED. The fact celebrated is redemption from Egypt — "Thou in Thy mercy hast led forth Thy people which Thou hast redeemed." The whole glory of deliverance is ascribed to the Lord, without any reference to second causes. The believer will often look back and contemplate his mercies, and celebrate his deliverances; like Samuel, he will raise his Ebenezer (1 Samuel 7:12).

II. FUTURE MERCIES ANTICIPATED. "Thou hast guided them, in Thy strength, unto Thy holy habitation." Here is the language of strong faith, as if they were already in Canaan. Moses knew that God had promised to bring them to His holy hill, and to His dwelling; he knew that God's promises were as good as His performances; and we may say so too, for they are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus. The Lord had done so much for Israel, that Moses felt no doubt as to the future — "Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance."

III. ISRAEL'S ENEMIES CONFOUNDED. "The people shall hear and be afraid, sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of Palestine," etc. The world has now much to say against the people and cause of God. Religion is denounced by them as a delusion — a gloomy thing — as madness; but then every objection will be silenced. Satan, too, is now very busy with his temptations and accusations; but this state of things shall not always last. Trembling shall take hold of the believer's enemies, when the people of God are safely brought to the heavenly Canaan. Then where will be the venom of the world? where the accusations of Satan? Not one mouth will then be opened against the meanest and most neglected of God's people on earth. He shall then have nothing to fear; admitted within the pearly gates of the heavenly Jerusalem, he shall be for ever with the Lord. All enemies will be for ever excluded. The Church shall be saved and God glorified.

IV. THE KINGDOM OF GOD PERMANENTLY TRIUMPHANT. "The Lord shall reign for ever and ever."

1. To the enemies of Christ. You see that the Lord must reign; then what must become of you?

2. To the friends of Christ, yea, to those who wish to love the Saviour.(1) Look back and review your mercies; how numerous, how seasonable, how undeserved! See the Lord's hand in them, and this will add to their sweetness.(2) Look forward. Consider what God has promised to do for you. You have your trials, and you will have them; but you have not one too many.(3) Look upward to that promised rest — that "inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away," etc.

(George Breay, B. A.)

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