February 10.—Morning. [Or March 21.]
“Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Exodus 13:17, 18; 20–22
AND it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt: (The Lord is mindful of the infirmities of his people. He meant them to see many wars hereafter, but as yet they were all unused to fighting, and therefore were to be led by a quieter though a longer road. Blessed be God, our troubles shall not be ready for us till we are ready for them.)
20, 21, 22 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people. (The pillar was their infallible conductor; it also screened them by day and lit up the camp by night. God’s mercies are many-sided. We can only do one thing well at a time, but the Lord accomplishes many devices at one stroke.)
Exodus 14:1–5; 8–14
AND the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they turn and encamp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-zephon: before it shall ye encamp by the sea.
This seemed a strange direction, but Moses obeyed it without question. Let us go where the Lord bids us though the way be perilous.
3, 4 For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host; that the Egyptians may know that I am the Lord. And they did so.
5 ¶ And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?
8 And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. (God’s plagues had not changed the King’s rebellious nature. When he saw that he had lost his valuable slaves, his greed made him rush after them.)
9 But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pi-hahiroth, before Baal-zephon.
10, 11 And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt?
12 Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. (This unbelief was both unjust and cruel. Had they not seen the Lord’s works in the great plagues? Could they not believe that he who had wrought such marvels could and would deliver them? They were smitten with panic, and were willing to return to bondage; whereas true freemen never debate which of the two to choose, slavery or death.)
13, 14 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. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. (This meekest of men answered the people meekly and believingly, for prayer enabled him to conquer his own spirit.)
Forward! but whither shall we go?
The desert is on either side,
Behind us the Egyptian foe,
Before, the interposing tide!
Yet while we thy command obey,
Our road impassable pursue,
The ocean yields an open way,
And lets thy ransomed people through.
February 10.—Evening. [Or March 22.]
“The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.”
AND the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
We read not that Moses had spoken a word; but his heart cried unto the Lord. The Lord bade him no longer hesitate, but cry, “Forward,” and advance through the sea.
16, 17, 18 But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
19 ¶ And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
The glory of the Lord was their rereward.
20 And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. (Both God’s word and providence have a twofold aspect, they frown on sinners while they smile on saints. Thus God still sets a difference between Israel and Egypt.)
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. (Calmly the historian records it, but what a wonder is here! Water erect like solid ice, and a damp sea bed made dry and fit to be a highway for a marching army.)
23 ¶ And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
What infatuation! Were they beguiled by the darkness around them or that within them?
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
One look from Jehovah was enough, one flash from his eye of fire, struck the host with panic.
26 ¶ And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
Even thus “our tyrannous sins are buried and drowned, and though they be sought for they shall not be found.”
29, 30 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. (So completely was Egypt shattered, that though the Israelites were for forty years close to the Egyptian borders, they were never molested by their former oppressors.)
31 And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses. (And well they might, but, alas, this good state of mind did not last long.)
Awake, awake, thou mighty Arm,
Which has such wonders wrought!
Which captive Israel freed from harm,
And out of Egypt brought.
Art thou not it which Rahab slew?
And crush’d the dragon’s head?
Constrain’d by thee the waves withdrew
From their accustom’d bed.
Again thy wonted prowess show,
Be thou made bare again:
And let thine adversaries know
That they resist in vain.
 Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 81–82). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.