(The following texts highlighted in this color of blue is taken from

The Treasury of David by Charles Haddon Spurgeon)  "Excerpted text

Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.  Materials are reproduced

by permission."

 

                                                Psalm 114

 

 

 

 

SUBJECT AND DIVISION. This sublime SONG OF THE EXODUS is

one and indivisible. True poetry has here reached its climax: no human

mind has ever been able to equal, much less to excel, the grandeur of this

Psalm. God is spoken of as leading forth His people from Egypt to Canaan,

and causing the whole earth to be moved at His coming. Things inanimate

are represented as imitating the actions of living creatures when the Lord

passes by. They are apostrophized and questioned with marvelous force of

language, till one seems to look upon the actual scene. The God of Jacob is

exalted as having command over river, sea, and mountain, and causing all

nature to pay homage and tribute before His glorious majesty.

 

1   “When Israel went out of Egypt,” - The song begins with a burst, as if

the poetic fury could not be restrained, but overleaped all bounds. The soul

elevated and filled with a sense of divine glory cannot wait to fashion a

preface, but springs at once into the middle of its theme. Israel

emphatically came out of Egypt, out of the population among whom they

had been scattered, from under the yoke of bondage, and from under the

personal grasp of the king who had made the people into national slaves.

Israel came out with a high hand and a stretched out arm, defying all the

power of the empire, and making the whole of Egypt to travail with sore

anguish, as the chosen nation was as it were born out of its midst -

“the house of Jacob from a people of strange language.” They had gone

down into Egypt as a single family—"the house of Jacob"; and, though

they had multiplied greatly, they were still so united, and were so fully

regarded by God as a single unit, that they are rightly spoken of as the

house of Jacob. They were as one man in their willingness to leave Goshen;

numerous as they were, not a single individual stayed behind. Unanimity is

a pleasing token of the divine presence, and one of its sweetest fruits. One

of their inconveniences in Egypt was the difference of languages, which

was very great. The Israelites appear to have regarded the Egyptians as

stammerers and babblers, since they could not understand them, and they

very naturally considered the Egyptians to be barbarians, as they would no

doubt often beat them because they did not comprehend their orders. The

language of foreign taskmasters is never musical in an exile's ear. How

sweet it is to a Christian who has been compelled to hear the filthy

conversation of the wicked, when at last he is brought out from their

midst to dwell among his own people!

 

2   “Judah was His sanctuary, and Israel His dominion.” The pronoun

"His" comes in where we should have looked for the name of God; but the

poet is so full of thought concerning the Lord that he forgets to mention

His name, like the spouse in the Song, who begins, "Let him kiss me, "

(Song of Solomon 1:2) or Magdalene when she cried, "Tell me where thou hast

laid Him" (John 20:15).  From the mention of Judah and Israel certain critics

have inferred that this Psalm must have been written after the division of the two

kingdoms; but this is only another instance of the extremely slender basis upon

which an hypothesis is often built up. Before the formation of the two kingdoms

David had said, "Go number Israel and Judah," (I Chronicles 21:2) and this

was common parlance, for Uriah the Hittite said, "The ark, and Israel and Judah

 abide in tents" (II Samuel 11:11);  so that nothing can be inferred from the use

of the two names. No division into two kingdoms can have been intended here,

 for the poet is speaking of the coming out of Egypt when the people were so

united that he has just before called them "the house of Jacob." It would be quite

as fair to prove from the first verse that the Psalm was written when the

people were in union as to prove from the second that its authorship dates

from their separation. Judah was the tribe which led the way in the

wilderness march, and it was foreseen in prophecy to be the royal tribe,

hence its poetical mention in this place. The meaning of the passage is that

the whole people at the coming out of Egypt were separated unto the Lord

to be a peculiar people, a nation of priests whose motto should be,

"Holiness unto the Lord." Judah was the Lord's "holy thing," set apart for

His special use. The nation was peculiarly Jehovah's dominion, for it was

governed by a theocracy in which God alone was King. It was His domain

in a sense in which the rest of the world was outside His kingdom. These

were the young days of Israel, the time of her espousals, when she went

after the Lord into the wilderness (Jeremiah 2:2), her God leading the way

with signs and miracles. The whole people were the shrine of Deity, and their

camp was one great temple. What a change there must have been for the godly

amongst them from the idolatries and blasphemies of the Egyptians to the

holy worship and righteous rule of the great King in Jeshurun. They lived

in a world of wonders, where God was seen in the wondrous bread they

ate and in the water they drank, as well as in the solemn worship of his

holy place. When the Lord is manifestly present in a church, and His

gracious rule obediently owned, what a golden age has come, and what

honorable privileges His people enjoy! May it be so among us.

 

2   “The sea saw it, and fled:” - or rather, "The sea saw and fled" —it saw

God and all His people following His lead, and it was struck with awe and

fled away. A bold figure! The Red Sea mirrored the hosts which had come

down to its shore, and reflected the cloud which towered high over all, as

the symbol of the presence of the Lord: never had such a scene been

imaged upon the surface of the Red Sea, or any other sea, before.

(I would like to recommend browsing on the internet arkdiscovery.com.

I usually suggest Sodom and Gomorrah on the site, but today I am

recommending the section on The Red Sea CrossingCY – 2011)

It could not endure the unusual and astounding sight, and fleeing to the right

and to the left, opened a passage for the elect people. A like miracle happened at

the end of the great march of Israel, for "Jordan, was driven back"  This

was a swiftly flowing river, pouring itself down a steep decline, and it was

not merely divided, but its current was driven back so that the rapid

torrent, contrary to nature, flowed uphill. This was God's work: the poet

does not sing of the suspension of natural laws, or of a singular

phenomenon not readily to be explained; but to him the presence of God

with His people is everything, and in his lofty song he tells how the river

was driven back because the Lord was there. In this case poetry is nothing

but the literal fact, and the fiction lies on the side of the atheistic critics

who will suggest any explanation of the miracle rather than admit that

the Lord made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all His people. The division

of the sea and the drying up of the river are placed together though forty

years intervened, because they were the opening and closing scenes of one

great event. We may thus unite by faith our new birth and our departure

out of the world into the promised inheritance, for the God who led us out

of the Egypt of our bondage under sin will also conduct us through the

Jordan of death out of our wilderness wanderings in the desert of this tried

and changeful life. It is all one and the same deliverance, and the beginning

ensures the end.

 

4   “The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.” At

the coming of the Lord to Mount Sinai, the hills moved; either leaping for

joy in the presence of their Creator like young lambs; or, if you will,

springing from their places in affright at the terrible majesty of Jehovah,

and flying like a flock of sheep when alarmed. Men fear the mountains, but

the mountains tremble before the Lord. Sheep and lambs move lightly in

the meadows; but the hills, which we are wont to call eternal, were as

readily made to move as the most active creatures. Rams in their strength,

and lambs in their play, are not more stirred than were the solid hills when

Jehovah marched by. Nothing is immovable but God Himself: the

mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but the covenant of His

grace abideth fast for ever and ever. Even thus do mountains of sin and

hills of trouble move when the Lord comes forth to lead His people to their

eternal Canaan. Let us never fear, but rather let our faith say unto this

mountain, "Be thou removed hence and cast into the sea, "and it shall be

done.  (Matthew 17:20)

 

 

5   “What ailed thee, O thou sea, that thou fleddest?” Wert thou terribly afraid?

Did thy strength fail thee? Did thy very heart dry up?  What ailed thee, O thou sea,

 that thou fleddest? Thou wert neighbor to the power of Pharaoh, but thou didst

never fear his hosts; stormy wind could never prevail against thee so as to divide thee

in twain; but when the way of the Lord was in thy great waters thou was seized with

affright, and thou becamest a fugitive from before Him. - “thou Jordan, that thou

wast driven back?”  What ailed thee, O quick descending river? Thy fountains

had not dried up, neither had a chasm opened to engulf thee! The near approach

of Israel and her God sufficed to make thee retrace thy steps. What aileth all our

enemies that they fly when the Lord is on our side? What aileth hell itself

that it is utterly routed when Jesus lifts up a standard against it?  "Fear took

 hold upon them there" (ch. 48:6),  for fear of HIM the stoutest hearted did quake,

and became as dead men.

 

6   “Ye mountains, that ye skipped like rams; and ye little hills, like

lambs?”  What ailed ye, that ye were thus moved? There is but one reply: the

majesty of God made you to leap. A gracious mind will chide human nature

for its strange insensibility, when the sea and the river, the mountains and

the hills, are all sensitive to the presence of God. Man is endowed with

reason and intelligence, and yet he sees unmoved that which the material

creation beholds with fear. God has come nearer to us than ever He did to

Sinai, or to Jordan, for He has assumed our nature, and yet the mass of

mankind are neither driven back from their sins, nor moved in the paths of

obedience.

 

7   “Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of

the God of Jacob.”  Or "from before the Lord, the Adonai, the Master and

King." Very fitly does the Psalm call upon all nature again to feel a holy awe

because its RULER IS STILL IN ITS MIDST!

 

                        "Quake when Jehovah walks abroad,

                         Quake earth, at sight of Israel's God."

 

Let the believer feel that God is near, and he will serve the Lord with fear

and rejoice with trembling. Awe is not cast out by faith, but the rather it

becomes deeper and more profound. The Lord is most reverenced where

He is most loved.

 

8   “Which turned the rock into a standing water,” -  causing a mere or lake

to stand at its foot, making the wilderness a pool: so abundant was the

supply of water from the rock that it remained like water in a reservoir -

“the flint into a fountain of waters.” - which flowed freely in streams,

following the tribes in their devious marches. Behold what God can do! It

seemed impossible that the flinty rock should become a fountain; but He

speaks, and it is done. Not only do mountains move, but rocks yield rivers

when the God of Israel wills that it should be so.

 

                        "From stone and solid rock He brings

                        The spreading lake, the gushing springs."

 

"O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together, "

(ch. 34:3) - for He it is and He alone who doeth such wonders as these.

He supplies our temporal needs from sources of the most unlikely kind, and

never suffers the stream of His liberality to fail. As for our spiritual necessities

they are all met by the water and the blood which gushed of old from the

riven rock, Christ Jesus: therefore let us extol the Lord our God.

Our deliverance from under the yoke of sin is strikingly typified in the

going up of Israel from Egypt, and so also was the victory of our Lord

over the powers of death and hell. The Exodus should therefore be

earnestly remembered by Christian hearts. Did not Moses on the mount of

transfiguration speak to our Lord of "the exodus" which He should shortly

accomplish at Jerusalem (Luke 9:28-31); and is it not written of the hosts

above that they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and of the Lamb?

(Revelation 15:3) - Do we not ourselves expect another coming of the Lord,

when before His face heaven and earth shall flee away and there shall be no

more sea? (Revelation 20:11; 21:1) - We join then with the singers around the

Passover table and make their Hallel ours, for we too have been led out of

bondage and guided like a flock through a desert land, wherein the

 Lord supplies our wants with heavenly manna and water from the

Rock of ages. “Praise ye the Lord.”

 

 

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