Verse 6. He turned the sea into dry land. It was no slight miracle to divide a pathway through such a sea, and to make it fit for the traffic of a whole nation. He who did this can do anything, and must be God, the worthy object of adoration. The Christian's inference is that no obstacle in his journey heavenward need hinder him, for the sea could not hinder Israel, and even death itself shall be as life; the sea shall be dry land when God's presence is felt.
They went through the flood on foot. Through the river the tribes passed dry shod, Jordan was afraid because of them.
"What ailed thee, O thou mighty sea?
Why rolled thy waves in dread?
What bade thy tide, O Jordan, flee
And bare its deepest bed?"
"O earth, before the Lord, the God
Of Jacob, tremble still;
Who makes the waste a watered sod,
The flint a gushing rill."
There did we rejoice in him. We participate this day in that ancient joy. The scene is so vividly before us that it seems as if we were there personally, singing unto the Lord because he hath triumphed gloriously. Faith casts herself bodily into the past joys of the saints, and realises them for herself in much the same fashion in which she projects herself into the bliss of the future, and becomes the substance of things hoped for. It is to be remarked that Israel's joy was in her God, and there let ours be. It is not so much what he has done, as what he is, that should excite in us a sacred rejoicing. "He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. He turned the sea into dry land. The psalmist refers to the passage through the Red Sea and the Jordan, not as to transactions which took place and were concluded at a given period of time, but as happening really in every age. God's guidance of his people is a constant drying up of the sea and of the Jordan, and the joy over his mighty deeds is always receiving new materials. E. W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 6. There did we rejoice in him; where those things have been done, there have we rejoiced in him, not taking any credit to ourselves as if they were our acts, but rejoicing and glorying in God, and have praised him, as may be seen in Exodus 15 and Joshua 3. The prophet uses the future for the past, unless, perhaps, he meant to insinuate that these miracles would be succeeded by much greater ones, of which they were only the types and figures. A much greater miracle is that men should pass over the bitter sea of this life, and cross the river of mortality, that never ceases to run, and which swallows up and drowns so many, and still come safe and alive to the land of eternal promise, and there rejoice in God himself, beholding him face to face; and yet this greater miracle is so accomplished by God, that many pass through this sea as if it were dry land, and cross this river with dry feet; that is to say, having no difficulty in despising all things temporal, be they good or be they bad; that is to say, being neither attached to the good things, nor fearing the evil things, of this world, that they may arrive in security at the heavenly Jerusalem, where we will rejoice in him, not in hope, but in complete possession for eternity. Robert Bellarmine.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6. Great difficulties, unexpectedly overcome, made the theme of joy.
Verse 6. (last clause). Our share in the past deliverances of the church.