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Exodus 15:26

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If thou wilt diligently hearken - What is contained in this verse appears to be what is intended by the statute and ordinance mentioned in the preceding: If thou wilt diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, etc. This statute and ordinance implied the three following particulars:

  1. That they should acknowledge Jehovah for their God, and thus avoid all idolatry.
  • That they should receive his word and testimony as a Divine revelation, binding on their hearts and lives, and thus be saved from profligacy of every kind, and from acknowledging the maxims or adopting the customs of the neighboring nations.
  • That they should continue to do so, and adorn their profession with a holy life. T
  • hese things being attended to, then the promise of God was, that they should have none of the diseases of the Egyptians put on them; that they should be kept in a state of health of body and peace of mind; and if at any time they should be afflicted, on application to God the evil should be removed, because he was their healer or physician - I am the Lord that healeth thee. That the Israelites had in general a very good state of health, their history warrants us to believe; and when they were afflicted, as in the case of the fiery serpents, on application to God they were all healed. The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel states that the statutes which Moses received at this time were commandments concerning the observance of the Sabbath, duty to parents, the ordinances concerning wounds and bruises, and the penalties which sinners should incur by transgressing them. But it appears that the general ordinances already mentioned are those which are intended here, and this seems to be proved beyond dispute by Jeremiah 7:22, Jeremiah 7:23; : "For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt-offerings or sacrifices: but this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people; walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you."

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    In the wilderness of Shur the Israelites had no water. At Marah they had water, but it was bitter; so that they could not drink it. God can make bitter to us that from which we promise ourselves most, and often does so in the wilderness of this world, that our wants, and disappointments in the creature, may drive us to the Creator, in whose favour alone true comfort is to be had. In this distress the people fretted, and quarrelled with Moses. Hypocrites may show high affections, and appear earnest in religious exercises, but in the time of temptation they fall away. Even true believers, in seasons of sharp trial, will be tempted to fret, distrust, and murmur. But in every trial we should cast our care upon the Lord, and pour out our hearts before him. We shall then find that a submissive will, a peaceful conscience, and the comforts of the Holy Ghost, will render the bitterest trial tolerable, yea, pleasant. Moses did what the people had neglected to do; he cried unto the Lord. And God provided graciously for them. He directed Moses to a tree which he cast into the waters, when, at once, they were made sweet. Some make this tree typical of the cross of Christ, which sweetens the bitter waters of affliction to all the faithful, and enables them to rejoice in tribulation. But a rebellious Israelite shall fare no better than a rebellious Egyptian. The threatening is implied only, the promise is expressed. God is the great Physician. If we are kept well, it is he that keeps us; if we are made well, it is he that recovers us. He is our life and the length of our days. Let us not forget that we are kept from destruction, and delivered from our enemies, to be the Lord's servants. At Elim they had good water, and enough of it. Though God may, for a time, order his people to encamp by the bitter waters of Marah, that shall not always be their lot. Let us not faint at tribulations.
    Ellen G. White
    Christ's Object Lessons, 288

    Christ was their instructor. As He had been with them in the wilderness, so He was still to be their teacher and guide. In the tabernacle and the temple His glory dwelt in the holy shekinah above the mercy seat. In their behalf He constantly manifested the riches of His love and patience. COL 288.1

    God desired to make of His people Israel a praise and a glory. Every spiritual advantage was given them. God withheld from them nothing favorable to the formation of character that would make them representatives of Himself. COL 288.2

    Their obedience to the law of God would make them marvels of prosperity before the nations of the world. He who could give them wisdom and skill in all cunning work would continue to be their teacher, and would ennoble and elevate them through obedience to His laws. If obedient, they would be preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations, and would be blessed with vigor of intellect. The glory of God, His majesty and power, were to be revealed in all their prosperity. They were to be a kingdom of priests and princes. God furnished them with every facility for becoming the greatest nation on the earth. COL 288.3

    In the most definite manner Christ through Moses had set before them God's purpose, and had made plain the terms of their prosperity. “Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God,” He said; “the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.... Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.... Thou shalt therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command thee this day, to do them. Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which He sware unto thy fathers; and He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: He will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which He sware unto thy fathers to give thee. Thou shalt be blessed above all people.... And the Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee.” Deuteronomy 7:6, 9, 11-15. COL 288.4

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    Ellen G. White
    Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 250

    After this sure promise from God, it was criminal unbelief in them to anticipate that themselves and children might die with hunger. They had suffered greatly in Egypt by being overtaxed in labor. Their children had been put to death, and in answer to their prayers of anguish, God had mercifully delivered them. He promised to be their God, and take them to himself as a people, and to lead them to a large and good land. But they were ready to faint at any suffering they should endure in the way to that land. They had endured much in the service of the Egyptians; but now could not endure suffering in the service of God. They were ready to give up to gloomy doubts, and sink in discouragement, when they were tried. They murmured against God's devoted servant, Moses, and charged him with all their trials, and expressed a wicked wish that they had remained in Egypt, where they could sit by the flesh-pots and eat bread to the full. 3SG 250.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 165

    The Lord gave His word to ancient Israel, that if they would cleave strictly to Him and do all His requirements, He would keep them from all the diseases such as He had brought upon the Egyptians; but this promise was given on the condition of obedience. Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world's object lesson of health and prosperity. The Israelites failed of fulfilling God's purpose, and thus failed of receiving the blessings that might have been theirs. But in Joseph and Daniel, in Moses and Elijah, and many others, we have noble examples of the results of the true plan of living. Like faithfulness today will produce like results. To us it is written: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. 9T 165.1

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    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 824

    In the Saviour's manner of healing there were lessons for His disciples. On one occasion He anointed the eyes of a blind man with clay, and bade him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam.... He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.” John 9:7. The cure could be wrought only by the power of the Great Healer, yet Christ made use of the simple agencies of nature. While He did not give countenance to drug medication, He sanctioned the use of simple and natural remedies. DA 824.1

    To many of the afflicted ones who received healing, Christ said, “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.” John 5:14. Thus He taught that disease is the result of violating God's laws, both natural and spiritual. The great misery in the world would not exist did men but live in harmony with the Creator's plan. DA 824.2

    Christ had been the guide and teacher of ancient Israel, and He taught them that health is the reward of obedience to the laws of God. The Great Physician who healed the sick in Palestine had spoken to His people from the pillar of cloud, telling them what they must do, and what God would do for them. “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God,” He said, “and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Exodus 15:26. Christ gave to Israel definite instruction in regard to their habits of life, and He assured them, “The Lord will take away from thee all sickness.” Deuteronomy 7:15. When they fulfilled the conditions, the promise was verified to them. “There was not one feeble person among their tribes.” Psalm 105:37. DA 824.3

    These lessons are for us. There are conditions to be observed by all who would preserve health. All should learn what these conditions are. The Lord is not pleased with ignorance in regard to His laws, either natural or spiritual. We are to be workers together with God for the restoration of health to the body as well as to the soul. DA 824.4

    And we should teach others how to preserve and to recover health. For the sick we should use the remedies which God has provided in nature, and we should point them to Him who alone can restore. It is our work to present the sick and suffering to Christ in the arms of our faith. We should teach them to believe in the Great Healer. We should lay hold on His promise, and pray for the manifestation of His power. The very essence of the gospel is restoration, and the Saviour would have us bid the sick, the hopeless, and the afflicted take hold upon His strength. DA 824.5

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 222

    Their obedience to the laws of God would make them marvels of prosperity before the nations of the world. He who could give them wisdom and skill in all cunning work would continue to be their teacher and would ennoble and elevate them through obedience to His laws. If obedient, they would be preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations and would be blessed with vigor of intellect. The glory of God, His majesty and power, were to be revealed in all their prosperity. They were to be a kingdom of priests and princes. God furnished them with every facility for becoming the greatest nation on the earth. 6T 222.1

    In the most definite manner, God through Moses set before them His purpose and made plain the terms of their prosperity. “Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God,” He said; “the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.... Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations.... It shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which He sware unto thy fathers: and He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee.... Thou shalt be blessed above all people.” Deuteronomy 7:6-14. 6T 222.2

    “Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in His ways, and to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and to hearken unto His voice: and the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as He hath spoken.” Deuteronomy 26:17-19. 6T 222.3

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