It is well to distinguish, for our souls' profit, the difference between the Passover and the Red Sea. For a person may hear the gospel, and receive it with joy, and be rejoicing in forgiveness of sins; he may see the loveliness of Christ, and have his affections drawn out toward Himself; but if full redemption is not known, as typified by the Red Sea, if he does not know himself to be risen with Christ on the other side of death and judgment, he is almost sure to lose his joy when temptation comes and he feels his own weakness. The joy of Exodus 15 is, that God has absolutely redeemed them out of Egypt, and brought them in His strength to His holy habitation. This is a very different thing from the joy of the Passover - being delivered from just and deserved judgment. In the Passover Jehovah had made Himself known to them as the God of judgment. The blood on the door-posts screened them from judgment; it kept Him out, and He did not come into their houses to destroy. Had He come in, it must have been in judgment. At the Red Sea it was another thing - even God coming in strength as their salvation. The Passover delivered them from His judgment; the Red Sea from their enemies. The moment His people are in danger from Pharaoh, He comes in. The very sea they dreaded, and which appeared to throw them into Pharaoh's hands, becomes the means of their salvation. Thus through death God delivered them from death; like as Christ went down into the stronghold of Satan, went down under the power of death, and, rising again from the dead, delivered us from death. Thus was there an end of Pharaoh and Egypt to them for ever. The Red Sea is redemption out of Egypt; God Himself is their salvation. He whom they had feared, and justly as a Judge, is become their salvation. They are redeemed; no longer were hoping for mercy, but able to rejoice that judgment was past, and to sing His praises for having brought them to His holy habitation - to God Himself; in the light as He is in the light - and brought there before they had taken one step in the wilderness, or fought one battle with their enemies.
There is no conflict properly till redemption is known. They did not attempt to fight with Pharaoh, but only to get away from him. They groaned under his yoke, but did not combat against him. How could they? They must be brought to God first - be the Lord's host before they can fight His enemies or their own. And so it is with an individual soul. I have no power to combat Satan while I am still his slave. I may groan under his yoke, and sigh to be delivered from it; but before my arm can be raised against him, I must have a complete and known redemption. The Israelites are not only happy in escaping the pursuer; it is a full conscious redemption from Egypt and Pharaoh, and they can count on God's power for all the rest. "The people shall hear, and be afraid: the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away." (Ex. 15:14, 15.) Their joy does not arise from having no enemies, but from God's own divine power taking them up, and putting them in His own presence. J. N. Darby.