Are We There Yet?

Bible Book: Exodus  15 : 13
Subject: Holy Spirit; Christian Living; Walking with God

Are we there yet? Children ask this question many times during a long trip. In fact, you are most likely to hear it repeated each time they inquire. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

Sharon and I recently visited in the home of Grace Hamrick. Someone gave her a plaque citing a portion of Exodus 15:13. In its entirety the verse reads as follows, “You in Your mercy have led forth / The people whom You have redeemed; / You have guided them in Your strength / To Your holy habitation.” George Williams (1850-1928) explains in The Student's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, “Verse 13 is a fine illustration of the nature of faith. Israel had many long weary miles to travel before she reached Zion, the habitation of Jehovah’s glory. But faith makes present ‘things hoped for,’ and therefore this verse says, ‘Thou has guided them to Thy holy habitation.’”1

Dr. Andrew Telford (1895-1997) comments, “God leads His dear children along. He has a purpose for His people, and by His invincible might and infinite wisdom, that purpose shall be fulfilled. ‘He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of the Jesus Christ’ (Phil. 1:6).”

Dr. Telford continues, “The failures of men never can hinder the fulfillment of God’s purpose in Christ for His believing and trusting children. We must not let the aggressiveness of sin and the rising tide of wickedness in the world rob us, as believers, of God’s assurance. What he has predestined for the church, as well as for individual believers, will be worked out ‘according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will’ (Eph. 1:11).”

Dr. Telford adds, “The effect of all these movements of God’s power and wisdom for His own was to bring fear to their enemies, showing them that Israel’s God was the only true God.”2

We read in Exodus 15:1-19, “Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the LORD, and spoke, saying: ‘I will sing to the LORD, / For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider / He has thrown into the sea! The LORD is my strength and song, / And He has become my salvation; / He is my God, and I will praise Him; / My father’s God, and I will exalt Him. The LORD is a man of war; / The LORD is His name. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; / His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; / They sank to the bottom like a stone. ‘Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power; / Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence / You have overthrown those who rose against You; / You sent forth Your wrath; / It consumed them like stubble. And with the blast of Your nostrils / The waters were gathered together; / The floods stood upright like a heap; / The depths congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, / I will overtake, / I will divide the spoil; / My desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, / My hand shall destroy them.’ You blew with Your wind, / The sea covered them; / They sank like lead in the mighty waters. ‘Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, / Fearful in praises, doing wonders? You stretched out Your right hand; / The earth swallowed them. You in Your mercy have led forth / The people whom You have redeemed; / You have guided them in Your strength / To Your holy habitation. ‘The people will hear and be afraid; / Sorrow will take hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then the chiefs of Edom will be dismayed; / The mighty men of Moab, / Trembling will take hold of them; / All the inhabitants of Canaan will melt away. Fear and dread will fall on them; / By the greatness of Your arm / They will be as still as a stone, / Till Your people pass over, O LORD, / Till the people pass over / Whom You have purchased. You will bring them in and plant them / In the mountain of Your inheritance, / In the place, O LORD, which You have made / For Your own dwelling, / The sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established. ‘The LORD shall reign forever and ever.’ For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots and his horsemen into the sea, and the LORD brought back the waters of the sea upon them. But the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.”

In this message we will focus on three points from verse 13.

I. A Providential Leadership

From our text we read, “You in Your mercy have led forth / The people who You have redeemed” (Exodus 15:13a). This speaks of the soul moving out of Egypt. Egypt symbolizes the world.

We must remember the Exodus was God’s idea. Note the initial reluctance of Moses to lead the people. Jill Briscoe captures this in her book titled, Here Am I; Send Aaron! At the time God sent 10 plagues upon Egypt, Moses gradually resumed his God-given assignment of leading God’s chosen people.

We must remember that everyone will not receive divine leadership. In Luke 19:14 we read the following in the Parable of the Minas, “But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.”

Israel resisted the work of the Holy Spirit according to a deacon named Stephen as we read in Acts 7:51-53, “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”

We find the proper response to spiritual leadership in Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24, where we read, “Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct. . . . Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you. . . . Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.”

In the words of George A. Young, “God leads His dear children along.”

II. A Progressive Life

Further, from our text we read, “You have guided them in Your strength. . .” (Exodus 15:13b). Here we find the soul in the Wilderness.

Dr. Ted S. Rendall explains, “The children of Israel were delivered from the sentence of death in Egypt, but they were also delivered from the bondage of Egypt. So in Christ we are delivered from the penalty of the broken law, and we are delivered from the power of sin. If we may consider the world as a vast concentration camp, then Christ delivers us from the death that inevitably faces every man, and at the same time He brings us out from behind the barbed wire.”

Interestingly, growing Christians are the true progressives. We go from glory to glory, as Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18, “But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech — unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Do you remember Christian and Hopeful traveling on the King’s Highway in John Bunyan’s (1628-1688) classic titled Pilgrim’s Progress? Real men named Joshua and Caleb went all the way like those fictional characters named Christian and Hopeful. Missionary statesman, Dr. William Carey (1761-1834), said, “I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.” With this in mind Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe titled one of his books In Praise of Plodders.

Like Joshua and Caleb, we do not need sinless perfection on this earth as believers but blameless perseverance. Remember Joshua and Caleb outlived all of those who left Egypt in the Exodus. We read of Caleb, “he wholly followed the LORD God of Israel” (Joshua 14:14). Joshua not only followed the Lord, he led God’s chosen people after the death of Moses.

Beware, Paul the Apostle warns that believers can grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and quench the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We read in Ephesians 4:25-32, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’ for we are members of one another. ‘Be angry, and do not sin’: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:19, “Do not quench the Spirit.”

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945) explains, "NEW privileges always bring new responsibilities; and it follows, necessarily and naturally, that these new responsibilities create new perils. If this age is the most favoured in the history of men, it has therefore to face the greatest and gravest perils. They are the perils of resisting, grieving, and quenching the Spirit. The terms do not refer to the same danger. There are those who have not resisted the Spirit who yet are grieving Him; there are also those who have not resisted and have not grieved Him in the sense in which the apostles used the word, who are nevertheless in perpetual danger of quenching Him. The peril of resisting the Spirit is that of those who are not born again; the peril of grieving the Spirit is that of those who, born of the Spirit, are indwelt by Him; the peril of quenching the Spirit is that of those upon whom He has bestowed some gift for service. . . .

The three aspects of the Spirit's work, regeneration, indwelling, and equipment, reveal the perils of the dipensation. In reference to regeneration the peril is marked by the word resist. In reference to indwelling the peril is marked by the word grieve. In reference to equipment for service the peril is marked by the word quench."3

Dr. W. Graham Scroggie (1877-1958) shares about “Three Sins Against Divine Grace” in the following points: “1. To resist the Spirit is to refuse the life (Acts 7:52). 2. To quench the Spirit is to despise the light (1 Thess. 5:19). 3. To grieve the Spirit is to wound the love (Eph. 4:30).”4

In the words of Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915), “All the way my Savior leads me; / What have I to ask beside?”

III. A Promised Land

Finally, from our text we read, “To Your holy habitation” (Exodus 15:13c). At this point Moses writes about Canaan.

We read the parallel of the Book of Joshua in the New Testament Book of Ephesians. The Lord commands every believer in Ephesians 5:18, to “Be filled [controlled] with the Holy Spirit. . .” In Ephesians we read about the theological and practical elements of the spiritual man. Our promised land is spiritual, while theirs was physical. The title deed to the land of Canaan belongs to Israel according to the Word of God.

Abraham came to the land initially. George Williams shares in The Student’s Commentary on the Holy Scriptures on Genesis 12 and explains the journey of Abraham in terms of the New Testament parallel. He explains when Abraham placed his son Isaac on the altar as a sacrifice (Genesis 17) this was a counterpart to living in the pages of the Book of Ephesians.5 George Williams further explains, "He reaches a mountain top, that is the heavenly places, he pitches his tent there, thus confessing himself a pilgrim in a land that belonged to him, and builds an altar. He is both a pilgrim and a worshipper. It was faith that enabled him to claim this land as his own, and yet it was the same faith that enabled him to live in it as though it were not his own! Happy would it have been for Abraham had he remained upon that mountain top."

In Isaiah 44:1 and 2 we find three names, “Yet hear me now, O Jacob My servant, / And Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says the LORD who made you / And formed you from the womb, who will help you: / ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; / And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen.”

Dr. Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) comments in his Expositions of Holy Scripture, “The occurrence of all three here is very remarkable, and the order in which they stand is not accidental. The prophet begins with the name that belonged to the patriarch by birth; the name of nature, which contained some indications of character. He passes on to the name which commemorated the mysterious conflict where, as a prince, Jacob had power with God and prevailed. He ends with the name Jeshurun, of which the meaning is 'the righteous one,' and which was bestowed upon the people as a reminder of what they ought to be.”6

The name Jacob means, “supplanter, deceiver” or one who plots; while Israel means, “contender, fighter” or one who prevails; finally, Jeshurun means, “upright, just, straight”. Jeshurun is a pet name of God for Israel.

From 1 Corinthians 3:16 we read, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Paul the Apostle also writes in Romans 8:9, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.”


“Dr. Paul S. Rees [1900-1991] tells of a Keswick Conference in which a preacher enumerated the great blessings which came in his ministry as a consequence of Spirit-filled service. Following the sermon a young man came to the speaker and said, ‘I am so, thirsty. I need the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.’

The preacher said, ‘I can take you to the place where I was filled, and anyone can be filled at that place. Would you like to come with me?’

‘Yes, by all means,’ the young man replied. So they walked out of the conference grounds and up a mountain. As they sauntered along, the preacher kept talking about the glory resulting from a Spirit-filled life. Once in a while the young man would come to a clearing in the woods and ask, ‘Is this the place?’

‘No, but it isn’t much farther; it’s up here a little distance.’ They kept walking. The preacher kept talking. The young man’s thirst kept increasing. They reached a plateau and the young man asked again, ‘Is this the place?’ He asked the same when they walked out into a valley, again at the edge of a clearing, and at the top of each hill. ‘Is this the place?’ he asked again and again. Finally, he shouted, ‘I can’t go any farther. I must pray to be filled right now!’

The preacher turned and said: ‘This is the place! This is the place!’”

After sharing this story, Dr. James Mahoney explains, “Do you see? When you come to the place where you want to be filled with the Spirit more than anything else in the world, that’s the place where you will be filled.”7

Paul the Apostle provides an overview of those who are spiritual in Romans 6-8.

We find a phrase in Galatians 6:1, namely, “You who are spiritual. . .” Therefore, we must conclude we can be spiritual and we can know that we are spiritual and not carnal. Paul also writes in 1 Corinthians 2:15, “But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.” Since it is possible to be spiritual, each one of us must humbly ask and honestly answer the probing question, “Are we there yet?”


1George Williams, The Student's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1960) [First Edition 1926], p. 51

2Andrew Telford, “Our Powerful Lord” (Exodus 15:1-21) Gospel Herald

3G. Campbell Morgan, The Spirit of God (New York / Chicago / Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1900), pp. 237- 238

4W. Graham Scroggie, The Study Hour Series: St. John (New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1931), p. 7   

5George Williams, The Student's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Classics , 1994) [First Edition 1926], p.9

6Alexander Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: vol. 3: The Psalms and Isaiah 1-48 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952).

7James Mahoney, Journey Into Fullness: From Bondage to conquest in the Christian life (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1974), p. 59


By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on and  /  / (251) 626-6210

         © June 26, 2011  All Rights Reserved