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Moses And The Exodus

Moses, who forsook Egypt and laid aside the glory which would have been his as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, cast in his lot with his enslaved brothers, but was rejected by them when he sought their deliverance. Stephen says that "he supposed that his brethren understood how that God by his hand was giving them deliverance" (Acts 7.25). He left Egypt for a twofold reason, (1) "Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian", (2) "By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible" (Hebrews 11.27). This seems a contradiction in terms, seeing One who is invisible, who cannot be seen, yet it is a well-known reality to all men of faith. He who cannot be seen by natural sight can be seen by faith. If the believer saw only what his natural eyes see, he would be on a par with beasts, and not so well equipped in sight as some of these. But as Paul says, "we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen" (2 Corinthians 4.18). The real reason for Moses forsaking Egypt was because God commanded him to go from Egypt. Had God commanded him to stay, then stay he would: But he also fled from the face of Pharaoh, for Pharaoh would no doubt have slain him. We can understand, that, besides slaying one of Pharaoh's officers, the feeling of animosity to him would be running high because he had refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.

After forty years in Midian he was sent back again to be the deliverer of God's people who had learned much in those forty years of added affliction and bitter slavery. Herein we have a picture of the Lord who was despised and rejected by His people Israel. He was One whom men despised and whom the nation abhorred (Isaiah 49.7; 53.3). "He came unto His own (things), and His own (people) received Him not" (John 1.11). But when He comes again, the Deliverer who will come out of Zion and who will turn away ungodliness from Jacob, they will receive Him, for they will look upon Him whom they pierced, and shall mourn over Him (Romans 11.25,26; Zechariah 12.10-14).

Moses was diffident to go to Egypt, for no one knew better than he the power of Pharaoh, and the greatness of the task of being the instrument of deliverance of God's people. Stephen says that he was mighty in his words and works, but now his excuse is "Oh Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue". The Lord's question to him was, "Who hath made man's mouth?" To help Moses in his difficulty the LORD said, "Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can speak well, And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee." "He shall be to thee a mouth, and thou shalt be to him as God" (Exodus

4.10-16).

When Moses met Aaron he told him of how the LORD had sent him. They went together and gathered the elders of Israel, and Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and when they saw the signs they believed, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.

It was at the second coming of the sons of Jacob to Joseph that Joseph revealed himself to them. It was on the second visitation of Moses that Israel believed. "This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? him hath God sent to be both a ruler and a deliverer with the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush" (Acts 7.35). It will be at the Lord's second coming that Israel will receive Him, "It shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord: we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation" (Isaiah 25.9). This is the triumphant and magnified echo of the dying whisper of the aged Jacob as he blessed his sons, "I have waited for Thy salvation, 0 LORD" (Genesis 49.18). We who are saints of the Church which is His Body wait for Him, we trust, more than the watchman waits for the morning, for He will come again for us before He returns to earth for the deliverance of Israel and His saints of that coming time.

The struggle which went on between Moses and Pharaoh during the ten plagues has an antitypical meaning in the time of the Great Tribulation, a time of tribulation such as never was since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be again (Matthew 24.21). There were greater powers opposed to each other in Egypt than Moses and Pharaoh; the Lord was with Moses, and Satan was behind Pharaoh. In the coming contest the Dragon (Satan) will give to the beast his power, his throne, and great authority (Revelation 13.2). "At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince (the Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time" (Daniel 12.1). Saints in a coming day shall overcome the Devil. "They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death" (Revelation 12.11).

On the one hand during the plagues Pharaoh made the lives of the Israelites bitter by even harder bondage, they had to make the full tale of bricks without straw, and on the other hand the plagues fell upon Egypt, one after the other; if Pharaoh put pressure on Israel, he himself wriggled as God put pressure upon him. He tried every artifice he could think of, making offers (and going back on them) that he would let Israel go (Exodus 8.8; 9.27, 28). He would allow them to sacrifice to the LORD in the land (8.25). They were not to go far away; and were to intreat for him (8.28). The men could go, but the women and children were to be left behind (10.11). They could go all of them, but their flocks and herds were to remain in Egypt (10.24). Moses would not yield an inch-"There shall not an hoof be left behind" (10.26). Faithful Moses! Compromising by believers has been a plague since the days of the apostles. Satan gains the victory when we compromise God's truth. God hates mixtures-part God's way and part man's, this has been the bane of Christian (?) profession.

At last came the time of the last plague, the death of firstborn males of man and beast throughout all the land of Egypt. God put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel in certain plagues, as, for instance, there was no plague of flies in Goshen where Israel dwelt (Exodus 8.22), and in the plague of murrain all the cattle of Egypt died, but none of the cattle of the children of Israel died (9.6). There was no hail in Goshen during the plague of hail (9.25,26), and during the plague of darkness, a "darkness which could be felt", none of the Egyptians rose from his place, but "all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings" (10.21-23). In the plague of the destruction of the firstborn the children of Israel had to avail themselves of the provision God made for them in the passover lamb. The marks of blood had to be put upon the lintels and doorposts of the houses in which they dwelt, and God said, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and there shall no plague be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt" (Exodus 12.13). It was a token to them as well as for the LORD to see. They were to roast the lamb and to eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, and they were to eat it having their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and their staff in their hand, and to eat it in haste. On the following evening (Abib 15), they were leaving Egypt to go forth to serve God, and with Canaan's goodly land in prospect.

They went out a princely people, the Egyptians giving them jewels of gold and silver and raiment. They went forth in the joy of liberty whilst the Egyptians were burying their dead. Pharaoh quickly changed his mind about allowing Israel to go and pursued after them to the Red Sea with horsemen and chariots and thought to grab and bring back his fleeing captives. But God their Saviour was their preserver, and He took them through the sea as on dry land, and the Egyptians pursued them into the sea, and what saved Israel destroyed their pursuers.

In our brief review of this unparalleled event of God taking one nation from the midst of another (Deuteronomy 4.34), we see again what we have pointed out before, that Israel went in to their houses (under the blood) to be saved, but they went out to serve God. The call of God to come out is vital to divine service in every age. Unless God's children see these lines of divine truth they wander about in the Scriptures as in a maze. Salvation and service must ever be kept distinct; in the former we are allowed to do nothing, whereas in the latter the work of God is committed to His separated people.