Now shalt thou see what I will do.I. THIS REPLY TO THE PRAYER OF MOSES INTIMATED THAT GOD WOULD BRING THE TRUE RESULT OF HIS MISSION MORE THOROUGHLY WITHIN THE COGNIZANCE OF HIS SENSES. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh."
1. The mission had hitherto been a great tax upon the faith of Moses. The first repulse made him cry out for the visible and the tangible.
2. Now the mission is lowered to the sensuous vision of Moses.
II. THIS REPLY TO THE PRAYER OF MOSES VINDICATED HIS CONDUCT AGAINST THE RECENT INSINUATIONS AND REPROACH OF THE ISRAELITES. Men often take a wrong view of our conduct. God always takes the right view. He knows when His servants are doing what He tells them. He sends them messages of approval for so doing. This vindication —
1. Would reassure Moses in his work.
2. Would clear his conscience from all condemnation.
3. Would enable him to interpret his apparent failure.
III. THIS REPLY TO THE PRAYER OF MOSES INDICATED HOW THOROUGHLY THE WORK ANNOUNCED BY GOD SHOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED. "For with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land."
1. This shows how wicked men are, under the providence of God, brought to do that which they had once resolutely refused. The sinner knoweth not the future, or he would act with greater wisdom in the present.
2. God makes these revelations in response to prayer, that He may reanimate the dispirited worker.
IV. IN REPLY TO THE PRAYER OF MOSES, GOD VOUCHSAFES A NEW AND SUBLIME REVELATION OF HIS CHARACTER.
1. A sublime revelation of His name.
2. A comforting reference to His covenant.
3. A pathetic reference to the sorrow of Israel.Lessons:
1. That God speaks to disappointed souls in prayer.
2. That the Divine communings with a disappointed soul have an uplifting tendency.
3. That God deals compassionately with the weakness of Christian workers.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(H. R. Burton.)
1. Faith in God, and honest conviction that God will do as He says He will.
2. Courage to ,do what faith declares. God doesn't use cowards or faint-hearted men to do much for Him. He told Joshua to be of good courage.
3. Perseverance. Keep right on in the place God gives you to work for Him. Many men fail right on the eve of battle. The best silver mine in England was worked for a long time by a man who became discouraged just before it yielded the richest ingots of choicest silver, and he sold out for a song and lost a princely fortune. Keep at it. Get others to help, and work and plod and win success.
4. Enthusiasm is a valuable element, and one that most men need. Too many are afraid of enthusiasm, but all of us need to put more fire and feeling in what we do for the Lord.
(D. L. Moody.)
I. THAT GOD SENDS SEVERE JUDGEMENTS ON MEN WHO REJECT HIS COMMANDS. "Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh."
1. Notwithstanding his kingship.
2. Notwithstanding his obstinacy.
3. Notwithstanding his despotism.
II. THAT THESE JUDGMENTS ARE OFTEN WITNESSED BY CHRISTIAN PEOPLE. "Now shalt thou see."
1. They are seen clearly.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)
I am the Lord.
I. DUTY IS SOMETHING WHICH IS DUE FROM ONE TO ANOTHER: something which ought to be given, or ought to be done; not a thing which is given or done under compulsion, under the influence of fear, extorted by force, not even a free gift or offering; quite different from this; if a thing is a duty, it must be done because it is right to do it and wrong to omit it.
II. The words of the text are. as it were, the sign manual whereby Almighty God, in His dealings with His ancient people the Children of Israel, CLAIMED FROM THEM THE PERFORMANCE OF THAT DUTY WHICH THEY OWED TO HIM. The words which gave validity to an Israelitish law merely rehearsed the fact that He who gave the law was Jehovah; and nothing more was added, because nothing more remained to be said.
III. NOTICE THE PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH OUR DUTY TO GOD DEPENDS.
1. There is a relationship, a close vital connection between God and man, which does not exist between God and any other of His creatures; man is in a very high sense "the Son of God," so that it is inconceivable that the true aims and purposes of God and man can be distinct. Man being made in God's image, ought to do God's will.
2. Our duty to God depends also on the ground of election. God deals with us now as with His Church in former days; it is still a Church of election. We, to whom God sends His commands, are still rightly described as redeemed out of the house of our bondage; and if the redemption of Israel out of Egypt be nothing better than the faintest type and shadow of the redemption of mankind out of the power of the devil, how much greater is the appeal which is made to us on the ground of ,that deliverance which Jesus Christ has wrought out.
(Bp. Harvey Goodwin.)
I have also established My covenant with them.I. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION COMES TO THE SOUL AFTER A PERIOD OF MORAL BONDAGE AND DISTRESS.
1. It finds the soul in a condition of moral bondage. "Whom the Egyptians keep in bondage." It is the bondage of sin. It has been long continued, through many years of our lives. It has been degrading. It has been fruitless to ourselves. Almost hopeless.
2. It finds the soul in a condition of anxious grief. "I have also heard the groaning," etc. Tears of repentance. Cries for pardon.
3. It is generally preceded by some Christian agency. Aim of ministry to awaken desire for moral freedom.
II. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION COMES TO THE SOUL BY VIRTUE OF A DIVINE COVENANT AND PROMISE. "I have remembered," etc.
1. God through Christ has made a covenant of salvation with all who trust in the atonement.
2. By virtue of this covenant, all contrite and believing souls may find rest in and pardon from God.
3. This covenant is —
(1) (2) (3) III. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION BRINGS THE SOUL INTO HOLY AND RESPONSIBLE RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. "And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God" (ver. 7). 1. It constitutes the soul a Divine possession 2. It places the soul under the peculiar guardianship of the Infinite. IV. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION LEADS THE FAITHFUL INTO THE INHERITANCE OF CANAAN. What a change! All things are yours. (J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(2) (3) III. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION BRINGS THE SOUL INTO HOLY AND RESPONSIBLE RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. "And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God" (ver. 7). 1. It constitutes the soul a Divine possession 2. It places the soul under the peculiar guardianship of the Infinite. IV. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION LEADS THE FAITHFUL INTO THE INHERITANCE OF CANAAN. What a change! All things are yours. (J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(3) III. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION BRINGS THE SOUL INTO HOLY AND RESPONSIBLE RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. "And I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God" (ver. 7). 1. It constitutes the soul a Divine possession 2. It places the soul under the peculiar guardianship of the Infinite. IV. THAT GOSPEL REDEMPTION LEADS THE FAITHFUL INTO THE INHERITANCE OF CANAAN. What a change! All things are yours. (J. S. Exell, M. A.)
1. It constitutes the soul a Divine possession
2. It places the soul under the peculiar guardianship of the Infinite.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
I. THE BURDEN OF MAN IS A REASON FOR HUMAN REDEMPTION. No human hand, but Christ alone, can remove it.
II. THE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST IS A REASON FOR HUMAN REDEMPTION. He only could fulfil violated law; forgive past neglect; and enable us to keep it in future.
III. THE COVENANT OF GOD IS A REASON FOR HUMAN REDEMPTION.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
I will bring you out.
British Weekly.1. God is able to deliver His people.
2. God is able to lead His people.
3. God is able to bring His people home.
I. REDEMPTION IS POSSIBLE, ALTHOUGH THE DIFFICULTIES ARE GREAT, BECAUSE GOD IS ITS AUTHOR. On the Divine side —
1. Satisfaction to the throne in the obedience of Christ; and on the human side —
2. The sanctification of man through the blood of Jesus.
II. THE MAGNITUDE OF REDEMPTION IS LESS THAN THE DIVINE RESOURCES. God is able to supply —
2. Patience; and —
3. Preservation for the journey.
III. GOD CAN FULFIL ALL PROSPECTIVE DESIRES IN HEAVEN.
I. ISRAEL'S POSITION IN EGYPT. One of great and increasing trial. Iron bondage, occasioned instrumentally by cruelty and jealousy of Pharaoh. Ordained of God to wean them from Egypt, and make them long for promised land.
II. THE JUDGMENT ON EGYPT. Real contest between kingdom of light and kingdom of darkness. Satan has supernatural power; and in order to deceive Pharaoh, and harden his heart, he gave the magicians power, as far as he could (for there is a limit to his power), to work miracles of deception in imitation of miracles of truth. A miracle does not necessarily prove a man comes from God; but only that he is connected with some higher power — one of two kingdoms. It is the morality of the miracle, and the holiness of the doctrine it is meant to attest, that proves it to be from God.
III. THE BEARING OF THESE ON THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE. See Romans 7:9, 24: State of awakened soul; o]d man and new, with conflict between them; new man often oppressed, old man often dominant though under judgment.
(T. S. Millington.)
They hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit.— A permanent principle of our nature, and a distinctive feature of the Divine government are here embodied in an example. We shall endeavour to explain the historic incident, and to apply the spiritual lesson.
I. THE FACT WHICH EMBODIES THE PRINCIPLE. It consists of three parts —
1. The message addressed to Israel: "Moses so spake unto the children of Israel." In that message, whether you regard its Author, its bearer, or its nature, everything tended to entice; nothing to repel them. Its Author was the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; its bearer was Moses, a man who for their sakes had sacrificed his position among the princes of Pharaoh, and taken refuge in a desert; its nature was hope to the desponding and freedom to the enslaved. The time, too, seemed fit: when the bondage had become unbearable, word is sent that the bondage is almost done.
2. Their neglect of the message: "They hearkened not unto Moses." It was a spark of tire that fell, but it fell on wetted wood, and kindled therefore no flame. They saw nothing against it, but they let it alone.
3. Examine near the specific reason of their apathy. The cause of their indifference to liberty was the extreme severity of their bondage. They hearkened not "for anguish of spirit and for cruel bondage." Here is a paradox: the slavery is excessively severe, and therefore the slave does not care for freedom. Broken hearts have lost their spring, and cannot bound from the bottom of the pit at the call of a deliverer. Great need does not, alone, produce great exertion. The hopeless, helpless captive steadily refuses to stir, lest the chain by the movement Should saw deeper into his flesh.
II. THE PRINCIPLE EMBODIED IN THE FACT. These things happened to them in order that their history might be a type for us.
1. The message. To us, as to them, it is a message of mercy. Specifically, it proclaims deliverance to the captive. God recognizes all mankind as slaves, and sends an offer of freedom. Christ is the Messenger of the covenant. A greater than Moses is here, publishing a greater salvation. Through the lamb slain is the deliverance wrought. The death of Christ is the death of death.
2. Such is the proposal; but it is not heeded. Comparatively few disbelieve the message or revile the messenger. They simply pay no heed.
3. The reason of this neglect. A carnal mind, which is enmity against God. At one time prosperity, at another adversity, becomes the immediate occasion to an evil heart of departing from the living God. At present we are called to investigate only one class of these occasions or causes of neglect. Anguish of spirit and cruel bondage still make many captives hug their chains, and refuse to hear the voice which invites them to glorious liberty. The lesson here parts into two branches, one pointing to our neighbour's neglect, and another to our own.(1) The first lesson teaches the duty of Christ's disciples to a careless neighbourhood. Abject poverty in these favoured lands exacts a heavier task than Pharaoh from a more numerous host than the Hebrews in Egypt. Self-sacrificing, laborious effort to improve the temporal condition of the poor is a species of revival much needed in the Church of Christ. Of course I do not counsel donations of money or food to the vicious, instead of reproof and instruction — I claim the union of the two.(2) The second lesson applies more directly to ourselves. Anguish of spirit, whether it comes from God's hand in the form of personal affliction, or from man's hand in the form of unjust oppression, may become the occasion of neglecting the salvation of Christ. Beware of neglecting your spiritual state and interests while you are well, in the expectation that distress when it comes will make you religious. There is no truth in nature more certain than this, that the time of health and happiness is the best time for cleaving to Christ and making our calling and election sure. Then it could be best done, if men would then do it. Beware lest you be letting the best time slip past, and the worst time draw on, while you are not saved! It is true that God in sovereign marcy often uses affliction to bring us to Christ; but He does so because we would not come to Christ at all earlier and better time. The mind may be heavenly without "sore bondage," and earthly with it. If you beckon the Spirit off till affliction come, affliction may come without the Spirit. There is no "anguish of spirit" in "the just made perfect," and yet they are like flames of fire in the keenness of their love to the Lord that bought them. They are happiest who give their bright days to Christ; for when the dark days come, the Light of Life continues to shine within their hearts.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
so unto the Children of Israel." That is, he said what God told him to say. He did not invent his message. He was simply a repeater of the Divine message. As he received it, so he spake it. Now, the message Moses brought was rejected, and he knew why it was rejected. He could see the reason. The people were in such bondage, they were so unhappy and hopeless, that what he spake seemed to them to be as idle words. There are hundreds of reasons why men reject the gospel. Amongst all the reasons, however, that I ever heard, that with which I have the most sympathy, is this one — that some cannot receive Christ because they are so full of anguish, that they cannot find strength enough of mind to entertain a hope that by any possibility salvation can come to them.
I. And first, will you notice that what Moses brought to these people was glad tidings. IT WAS A FREE AND FULL GOSPEL MESSAGE. To them it was the gospel of salvation from a cruel bondage, the gospel of hope, the gospel of glorious promise. It was a very admirable type and metaphorical description of what the gospel is to us. Moses' word to them was singularly clear, cheering, and comforting; but they could not receive it.
II. We come now to note that IT WAS RECEIVED WITH UNBELIEF CAUSED BY ANGUISH OF HEART. We can quite understand what that meant. Let us look into the case.
1. They could not now receive this gospel because they had at first caught at it, and had been disappointed. They limited the great and infinite God to minutes and days; and so, as they found themselves at first getting into a worse case than before, they said to Moses, deliberately, "Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians." They did as good as say — You have done us no good; indeed, you have increased our miseries; and we cannot believe in you or accept your message as really from God, seeing it has caused us a terrible increase of our sufferings. Grace may truly and effectually come to a heart, and for awhile cause no joy, no peace; but the reverse. Yet press on; be of good courage. Wait hopefully. The God who begins in darkness will end in light.
2. The inability of Israel to believe the message of Moses arose also from the fact that they were earthbound by heavy oppression: the mere struggle to exist exhausted all their energy, and destroyed all their hope. If you have such a struggle for existence here, you should seek that higher, nobler, better life, which would give you, even in penury and want, a joy and a comfort to which you are a stranger now.
3. But, worst of all, there are some who seem as if they could not lay hold on Christ because their sense of sin has become so intolerable, and the wretchedness which follows upon conviction has become so fearful, that they have grown almost to be contentedly despairing. A man who has begun to be numbed with cold, cries to his comrades, "Leave me to sleep myself to death"; and thus do despairing ones ask to be left in their misery. Dear soul, we cannot, we dare not, thus desert you.
III. The message was at first not received by Israel by reason of their anguish of soul, but IT WAS TRUE FOR ALL THAT, AND THE LORD MADE IT SO.
1. The first thing the Lord did to prove His persevering grace was to commission Moses again (ver. 1; Exodus 7:2). So the Lord God, in everlasting mercy, says to His minister, "You have to preach the gospel again to them. Again proclaim My grace."
2. But the Lord did more than that for Israel. As these people had not listened to Moses, He called Moses and Aaron to Him, and He renewed their charge. It is a grand point when the Lord lays the conversion of men on the hearts of His ministers, and makes them feel that they must win souls. Moses was bound to bring out Israel. "But there is Pharaoh." Pharaoh is included in the Divine charge. They have to beat Pharaoh into submission. "But these Children of Israel will not obey." The Lord put them in the charge: did you not observe the words, "He gave them a charge unto the Children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh"? Moses and Aaron, you have to bring Israel out, Pharaoh is to let them go, and Israel is to go willingly. God has issued His royal decree, and be you sure it will stand.
3. I cannot help admiring the next thing that God did when He told His servant what to do. The Lord began to count the heads of those whom He would redeem out of bondage. You see the rest of the chapter is occupied with the children of Reuben, and the children of Simeon, and the children of Levi. God seemed to say, "Pharaoh, let My people go!... I will not," said the despot. Straightway the Lord goes right down into the brick-town where the poor slaves are at work, and He makes out a list of all of them, to show that He means to set free. So many there of Simeon. So many here of Reuben. So many here of Levi. The Lord is counting them. Moreover He numbers their cattle, for He declares, "There shall not an hoof be left behind." Men say, "It is of no use counting your chickens before they are hatched"; but when it comes to God's counting those whom He means to deliver, it is another matter; for He knows what will be done, because He determines to do it, and He is almighty. He knows what is to come of the gospel, and He knows whom He means to bless.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
Co see that kingly bird subjected to such bondage, just to be gazed at by the curious crowd. And I have seen the proud denizen of the air rejoicing in the freedom of his mountain home, basking in the noon's broad light, balancing with motionless wings in the high vault of heaven, or rushing forth like the thunderbolt to meet the clouds on the pathway of the blast; and I thought that that wild and cloud-cleaving bird would choose death, could the choice be his, rather than give up his free and joyous life to drag out a weary bondage in a narrow and stifling cage. And yet I have seen a greater and sadder contrast than that. I have seen men, made in the image of the living God, endowed with the glorious and fearful gift of immortality, capable of becoming co-equal companions with archangels, consenting to be caged and fenced around and fettered down by customs and cares and pleasures and pursuits, that only bind them to earth, make them slaves of things they despise, and answer their noblest aspirations with disappointment.
(D. Marsh, D. D.)
(D. Marsh, D. D.)
Go in, speak unto Pharaoh.I. THAT THE SUCCESSIVE SERVICES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ARE REQUIRED NOT-WITHSTANDING THE APPARENT FAILURE OF PAST EFFORTS (ver. 10, 11).
1. This service must be continued by Moses and Aaron because the command of God has not yet been executed.
2. This service must be continued by Moses and Aaron because their duty has not been accomplished.
3. This service must be continued by Moses and Aaron because the slaves must be freed.
4. We find Moses and Aaron were sent on exactly the same work as before. There is much waste of effort in the Church, because men are so restless and changeful in their toils. We need determination, concentration, and patience in our effort to free the slave. Failure is no excuse for fickleness in Christian service.
II. THAT THE SUCCESSIVE SERVICES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE ARE MORE DIFFICULT IN THEIR REQUIREMENTS. The first injunction given to Moses was to call the elders of Israel together that he might communicate to them the Divine will in reference to their nation. Now he is told to go direct to Pharaoh. The language of the 12th verse shows that Moses regarded the service as increased in rigour.
1. This increased rigour of service is surprising. Must the scholar who has failed in the alphabet be put to the declensions of service?
2. This increased rigour of service is disheartening.
3. This increased rigour of service is a discipline. Increased work has often made a bad workman into a good one. It has increased his responsibility. It has awakened him to reflection.
III. THAT THE SUCCESSIVE SERVICES OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE SOMETIMES AWAKEN THE EXPOSTULATIONS OF MEN (ver. 12).
1. These expostulations make mention of natural infirmities. "Who am of uncircumcised lips." It is unnecessary that men should inform God of their natural impediments to religious service. He knows them. He is acquainted with those whom He sends on His errands, with their weakness and strength. If He calls, it is yours to obey.
2. These expostulations make mention of past difficulties and failure. "Behold, the Children of Israel have not hearkened unto me."
3. These expostulations are presumptuous.Lessons:
1. Not to shrink from the successive services of the Christian life.
2. To leave all the moral work of our life to the choice of God.
3. Not to imperil our welfare by expostulation with the providence of heaven.
4. To concentrate our energies patiently on one Christian enterprise.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
These be the heads of their fathers' houses.I. THAT IT WAS, HUMANLY SPEAKING, OF VERY UNPRETENTIOUS ORIGIN.
II. THAT IT WAS, MORALLY SPEAKING, OF A VERY MISCELLANEOUS CHARACTER. We have names in this list of very varied moral worth. Some noted for their piety, others remark, able for their profanity. The Church has now a mixed genealogy. All down through the ages the tares and wheat have been growing together, and they will do so until the harvest, which is the end of the world. The miscellaneous character of the Church is accounted for —
1. By the diversified temperaments of men.
2. By the diversified thinkings of men.
3. By the diversified character of men.
4. By the diversified alliances of men.
III. THAT IT WAS, SOCIALLY SPEAKING, OF VERY GREAT INFLUENCE. It had a great political influence. The Jewish nation was for a long time a theocracy. God was its king. Heaven was its parliament. The priests were of supreme influence in the nation. The community was eminently religious in idea and sentiment. Hence, from the names here recorded there comes out a great stream of social, moral, and political influence upon humanity to-day.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
1. Order in genealogy is useful to give right understanding of the Church's line.
2. Heads of families in the Church have been too prone to mingle themselves in strange marriages (ver. 15).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
I. WE SEE THE MASS OF LIVES THAT ARE CROWDED INTO A BRIEF ERA. The ages soon empty their contents into eternity.
II. WE SEE HOW THE MINUTE DETAILS OF INDIVIDUAL LIFE ARE LOST IN THE AGGREGATE OF HISTORY. The heroes' battles are forgotten. The remembrance of our great calamities is no more. The life of the greatest king is summed up into a sentence on the page of the world's history.
III. WE SEE THE GREAT EFFORT OF LIFE TO CULMINATE IN, AND GIVE PROMINENCE TO, THE BIRTH OF ITS HEROES AND EMANCIPATORS. The whole of these lives were preparatory to the lives of Moses and Aaron. All before them were introductory. There is a gradual process in life. Life is ever trying to find emphatic expression in the conduct of the good. History makes this apparent.
IV. WE SEE HERE THAT INDIVIDUAL LIVES DERIVE THEIR GREATNESS FROM THE CALL OF GOD TO SERVICE, RATHER THAN FROM SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
( M. Henry..).