Exodus 4:23
and I told you to let My son go so that he may worship Me. But since you have refused to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son!'"
True Faith and its JoyJ. Urquhart Exodus 4:18-23
Facing EgyptH.T. Robjohns Exodus 4:18-31
My Times are in Thy HandG.A. Goodhart Exodus 4:19-29
A Divine ThreatJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 4:22-23
Israel a Type of SonshipJ. Orr Exodus 4:22, 23
The Divine Intention in the Moral Freedom of ManJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 4:22-23
The Great EmancipatorSpurgeon, Charles HaddonExodus 4:22-23
The Primogeniture of the GoodJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 4:22-23

Consider -

1. The condescension of God in the establishing of this relationship. A nation of slaves; in the eyes of the Egyptians little better than a nation of lepers; yet Jehovah says of them, "Israel is my son, my firstborn." "Behold what manner of love," etc. (1 John 3:1).

2. The privileges implied in it. On this cf. Deuteronomy 1:31-34; Deuteronomy 8:2-6; Deuteronomy 32:9-15. Reflect how Israel was led, fed, guided, trained, chastened, delivered from enemies, and conducted to a bountiful inheritance. These privileges have all their counterparts in the experience of the "children of God by faith in Christ Jesus'" (Galatians 3:26).

3. The responsibilities it imposed on others. Because Israel was God's son, his firstborn, Pharaoh was to refrain from oppressing his son, and if he did not he would be smitten in his own firstborn.

(1) As men treat God's children so will God treat them. He notes, and he will reward, kindnesses done to his sons, and he will avenge their wrongs.

(2) God's children may safely leave the avenging of their wrongs to God. It is not their work, but his, to avenge them; the rule for them is to avenge not themselves, but rather to give place to wrath; heaping coals of fire on the head of the enemy by returning him good for his evil (Romans 12:19-21). - J.O.

Israel is My son, even My firstborn.

1. He is merciful to the children.

2. He vindicates the children from their foes.


1. They have the privilege of high birth. Only they who are the subjects of this new birth know the privileges it confers upon them. Nor can the meanest ancestry of earth be excluded therefrom.

2. They have the privilege of good moral culture. In God's family all the children are well disciplined. This culture of our moral nature is designed to fit us more thoroughly for the high relationship into which we arc called, that we may be responsive to all its duties, and in harmony with its sacred destinies.


1. The hope of a happy death.

2. The hope of a vast inheritance.

3. The hope of a sublime future.Christians are the sons of God. Lessons:

1. Live worthy of your great Parent.

2. Act worthy of your noble ancestry.

3. Embrace your glorious privileges.

4. Let nothing dim your bright hopes.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Let My son go, that he may serve Me.
I. THAT GOD HAS A DEFINITE PURPOSE IN THE MORAL FREEDOM OF MEN. His great aim is to bring men from the tyranny of passion, pride, covetousness and self, into the freedom of a tranquil, humble, and self-denying service. Hence the Divine preparation that is given to the varied agencies that are to achieve this freedom.


1. That we should serve Him in our business.

2. That we should serve Him in our social life.

3. That we should serve Him with all our energies.Why should we serve Him?

(1)Because we are His sons.

(2)Because of the freedom He has wrought for us.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. Let us endeavour to fix our thoughts upon THE VOICE OF GOD, which was a real power to bring up His people out of Egypt. That voice was threefold; asserting His proprietorship in them, demanding their freedom, and ordaining their destiny.

II. Now here was THE VOICE OF MAN. What a come-down it seems to be. "Thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Let My son go." Why did not the Lord say it Himself? Why did He need to pick up a Moses and send him to say it? Well, had the Lord said it Himself to Pharaoh, it would have been very startling, and Pharaoh must have yielded ultimately to the Divine fiat: but do you not see the deeper marvel in the milder proceeding, when Jehovah, as it were, hides His power and cloaks it in weakness? Instead of appealing to Pharaoh with that voice which breaks the cedars of Lebanon, and makes the hinds to calve, He speaks to him by one who was slow of speech and of a stammering tongue. Now, if God's voice can vanquish Pharaoh when it masks itself behind the feebleness of a stammering Moses, it will be more glorious than it would have been if it had used no instrumentality whatever. Go on with steady perseverance. Be ye sure of this, ye shall not labour in vain or spend your strength for naught. Are you still slow of speech? Nevertheless, go on. Have you been rebuked and rebuffed? Have you had little else than defeat? This is the way to success. You shall macadamize the road with the rough flints of your failure. Toil on and believe on. Be steadfast in your confidence, for with a high hand and an outstretched arm the Lord will fetch out His own elect, and He will fetch some of them out by you.

III. Our last word is upon THE POWER OF GOD. Without the power of God the voice of man would have been an utter failure. What effect was produced by the voice of Moses? Went there not forth with it a power which plagued Pharaoh? It filled the sinful land of Egypt with plagues. So men that preach God's gospel with God's power fill the world with plagues. What will occur by and by? Why, the oppressor will be glad to part with his bondsmen. It sometimes happens that the ungodly become themselves very glad to get rid of God's chosen people, whom they are prone to persecute. "Their melancholy ill comports with our liveliness," so they say. A lady who joined this Church some years ago, moving in the higher circles of society, said to me, "I was quite willing to continue my acquaintance with my friends, but I found they gave me the cold shoulder, and did not want me." Just so. It is a great mercy when the Egyptians say, "Get ye gone," and when they are ready to give you jewels of silver and jewels of gold to get rid of you. The Lord wants His people to come right out and to be separate; He knows how by the simple utterance of the gospel to put such a division between His people and those who are not His people, that even the ungodly shall begin to say, "Get you gone; we want to have nothing further to do with you." Glory be to God when such a thing as that happens.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

1. Claims attention.

2. Certain of execution.

3. Stern in requirement.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Aaron, Isaac, Israelites, Jacob, Jethro, Moses, Pharaoh, Zipporah
Egypt, Horeb, Midian, Nile River
Behold, Death, Firstborn, First-born, Hast, Kill, Refuse, Refused, Serve, Slay, Slaying, Sons, Worship
1. Moses's rod is turned into a serpent.
6. His hand is leprous.
10. He loathes his calling.
13. Aaron is appointed to assist him.
18. Moses departs from Jethro.
21. God's message to Pharaoh.
24. Zipporah circumcises her son.
27. Aaron is sent to meet Moses.
29. The people believe them.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Exodus 4:23

     8345   servanthood, and worship

Exodus 4:22-23

     1235   God, the LORD
     7021   church, OT anticipations

January 13. "Thou Shalt be to Him Instead of God" (Ex. Iv. 16).
"Thou shalt be to him instead of God" (Ex. iv. 16). Such was God's promise to Moses, and such the high character that Moses was to assume toward Aaron, his brother. May it not suggest a high and glorious place that each of us may occupy toward all whom we meet, instead of God? What a dignity and glory it would give our lives, could we uniformly realize this high calling! How it would lead us to act toward our fellow-men! God can always be depended upon. God is without variableness or shadow of turning.
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

May the Eleventh but -- --!
"And Moses answered and said, But----" --EXODUS iv. 1-9. We know that "but." God has heard it from our lips a thousand times. It is the response of unbelief to the divine call. It is the reply of fear to the divine command. It is the suggestion that the resources are inadequate. It is a hint that God may not have looked all round. He has overlooked something which our own eyes have seen. The human "buts" in the Scriptural stories make an appalling record. "Lord, I will follow Thee, but----" There
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

May the Twelfth Mouth and Matter
"Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth." --EXODUS iv. 10-17. And what a promise that is for anyone who is commissioned to proclaim the King's decrees. Here can teachers and preachers find their strength. God will be with their mouths. He will control their speech, and order their words like troops. He does not promise to make us eloquent, but to endow our words with the "demonstration of power." "And I will teach thee what thou shall say." The Lord will not only be with our mouths,
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

A Bundle of Myrrh is My Well-Beloved unto Me; He Shall Abide Between My Breasts.
When the Bride, or rather the lover (for she is not yet a bride), has found her Bridegroom, she is so transported with joy, that she is eager to be instantly united to Him. But the union of perpetual enjoyment is not yet arrived. He is mine, she says, I cannot doubt that He gives Himself to me this moment, since I feel it, but He is to me, as it were, a bundle of myrrh. He is not yet a Bridegroom whom I may embrace in the nuptial bed, but a bundle of crosses, pains and mortifications; a bloody husband
Madame Guyon—Song of Songs of Solomon

Preaching (I. ).
Earthen vessels, frail and slight, Yet the golden Lamp we bear; Master, break us, that the light So may fire the murky air; Skill and wisdom none we claim, Only seek to lift Thy Name. I have on purpose reserved the subject of Preaching for our closing pages. Preaching is, from many points of view, the goal and summing up of all other parts and works of the Ministry. What we have said already about the Clergyman's life and labour, in secret, in society, in the parish; what we have said about his
Handley C. G. Moule—To My Younger Brethren

To the Saddest of the Sad
I often wonder what those preachers do who feel called to make up their message as they go on; for if they fail, their failure must be attributed in great measure to their want of ability to make up a moving tale. They have to spread their sails to the breeze of the age, and to pick up a gospel that comes floating down to them on the stream of time, altering every week in the year; and they must have an endless task to catch this new idea, or, as they put it, to keep abreast of the age. Unless, indeed,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 34: 1888

The Sweet Uses of Adversity
Now, I propose to address myself to the two classes of persons who are making use of this question. First, I shall speak to the tried saint; and then I shall speak to the seeking sinner, who has been seeking peace and pardon through Christ, but who has not as yet found it, but, on the contrary, has been buffeted by the law, and driven away from the mercy-seat in despair. I. First, then, to THE CHILD OF GOD. I have--I know I have--in this great assembly, some who have come to Job's position. They
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

"For if Ye Live after the Flesh, Ye Shall Die; but if Ye through the Spirit do Mortify the Deeds of the Body, Ye Shall Live.
Rom. viii. s 13, 14.--"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." The life and being of many things consists in union,--separate them, and they remain not the same, or they lose their virtue. It is much more thus in Christianity, the power and life of it consists in the union of these things that God hath conjoined, so that if any man pretend to
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Hardening in the Sacred Scripture.
"He hath hardened their heart."-- John xii. 40. The Scripture teaches positively that the hardening and "darkening of their foolish heart" is a divine, intentional act. This is plainly evident from God's charge to Moses concerning the king of Egypt: "Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not harken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

The Quotation in Matt. Ii. 6.
Several interpreters, Paulus especially, have asserted that the interpretation of Micah which is here given, was that of the Sanhedrim only, and not of the Evangelist, who merely recorded what happened and was said. But this assertion is at once refuted when we consider the object which Matthew has in view in his entire representation of the early life of Jesus. His object in recording the early life of Jesus is not like that of Luke, viz., to communicate historical information to his readers.
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Flight into Egypt and Slaughter of the Bethlehem Children.
(Bethlehem and Road Thence to Egypt, b.c. 4.) ^A Matt. II. 13-18. ^a 13 Now when they were departed [The text favors the idea that the arrival and departure of the magi and the departure of Joseph for Egypt, all occurred in one night. If so, the people of Bethlehem knew nothing of these matters], behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise [this command calls for immediate departure] and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt [This land was ever the
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Appendix xii. The Baptism of Proselytes
ONLY those who have made study of it can have any idea how large, and sometimes bewildering, is the literature on the subject of Jewish Proselytes and their Baptism. Our present remarks will be confined to the Baptism of Proselytes. 1. Generally, as regards proselytes (Gerim) we have to distinguish between the Ger ha-Shaar (proselyte of the gate) and Ger Toshabh (sojourner,' settled among Israel), and again the Ger hatstsedeq (proselyte of righteousness) and Ger habberith (proselyte of the covenant).
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

A Canticle of Love
It is not only when He is about to send me some trial that Our Lord gives me warning and awakens my desire for it. For years I had cherished a longing which seemed impossible of realisation--to have a brother a Priest. I often used to think that if my little brothers had not gone to Heaven, I should have had the happiness of seeing them at the Altar. I greatly regretted being deprived of this joy. Yet God went beyond my dream; I only asked for one brother who would remember me each day at the Holy
Therese Martin (of Lisieux)—The Story of a Soul

The book of Exodus--so named in the Greek version from the march of Israel out of Egypt--opens upon a scene of oppression very different from the prosperity and triumph in which Genesis had closed. Israel is being cruelly crushed by the new dynasty which has arisen in Egypt (i.) and the story of the book is the story of her redemption. Ultimately it is Israel's God that is her redeemer, but He operates largely by human means; and the first step is the preparation of a deliverer, Moses, whose parentage,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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