You are to speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his land.
I. THAT THERE ARE FAVOURABLE TIMES AT WHICH TO APPROACH MEN WITH THE MESSAGES OF GOD. "Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning."
I. A DISHEARTENED SERVANT SUITABLY ENCOURAGED. God told Moses -
1. That he would clothe him with an authority which even Pharaoh would be compelled to respect. "See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh" (ver. 1). It was not with words only that Moses was sent to Pharaoh. Powers would be given him to enforce his words with deeds. The judgments he would bring upon the land would clothe him with a supernatural terror - make him a superhuman and almost a divine person - in the eyes of Pharaoh and his servants. (Cf. Exodus 12:3.) So God gives attestation to his servants still, making it evident by the power of the Holy Ghost upon them, that they come in his name, and speak with his authority. He accompanies their word with Divine power, giving it efficacy to arrest, convict, and convert, and compelling the haughtiest of the earth to acknowledge the source of their message. So Felix trembled before Paul (Acts 24:25). Paul's Gospel came to the Thessalonians, "not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance" (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
2. That the work of deliverance would be no longer delayed. This also was implied in what God said to Moses: the time had come for speech to be exchanged for action. Everything indicated that the "charge" with which Moses was now entrusted was to be the final one. It should encourage desponding servants to reflect that God has his "set time" for the fulfilment of every promise; and that, when this period arrives, all their mourning will be turned into joy.
II. THE COURSE OF ISRAEL'S DELIVERANCE FORETOLD.
1. Foretold because foreseen. It is God's prerogative that he knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 42:9). Nothing can take him by surprise. He knows all the way his purposes are to travel. The whole future lies mapped out, as in a clear-drawn chart, before him.
2. Foreseen because pre-ordained. God, like Christ in the miracle of the loaves, knew in himself what he would do (John 6:6). Nothing was left to chance in his arrangements. The steps in his plan were fixed beforehand. What would be done would be according to God's "determinate counsel and foreknowledge" (Acts 2:23) - would be "whatsoever (his) hand and (his) counsel determined before to be done" (Acts 4:28). The deliverance was arranged in such a way as most to glorify the power and greatness of the Deliverer, and demonstrate his superiority to heathen idols. This in no wise implies that violence was in the very least done to human freedom, though it suggests that God can so interweave the volitions of men, in the situations in which he places them, into his purposes, as to leave not one of them outside his settled plan. The chief difficulty is in the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, here (ver. 3) represented as an ordained link in the chain of God's designs. But if this hardening simply means that God will place Pharaoh, already a bad man, in circumstances which he knows infallibly will harden his heart, and if this is done justly, and in punishment of former sins, the hardening taking effect through unalterable laws of the moral nature, which also are of God's ordainment, it is difficult to see what righteous objection can be taken to it.
3. Foretold for wise ends. Similar predictions of the course of the deliverance had been made at earlier stages (cf. Exodus 3:19-22; Exodus 4:21-24; Exodus 6:1-9). They are here repeated
(1) For the instruction of Moses, that he might be prepared for all that was to happen - that he might understand and cooperate with God in the execution of his designs.
(2) For the re-invigoration of Moses' faith.
(3) That it might be evidenced by the working-out of this fore-announced plan, that the God of Israel was indeed Jehovah, a free, personal Being, working in history for the accomplishment of gracious purposes. "The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him" (Psalm 25:14). God takes Moses into his counsel, and discovers to him something of his plan of operation. So he does in the Scriptures with his Church (Revelation 1:1).
II. A GLIMPSE OF GOD'S END IN PROVIDENTIAL GOVERNMENT (vers. 3, 4). The end is twofold -
1. The manifestation of the utterly free and unconstrained character of his grace and mercy in the salvation of man; and
2. What is the necessary counterpart of this, the manifestation of his power and justice in the infliction of judgments upon his enemies. Even evil is thus made to contribute indirectly to the ultimate and eternal establishment of the righteousness of God. - J.O.
They shall be turned to blood.I. THE RIVER. Has received various names. "The river of Egypt" (Genesis 15:18); Sihor (Job 13:3); Shihor (1 Chronicles 13:5). Diodorus Siculus says: The Nile was first called Egypt. Best and longest known by the term Nile, which is derived from the Arabic words Nil, which means "blue," and Nileh, which means "indigo." Designated, therefore, "the dark blue river," on account of its waters assuming at times that appearance.
1. Its sources. These are three "branches." The White River, which is the western branch, and takes its rise in the Mountains of the Moon; the Blue River, which is the central branch, and rises in the highlands of the Galla country, south of Abyssinia; the Black River, which is the eastern branch, and rises in the Mountains of Laska. These three required to make the Nile what it is. Owes its abundance and majesty to each of them. Learn the necessity and the advantage of combined efforts in doing good.
2. Its course. Referring here not to the flow of the three rivers just named and their various tributaries; but coming down to the confluence of the last of these, the Nile runs in a directly northern course to a distance of 1,150 miles. During all this way it receives no permanent streams, although in the rainy season it is often swollen by torrents from the mountains which lie between it and the Red Sea Fifteen miles below Cairo it divides into two arms. One of these runs into the Mediterranean Sea below Rosetta, the other flows into it near Damietta. The whole extent of the river from its farthest source is 3,300 miles. Has been pursuing this course for the last 6,000 years. As deep and broad as ever. Why? For the same reason that the rays of the sun are as numerous and powerful as at first. He who has supplied the sun with light has supplied the Nile with water. How thankful we should be to Him.
3. Its uses. It has helped to form the clouds. The sun has visited it every day; has received from it some of the human family in various forms. Above all it has been, and continues to be, the life of Egypt.
II. THE RIVER CHANGED. As at the marriage-feast of Cana in Galilee, the waters in the water-pots blushed into wine, because the Lord willed the transformation; so the waters of the Nile blushed into blood for the same reason. The locomotive in the hands of the driver, the ship and the pilot, the horse and the rider; all the elements of nature much more under God. He can do with every one of them just as He pleases. This, great comfort to all that love Him. They are safe, for nothing can harm them, contrary to His mind respecting them. This should deeply impress those who do not love Him. May be conquered at any moment by the lightning, the wind, or the water.
III. THE RIVER CHANGED FOR THREE REASONS.
1. It was changed on account of idolatry. The Egyptians reverenced the Nile; boasted that it made them independent of the rain; believed that all their gods, particularly Vulcan, were born on its banks. In honour of it observed rites, ceremonies, and celebrated festivals.
2. It was changed that the priests of Egypt might be deeply impressed. Nothing which the priests more abhorred than blood. If the slightest stain of blood had been on their persons, even on their sandals or garments, they would have thought themselves deeply polluted. How terrified they must have been when they saw that "there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt." God meant this, that they might begin to think of Him, and turn from their dumb idols to Him. Events, as well as words, are teachers. May we listen at all times to truth.
3. It was changed to show that God is all-powerful.
(A. McAuslane, D. D.)
II. DIVINE RETRIBUTIONS OFTEN CONSIST IN MAKING THE SOURCE OF MAN'S TRUEST PLEASURE THE CAUSE OF HIS GREATEST MISERY.
1. Sometimes the religious notions of men are made the medium of retributive pain.
2. Sometimes the commercial enterprises of men are made the medium of retributive pain. He who might have been prosperous, had he obeyed the behest of God, is ruined by his folly.
3. Sometimes all the spheres of a man's life are made the medium of retributive pain. If a man gets wrong with God, it affects the entirety of his life. Moral questions penetrate into every realm and department of being, and affect the whole of them, either gladly or wofully, all being dependant upon the attitude of the soul toward the Eternal. Hence it is wise for men to obey the command of God if they would be prosperous.
4. Thus we see how easily and completely God can make human life a retribution to the evil doer. He can turn our glory into shame.
III. THAT THE DIVINE RETRIBUTIONS ARE EXTENSIVE IN THEIR EFFECT, AND ARE OPERATIVE BEFORE THE IMPOTENT PRESENCE OF THE SOCIALLY GREAT. "And Moses and Aaron did," etc.
1. This Divine retribution extended throughout all the land of Egypt.
2. This Divine retribution, in the act of infliction, was witnessed by Pharaoh, and he was unable to prevent it.
IV. THAT THE DIVINE RETRIBUTIONS ARE NOT ALWAYS EFFECTUAL TO THE SUBJUGATION OF THE WICKED HEART. "And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments," etc. "And Pharaoh turned," etc.
1. The hardihood of a.disobedient soul.
2. The resistance of a tyrannic will.
3. The effort of men to mitigate the retribution of God. "All the Egyptians digged," etc. Vain effort.
V. THAT THE DIVINE RETRIBUTION SOMETIMES EVOKES PRESUMPTIVE CONDUCT ON THE PART OF THE WICKED. Lessons:
1. That Divine retributions are often merited by men.
2. That God can soon turn our joy into pain.
3. That obedience is the wisdom of man.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
II. THAT THERE ARE FAVOURABLE PLACES IN WHICH TO APPROACH MEN WITH THE MESSAGES OF GOD. "And thou shalt stand," etc.
III. THAT THE SERVANTS OF GOD ARE OFTEN DIVINELY INSTRUCTED AS TO THE BEST OPPORTUNITY OF CHRISTIAN SERVICE. "Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning." By a deep conviction, by a holy impression, and by keen moral vision, God unfolds to good men the most favourable opportunity in which to declare His message to the wicked.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)I. THAT GOD CAN CHANGE THE SCENE OF LIFE INTO DEATH.
II. THAT GOD CAN CHANGE USEFUL THINGS INTO USELESS. All life dependent on His will.
III. THAT GOD CAN CHANGE BEAUTIFUL THINGS INTO LOATHSOME.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(T. S. Millington.).
PeopleAaron, Egyptians, Israelites, Moses, Pharaoh
PlacesEgypt, Nile River
TopicsAaron, Brother, Command, Israelites, Orders, Pharaoh, Sons, Speak, Whatever
Outline1. Moses and Aaron are encouraged to go again to Pharaoh
8. Aaron's rod is turned into a serpent
11. The sorcerers do the like; but their rods are swallowed up by Aaron's
13. Pharaoh's heart is hardened
14. God's message to Pharaoh
19. The river is turned into blood; and the consequent distress of the Egyptians
Dictionary of Bible ThemesExodus 7:1-7
LibraryThe History of the Prophetic Sermons, Epistles, and Apocalypses
[Sidenote: Real character and aims of the prophets] To understand and rightly interpret the prophetic writings of the Old Testament it is necessary to cast aside a false impression as to the character of the prophets which is widely prevalent. They were not foretellers, but forth-tellers. Instead of being vague dreamers, in imagination living far in the distant future, they were most emphatically men of their own times, enlightened and devoted patriots, social and ethical reformers, and spiritual …
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament
Letter Lxxxv. To Paulinus.
The Hardening in the Sacred Scripture.
Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity Paul's Care and Prayer for the Church.
Exposition of Chap. Iii. (ii. 28-32. )
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