Exodus 1:1-4:31 March 7 2010
This chapter begins the story of Moses, that man of renown, famed for his intimate acquaintance with Heaven and his eminent usefulness on earth, and the most remarkable type of Christ, as a prophet, saviour, lawgiver, and mediator, in all the Old Testament. The Jews have a book among them of the life of Moses, which tells a great many stories concerning him, which we have reason to think are mere fictions; what he has recorded concerning himself is what we may rely upon, for we know that his record is true; and it is what we may be satisfied with, for it is what Infinite Wisdom thought fit to preserve and transmit to us. In this chapter we have, The perils of his birth and infancy. His preservation through those perils, and the preferment of his childhood and youth. The pious choice of his riper years, which was to own the people of God. He offered them his service at present, if they would accept it. He retired, that he might reserve himself for further service hereafter. The dawning of the day of Israelâ€™s deliverance .
1. (Exod.2:23-25) The Israelites Pray to God During Their Suffering
Exod. 2:23 During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. 2:24 God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. 2:25 So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
The Israelitesâ€™ bondage in Egypt continued, though the murdering of their infants did not continue. Sometimes the Lord suffers the rod of the wicked to lie very long and very heavy on the lot of the righteous. At last they began to think of God under their troubles. It is a sign that the Lord is coming towards us with deliverance, when he inclines and enables us to cry to him for it. God heard their groaning; he made it to appear that he took notice of their complaints. He remembered his covenant, of which he is ever mindful. He considered this, and not any merit of theirs. He looked upon the children of Israel. Moses looked upon them, and pitied them; but now God looked upon them, and helped them. He had respect unto them. His eyes are now fixed upon Israel, to show himself in their behalf. God is ever thus, a very present help in trouble. Take courage then, ye who, conscious of guilt and thralldom, are looking to Him for deliverance. God in Christ Jesus is also looking upon you. A call of love is joined with a promise of the Redeemer. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, (Matthew 11:28) .
2. (Exodus 3:1-6) God appears to Moses in a burning bush.
Exod. 3:1 Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 3:2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3:3 So Moses thought, â€œI will go over and see this strange sight â€”why the bush does not burn up.â€ 3:4 When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, â€œMoses! Moses!â€ And Moses said, â€œHere I am.â€ 3:5 â€œDo not come any closer,â€ God said. â€œTake off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.â€ 3:6 Then he said, â€œI am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.â€ At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The years of the life of Moses are divided into three forties; the first forty he spent as a prince in Pharaohâ€™s court, the second as a shepherd in Midian, the third as a king in Jeshurun. How changeable is the life of man! The first appearance of God to Moses, found him tending sheep. This seems a poor employment for a man of his parts and education, yet he rests satisfied with it; and thus learns meekness and contentment, for which he is more noted in sacred writ, than for all his learning. Satan loves to find us idle; God is pleased when he finds us employed. Being alone, is a good friend to our communion with God. To his great surprise, Moses saw a bush burning without fire to kindle it. The bush burned, and yet did not burn away; an emblem of the church in bondage in Egypt. And it fitly reminds us of the church in every age, under its severest persecutions kept by the presence of God from being destroyed. Fire is an emblem, in Scripture, of the Divine holiness and justice, also of the afflictions and trials with which God proves and purifies his people, and even of that baptism of the Holy Ghost, by which sinful affections are consumed, and the soul changed into the Divine nature and image. God gave Moses a gracious call, to which he returned a ready answer. Those that would have communion with God, must attend upon him in the ordinances wherein he is pleased to manifest himself and his glory, though it be in a bush. Putting off the shoe was a token of respect and submission. We ought to draw nigh to God with a solemn pause and preparation, carefully avoiding every thing that looks light and rude, and unbecoming his service. God does not say, I was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but I am. The patriarchs still live, so many years after their bodies have been in the grave. No length of time can separate the souls of the just from their Maker. By this, God instructed Moses as to another world, and strengthened his belief of a future state. Thus it is interpreted by our Lord Jesus, who, from hence, proves that the dead are raised, Luke 20:37 . Moses hid his face, as if both ashamed and afraid to look upon God. The more we see of God, and his grace, and covenant love, the more cause we shall see to worship him with reverence and godly fear.
3. (Exodus 3:7-10) God sends Moses to deliver Israel.
Exod. 3:7 The LORD said, â€œI have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 3:8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey â€”the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 3:9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 3:10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.â€
God notices the afflictions of Israel. Their sorrows; even the secret sorrows of Godâ€™s people are known to him. Their cry; God hears the cries of his afflicted people. The oppression they endured; the highest and greatest of their oppressors are not above him. God promises speedy deliverance by methods out of the common ways of providence. Those whom God, by his grace, delivers out of a spiritual Egypt, he will bring to a heavenly Canaan.
4. (Exodus 3: 19-22) The deliverance of the Israelites promised.
Exod. 3:19 But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. 3:20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
Mosesâ€™ success with the elders of Israel would be good. God, who, by his grace, inclines the heart, and opens the ear, could say beforehand, They shall hearken to thy voice; for he would make them willing in this day of power. As to Pharaoh, Moses is here told that petitions and persuasions, and humble complaints, would not prevail with him; nor a mighty hand stretched out in signs and wonders. But those will certainly be broken by the power of Godâ€™s hand, who will not bow to the power of his word. Pharaohâ€™s people should furnish Israel with riches at their departure. In Pharaohâ€™s tyranny and Israelâ€™s oppression, we see the miserable, abject state of sinners. However galling the yoke, they drudge on till the Lord sends redemption. With the invitations of the gospel, God sends the teaching of his Spirit. Thus are men made willing to seek and to strive for deliverance. Satan loses his power to hold them, they come forth with all they have and are, and apply all to the glory of God and the service of his church.
As prophecy had ceased for many ages before the coming of Christ, that the revival and perfection of it in that great prophet might be the more remarkable, so vision had ceased (for aught that appears) among the patriarchs for some ages before the coming of Moses, that Godâ€™s appearances to him for Israelâ€™s salvation might be the more welcome; and in this chapter we have Godâ€™s first appearance to him in the bush and the conference between God and Moses in that vision. Here is, The discovery God was pleased to make of his glory to Moses at the bush, to which Moses was forbidden to approach too near. A general declaration of Godâ€™s grace and good-will to his people, who were beloved for their fathersâ€™ sakes . A particular notification of Godâ€™s purpose concerning the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. He assures Moses it should now be done. He gives him a commission to act in it as his ambassador both to Pharaoh and to Israel . He answers the objection Moses made of his own unworthiness. He gives him full instructions what to say both to Pharaoh and to Israel. He tells him beforehand what the issue would be .