Exodus 5:1-10:19 March 14 2010
God will own his people, though poor and despised, and will find a time to plead their cause. Pharaoh treated all he had heard with contempt. He had no knowledge of Jehovah, no fear of him, no love to him, and therefore refused to obey him. Thus Pharaohâ€™s pride, ambition, covetousness, and political knowledge, hardened him to his own destruction. What Moses and Aaron ask is very reasonable, only to go three daysâ€™ journey into the desert, and that on a good errand. We will sacrifice unto the Lord our God. Pharaoh was very unreasonable, in saying that the people were idle, and therefore talked of going to sacrifice. He thus misrepresents them, that he might have a pretence to add to their burdens. To this day we find many who are more disposed to find fault with their neighbours, for spending in the service of God a few hours spared from their wordly business, than to blame others, who give twice the time to sinful pleasures. Pharaohâ€™s command was barbarous. Moses and Aaron themselves must get to the burdens. Persecutors take pleasure in putting contempt and hardship upon ministers. The usual tale of bricks must be made, without the usual allowance of straw to mix with the clay. Thus more work was to be laid upon the men, which, if they performed, they would be broken with labour; and if not, they would be punished.
1. (Exodus 1-9) Pharaohâ€™s displeasure, He increases the tasks of the Israelites.
Exod. 5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, â€œThis is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: â€˜Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.â€™ â€ 5:2 Pharaoh said, â€œWho is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.â€ 5:3 Then they said, â€œThe God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.â€
Moses and Aaron, having delivered their message to the elders of Israel, with whom they found good acceptance, are now to deal with Pharaoh, to whom they come in peril of their livesâ€”Moses particularly, who perhaps was out-lawed for killing the Egyptian forty years before, so that if any of the old courtiers should happen to remember that against him now it might cost him his head. Their message itself was displeasing, and touch Pharaoh both in his honour and in his profit, two tender points; yet these faithful ambassadors boldly deliver it, whether he will hear or whether he will forbear.
2. (Exodus 6:6-8) God renews his promise.
Exod. 6:6 â€œTherefore, say to the Israelites: â€˜I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 6:7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 6:8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.â€™ â€
We are most likely to prosper in attempts to glorify God, and to be useful to men, when we learn by experience that we can do nothing of ourselves; when our whole dependence is placed on him, and our only expectation is from him. Moses had been expecting what God would do; but now he shall see what he will do. God would now be known by his name Jehovah, that is, a God performing what he had promised, and finishing his own work. God intended their happiness: I will take you to me for a people, a peculiar people, and I will be to you a God. More than this we need not ask, we cannot have, to make us happy. He intended his own glory: Ye shall know that I am the Lord. These good words, and comfortable words, should have revived the drooping Israelites, and have made them forget their misery; but they were so taken up with their troubles, that they did not heed Godâ€™s promises. By indulging discontent and fretfulness, we deprive ourselves of the comfort we might have, both from Godâ€™s word and from his providence, and go comfortless.
3. (Exodus 7:1-5) Moses and Aaron encouraged.
Exod. 7:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, â€œSee, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.7:2 You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.
7:3 But I will harden Pharaohâ€™s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, 7:4 he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.
7:5 And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.â€
God glorifies himself. He makes people know that he is Jehovah. Israel is made to know it by the performance of his promises to them, and the Egyptians by the pouring out of his wrath upon them. Moses, as the ambassador of Jehovah, speaking in his name, laid commands upon Pharaoh, denounced threatenings against him, and called for judgments upon him. Pharaoh, proud and great as he was, could not resist. Moses stood not in awe of Pharaoh, but made him tremble. This seems to be meant in the words, Thou shalt be a god unto Pharaoh. At length Moses is delivered from his fears. He makes no more objections, but, being strengthened in faith, goes about his work with courage, and proceeds in it with perseverance.
In this chapter, The dispute between God and Moses finishes, and Moses applies himself to the execution of his commission, in obedience to Godâ€™s command. The dispute between Moses and Pharaoh begins, and a famous trial of skill it was. Moses, in Godâ€™s name, demands Israelâ€™s release; Pharaoh denies it. The contest is between the power of the great God and the power of a proud prince; and it will be found, in the issue, that when God judgeth he will overcome. Moses confirms the demand he had made to Pharaoh, by a miracle, turning his rod into a serpent; but Pharaoh hardens his heart against this conviction . He chastises his disobedience by a plague, the first of the ten, turning the waters into blood; but Pharaoh hardens his heart against this correction .
God Bless My Friend
Robert G O’Haver