Moses and the exodus, part 1

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A. ISRAEL’S ORIGEN, MULTIPLYING AND SLAVERY.

During the course of our past teachings we said that God wanted to build a nation for Himself. He also wanted to give them a country of their own and teach them how to serve Him. So he called a man named Abraham and led him from his own country to a land called Canaan.   Abraham had a son named Isaac who had a son called Jacob who in turn had 12 sons.  One of these sons was called Joseph.  Joseph’s brothers were jealous of him and sold him as a slave and he was taken to Egypt.  God loved Joseph and caused the King of Egypt to appoint him as his assistant ruler.  A great famine came over the land and Joseph brought his family from Canaan to Egypt.

Over the following 400 years God blessed them and they multiplied and became many thousands of people. They were known as the nation of Israel. The king of Egypt became very worried about them.  We now read from Ex. 1 verse 8 to 12:

“And there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph  9  And he said to his people, Behold, the people of the sons of Israel are many and mightier than we.  10  Come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it will be when there comes a war, they join also to our enemies, and fight against us, and get out of the land.  11  And they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built treasure cities for Pharaoh, Pithon and Raamses.  12  But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the sons of Israel.”

B. MOSES’S BIRTH, RAISING, REBELLING AND FLIGHT.

The king of Egypt then ordered all the baby boys to be killed as soon as they were born. The Israelite mothers tried to hide their babies from the Egyption soldiers, but this was very difficult. A certain couple, Amram and Jochebeth, hid their beautiful baby boy for three months.  Then the mother thought of a very daring plan to save his life.  She wove a basket, painted it to make it watertight and handed it to her daughter Miriam.  Miriam took it to the river and put it amongst the reeds.  When the King’s daughter came to bath, she discovered the beautiful little baby.  Her heart was stirred, and she wanted to keep it as her own.  Miriam quickly went up to her and offered to find an Israelite mother to suck it.  The princess thought it was a good idea and Miriam of course called her mother to take care of the baby.  When the little boy was sufficiently grown, she returned him to the princess.  The princess called him Moses which means “taken from the water”.  Moses was then raised as a prince in the palace of king Pharao.

Of course, he knew that he was not an Egyptian and his heart was with the Israelites. One day as he was walking around, he saw an Egyption man fighting and killing an Israelite. He became very angry, killed the Egyption and buried him in the sand.  He thought nobody had seen him, but someone had indeed and had told the King.  Moses knew that his life was at stake and hastily fled from Egypt.  He went to the distant land of the Midianites where he resided with a priest called Jethro.  Jethro later gave his daughter to him as wife and a son was born.  Moses became a shepherd of his father in law’s sheep and was content in his new environment.

C. GOD CALLS MOSES TO DELIVER ISRAEL.

But while Moses was at peace in Midian, his countrymen were suffering terribly in Egypt. As they prayed, God heard their cries and decided that the time had come to deliver them. But He not only wanted to relieve their plight, but also to lead them out of Egypt.  He would take them to Canaan which he had promised to their ancestor, Abraham.  And now God had decided to use Moses for this purpose.  Let us read God’s Word from Ex. 3:1-10:

“And Moses kept the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back side of the desert. And he came to the mountain of God, to Horeb.   2  And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire, out of the midst of a thorn bush. And he looked. And behold! The thorn bush burned with fire! And the thorn bush was not burned up.  3  And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the thorn bush is not burned up.   4  And the LORD saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the midst of the thorn bush, and said, Moses! Moses! And he said, Here I am.  5  And He said, Do not come near here. Put off your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.  6  And He said, I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.   7  And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows.  

8  And I am coming down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, to bring them up out of that land, to a good land, a large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites and the Jebusites.  9  And now behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me. And I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.  10  And now go, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt. 11 And Moses said to God, Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the sons of Israel out of Egypt?”

Can you imagine how scared Moses became when God called him to lead his people out of Egypt?  He had fled from Egypt for his life, how could he now return there?  And how could he demand to see the king and command him to let God’s people go?  He offered many excuses, saying that he was not a good speaker, etc., but God would not budge.  Móses was the one who had to give in. He had to surrender to the will of God.  So, he spoke to his father–in-law, took his wife and son and went to Egypt. 

When we give our lives to God, He becomes our King, and we must do whatever He commands us.  We may not be called upon to perform a huge task like that of Moses, but just something we are well able to do.  The Lord may speak into our hearts and tell us to speak to someone who is living in sin.  We may fear, knowing that the person will get very cross and may even assault us.  But we can not say no to God, for He is God and His command is final.  God will take care of us and give us the right words to speak.

D. MOSES AND AARON CONFRONT PHARAOH.

While Moses was on his way to Egypt, God also spoke to his relative, Aaron, who was in Egypt. Aaron then went out to meet Moses and told him all that God had said to him. We now read Ge 4:29-31:29:

And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the sons of Israel. 30 And Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people.  31 And the people believed. And when they heard that the LORD had visited the sons of Israel, and that He had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed and worshiped.

The next step for Moses and Aaron was to confront Pharoah. We read chapter 5:1-4:

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, Thus says Jehovah, God of Israel:     Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.  2 And Pharaoh said, Who is Jehovah, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know Jehovah, neither will I let Israel go.   3 And they said, The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Let us go, we pray you, three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with plague or with the sword.   4 And the king of Egypt said to them, Moses and Aaron, why do you keep the people from their work? Get to your burdens! “ 

The king was furious and also punished the people of Israel by drastically increasing their workload. Now they suffered more than ever and they blamed Moses and Aaron for their suffering. Moses could do nothing but pray to God about the matter, for it was God that had sent him. And this is how God answered him: We read from Ex 5:22-23 and 6:1:

22 “And Moses returned to the LORD, and said, Lord, why have You treated this people ill? Why then have you sent me? 23  For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people. Neither have You delivered Your people at all.   

E. GOD REASSURES MOSES.

1 And the LORD said to Moses, Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he shall let them go, and with a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land. “    

God also spoke to Moses as follows: We read chapter 7:1-13:

“And the LORD said to Moses, See, I have made you a god to Pharaoh. And Aaron your brother shall be your prophet.

2  You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, he will send the sons of Israel out of his land. 3  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.

4  But Pharaoh shall not listen to you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring My armies, My people the sons of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.  5  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD when I stretch forth My hand upon Egypt, and bring out the sons of Israel from among them. 

6  And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them; so they did.   7  And Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh. 

8 And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying:   9  When Pharaoh shall speak to you saying, Give a miracle for yourselves, you shall say to Aaron, Take your rod, and throw it in front of Pharaoh. It shall become a snake.   

10  And Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh. And they did so, as the LORD had commanded. And Aaron threw down his rod in front of Pharaoh and in front of his servants, and it became a snake.   11  Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers. And they, the priests of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts.  12  For each man threw down his rod, and they became snakes. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.

13  And He hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.”

Pharaoh was a mighty king. At that stage his kingdom was the mightiest kingdom on earth. He was not going to listen to two Israelite men that had no army and no weapons. Who would win: the king of Egypt or the King of heaven and earth, the Creator of mankind?  King Pharaoh had not refused Moses’ request but God’s. Moses was just a messenger.

F. THE LORD SENDS MOSES BACK TO PHARAOH. 

So God sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh once more. We read from verse 14:

“And the LORD said to Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened. He refuses to let the people go.  15  You go to Pharaoh in the morning. Lo, he goes out to the water. And you shall stand by the river’s brink until he comes. And you shall take in your hand the rod which was turned to a snake.   16  And you shall say to him, The LORD God of the Hebrews has sent me to you, saying, Let My people go so that they may serve Me in the wilderness. And, behold, until now you would not hear.   17  Thus says the LORD, In this you shall know that I am the LORD. Behold! I will smite with the rod that is in my hand upon the waters in the river, and they shall be turned to blood.  18  And the fish in the river shall die, and the river shall stink. And the Egyptians shall hate to drink of the water of the river. 

19  And the LORD spoke to Moses, Say to Aaron, Take your rod, and stretch out your hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their canals, and upon their pools, and upon every reservoir of their waters, that they may become blood. And blood shall be throughout all the land of Egypt, both in wooden and in stone vessels.   

20  And Moses and Aaron did so, as the LORD commanded. And he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters in the river were turned to blood.  21  And the fish in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river. And there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt. 

22  And the priests of Egypt did so with their secret arts. And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.  23  And Pharaoh turned and went into his house; And he did not set his heart to this also.  24  And all the Egyptians dug all around the river for water to drink, for they could not drink of the water of the river.  25  And seven days were completed after the LORD had stricken the river. “

What do we see in this portion of Scripture? We see that God will not allow any man to resist Him. He is a kind and loving God and He first of all speaks to a person.  He requests him to do this or that, but if the person refuses or turns a deaf ear, God begins to act. 

In this case, God turned all the water in Egypt to blood.  How terrible that must have been; no person in his right mind would think of drinking blood.  This lasted for 7 days: just think how thirsty the people and animals would have been. 

At that time there were no radios nor TV’s.  So most people would not have known why the water had turned into blood.  But the news was spread by people travelling throughout the country.  Many people would have recognized this occurrence as an act of God, but Pharaoh did not.  The second thing we see is the power of satan.  The magicians did not know the true God and operated through the devil’s power.  Yet, they too were able to turn water into blood.  So, the battle was actually not between Pharaoh and Moses but between satan and God.  Who was the mightiest, who would win?  Many people are even today doing inexplicable things through satan’s power.  They use these deeds to deceive people and to draw them away from God.  But God has always and is always proving that only He is almighty.

G. GOD’S FURTHER MIGHTY DEEDS TO BREAK PHARAOH’S POWER.

So God did many more miracles. He let Aaron stretch forth his hand over Egypt and frogs came forth and covered the land. They entered into all the homes even into Pharaoh’s palace.  They crept into the beds while people tried to sleep and into their dishes when preparing food.  Can you think how you would feel to awake and feel the cold bodies of frogs all over you?  Or if you would sit down to eat and a frog would jump into your soup or plate of porridge?  What is amazing is that the magicians of Egypt could perform the same miracles.  And again Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let God’s people go.

Next God caused gnats (mosquitoes?) to swarm over the land and to bite both humans and animals. The magicians of Egypt then again tried to do the same. Let us read Ex 8:18,19:

“And the priests did so with their secret arts to bring forth, but they could not. So there were gnats (mosquitoes?) upon man and upon beast.   19 And the priests said to Pharaoh, This is the finger of God. And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the LORD had said.         

God could have destroyed Pharaoh and all his people in one blow, but He did not.  He was giving him one opportunity after the other to repent.  How foolish it is for a small human being to resist the almighty God!

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