Moses and the exodus, part 2

A. TWO KINGS AT WAR.

Please read Exodus 8-10

In the previous teaching we dealt with the birth of Moses and his fleeing from Egypt. We also learned how God had sent him back to Egypt demand from Pharaoh the release of his people.  Pharaoh refused and God brought many terrible plagues upon the land to break the king’s resistance.

B. THE FIRST 9 PLAGUES.

The king was a mighty ruler but God was infinitely greater and He repeatedly sent Moses and Aaron back to Pharaoh with the same demand: “Let my people go”.  After the mosquitoes, He sent flies to afflict both humans and animals.  This plague, and all the following ones, did not come upon the Israelites.  In this way God demonstrated clearly for all Egypt to see that the decendants of Abraham were His people.  Now the Israelites could also see clearly and be convinced that the God of Abraham was their God. In this way the Lord strenghtened their faith in Him so that they would follow Him wherever He would lead them.

After the mosquitoes God sent a plague upon all the cattle, sheep, horses and donkeys of the Egyptians.  Pharaoh quickly sent his servants to see what had happened to the animals of the Israelites.  They returned reporting that none had been touched by the plague.  But Pharaoh still hardened his heart.

Next the Lord told Moses to take two handfuls of ash and cast it up into the air.  As he did so, terrible sores broke out on the bodies of the Egyptians and on their livestock. 

Then God sent hail accompanied by frightening lightning and claps of thunder.  Many animals and people that had not been brought under cover, were killed.  Pharaoh admitted that He had sinned against God and seemed willing to repent but he never did. 

So the Lord sent clouds of locusts to devour every green plant which the hail had not destroyed.  Pharaohs people pleaded with him, pointing out that the whole of Egypt was being destroyed.  But Pharaoh again hardened his heart against God.

God now sent darkness over all the country exept where the Israelites were staying.  For three days and nights utter darkness enveloped the country.  So thick was the darkness that people feared to move around.  They remained sitting in one place until it eventually lifted.    This was the ninth plague.  Again it seemed as if Pharaoh would let the Israelites go but in the end he refused.  He even threatened that Moses and Aaron would be killed if they ever came to see him again.

It is important to note that the Lord had no need of an army of people to war against Pharaoh but simply used nature, against which no man can defend himself or his property. It was also God’s war against Egypt’s idols, of which there were many. He proved that they could not stand before his outstretched hand. They were made by man and inspired by satan who was a mere fallen angel.

C. THE WARNING OF THE FINAL BLOW.

By now God had brought 9 plagues over Egypt but His people were still in captivity. So the Lord decided to strike the final blow which would break all resistance. Let us read Ex chapter 11:1-8:

“And the LORD said to Moses, I will still bring one plague yet on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out from here altogether.  2  Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow from his neighbour, and every woman from her neighbour, articles of silver and jewels of gold.  3  And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians. And the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.  4  And Moses said, Thus says the LORD: About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt.   5  And all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sits upon his throne, even to the first-born of the slave-girl that is behind the mill; also the first-born of beasts.  6  And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.  7  But against any of the sons of Israel not even a dog shall move his tongue, against man or beast, so that you may know that the LORD puts a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.  8  And all these, your servants, shall come down to me and bow themselves down to me, saying, You and all the people that follow you get out. And after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.” 

People can cause great sorrow and pain to others.  Let us take family life as an example. Husbands and fathers that do not love and serve God will often make wrong decisions.  This will cause their wives and children to suffer terribly.  We should be very careful whom we marry, for the way our marriage partner believes, decides and acts, will affect us and our children.   We may never marry anyone that does not know and serve God, although we may like him/her very much.

Voting for a dishonest, cruel and incapable person to be an overseer, is another example. In doing so, we give him power to rule.  If he does not know and serve God, he will use his power to uplift himself and will ruin his kingdom and cause endless suffering to his people as Pharaoh did.

D. THE EGYPTIANS JUDGED AND GOD’S PEOPLE SPARED.

So, let us see what happened to the Israelites and Egyptians. We saw how God had not allowed his people to be afflicted by the last 6 plagues.  They did not have to do anything to protect themselves; He just kept it away from them.  But now with the final plague that was to come, they had to do something. 

Now let us read Ex 12:1-13:

“And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2  This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. 

3  Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth of this month they shall take to them each man a lamb for a father’s house, a lamb for a house.  4  And if the household is too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take according to the number of the souls, each one, according to the eating of his mouth, you shall count concerning the lamb.  5  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You shall take from the sheep or from the goats. 

6  And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month. And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.   7  And they shall take of the blood and strike on the two side posts and upon the upper door post of the houses in which they shall eat it.   

8  And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire, and unleavened bread. They shall eat it with bitter herbs  9  Do not eat of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire, its head with its legs, and with its inward parts.   10  And you shall not let any of it remain until the morning. And that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire. 

11  And you shall eat of it this way, with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in a hurry. It is the LORD’s passover.   

12  For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.   3  And the blood shall be a sign to you upon the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you. And the plague shall not be upon you for a destruction when I smite in the land of Egypt.” 

 And now we read verse 24 to 36:

And you shall observe this thing for a law to you and to your sons forever.   25  And it shall be, when you have come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as He has promised, that you shall keep this service.   26  And it will be, when your sons shall say to you, What is this service to you?   27  Then you shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s  passover, who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our houses. And the people bowed and worshiped.   28  And the sons of Israel went away and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron; so they did. 

29 And it happened at midnight the LORD struck all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne to the first-born of the captive that was in the prison; also all the first-born of cattle. 

30  And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.   31  And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up! Get away from my people, both you and the sons of Israel! And go serve the LORD, as you have said.  32  Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go. And bless me also. 

33  And the Egyptians were urging the people, that they might send them out of the land in a hurry. For they said, We are all dead.   34  And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading-troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.   35  And the sons of Israel did according to the word of Moses. And they borrowed articles of silver, and articles of gold, and clothing from the Egyptians.   36  And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, and they granted their request, and they plundered the Egyptians.”

E. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE PASS-OVER LAMB.

Now let us consider this question: what was the meaning of the slaughtering of the lamb and the applying of the blood to the doorposts of their homes?  The answer is that God gave this as a picture of how His son Jesus would one day die for the sins of man.  The lamb which the Israelites slaughtered had to be without any blemish. That is how Jesus would be when He would die on the cross.  He would be the only Man that ever lived without having sinned even once.  He would be God’s perfect Lamb to suffer and die for the sins of mankind. None of us can take the punishment for another person’s sins, for we have all sinned.  We are imperfect lambs; we all need Jesus, God’s perfect lamb. 

But there is more in this portion of Scripture.  Every head of a home had to bring his family inside the house.  He then had to apply the lamb’s blood to the doorposts of the house.  When the angel of death passed through the land that night and saw the blood, he would pass by that home. He would not enter and kill the firstborns  in that house. 

What does this say to us: it says that each person had to make his own decision.  A person could not just say “Well I believe in God, so He will not kill me.”  Or, “God is a God of love He will not kill me.”  Or “I have been living a good life, so God will not kill me.”  Or, “I am an Israelite, a child of Abraham, I am circumcised, I don’t need the blood of a lamb to protect me.” No, the angel of death passed by only those homes where the blood had been applied to the door posts whether it was the home of an Egyptian or an Israelite. 

Have you applied the Blood of  Jesus to your heart?  Do you realise that you too are a slave to sin? No one can say, “I have never sinned, I never say a word that displeases God, I never have an angry, lustful or jealous thought”. As the Scripture says in Rom 3:23-25:

23  for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 24  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; 25  whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, …

Have you confessed that you are a lost sinner that needs the Blood of Jesus to cover your sin?  If you have not, you are in the same danger as any one of the Egyptians were that night.  If you should die at this moment you will be in the same judgment as the devil who rules over the spiritual realm of sin. His punishment will be forever. Please, won’t you take that step of faith right now?  Every Israelite had to apply the blood before midnight or else it would be too late.  When will it be midnight for you?  Perhaps tonight, so do not postpone till later.

F. EXIT FROM EGYPT AND TRAVERSING THROUGH THE RED SEA.

Let us continue with the story. The Israelites left Egypt as families including their sons, daughters, fathers and mothers; even their elderly people. They also took their flocks, their cattle, sheep, donkeys, camels and all other possessions.  Furthermore they took thousands of golden and silver jewellery items from the Egyptians.  A vast number of people that were not Israelites but had seen God’s wonders accompanied them.  In total they were more than a million people leaving Egypt.

They trekked a long way and eventually encamped at the Red Sea. To get to Canaan, they had to cross it, but how?  And then, to their dismay they also saw a great cloud of dust rising up behind them. This meant that Pharaoh’s horses and chariots were chasing after them.  Yes,  Pharaoh had once more changed his mind and sent his army to bring them back to Egypt.  Fear overcame them and they accused Moses of leading them out of Egypt to die in the desert.  But God intervened; He came down in a cloud and stood between the Egyptians and Israelites.  Now let us read from Ex 14: 13-31:

“And Moses said to the people, Do not fear. Stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will prepare for you this day. For the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall never see them anymore.  14  The LORD shall fight for you, and you shall be silent. 

15  And the LORD said to Moses, Why do you cry to Me? Speak to the sons of Israel, that they go forward.   16  But lift up your rod and stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it. And the sons of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.   17  And behold! I am about to harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. And I will get honour for Me upon Pharaoh, and upon all his army, upon his chariots and upon his horsemen.  18  And the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD when I have gotten honor for Me upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.   

19  And the Angel of God, the one who went before the camp of Israel, moved. And he went to the rear of them. And the pillar of the cloud went from in front of their face and it stood behind them.  20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. And it was a cloudy and dark night, but it gave light to the night, so that the one did not come near the other all night.  

21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. And the LORD caused the sea to recede by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.  22  And the sons of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground. And the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.   

23  And the Egyptians pursued and went after them to the middle of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.  24  And in the morning watch it happened that the LORD looked to the army of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the army of the Egyptians.   25  And He took off their chariot wheels, and made them go heavily, so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel, for the LORD fights for them against the Egyptians.  26  And the LORD said to Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.   27  And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea. And the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared. And the Egyptians fled against it. And the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea.   28  And the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, all the army of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them. There did not remain so much as one of them.   

29  But the sons of Israel walked upon dry land in the middle of the sea. And the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.  30  So the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians. And Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore.  31  And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians. And the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD and His servant Moses.”

I need say no more for the Word of God has said it all.  God had used His servant Moses as He had said He would the day He called him.  God had performed miracle after miracle until He had led His people out of the slavery of Egypt.  Now they were on their way to the land of Canaan which God had promised to Abraham hundreds of years before.  God is faithful and powerful to do whatever He promises.

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