Now that the numbers are in, one can empathize if not completely agree with, the Egyptians’ fear of being swallowed up by the Israelites. Imagine that the number of able bodied men alone was 600,000; and when women and children and young boys and young girls, not to mention old men and old women are factored in, we may be looking at a figure near 2 million, a daunting figure for that era. In addition the multitude of their livestock was growing out of proportion to all the livestock of the Egyptians; the seventy or so souls that went down to Egypt with Jacob had grown into a Nation within a Nation. These people were not Egyptians. Ethnicity apart, they had different customs, different belief systems, and perhaps most importantly they did not worship the Egyptian gods; they had their own God. The problem of course was not so much the numbers; the problem was that the Egyptians sought to stymie their numbers, their growth and their prosperity by enslaving them, and subject them to cruel and inhuman treatment, which caused them to cry out to their God for deliverance. But because of their economic utility, the Pharaoh refused to let them go, and by doing so, brought the will and power of God to bear on the situation. So after afflicting the Pharaoh and his people with divers plagues, including the slaughter of all the first-born of Egypt, the Pharaoh was forced to let Israel go. “And it came to pass the very same day that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.” And having delivered his people, the Lord gave Moses further instructions for them. “Sanctify unto me all the first-born that opens the womb among the children of Israel both of man and of beast; it is mine.” And Moses said unto the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place; there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day came ye out in the month Abib.”
Sunday, March 30, 2014
The Exodus of the Children of Israel And the Journey to Sinai. Seeing the death of his first-born, and all the first-born of his land, the Pharaoh could stand it no longer. The hand of God was too strong for him; and so now he was more than willing to let Israel go. He had seen all that the Lord had done, and no doubt feared that God’s next move might be to kill him, the Pharaoh himself, or worse; so he at last capitulated, and so began the Exodus out of Egypt. So then the Israelites began the journey; men, women, and children with such of their belongings as they could carry. The number of them was 600,000 men and a mixed multitude along with their cattle, their flocks and their herds. It must have been quite a sight. Before leaving, they had baked unleavened bread, as the whole Exodus was undertaken in a hurry with no time to prepare the leaven. They had no other food as they took to the wilderness; but after being in Egypt 430 years they were doubtless relieved to be getting away from the burdens the Egyptians had laid upon them. As they journeyed, the Lord instructed Moses to remind the people of the events of that great and memorable night; the night when the destroying angel of the Lord passed over Egypt, and killed all the first-born of the Egyptians, and delivered His people out of their bondage. They were to be reminded of the ordinance of the Passover to be kept only by those who through circumcision were the people of God. If a stranger was taken into an Israelite’s household, he was not allowed to partake of the Passover unless he was first circumcised.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Death of the First-Born Arguably, the Pharaoh was playing a game of bluff with the Almighty. It would seem that after the second or third plague, Pharaoh conceived of the idea that God too, was bluffing; therefore he perceived God as weak and not willing to go to the ultimate, His mighty power notwithstanding. So even when Moses told him of the slaughter of the first-born, he held his bluff, saying to himself no doubt, that all he had to do was to feign repentance at the last minute, and God would somehow change his mind. Well, if such was Pharaoh’s thinking, he was wrong; dead wrong. For it came to pass, as Moses had warned, that on that very night at midnight, the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the Pharaoh’s own son, down to the first born of the prisoner in the dungeon as well as the first-born of all the animals of the people of Egypt. And so it was, that when the Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the people throughout every Egyptian household, the report was the same; throughout all the land of Egypt, not one family escaped; for throughout there was death in every house from which came a sea of anguished cries. And so at last, Pharaoh called Moses and told and Aaron to get out. “Take your people and their sons and daughters and their cattle and all their belongings, and leave and get as far as you can away and from me and my people. In addition, faced with the grim reality that all their first-born were now lying dead, the people rose up, and urged the Pharaoh to get rid of the Israelites out of the land; for so they reasoned, “if we fail to get rid of these Israelites as a matter of great urgency, we would shortly all be dead men. “ So the children of Israel with Moses and Aaron in the lead packed up all their belongings, and with their flocks and their herds and all they could carry prepared to leave Egypt as a matter of great expediency. Also, at Moses suggestion, the children of Israel asked the Egyptians for clothing and jewelry and gold and silver, and supplies for the journey which the Egyptians gladly donated; and so without hindrance, the children of Israel after living in that land for over four hundred years, departed out of Egypt.
Friday, March 28, 2014
Then Moses, having received instructions from God, passed them on to the people of God. Look he told them when they were gathered together, take out from among your flocks, a lamb according to your families and kill the Passover. When you do so, gather the blood into a basin, and taking a bunch of hyssop in your hand, strike the lintels and the door posts with the blood; and none of you shall go out of the door of your house until the nest morning. For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintels and the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not permit the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you. And this event is to be observed for an ordinance to you and to your children for ever. Moreover, when you come into the land which the Lord will give you, in accordance with His promises, you shall forever keep this service to the Lord. And when your children shall ask you about the meaning of this service, be sure to tell them that it is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. Then the children of Israel went away and did as they were commanded.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Institution of the Feast of Passover. And God told Moses. “This day shall be unto you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast day and memorial forever.” By forever, we understand God to be saying until the real Passover has been killed. Christ is the Passover lamb once offered the only true, pure and sufficient sacrifice and oblation. Moreover God commanded, “seven days shall you eat unleavened bread. From the first day, you shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eats leavened bread from the first day unto the seventh, that person should be cut off from Israel.” God also commanded what should be the approach to the first and subsequent anniversary commemoration. He said, “the first day shall be a holy convocation, and the seventh day shall be a holy convocation to you. No manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man should eat, that only may be done. You must observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this very day have I brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt; therefore shall you observe this day in all your future generations by an ordinance for ever.” God was giving Moses instructions to be passed on to the people He was about to deliver; but at the same time He was speaking to the future generations and telling them why they must observe the Passover in perpetuity. He was telling the children on this day n years ago, “I delivered your forefathers out of the cruel hand of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Tell it to your children and tell them to tell it to their children from generation to generation.” So that to make sure the people did not forget, or misunderstand the particulars necessary for compliance, God made it clear how and for how long the celebration should last. So He directed, “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the one and twentieth day of the month at evening. Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses; for whosoever eats that which is leavened that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel whether he be s stranger or as Israelite by birth. You shall not eat unleavened bread . It shall not be eaten in your houses. More
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
God does not give vague or uncertain instructions. God qua God is very meticulous when he gives instructions to His people. So he gives specific instructions to Moses with regard to the time, of note; the selection, manner of killing and eating of this special festival which has come down to us as the Passover; a lamb without spot or blemish; a male animal; a young animal; all prefiguring the ultimate Passover; the offering of the lamb without spot or blemish; the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The blood was to be collected and daubed on the upright and crossbeam of the door within which the roasted lamb was to be eaten; all was to be eaten that night; nothing held over for the morrow. “When you eat it,” God further instructed, “you shall have your loins girded, your shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand; you shall eat it in haste; for it is the Lords Passover” In other words, be ready to travel. “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 against all the gods of Egypt and execute judgment against all for I am the Lord.” “And the blood shall be to you for a token 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 to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.” “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations, ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.”
Now, while the Lord was breaking Pharaoh down for the final catastrophe, He was building Moses up in the eyes of Pharaoh’s own people. In a word the people of Egypt admired and feared Moses and saw him as a great man. So now the Lord told Moses the plan. To Moses God said, “in spite of all that I have done to the Pharaoh his heart is still hardened and he will not heed; he will not let my people go; but all this is in order that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” “Now,” said the Lord to Moses and Aaron, this month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year.” “Tell all the congregation of Israel, on the tenth day of this month, every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, each house a lamb. But if the household be too small for a lamb, let him join up with his next door neighbor and share a lamb or lambs according to the number of persons to be fed.” “The lamb that is chosen must be without spot or blemish, a male in its first year, whether it’s a goat or a sheep. The lamb so chosen shall be kept until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the children of Israel shall kill it in the evening.” “And the blood of the lamb shall be gathered and struck on the two uprights of the door and also the cross beam of the house within which the lamb shall be eaten. And they shall eat the flesh roasted with fire in that night, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs. The flesh must not be eaten raw, nor should it be boiled or stewed; it must be roasted with fire and eaten; and none of it shall be kept over until the morning. And if any be left over, it should be burnt with fire. It must not be eaten.” BRAGADAYJAH 193 God does not give vague or uncertain instructions. God qua God is very meticulous when he gives instructions to His people. So he gives specific instructions to Moses with regard to the time, of note; the selection, manner of killing and eating of this special festival which has come down to us as the Passover; a lamb without spot or blemish; a male animal; a young animal; all prefiguring the ultimate Passover; the offering of the lamb without spot or blemish; the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. The blood was to be collected and daubed on the upright and crossbeam of the door within which the roasted lamb was to be eaten; all was to be eaten that night; nothing held over for the morrow. “When you eat it,” God further instructed, “you shall have your loins girded, your shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand; you shall eat it in haste; for it is the Lords Passover” In other words, be ready to travel. “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 against all the gods of Egypt and execute judgment against all for I am the Lord.” “And the blood shall be to you for a token 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 to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt.” “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations, ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.”
Monday, March 24, 2014
So now, let us see what the Lord is about to do to Pharaoh, and how he will react. “Now the Lord said unto Moses, I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Let us not forget Pharaoh’s last speech to Moses. “Show your face before me again and I will kill you.” Well then, Moses replied, “Yu have well spoken. But here is what my God is going to do to you. He is going to send one more plague upon you and upon all Egypt. By that plague the Lord shall kill every first born of Egypt; the first born of every Egyptian down to that of the very maids at work. And what is more, not a single Israelite shall be affected; if you walk in the place where the Israelites are, you shall not even hear a single dog bark that night.” “It will be a slaughter; the worst, the most horrible slaughter ever heard of. That night shall be a night of deep and terrible sorrow and weeping; the kind of lamentation never before heard on earth.” “And at that time you will let Israel go. Not only would you let us go, you will beg me on your hands and knees, please go and take your people with you.” The Pharaoh listened; he heard; but he was not convinced. He had been made to drink blood, plagued with frogs, and lice, and flies, locusts, darkness and such; but he lived through it all. And so he called Moses bluff; so why should he buckle under now? He continued to harden his heart. It is the attitude of sin, particularly the sin of arrogance, stubbornness and pride, conditions not uncommon among men and women even today. Once that heart is set with sin, it is very difficult to budge. But God will always have His way with us, as He was about to do with Pharaoh.
Sunday, March 23, 2014
In reverse order, darkness, locusts, hail and fire, boils, flies, lice, frogs, and blood, not to mention the rod that turned into a snake that devoured all the snakes of Pharaoh’s magicians; and yet it will take one more personal, demonstrative, powerful, act of God before Pharaoh would yield. Someone may ask why did God not just bend Pharaoh to his will at once and end his stubborn resistance. But any one who knows and understands God and God’s ways would know that God’s ways are not our ways. God always knows the beginning from the end; He knows when to bring all things to an end; He knows just how and when all things will come to a conclusion; and therefore, He can allow us to have our own way for a while. On the other hand, God’s word and his ways, though inscrutable in some respects, are ever consistent and infallible. It is God’s nature to be merciful, kind, loving, longsuffering and unchangeable. And so these inherent attributes are always seen at work in God’s administration, in the way He deals with His creation. But, too, God uses people like Pharaoh to show us He is indeed consistent with Himself, and to be examples for us to follow. For all who read this story would have to agree, that God gave Pharaoh every change of turning to him rather than just putting a noose around his neck and drawing him to Him. Yes; it is said that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart; but as has been explained heretofore, all that means is that God did not use his Supreme power over the Pharaoh’s heart; He allowed him to be himself. He withdrew himself from Pharaoh’s decision making; and so it is rendered as He hardening Pharaoh’s heart for want of a better human expression to describe God’s dealing with the Pharaoh; But as we shall see shortly, when God was ready to impose his will, the Pharaoh was powerless to do other than to let God’s people go.
Saturday, March 22, 2014
BRAGADAYJAH 189 The Penultimate Terror. And once again the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he failed to let the people go. So at God’s command Moses stretched his hand towards heaven and having done so, darkness descended over all the land of Egypt. The darkness was so thick and so overwhelming that people could not see one another. It was intense, thick, and bewildering. Only the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. During the three days of intense darkness the Egyptians were riveted to one place, unable to rise up or move about. At last the Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go serve your God; only you can’t take your flocks and your herds with you; but your children you may take with you.” And Moses replied and said to Pharaoh, “not so; when we go we need to take our flocks with us, so that we may have burnt offerings for a sacrifice. We must take our flocks with us; because we cannot be sure until we get there what the Lord will require of us.” But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not let the people go. Instead the Pharaoh decided to utter a threat of his own; so to Moses he said, “Get thee from before my presence, and be warned. Do not ever again come into my presence; for the next time I see your face before me, I will kill you!” “Sure,” Moses replied. “You have well spoken; for you shall indeed see my face no more.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Fear not. I will bring one final plague upon the Pharaoh; and after that he shall not only let you go, but will chase you out of his country altogether.”
Friday, March 21, 2014
But before Moses went to the Lord with Pharaoh’s request, he had a few words for the Pharaoh; for he said to him; “I will go talk to the Lord; but don’t think for one minute that I am taken in by your promise. For as for you and your servants, I know that you will not fear the Lord God. Yes your crops were smitten and so you want the hail and the thunder to stop; I know you cannot be trusted to keep your promise.” Yet Moses petitioned God and the thundering and hail stopped; and as soon as that was accomplished the Pharaoh hardened his heart again. So then the Lord commanded Moses again and told him go talk to the Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants; they will not respond to your request; but this must be in order that my power be manifest. So Moses and Aaron again appeared to the Pharaoh and told him yet again, “let God’s people go. How long will you continue to refuse to humble yourself before the Lord?” Moses asked him. “If you refuse to let the people go, this time tomorrow the Lord will send locusts into the land and they shall cover even onto the very borders of Egypt. The host of them shall be so great as to cover the entire surface of the land of Egypt. In addition they shall eat completely the entire vegetation that was left behind by the hail; and every leaf, every blade of grass, shall be eaten by the locusts. In the face of this ultimatum, the Pharaoh refused to budge; so the locusts descended all over the land, covering it like a blanket and ate every green leaf, every fruit, and every green thing that was in all the land of Egypt. At this stage Pharaoh turned to his old tricks. “Please Moses, he said; I know I have sinned; I know I have promised three times before; and I know I have failed to keep my promise. But I am begging you this very last time; ask the Lord to take away the locusts out of the land; and I will let the people go; I promise you.” And once again, Moses petitioned God, and God sent a mighty strong wind and blew away the locusts, everyone disappeared as quickly as they had come. How will the Pharaoh respond to God? More
Thursday, March 20, 2014
A heart set against God is not easily shaken unless the Lord himself shakes it. Sometimes, the Lord will have his way with us; but sometimes He simply lets us have our way without Him. Quite often having had our way, we realize too late that it has been the wrong way; but then we may find refuge and forgiveness in Him, as long as we are prepared to wear the scars of our errant ways. Even as the Lord prepared to rain down hail and fire from above, He showed a measure of mercy towards Egypt, perhaps because of the people who were being led astray and ruled by a hardened heart; so He cautioned them to take the cattle and livestock from out in the fields and put them indoors so that they too would not be consumed. So at the appointed time, Moses stretched forth his rod towards heaven; and the Lord sent thunder, hail and fire down upon and over the land of Egypt. And the hall and fire burnt up everything that was in the field, man and beast and grass; everything was consumed by the hail and the fire throughout the land of Egypt, save that no harm fell upon the area of Goshen where God’s people dwelled. And so it came to pass that in the midst of that great and dreadful hail and firestorm, Pharaoh sent and called Moses and Aaron and confessed to them that He and his people had done wickedly. “We have sinned,” the Pharaoh confessed to Moses. “Therefore please go to the Lord for us and beg for mercy. I promise that this time I will let the people go; only let there be no more thundering and hail and fire. This time I mean it when I say I will let the people go”. This was Pharaoh’s third promise to let the people go. But Moses was told by the Lord before hand that Pharaoh would eventually let the people go. So that it’s not difficult to understand why Moses, who no doubt was getting somewhat frustrated with the yes, no antics of the Pharaoh, would want to listen to his promise to let the people go. Once again Moses went to the Lord with the Pharaoh’s request. His job was to lead the people out; not to wrestle with the Pharaoh; so he took him at his word even though the Pharaoh had deceived him twice before. More.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
So then the blood was in the water, the frog and lice and flies, ticks were on man and beast, and now a new plague would come upon the king and the men and women and all the beasts of Egypt. For the Lord told Moses to this time take handfuls of ashes and waft it into the air in the sight of the Pharaoh and it shall descend on the earth and bring forth ulcers and boils in the flesh of both men and beast. This time, the magicians themselves could not stand to do their usual hocus pocus, because they too were too sore and pained to stand. And the affliction caused by the boils was very severe. But God did not intervene in the question of Pharaoh’s stubbornness and his disinclination to hearken to God. So his heart remained hardened towards God in the midst of his suffering and the suffering of his people. Accordingly, the Lord instructed Moses to rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh and repeat the Lord’s command that he should let Israel go. This time, Moses told Pharaoh, the Lord is going to send all his plagues upon your heart, and the hearts of your servants and all the people of Egypt, so that if you do not know by now, you will know that He is the Lord and that there is none other like him. For thr Lord will smite your people with pestilence so severe your people shall be cut off from the rest of the people of the earth. The Lord wants me to tell you that he allows you to defy Him so that by the things He does to you, the rest of the world may know that He is the God of great and awesome power and that there is none like Him. Therefore tomorrow at this time of day, the Lord shall cause to rain down from heaven very grievous hail such as no one has ever seen before on all the earth. . If you want to save your cattle take them into your houses for hail and pestilence shall rain down from heaven tomorrow.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
As Pharaoh promised a second time, so Moses petitioned God who removed the plague of flies; but as soon as that was done, Pharaoh again reneged and hardened his heart. Accordingly the Lord had another special message for Pharaoh. “Tell him to let my people go that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let them go, I will send upon your cattle, the horses, the asses, the camels, the oxen, and upon the sheep a most serious plague. It shall not be upon the livestock of the children of Israel; it will be upon the herd of the Egyptians only. If you do not change your mind and let my people go, this plague shall be let lose upon you tomorrow at a set time.” And the next day, the Lord sent the plague upon all the cattle of Egypt and they died; but not one of the cattle of the children of Israel died. When Pharaoh heard the news that all the cattle had died, he sent to verify if any of the cattle of the Hebrews had died; and it was reported back to him that not one had died; but yet he hardened his heart and refused to let God’s people go. The Pharaoh had endured through 6 plagues. Twice at the height of the plagues of frogs and flies he had approached Moses and offered to make a deal; but each time he had changed his mind once the worst of the crisis had been removed by the hand of God; so now he simply hardened his heart and refused to budge. What will God do next? Will he say well Pharaoh you win and go away and leave him alone? If we know anything about God, we ought to know the answer to that question; for God cannot fail; and what he promises to do He will do; but in all things he must work his purpose out according to His purpose.
Monday, March 17, 2014
So in spite of everything that God did unto Pharaoh so far, he still decided to hang tough. He saw the staff of Moses turned into a snake; he saw the rivers of water of Egypt turned to blood; he witnessed the frogs everywhere and relented but changed his mind when they were removed, and he witnessed the infestation of lice on man and beast; and still he refused to let God's people go. So now God visited a new plague upon him and all Egypt, an infestation of flies; for God told Moses to rise up early in the morning and go stand before Pharaoh and say to him, the Lord tells you to let his people go so that they may serve Him. And if you will not let His people go He would send swarms of flies upon you, and upon your servants, and upon the people. Every house in Egypt will be affected unless you let His people go. Furthermore, says the Lord, Moses informed Pharaoh, "I will separate the land of Goshen where my people dwell, from the rest of Egypt, so that they will not be visited by the flies; and there shall be a clear division between my people and your people, so that you will have no doubt that I the Lord am responsible for the flies. Accordingly as per the word of the Lord, there came the next day, a huge swarm of flies in Pharaoh's house, and those of his servants and the whole land of Egypt was covered with flies. I can't speak for everyone; but as for me, flies are the filthiest and the most disgusting of pests on the earth. The thought of swarms of flies covering everything around the table and counter tops, the beds, the very food is undoubtedly most repulsive. I am aware even as I say this that there are, I have seen people who do not seem to mind flies swarming around. I remember going into certain bars in a certain European country and finding on many occasions the counters totally covered over with flies and feeding on the tapas placed there for customers, who would simply brush the flies away and eat apparently unperturbed; but I found the practice revolting. Even so there were not flies everywhere as was clearly the case of the visitation in Egypt at the time. Be that as it may, Pharaoh eventually decided that enough was enough, and he was prepared to let Israel go and worship. At first he wanted to limit the distance away they could go; but Moses would not agree; it has to be away from this place, from among your people Moses insisted; and eventually Pharaoh agreed, and cautioned him not to deal with him deceitfully a second time; and Pharaoh agreed not to and so. and Moses went off and petitioned God to remove the flies. Reply, Reply All or Forward | More
Sunday, March 16, 2014
So in accordance with the agreement between Moses and the Pharaoh, Moses went out and spoke with God and petitioned Him to remove the frogs from out of the houses, villages and fields; but we note God did not simply cause the frogs to disappear; their carcasses remained piled up on the land and creating a big stink. But why did God allow the dead frogs to remain, so that the stink and the death were ever present emblems in the sight of the people. It is submitted that God knew what Pharaoh would do next and so the dead frogs were kept as a reminder. And sure enough, even though the plague of the frogs had not been completely wiped out of sight and out of mind, Pharaoh became his own self again; he hardened his heart; he reneged on his promise and refused to let the people go. So God instructed Moses to visit a fourth plague upon Egypt. This time it was a plague of gnats or lice. For Aaron, stretched his rod over the earth of Egypt and all men and animals even the earth was infected with lice. Once again the magicians showed up to do their thing; and having failed as before, they told the Pharaoh that the lice were the act of God and as such they were powerless to do anything to get rid of them; but the Pharaoh hardened his heart; he was prepared to scratch and itch and agonize like everyone else rather than cast off his pride. What a deadly sin pride is. Even today we find men and women whose lives are ruled by pride; they would rather die than admit they are wrong, and even more to bow the knee and yield their heart and give worship to their Creator. More
Saturday, March 15, 2014
They say that “seeing is believing,” but that is not always so. The Pharaoh saw; but did he believe? The Jews of Jesus’ day, saw His many miracles but did they believe that he was God in the flesh, if not why not? The truth is it was all because of Gods will and purpose, just as it was with Pharaoh; God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he heard and saw, but remained stiff hearted and stiff necked just as the Jews were and in many cases still are today. So the third message went forth; say unto Pharaoh I will smite all your borders with frogs. And the rivers shall bring forth frogs abundantly which shall come up and go into your house, and into your bedchamber, and upon your bed, and into the houses of your servants and all the people; even into your ovens and the very dough while you knead it to bake your bread. But in spite of this stern warning Pharaoh refused and so Moses instructed Aaron and Aaron stretched his hand over the waterways, rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams of Egypt; and according to God’s word, frogs came up over the entire land of Egypt. The joke was, although it was no joke really, when the Egyptian magicians tried using their power by their enchantments to cause the frogs to go away, more frogs came instead; and so with frogs everywhere, in the water, in the food, on the bed everywhere, the Pharaoh caved in. “Entreat the Lord” he begged Moses. “And cause the frogs to go away from me and my people; and I will surely let the people go to worship their God; I swear it. So Moses replied to Pharaoh and said, “So that you and your people may know that there is no God like the Lord my God, tell me when exactly you would like the frogs to go away and remain in the rivers only and it shall be done exactly as you ask.” And the Pharaoh replied and said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, “It’s a deal!” “The frogs shall depart from you and your servants and the people and remain in the river only according to your word.” More
Friday, March 14, 2014
BRAGADAYJAH 181 We shall see when we continue tomorrow. Moses and Aaron had appeared before Pharaoh and had shown him a miracle from their God. So when Pharaoh said show me you have power Moses had thrown down his rod which turned into a snake. But the Pharaoh was not overly impressed; and so he called his magicians who threw down their rods which turned into many snakes. And although Moses’ snake ate up their snakes, the Pharaoh decided that that was not enough to make him change his mind and let the people go. But God was not done with Pharaoh; for this time God told Moses to show his power by a far more impressive miracle; one that the Pharaoh’s magicians could not duplicate. So now the Lord told Moses to stretch his rod over the all the waters of Egypt; over the streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, pools and every catchment of water; and as Moses did so, all the waters of Egypt was turned to blood. Not only so; all the fish in the streams and rivers died, so much so that the waters stank and the people could not drink it. There was blood all over Egypt. The magicians tried to reverse the plague of blood by doing all kinds of magic tricks and by enchantments; but they were powerless to reverse that which was sealed by the power of God. Pharaoh went into his house and locked himself in and refused to face the people who were panting for a drink of water. They began frantically digging around near the river and everywhere they thought perhaps there may be water; but whenever they found water, it also turned to blood before there very eyes. After seven days, the Lord sent again Moses to the Pharaoh and again told him to let God’s people go. “And know this,” said the Lord to the Pharaoh by the mouth of Moses; “should you fail to let my people go, I shall smite all the borders of Egypt with frogs.” Well the snake miracle did not impress Moses to have a change of heart; neither did the fact of all the waters of Egypt turned to blood as loathsome and difficult as that was. But will he yield under the threat of grogs everywhere? We shall see when we continue tomorrow.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Go now and speak unto Pharaoh God commanded Moses; but even so “I shall harden his heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt.” What did God mean by hardening Pharaoh’s heart? The rest of the sentence gives us a bit of a clue. By hardening his heart, Pharaoh gave God the opportunity of showing his, God’s own matchless power. This gives an explanation of why Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. The wicked by his wickedness shows the glory of God. When for instance Joseph’s brothers did wickedly towards him, they were unknowingly creating the situation in which God could move and show his providence. God in a sense is like the sun. The sun at once melts and hardens. But how does God harden the heart of man? By withdrawing his superintending control and allowing man to act out of his wickedness and obstinacy. We know for example, that the heart of man is desperately evil; but the indwelling balm of the Spirit operates to make that same heart yielding and obedient. So we conclude in the context of God’s dealing with the Pharaoh, God hardened his heart by withdrawing his influence over him allowing his to be himself; and so that God was able to show the futility of man when he tries to defy God. And so the Lord said to Moses, Pharaoh’s heart is hardened; and he refuses to let my people go. Go you, therefore, to him early in the morning while he washes himself in the river; stand by the river’s bank holding your rod in your hand, and tell the Pharaoh that God says to let his people go. Of course God told Moses, he will refuse in which case you should tell him that God says, if you refuse to let my people go I will smite the waters of Egypt and they shall be turned to blood, and all the fish shall die and they shall stink and the people will not be able to drink the water.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
BRAGADAYJAH 179 The Pharaoh asked Moses, “Who is your God that I should obey him?” Clearly Pharaoh truly had no real idea whom he was messing with, or else he would have heeded Moses. Let us look again at God’s message to Moses for the children of Israel: I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians; I will rid you out of their bondage; I will redeem you with an outstretched arm; I will take you to me for a people; I will be to you a God; I will bring you in unto the land I promised you; I will give it to you as an everlasting heritage; Seven times the Great I Am said I will; but the children of Israel would not believe; their excuse, the burdens they bore were too heavy, and the pain of their labor too unrelenting. The Lord, therefore, directed Moses to go back to the Pharaoh, King of Egypt and request him to let God’s people go out of the land of Egypt. In response Moses asked God why should the Pharaoh listen to him, when the very people he was sent to help no longer listened to him. It was a fair question to ask, even when speaking with God. Here were these people who were supposed to be the people of God; these very people obviously did not trust or fear him; they continued to fear and to doubt notwithstanding his manifold promises; so why should Pharaoh who had his own gods do so? In addition, Moses was concerned with the fact that he was just a man, and an imperfect man at that. Pharaoh was a king; by rights, he had no standing, no right of audience before the Pharaoh. He had no power, no army, no authority; so why should the Pharaoh even listen to him or obey him? God’s further response to Moses hesitancy was to point out that he had been made a god to Pharaoh and that Aaron was to be his prophet; So said God as far as right of standing before Pharaoh is concerned, you are now made a god and you can now speak to him on equal terms as of god to god by the mouth of your prophet your brother Aaron. So go now and speak to Pharaoh and tell him, let my people go out of the land. More
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
So as we have seen, the children of Israel blamed Moses for interfering in their lives, and causing Pharaoh to over burden them. Of course Moses had no answer for the people; so he turned to God to ask why. “Why have you treated this people so badly?” “And why have you sent me?” “All I have done is to bring evil upon these people and you have not delivered them as you said you would.” In reproaching God, Moses did not of course remember that God had in fact told him that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened and that he would not let the people go just like that. Anyway, God told Moses, “Don’t worry; for I shall show you what I am going to do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he shall eventually let them go; and equally with a strong hand he shall drive then out of the land of Egypt.” “Remember Moses,” God reminded him; “I am the Lord. I am the same Lord who appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of God Almighty. But by the name Jehovah was I not known to them.” Many Bible expositors take the phrase, “by the name Jehovah was I not known to them,” to be mainly rhetorical. It is a case of God posing as a sort of question, “surely did they not know I am also God who keeps his covenants and not merely a provider of their needs?” In any event God now tells Moses, whether Moses knew it beforehand or not, that he the Lord Jehovah is a covenant keeping God. For indeed said the Lord God, I established my covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give to the children of Israel the land of Canaan, and give them I will. “Surely I have heard the cry of the children of Israel and I see their oppression, and I have not forgotten my promises.” “Therefore go back to the children of Israel; tell them I am the Lord, and I will bring them out from under the burdens of their Egyptian bondage. Tell them I will redeem them and bring them out with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments, and I will take them to me for a people, and I will be unto them a God; and they will know that it is I, the Lord their God who delivered them out from under their Egyptian bondage.” More
Monday, March 10, 2014
The Pharaoh’s response to Moses’ request for time off was to severely increase the work load of the Hebrews. Lay more work upon them was Pharaoh’s orders to the task masters. So the task masters went out and addressed the people. They told them that the Pharaoh was not going to give them any time off, and no straw with which to make bricks as thitherto. It is up to you, they told them to find the straw where they could; but the end result was that they would not be allowed to slack in the amount of bricks they produce. Indeed the people were scattered abroad to gather stubble for straw, all the time being under the constant lash of the taskmasters to work faster and harder. Naturally brick production fell away; it was not humanly possible to make the same number of bricks when you had to first go about looking for straw with which to make bricks, as when the straw was supplied to you. So the task masters whipped and beat them and demanded more production. As a result the overseers of the children of Israel appeared before the Pharaoh to complain about their harsh treatment. They complained about the impossibility of making bricks without straw; they complained of the beatings and the whippings and the cruel and unusual punishment The Pharaoh’s response was to call them lazy and idle. They were idle he told them; they had too much free time on their hands, he told them; “that is why you ask for time to go to the wilderness to sacrifice to your God!” “Go from my presence, he told them; there shall no straw be given you; and yet you are expected to produce the same tally of bricks as before. Not surprisingly, having been turned away by the Pharaoh, they turned on Moses. They said, “you and your talk about the Lord, fat bit of good you have done us. All you have done is to put a sword in the hand of the Pharaoh with which to slay us.” More
Sunday, March 9, 2014
Once Moses and Aaron got to the people and they agreed to hearken to them, Moses and Aaron went into Pharaoh and delivered the message, “The Lord our God has sent us to tell you, let his people go so that they may go into the wilderness to worship him there.” The message of the two Hebrew boys must have been as strange to the Pharaoh, if not as comical, as if a little 5 year old boy and gone into a bank with a toy gun and said, “O K this is a hold up.” The Pharaoh’s reply tends to bear this out that he treated the request with utter contempt for he said, “Who is your God the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?” “I know not the Lord neither will I let Israel go.” By his reply, the Pharaoh was not saying that he had never heard of the God of the Hebrews, but rather, that he did not feel inclined to take orders from any one not even a God, whom he neither respects nor fears. After all, he had his own gods and they listen to him, not he to them. Moses and Aaron were well briefed and prepared for the Pharaoh’s reply so they said. “The God of the Hebrews has met with us; let us go we pray thee three days journey into the desert and sacrifice unto the Lord our God, lest he falls upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” The Pharaoh was not going to be intimidated by two scrawny looking Hebrew men, not even if they spoke in the name of some distant God; so he said, “Why do you two come to waste my time and stop the Hebrews from their daily tasks? Get out and get to work. As for the people they are many and since you have come and put these foolish ideas in their heads, they are not working as hard as they used to. Therefore since the people have so much leisure time it would seem they need more work to occupy them so that I am now instructing their task masters to increase their work. And whereas before they were provided with straw from which to make bricks from henceforth they will be required to make the same number of bricks as before; but they would have to also gather straw for themselves; for it would seem the people had too much free time on their hands. That is why they thought to beseech me to give them time off from their work to go sacrifice to their God.” More
Saturday, March 8, 2014
As Moses was receiving his final briefing from God there seems to have been something in Moses’ own life that made him unfit for the task for which he had been chosen. It may be that God had been speaking to Moses about the question; but Moses was being stubborn. It is possible too, that his wife Zipporah had been opposing him over the matter; and so in any event God had to find a away of getting his attention. Accordingly in giving him final instructions, God told Moses to tell Pharaoh, that Israel was His first born son; and to let his son go, that he may serve him, and if he failed to let him go, He would slay his son, even his firstborn son. So we see in speaking to Moses about the Pharaoh, he was also speaking to Moses, about Moses, who was withholding his own son from God in that he had refused or neglected to circumcise his own son. So we are told, God was going to kill Moses, at which point Zipporah took the flint in her own hand and perform the act herself. That she was no doubt violently opposed to circumcision may be inferred from her almost contemptuous words to her husband, “Here you are my bloody husband.” Once the circumcision was done, the way was clear for Moses to proceed. God was sending him to be the leader of the Nation; and certainly a disobedient and unfaithful leader could not be seen as a servant of God. Once the circumcision was over, God was ready to introduce Aaron to Moses. The two met and embraced and kissed and Moses told to Aaron the redemption plan as God had outlined it to him. The two then gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel; and Aaron told them all that God and said to Moses and showed them all the signs; and the people believed. And when they heard that the Lord had heard their supplications and had visited them, they bowed their heads and worshipped God. More
Friday, March 7, 2014
So far, God had been very patient with Moses; as patient if He were trying to assure and encourage a little child; but still Moses doubted and said “Lord find someone else to send; but not me.” So now the anger of the Lord was stirred up; and the Lord said, “Is not Aaron the Levite thy Brother? I know that he speaks well; and even now, he is on his way to meet you; and when he sees you he will be very glad in his heart. So when you meet with him tell him what you would have him say; and I will tell you what you should say, and teach you what you should do. Let Aaron be the spokesman unto the people. He shall be to you as your mouth, and you shall be to him as if God. When you go, take this rod with you, for with it you shall do wonders.” Moses needed no more encouragement; he went home and told his father in law Jethro that he would like to return unto his brethren which were still in Egypt, to see if they were still alive; and Jethro told him to go in peace. In addition God assured Moses by telling him that those in Egypt who sought his life were already dead. So Moses took his wife and his sons and set them on a donkey and with them and with his rod in his hand, he returned to Egypt; but not before the Lord prepared him for the battles ahead by informing him, to make sure that he performed all the miracles he had shown him, when he appeared before the Pharaoh; but he assured him further that Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened so that he would refuse to let the people go; for I, said God will harden his heart. More
Thursday, March 6, 2014
It is not every day a person encounters and talks with God. So Moses could be excused for doubting God over the success of his mission. They will not listen to me or believe me he protested; but God is patient and assures him that they will. Surely God assured him these two signs I have given you, a stick that turns into a snake and back again into a stick, and a hand which turned leprous white as snow and back again are two powerful tools which would surely convince the people that you have met and spoke with God. However, God told Moses, “I will give you a third sign should they not believe or listen to you after the first two signs. Here is what you should do. Take some water from the river and pour it on dry land; and the water which you take out of the river and pour on the dry land will turn to blood upon the dry land.” Moses was fast running out of excuses. First he used the excuses of doubting God; but now God demonstrated who he was and his power, Moses turned to doubting himself. “Lord,” he said; I do believe you are the God of my fathers and you are mighty in power; but the problem is I. You see Lord, I cannot speak; when I try to speak I get all tongue tied; and the people would just laugh at me because I am slow of speech and I am slow of wit. “Now then,” “the Lord asked Moses, “Is it not I who made the mouth of man? Have I not made the dumb and deaf and blind and sighted? Am I not the Lord?” “Go ye, therefore, and I will be with thee; I will be your mouth, and will teach you what to say.” What did Moses have to say to that? We will see next time. More
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
We have seen so far that God was giving Moses every assurance that his mission to lead God’s people out of Egypt was going to be successful; but Moses had doubts. Having lived in the house of the Pharaoh literally most of his life, he knew the ways and the caprices of the Pharaohs far better than God did, or so he thought. Not only would he bring the people out, God assured him; “but every woman shall borrow of her neighbor and of every householder, jewelry and clothes and supplies for the journey. God called it spoiling the Egyptians, that is, God’s people taking from the world the basic necessities for survival. Yet Moses held out and told God that the people would not believe him. He was still no doubt mindful of the trouble he got into before, when he tried to help one of these very people. So now one could hardly blame him for being hesitant. “They just won’t believe me he lamented.” “What is in your hand?” God asked Moses. “Just a stick,” Moses replied. “Cast it on the ground!” God commanded Moses cast the stick on the ground and it turned into a snake, and startled, Moses ran away. God then ordered Moses to go back and take the snake by the tail, which Moses did and the snake was just a stick again. After that God told Moses to put his hand into his bosom and take it out again; and when Moses did so, his hand turned as white as snow. Now put your hand in your bosom again, and then take it out, God told Moses, and when he did so, his hand reverted to its original color. What was the color of Moses and thus his body? It was certainly not white, as white does not contrast with white. Certainly whatever his caste, he would have by today’s standard been classified as non-white for whatever that is worth. More
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
If you know anything about God, you would know that when he gives instructions they are precise, clear, detailed and to the point. God is never vague or imprecise about what he wants his servants to do or what he expects of them. So now he is talking to an incredulous Moses; who is having a one on one experience with God for the first time. God is about to send him on a mission; granted a mission that seemed to Moses highly dangerous if not impossible; so God gets down to details and specifics with him. Having given a code name by which his authority could be recognized, he continued to tell Moses, “When you go down to Egypt, first gather all the elders of the people together; then you tell them, the Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob appeared unto me, and said unto me, I have surely visited you, and have seen all the things that have been done to you in Egypt. Therefore I have said, I will bring you out of your afflictions and take you to and give you the land of the Canaanites, and the Hitties and the Amorites, and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, a land that is flowing with milk and honey.” “And the people shall listen to you and the elders shall go with you before the King, and you shall say to him; The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us, and so now we request that you give us three days off so that we may go into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God. I know he will say no and will not let you go; but I will stretch forth my hand and smite Egypt with all my wonders and great power and after that he will let you go.”
Monday, March 3, 2014
“God are you crazy? Don’t you know that I had to flee for my life from that place, and I would be killed on sight should I show my face in Egypt again much less lead a bunch of people out of there?” Well then, if Moses did not actually speak these words, at least those were some of his thoughts for sure. So he said instead, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and tell him, let the children of Israel go out of Egypt?” And God said to Moses, you will go and you will bring the children of Israel out of Egypt. Don’t worry, I will be with you. And to prove that I have sent you, after you bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, you and I will meet upon this very mountain. But Moses was not about to cave in that easily; so he said to God, suppose I did go to the children of Israel and say to them that the God of their fathers sent me unto you, what will I say to them when they ask me what it is his name? And God said to Moses, I AM THAT I AM. That is how you should answer the children of Israel; tell them, “I AM sent me.” Also say to them, “The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob hath sent me unto you; this is my name forever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Moses was now a part of the family of the priest of Midian and was the keeper of his flocks. One day, Moses led the flock on the rear side of the desert and came to the mountain of Horeb, and was feeding the flock there. While attending the flock there appeared suddenly a flame of fire out of the midst of green brush, and as he looked on in awe, he noticed that the bush were all as it were glowing flames of fire; but the marvel was that the bushes were not being burnt. So Moses decided to draw nearer to investigate this mystery, how could green bush burn without being consumed by the fire? Of course Moses saw and observed; but he could not articulate what he saw; he could not translate the experience into language; for what he saw, but could not explain was the effect of the incandescent glory of God on the bushes all around him. Then as he began to get closer to the bush, God called unto him from within the midst of the bush and said to him, “Moses, Moses,” and Moses as startled as he was said, “Here am I.” And God spoke to Moses and said, “Draw not nigh hither; (don’t come any closer); but remove your shoes from off your feet; for the place upon which you stand is holy ground.” In addition, God said to him, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” During this encounter with God, Moses could not look at him; but threw himself face downward on the ground, because he was afraid to look at God; for the sight of God’s glory was too overwhelming for him to behold. But God continued to talk to him. “I have sure seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians and to bring them out of that land unto a good land, a large land unto a land flowing with milk and honey. The land I speak about is the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites and the Jebusites. So I have decided to send you to the Pharaoh that you may be able to bring my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. Moses’ immediate reaction was to blurt out, Me Lord, are you crazy?” More.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Once Moses knew that his secret was out, he ran and never stopped running until he was way out of the reach of the king of Egypt. But at last tired and worn and thirsty, he stopped be a well to drink water and rested himself there. And so it happened that while Moses was there, seven young girls all the daughters of the priest of Midian came to the well to water their father’s flock; but the shepherds came and tried to drive them away and to prevent them from watering their animals; but Moses rose up and stopped the shepherds from interfering with the maidens. Moses indeed must have been a most imposing figure. It would seem that this was not the first time that the shepherds would prevent the girls, driving them away, and making them wait until they the shepherds had watered their own flocks first. So that when the girls were able to return home long before the usual time, their father Reuel wanted to know how come they returned home so soon. The girls explained to their father that an Egyptian protected them from the shepherds and drew water for them so that they could water their flocks without the usual interference. Hearing this, the father wanted to see this Egyptian who had helped his daughters, and wanted to know why they did not invite him to dinner. And so the girls went out again and found Moses still at the well and bid him join their father. And so it was that Moses decided to remain with the priest and eventually he gave him one of his daughters, Zipporah by name to be his wife; and in course of time she bore him a son, whom he called Gersham, because he said, “I am a stranger in a strange land.” Eventually, however, the King of Egypt died; but the bondage and burden of the Hebrew children did not subside; and they cried continually unto their God because of their bondage. And in course of time God was touched by their cries, and he decided that he would heed their cry because of the covenants he had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and for their sakes.