Exodus 4: 27-6: 1
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson discusses the first confrontation between Israel's deliverer and Pharaoh.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for the word of God, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and the spirit, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, and the word with which we must one day have to do. We thank Thee, Lord, for the full revelation given to us and we recognize that we are without excuse. We thank Thee for the grace of God manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ. We thank Thee for the privilege of this hour. We ask Thy blessing upon each of us as we consider again a portion from Thy word.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
[Message] Well, we are turning to Exodus chapter 4 and verse 27 and considering tonight, “Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh: The First Round.” Exodus chapter 4 verse 27, through chapter 6 and verse 1. We have just, by the grace of God, been able to pass through the time of the Super Bowl. Some of us have not even seen much of the game, which is, of course, the greatest blessing of all. For those of you that didn’t see any of it, I congratulate you. For those of you that didn’t read the newspaper ahead of time, you are to be congratulated even more; and for those of you that did not get excited over it, well, that’s wonderful.
We were told Sunday night, in the Lord’s Supper by Gerald Chester, that that great scholar, Walter Cronkite, had said a few years ago when someone asked him why he was at the Super Bowl and what he saw in it. I am sure I am not quoting Gerald correctly and he admitted he was not quoting Cronkite precisely, but he said, “Of all the events that occur in the United States, this is probably the one that has no significance whatsoever.” Something like that, which is probably true. The Super Bowl really has no significance whatsoever.
Well fortunately, when we turn to the word of God, the Super Bowl is followed by something important, as far as we are concerned. It is something extremely important in the history of salvation. It is the super confrontation. Moses and Aaron versus Pharaoh. One notices, again, these familiar truths that we see so often in the word of God when we look at the confrontation between Moses and Aaron on the one hand and Pharaoh, the king of all the Egyptians and others, on the other hand. One sees God’s sovereign and providential ordering. One notices, even in the way in which this encounter between Moses and Aaron takes place, the sovereign hand of God and His providence. Moses is told, for example in chapter 4 and verse 14: And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is not Aaron, the Levite, thy brother? I know that he can speak well.” And also, “Behold! He cometh forth to meet thee and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.” And then we read in verse 27:
“And the Lord said to Aaron, ‘Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.’ And he went and met him in the mount of God and kissed him. And so the Lord is working in the heart of Moses and the Lord is working in the heart of Aaron. And the Lord brings them to this precise spot where he intended to bring them. And he causes them to react in the very same way in which he said that they would react. He will be glad in heart and he went and met him in the mount of God and there, he kissed him.”
In chapter 3 and verse 19, we were told Moses again giving us the word that the Lord God had given him. “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand or not except by compulsion.” And then, when Moses and Aaron make their request in chapter 5 and verse 2, we read: And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” So God’s sovereign providential guidance and orderings of the affairs of men is seen again. Today, I received a note or two from a friend of mine with some information in it and he had a few a little illustrations, which he had called from various authors. And one of them was entitled “The Other Jesus”, and it begins like this:
“Jesus Christ, the Savior.”
“Oh, well, what do you want?”
“I want permission to come in and save you.”
“Well, not right now. I really do not have the time to think about that right now.”
“But you do not understand. I am here to save you from your sins and from hell.”
“That’s okay. I will let you know when I am ready.”
“Thank you, you’d better go now. I’ll call when I am ready.”
And then my friend added these words: Does the above-pretended conversation shock you? Does it seem to border on disrespect, irreverence, blasphemy? In the conversation above, we see Jesus Christ as disappointed, rejected, unable to accomplish that for which he died; that is to save his people from their sins. Is that the kind of Jesus you know? Unfortunately, in many pulpits today, that is the kind of Jesus that is being presented. This is the other Jesus, the one that Paul warns us about in 2nd Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 4.
Now when you look at the confrontation between Moses and Aaron and Pharaoh and then read behind the scenes about how the Lord God is arranging these events so that they transpire to the ultimate glorification of his name, I think you can see that what we have here is a God who is sovereign in his dealings with men. And he orders the affairs of men. And in a moment, he will do the unspeakable thing. He will harden Pharaoh’s heart. In fact, that is what we read in chapter 3 in verse 19, “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.” And then in verse 21 of the next chapter, the Fourth chapter, we read, and the Lord said unto Moses, “When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand, but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.” In other words, we have a God who is in the control, perfect control of the affairs of all men.
Now the other thing, which for our purposes may be even more important, because we have a lot of stress in Believers Chapel on the sovereignty of God. Some people think too much stress, perhaps so. It is possible to overstress a very good doctor. It is possible to so preach the gospel, but you never preach anything else in the Bible but the gospel. And the Bible is more than the gospel. So, that’s possible. One other truth that is very important here is Moses’ owns spiritual education in the school of believing experience. And we want to take a little look at that, particularly as we go through these verses.
Now, Moses has been told that he is the deliverer. The Lord has met him. He has pronounced his name for Moses. He has reminded him of the covenant that He made with Abraham and that He is going to fulfill. Moses has been objecting. He is saying in effect, Why me? They won’t believe me. The Egyptians won’t respond. I am not eloquent. All of the kinds of excuses that we offer when God asks us to do something that he intends to do. And so finally, when the Lord’s anger is stirred a bit when Moses says I’m not eloquent, God said, “All right, you have a brother who can talk. His name is Aaron. We will make him your spokesman. And the time is coming when you’re going to meet with Aaron, and then you are going to go down and be the instrumentality for the accomplishment of the covenant promises that have been made to your fathers.” So now, we are reading in chapter 4, verse 27 through verse 31 of the beginning of this mission of redemption for the children of Israel:
“And the Lord said to Aaron, ‘Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.’ And he went, and met him on the mount of God and kissed him. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him and all the signs, which he had commanded him. And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. God had told him to do that, too remember? And Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses and did the signs in the sight of the people. And the people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
Stephen, when he is talking about this in his sermon later on in New Testament times, comments about this time and describes it as “but when the time of the promise drew nigh.” Remember, God had said to Abraham when he gave him the promises, that he and his descendants were going to go down into the land of Egypt and they would be there for 400 years. Well, the time of the promise is drawing nigh. And so God is going to fulfill his word, and Moses meets with Aaron. The predestined hour strikes, and Aaron hears the clock’s chimes for 40 years. So far as we know, these men had not seen each other though they were brothers. And yet we read in verse 27: And the Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” Two old men, brothers, separated by 40 years of absence, meet. Now, you can just imagine the divine promptings that came to these two men. Moses tells how the Lord spoke to him and then Aaron told him how the Lord had spoken to him and said, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” Here are two men who are subject to the promptings of the Lord, God. The Bible doesn’t tell us precisely in many cases how these men were spoken to by the Lord God, but I just have a hunch in Aaron’s case at least when we read here that the Lord said to him, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses,” this was a kind of divine prompting, very much like the prompting that a prophet might receive. I am not even sure he received any specific words from the Lord audible to our ears or to others’ ears, but these men learned how to hearken to the voice of God.
Well, it is something, of course, that we too should learn, how to know the will of God. Here are two men who know how to find the will of God. I have no doubt that most Christians, when they begin the Christian life, find it very difficult to find the will of God. But as you grow in the knowledge of the Lord, the ways by which you come to know the will of God become much clearer to you. And the Lord does not necessarily speak to everyone in the same way. But Aaron had learned how to make sense of the divine promptings, and he had responded and he went. I can just see those two men because they anticipate meeting each other, and I am sure they were excited. And as they went over each hill, they anticipated seeing the other person wondering if they would recognize them. After all, 40 years is a long time. Moses was a man 40 years of age when he left, but now he undoubtedly is a man with gray hair, if he had hair, and all of the other things that were the marks of age. And Aaron wondered if he would really recognize him when he saw him.
But at any rate, they met, they recognized one another, they kissed as was the custom, and then they began to talk about the news. I am sure that Moses said, “How’s Miriam?” For Miriam was their sister. And other questions he asked, and then Aaron told him about his own life, his family. And Moses told Aaron his because so far as we know, Aaron had never seen Zipporah, had never seen Moses’ children. And so they shared a lot of news together, but the main thing that they shared was the revere of the commission that God had given to Moses. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord who had sent him and all the signs, which he had commanded him. This is the really important news. All of us have a little pleasantries passed by.
Now, Moses said to Aaron: “I want to tell you some of the things that have happened to me, and how God has spoken to me in a most unusual way. And he has appointed me to be the deliverer of our people out of the bondage of Egypt.” And so he told him about the burning bush experience. He told him about the commission that he had been given. He told him about how God had given him his name, “I am who I am.” He told him about those covenantal promises, reminded Aaron of those covenantal promises, and there seems to be an undercurrent of recognition of this in this account that these covenantal promises were still known to be their promises, although they had largely lost hope in them coming to pass.
He told him also about the land to which they were going. It was a land flowing with milk and honey. Moses told Aaron because God had told him that is what is was. And then he told Aaron, he said, “Now, when we go back down to Egypt as you probably are anticipating, Pharaoh is not going to like it. In fact, God has told me that he is going to resist. But God has also told me that he is going to harden his heart. And we are going to have some unusual experiences, and we are going to have to perform mighty signs in order for us to leave the land of Egypt. But the time is coming in which we will leave.” And Moses then said to Aaron, “And Aaron, you’re to be my mouth.” I know that Aaron was shocked by that. He must have said, “What do you mean?”
And Moses told him all of the failures that had taken place between him and the Lord God, how he had said, “They won’t believe me. If they ask me who has sent me, who shall I tell them has sent me? I’m not eloquent.” And Aaron, when I said I’m not eloquent, the Lord really got angry and he told me, reminded me, I had a brother who had a nice tongue. And he told me that he would be my mouth. And so you are my mouth! I am to be your God, and you are to be my prophet! But really, of course, the Lord is directing all of this and you are to be my mouth. Aaron, of course, introduced an element of anxiety in this whole affair because Aaron was not the strong man that Moses was. Now we are seeing some of Moses’ failures, but later on we will see that Moses is really the strong man. And every now and then, Aaron manifests some weakness. But this is one of the things that Moses is plagued with now because he did not respond to the word of God.
So Moses said to Aaron: Now the first thing we’ve got to do is to meet with the elders because the Lord told me, “Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them ‘The Lord God of your fathers is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob appeared unto me saying I have surely visited you and seen that which is done to you in Egypt and I am going to bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt into the land of Canaan.'” That was said in chapter 3 in that opening conversation between the Lord God and Moses. And so they gathered the elders of the children of Israel together and you can see all of those grayed beards coming together like Mr. Prier and Dr. Mims, and Mr. Dean — all those old gray-bearded fellows. And they all came together and then Moses as God’s prophet explains to the elders of Israel the things that are going to happen.
And you wonder how they would respond to it, but Moses said “The people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.” That’s a magnificent response. After all, these men, now for 400 years have known very little of the mighty works of God in their midst; they have been in bondage. They have been in discipline. But now they bowed their heads and they worshiped.
One of the things that’s very striking about this account, you probably noticed it if you’ve been reading along with it is this, “The children of Israel cried unto the Lord for deliverance.” Now God had told them that it would be 400 years before they would be delivered. So, as the time drew nigh, they knew when God was going to work if they were paying attention to the word of God. Now, the chances are that not many were paying attention to the word of God because as the experiences in these early chapters are unfolded, that seems to be the case, but some did. The thing I want you to notice, though, is that even though they knew that their deliverance was to be accomplished at a period of 400 years, they still cried to the Lord. And they still prayed that the Lord would deliver them. Some people are inclined to think, if you believe that God orders the affairs of men and that he makes promises that he will do something at a certain time, then there is no need to pray.
But the experience of the New Testament is, and the Old Testament too, I should say, the experience of the men of the Bible is that they believed that men were to pray, and they believed also that God ordered the affairs of men because they believe that God is not only the ultimate cause of what he is going to do, but he also is the one who orders the means by which he accomplishes the things that he intends to accomplish. And so when he tells us that certain things will transpire, it is perfectly harmonious with it for us to pray, for us to witness, for us to preach the gospel, because they are the God-determined means for the accomplishment of his pre-destined goals. And so they cried to the Lord, and they prayed. And when the time drew nigh, they still were praying, and God is going to answer their prayers too. They believed.
How important it is for us to as we think about the things and the Scriptures, and as we think about the problems of life, all of the things that we have facing us because we all have those problems. How important it is to put our finger upon the text of the word of God and say to the Lord God, “Lord you have said that you would do this, and you have said that you would do this for your saints. And you have brought me to the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, and I am one of your saints.” Which does not mean, remember, that I am a particularly holy person but it just simply means “I am thine, oh Lord.” And so because I am thine, oh Lord, I have the right to expect you to fulfill your promises. And so, when you put your finger on the text of the promises of the word of God and look to God to perform them, that is the simplest manifestation of faith. And that’s what’s transpiring here for Moses, and Aaron, and the children of Israel in their own weak way, believing the promises that God had given to Abraham, “Leave the land of Egypt”.
Now opening round of the conflict follows because this is the battle. And incidentally, there is no feeling each other out as happens in prizefights. You know rarely in a prizefight, I said rarely; generally in a prizefight, I read the other day where one fellow came out of a corner and hit the fellow with a first blow and knocked him out. It was the shortest knockout on record, just a couple of weeks ago, eight seconds. Eight seconds and the fight was over.
Now usually though, fighters are a little wary in the first round and they kind of feel each other out and try a few blows and try to figure out exactly what the other fellow is going to be doing, but there is none of that with Pharaoh. So, in chapter 5 in verse 1, in the opening round of the struggle we read: And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, thus saith the Lord God of Israel, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.” And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” Egyptian Pharaohs were noted for their imperialism. They were noted for their arrogance, and Ramses II, if he was the Pharaoh, as most evangelical students believe, was evidently a man of that kind. He did not know who Jehovah was or Yahweh. And that is perfectly natural, I know not the Lord. It is natural and reasonable for him to reply that way because probably no one had spoken to him about Yahweh. And so the Lord God will impress upon Pharaoh just exactly who he is.
Now since, he has not had any soteriological revelation; that is he doesn’t have any knowledge of the special promises by which individuals are saved from their sin. God will speak to him in nature. And he will speak to him in a marvelous way, in nature, through the signs that he performs. And Pharaoh will not respond. In fact, there is probably no better illustration in the Bible of Romans chapter 1, verse 18 through verse 23, than Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Listen to what Paul says in Romans 1, verse 18. He was talking about the guilt of the Gentiles. And so he says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Because that which may be known of God, is manifest in them; for God hath shown it to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and deity.” That is, that he is the supreme being, so that they are without excuse.
As you know, the Bible does not speak of God as the supreme being. The world speaks of God as the supreme being. The very fact that the world speaks of the God of Scripture as the supreme being, makes it evident that they have received the revelation of God in nature. That does not save a man, however. And we go on and read “Because that when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became foolish, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God” — we would say incorruptible now, but the King James version has incorruptible God…”Into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness.” So God is going to speak to Pharaoh and he is going to perform his mighty miracles in nature and reveal that he is the supreme being, but Pharaoh, just like those individuals in Romans chapter 1, is not going to respond so that he is without excuse.
Now, God will ultimately give him up in the Red Sea. And Pharaoh, the man with the hardened heart will lose his life there. Now, do not think for one moment that Pharaoh did not have his hardened heart as a result of the fall. He did have a hardened heart, as a result of the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, for we all have hardened hearts. And Moses and the Lord are speaking about something more than that. They are talking about divine retribution. And so, the man whose heart is hardened because he does not respond will have his heart further hardened.
Now the Hebrews’ response to Pharaoh who comes out swinging by saying, “I will not let them go; I don’t even know who Jehovah is.”…The two men say, “The God of the Hebrews hath met with us, let us go, we pray thee, three days journey into the desert and sacrifice unto the Lord our God lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword.” So they give Pharaoh a kind of a backhanded warning, that if he doesn’t let them go to perform that particular religious service, then Pharaoh might be involved in pestilence, and the sword availed admonition.
But Pharaoh replies and he is still is swinging hard. And the king of Egypt said unto them: “Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people”, that means to hinder, hinder the people from their works, get you unto your burdens, and Pharaoh said, “Behold the people of the land now are many, and you make them rest from their burdens.” All this talk about promises and all this talk about leaving. Well, that’s going to raise false hopes on the part of the people and then they are not going to do their work. And remember the children of Israel were under the slave masters and also Hebrew officers under the Egyptian slave masters required to make bricks. So, Pharaoh is disturbed.
He not only says he is not going to let them go, but he is saying all this talk is keeping them from their work and he continues. And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters, these are the Egyptians, and their officers probably the Hebrew men under like foreman, we would say, the foreman their officers saying, “You shall no more give the people straw to make brick as heretofore. Let them go and gather straw for themselves and the tail of the bricks, the number of the bricks which they did not make heretofore, you shall lay upon them; you shall not diminish ought thereof, for they be idle. Therefore they cry, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid upon the men, that they may labor therein; and let them not regard empty works like these empty promises that Moses is talking about.
It’s a beautiful picture of all totalitarians. Men who will not brook any kind of objection to things that they are talking about. We have all of these Pharaohs around us today, mainly in our communistic lands or in Africa, which is filled with people just like this. The Third World, with all their little puppet dictators all over that country. So, he upbraided them for raising false hopes and hindering work. Well, that’s not very happy to be told by Pharaoh: “Look we have been supplying you with straw but now you get your own straw and furthermore, you produce the same number of bricks that you did before.” So Moses has already gotten them in a little bit of trouble as you can see.
Now we read verse 10 through verse 14 of the distress of the people. “And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they speak to the people saying: Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye get your straw where you can find it, yet naught of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters hasted them saying, “Fulfill your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw.” And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them were beaten, and demanded, “Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today as heretofore.” And now, an appeal is made to Pharaoh. Then, the officers of the children of Israel came and crowd unto Pharaoh saying: “Wherefore dealest thou thus with our servants? There is no straw given unto thy servants and they said to us make brick and behold thy servants were beaten but the fault is in thine own people.”
In other words, in your Egyptian slave masters Pharaoh, they don’t realize what they are saying when they say this, but they say the problem is these slave masters who are requesting that we make the same number of bricks but we don’t have the straw like we used to have. So Pharaoh’s response is one you might expect in verse 17 and verse 18 of chapter 5: But he said, “Ye are idle, ye are idle. Therefore ye say let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord. That is, you have got time to go out into the desert for three days and have a feast out there having to do with your religion, whatever it is. So obviously, you’ve got a lot of time to do your work. Go therefore, now and work for there shall no straw be given you yet you shall deliver the number of the bricks.” So you can imagine the sob of bitter anguish that followed these words.
The Lord’s case at this point seems rather hopeless and you know, there is a kind of likeness for this situation in many places today on the face of this globe. One can think of the Jewish people during the time of the holocaust and see a lot of this enacted again under Hitler and others. So, what we have here is really our anticipation of that fundamental conflict that exists between the heart of man and the Sovereign God who chooses a people of God. A natural man hates the choice of God. That is why he does not like Israel. That’s the fundamental cause of anti-Semitism. I think if you will study that and study it further in the light of the word of God, you ultimately will come to that, because otherwise it is utterly irrational.
Now then, after the opening round, which Pharaoh seems to win rather handedly, we read in verse 19 through chapter 6 and verse 1 of the dismay and then God’s encouragement of his people. A writer wrote not long ago, I find that doing of the will of God leaves me no time for disputing about his plans. That would be, of course, true of all of us. The doing of the will of God does not leave me time for disputing about his plans. We are just men now. And we will see that Moses is going to have some doubts about the things that have happened to him already when the euphoria of the people believing and bowing their heads in worship has passed by and now Pharaoh has put upon them this burden. Then, the promises do not look so good.
Is that like your Christian experience? It is great to find the fresh things in the word of God and then your own personal experiences seem to bring you to the place where these promises are not being fulfilled. And so, then life does not seem so good. That child on which or whom you had placed so much hope is not responding to the word of God at all. In fact, you went out of your way to bring them unto the sound of the gospel and they do not really care about the gospel at all, and now that they are getting to leave, you even wonder if they are Christians.
All of the other kinds of problems that we have, one can see it all played out here in Moses’ case and the lessons that Moses was taught are the kinds of lessons that we need to learn and rely upon when we are in these experiences.
Now in verse 19 we read: And the officers of the children of Israel did see them. They were in an evil case after it was said, “Ye shall diminish aught from your bricks of your daily tasks.” In other words they have got to produce the same number of bricks. And so what do you do in a situation like that? Well, in modern day sometimes you have roast preacher for Sunday dinner. That’s just a manifestation of the fact that we have difficulty. If it is not that, it is roast elders. In Believers Chapel we have roast elders. Anybody who is in authority, and the elders have roast deacons every now and then too. And then all of these men have roast members.
We all find our problems in someone else, and so they met Moses. They had gone in to see Pharaoh and so in verse 20, Moses and Aaron stood outside and so they are waiting to see what kind of response they had evidently and they met Moses and Aaron as they stood in the way as they came forth from Pharaoh and they said unto them, “The Lord look upon you and judge, because you have made our Saver to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants to put a sword in their hand to slay us.” Remember the children of Israel have more than once said — I don’t like to use this word, it’s a bad word for me. I’d never like to pronounce it, but it is true. You have made our name to stink among them. And so Moses must bear the brunt of that. And so what will Moses do? They’ve said “the Lord judge between us,” and they fully anticipate the Lord is going to judge Moses and not them.
So Moses returns to the presence of the Lord. The prophet does not have much of anything to do except to go to the Lord. This protest that Moses offers is one of the most human parts of the word of God. It’s both reasonable and unreasonable. It’s reasonable because the Lord has put him in this position and now the people are angry with him and so it’s reasonable for him to say something to the Lord about it, but oh how unreasonable that he does not say one thing about Pharaoh’s responsibility and the hardness of his heart? Moses returned to the Lord and said “Lord wherefore hast Thou so evil and treated this people? Why is it that Thou hast sent me?” Why did you call me to preach? Why did you call me to teach the Sunday school? Or why did you cause me to serve as an elder? Why did you call me to serve as a deacon? Or why did you ask me to witness to this person or to that person? Or why did you have me say a word about Christ to my boss, or to my friends?” All of those little things…Moses’, of course, is a big case, but Lord wherefore hast Thou so evil and treated this people? Why is it that Thou has sent me for since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he had done evil to this people, neither hast Thou delivered by people at all. In other words, “We have simply said to Pharaoh “Let us go,” We have done what you said and now it is worse than it was before.”
Now the first verse of the sixth chapter should really be the end of the fifth chapter, I think, and notice the reply of the Lord. Now it is for Moses, but I want to tell you something, it’s for you too. And it’s surely for me. Look at it carefully. Then the Lord said unto Moses, “Now.” Now in the Hebrew text, there is a little bit of emphasis on that word. “Now, at this time, shall Thou see what I will do to Pharaoh for with a strong hand shall he let them go and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of the land.” Because you see, God loves to bring his people into the condition in which they are unable to cope with their circumstances. Because when they are unable to cope with their circumstances, then when the deliverance comes as he has promised, they will realize it’s really from the Lord. “So now shall Thou see what I will do to Pharaoh for with a strong hand shall he let them go.”
He will not only let them go, but he is going to drive them out. He is going to be so anxious to get rid of you, he is going to drive you out. This is the same word that was used by the way of God driving out Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. It was the same word that is used of Abraham when he drove Hagar out with her child, and was left with Sarah. So he will not only let you go, he will, like he drove Adam and Eve out of the garden, he will cause Pharaoh to drive you out.
And so Moses now will learn the truth of those memorable words of Scripture which he will write later on. When the Lord said to him and he said to them, “Fear not. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” That is what true faith is. What do we do with about our personal salvation? Well, we try to save ourselves. We try to do things that please the Lord. We cannot do it; we have no good works with which we can present to him. If we honestly look at ourselves, we recognize we are failures. We cannot be justified of our own good works and so finally when someone preaches the cross to us and we see that Christ has done all of the work, we stand still, and see the salvation of God.
And in the saving work of the Lord Jesus, all of the saving work has been done, we simply put our finger on the text and say for by grace are you saved through faith, that not of ourselves, it’s the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast, “Lord if you are satisfied with what Christ has done for sinners, I am a sinner. I am satisfied with what he has done. I thank you for the salvation that has come to me.” That’s faith. That’s salvation. And then you come to understand that salvation is of the Lord. That same principle pertains in your Christian life. When you have the difficulties and trials, stand still and see the salvation of God.
Let’s bow in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for these magnificent words of promise given by the Lord to Moses and Aaron and the children of Israel but given to us also today. We so need the Lord. May they become real in our life in a special way. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.