Exodus 7: 14- 10:29
Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the nine plagues and their explicit demonstration of God's will and control over Pharaoh Egypt and the universe.
[Prayer] Father we are grateful to Thee for the privilege of the study of Thy word and we thank Thee for the way in which it ministers to us, to our needs, and though the events of which we study are separated from us by so many centuries, the relevance of them is very obvious to us. We thank Thee for the Holy Spirit who also takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us from the Old Testament Scriptures as well as the New Testament Scriptures. Enable us Lord to realize that the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scriptures is the authority for believers, and also the ultimate authority for unbelievers as well. For Thou hast said that the word that Thou hast spoken is that with which all men have ultimately to do. And Father as we study tonight, give us understanding and give us obedience to Thy word for Jesus’ sake, Amen.
[Message] We are studying in the Book of Exodus and our general theme is from Egypt to Canaan, and we are in that section of the book of Exodus in which Moses and Aaron, having been called to the ministry of deliverance of the nation of Israel are now appearing before the Pharaoh, and demanding of him in the name of Yahweh or the Lord, that he let them go from their bondage.
And tonight, we’re going to look at almost three chapters, because the remaining rounds of this encounter between Moses and Pharaoh is set out in these chapters. The nine plagues that are described here, leading up to the last and greatest plague “The Passover” event, which we will spend special time on, give us that encounter. So, we stopped our study last time at chapter 7 and verse 13 and therefore, we are going to begin tonight at chapter 7 and verse 14 and try to finish the 7th chapter, the 8th chapter, the 9th chapter and the 10th chapter.
The plagues, first of all, were intended to answer the question, which Pharaoh himself had asked, and that question was “Who is Yahweh?” Remember in the 5th chapter in the 2nd verse. When Moses and Aaron went to him and told the Pharaoh, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go.” The Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord? Who is Yahweh, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord; neither will I let Israel go.”
Now the plagues are designed to give that information to Pharaoh to tell him precisely who Yahweh is. And these ten plagues, nine of which we look at tonight the Lord willing, did show that Egypt’s gods were defeated, her magicians were discomforted, the Pharaoh deflated and ultimately destroyed in the waters of the Red Sea. The signs succeeded because as the Lord says in chapter 9 in verse 14, “For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart and upon thy servants and upon thy people, that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.”
And then in chapter 10, verse 2, “And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them, that ye may know that I am Yahweh.” So these signs were designed by the Lord to answer the question, “Who is Yahweh?” and they succeeded, because they showed that there is none like Yahweh, The God of Israel.
As one reads the signs, there are number of spiritual truths that impress themselves upon us. And first of all, that self-will and pride are contrary to the divine order of the world. And that when in the natural sphere, in the personal sphere, I should say, we act in pride and self-will and arrogance, then we may expect in the physical sphere to see some evidence of divine discipline and judgment. And that is what we see here because Pharaoh and the leaders in the land of Egypt are objecting in pride and arrogance to the deliverance of the children of Israel, and the result is destructive disorder in the realm of nature. This is God’s way of saying that he is the ultimate ruler of this universe and when we do not respond to him in spiritual matters, then there will come judgment in the physical and material things of the life as well.
Debauchery will ultimately lead to a condition of physical unwell-being. And this is so often illustrated in the word of God. It’s hardly necessary to point to illustrations of it. But one of the greatest of the illustrations is the illustration of Belshazzar. And finally of course, the statement in Daniel chapter 5 and verse 27 in which it is expressed in something very much like a motto in which we read, “TEKEL, Thou art weighed in the balances in art found wanting.” So, indulgence, sin in the physical sphere, in the spiritual sphere leads to disciplinary judgment and other forms of judgment from God in the physical sphere and ultimately in the spiritual sphere as well.
When one reads the Bible, we see this illustrated so often in the experiences of life, that when we come to experiences that are not in our biblical history, we tend to overlook that God is still speaking. For example, what happened in Babylon in the time of Belshazzar, when he engaged in such debauchery that finally God brought judgment upon him and upon Babylon. That kind of thing has been happening down through the years. And in our society, we have evidences of it as well.
I think back of the time when Cromwell finally lost power. And the revolution that he had wrought was one of the great revolutions that brought good to the land of England and Great Britain. And when that government came to an end, there was a tremendous physical storm that swept over the land of England at that very time. Or I think also of the time that has been pointed out by others, that when the Pope had pronounced as a judgment ex cathedra, the official teaching of the Roman Church that the Pope would, when he spoke on matters of the knowledge of Scriptural things, he spoke infallibly. It just so happened that the very time in which that decree was read, there was such thunder and reverberations in the natural world about the Vatican and in the city, that it could hardly be heard at all. And I would be inclined to think that that also was an evidence of God speaking from heaven as well.
The plagues were designed to reveal the divine power and majesty and long suffering of the Lord God, and the Apostle Paul, who was a student of this part of the Old Testament, refers to these things in the ninth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans and I would like for you to turn over there because I think it’s important for you to realize that the writers of the New Testament, while they were given their messages and their Epistles and their gospels by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they were not done without the study of the word of God by these individuals.
In Romans chapter 9 for example, the Apostle writes in verse 15: For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth. For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, “Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” That’s the passage that we are reading tonight. Therefore, hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy and whom He will, He hardeneth.
And we will read over and over again in these chapters of how God hardens Pharaoh. Thou wilt say unto me then, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonor?” What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction like Pharaoh and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy like Israel, Moses and Aaron which he had before prepared unto Glory. Even us, whom he have called not of the Jews only but also of the Gentiles.
So the plagues then were given with the divine intention of revealing the divine power and majesty, letting Pharaoh know who Yahweh was, but also to reveal his goodness and his long suffering for he could have destroyed Pharaoh and destroyed Egypt’s hold over the children of Israel in one mighty miracle, but over a period of months he pled with Pharaoh through the mighty signs that he was performing.
Pharaoh. I read in Readers Digest in one of the sections of it that there is a book called “How to Rule Egypt” by Mia Farrow. Well, he learns that the real ruler of Egypt is not Pharaoh after all. Now we are going to look tonight very briefly at nine of these plagues. Now, you have been to grammar school, and so you know that nine divided by three is three, and you know all preachers have to have three points, so it’s obvious that we are going to have three points and under each point there will be three points. So this is an ideal message; three points with three points under each point. Now, we are going to call these three triads because they fit together. You might think that preachers invented three points; they didn’t. They just got them from the Bible.
Now, I want you to notice something. Notice verse 15, “Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning.” And now will you notice chapter 8 in verse 20. Incidentally there are three of the plagues that are described and then in verse 20 of chapter 8 we read: And the Lord said unto Moses, “Rise up early in the morning.” And then we have three more of these particular plagues and finally we read in verse 13 of chapter 9: And the Lord said in to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh.” And then we have the three final ones. So God is the one who has arranged these nine mighty plagues into three parts and each one of them has three parts underneath. We are only recognizing what is found in the word of God.
Notice that as we read through and think about them, that in the first triad, the first three of these plagues, all the land of Egypt is smitten indiscriminately, but in the second and third triads, that is, from plague number four through plague number nine, the plagues fall on Egypt, but they do not fall on Goshen where the children of Israel are living. In other words, they have immunity. God does make a difference between the Egyptians and the children of Israel. There is distinguishing grace even in the mighty plagues that are poured out. You will notice also as you read through these sections that in each of the triads, there is a long warning before the first one is set out and then a shorter statement before the second of the plagues in each section is mentioned and then there is nothing said between the second and the third of each of the three triads.
Now we’ll look at the first triad and it begins in chapter 7, verse 14 through chapter 8, verse 19 and in the light of the fact that we don’t have time to read all of the section I am hoping that you will read these verses. But the first triad is a triad of plagues in which the Nile is turned to blood and then frogs are brought up all over the land and finally, lice.
Now, the Nile was one of Egypt’s gods. It was the source of a great deal of the fertility and therefore the life of the land and in addition the Egyptians were like the Romans. The Romans loved to build roads and take baths, and the Egyptians were noted for their ablutions. They loved to take baths. The Egyptians were noted for their cleanliness among the ancients. So to turn the Nile into blood was a miracle that touched what they thought was a sacred river. The Nile was sacred to them, and therefore to touch the Nile was to touch one of their gods, the source of their love, ablutions and when the Nile becomes putrid you know that the Egyptians felt that.
Well then in chapter 8 after the description of that we read in verse 1 and the Lord spake unto Moses “Go unto Pharaoh and say unto him, “Thus saith the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. If thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs and the rivers shall bring forth frogs abundantly which will go up and come into thine house and into thy bed chamber and upon thy bed and into the house of thy servants and upon thy people and into their ovens and into their kneading troughs.””
We have found in archeological research frog-headed deities in the monuments of the land of Egypt and so again this was God speaking directly to the false gods of the land of Egypt. Their Pharaoh is moved by this, and we read in verse 8, then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said “Entreat the Lord that he may take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the Lord.” But it is only momentarily that he is moved because he finally has his heart hardened. We read in verse 15: But when Pharaoh saw that there was rest, he hardened his heart and harkened not unto them, as the Lord had said.
And so there comes the third of this triad and here the lice are brought over the land. And notice there is no preamble of any kind. We read in verse 16, the Lord said unto Moses, “Say unto Aaron, “Stretch out thy rod and smite the dust of the land that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”” Well, I am not quite sure of the meaning of this Hebrew word; it probably means something like gnats or possibly even mosquitoes. Some of the scholars feel that that is most likely the thing, and if so then the description that is given here is of a black buzzing crowd of mosquitoes and this is something that finally the magicians are unable to do. We read in verse 19: Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and he hearkened not unto them as the Lord had said.
Well, that’s rather striking because you see these mosquitoes touch everything in the land. Notice what is said, we read in verse 17: And they did so for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod and smoked the dust of the Earth and it became lice in man and in beast.” All the dust of the land became lice throughout the all the land of Egypt. Now remember, the Egyptians thought that animals were sacred. In fact, the bull calf was worshiped by the Egyptians. So here is a bull calf, which is one of the gods of Egypt and it is so filled with mosquitoes that it cannot defend itself against a little insect like that. This is God’s way, again, of showing that the gods of Egypt cannot only not save themselves, they are under the divine majesty in power and when the mosquitoes filled the animals it was God’s direct way of saying the gods of Egypt are no gods at all.
It’s hard for us to appreciate something like this, but perhaps if we were to go to the land of India today or where animals are considered to be sacred and to realize that people do really revere them and then to see them under the divine discipline of the God in heaven, then we would have some concept of what it means when the plagues fall upon the sacred objects and objects of worship of the people.
Well, the second triad begins in chapter 8, verse 20 and let me read along a few of these verses because here remember now the frogs are dead and decaying all over the land. It’s not surprising that the next of the plagues will be a plague of flies. And the Lord said unto Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh; Lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, “Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into their houses, and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.””
And here is the distinguishing feature that we mentioned earlier: And “I will sever in that day the land of Goshen in which my people dwell that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the Lord in the midst of the earth.” And so there is a lengthy description of how the flies come. Pharaoh is again moved. He calls for Moses and Aaron. He says, “Go sacrifice to your God in the land”, but he wants to make some limitations on the matter. In verse 28, we read Pharaoh said, “I will let you go that you may sacrifice to the Lord, your God, in the wilderness. Only you shall not go very far away entreat for me.”
But the final end of the outpouring of the plague is the same; in the 32nd verse we read: And Pharaoh hardened his heart at this time also, neither would he let the people go. It has been said by some of the students of the Book of Exodus that what is referred to here in our English translation as flies may well have been the sacred scarabaeus beetle which was the emblem of sun and of the abiding life of the soul, and if that were so then this would be another frontal attack upon one of the objects of the Egyptians’ worship. Pharaoh now admits, however, that Yahweh is Israel’s God. Did you notice when that you were reading through the Book of Exodus?
Notice verse 25: Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, “Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.” That’s a very interesting thing because you know of some things that are happening in Israel today are very interesting for individuals who are evangelical Christians. Evangelical Christians feel that it is their responsibility and their privilege and their right to evangelize everyone. We evangelize not only Gentiles, we evangelize Jews. We recognize that Israel has a great history, that Judaism has a great history.
But we recognize that the Scriptures also teach that Israel just like the church of God became apostate, and the church of God in its history has passed through similar experiences and in certain sections of it today is a beautiful illustration of apostasy and the commission that the Lord God has given to the church of Jesus Christ is to evangelize all men for all men are sinners. We do not acknowledge that anyone whether he be Jew, Gentile, church of God, has any special position before the Lord so far as evangelization is concerned. We evangelize all. We even evangelize Baptists and Presbyterians and Methodists and for some who attend Believers Chapel who are not yet converted, I hope some of my Baptist and Presbyterian friends who are Christians will evangelize you. Maybe they can do a better job than we have done. We evangelize all. It is a Christian’s responsibility to evangelize all.
Now Roman Catholics often object to Protestants seeking to evangelize Roman Catholics because they consider themselves to be Christians. Baptists might consider that it is an affront for someone from Believers Chapel to try to convert them. They may reply, “Well, I was baptized by Dr. Criswell 40 years ago or 30 years ago” as the case maybe. Well, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are Christian, and a true Christian never feels any embarrassment about giving a testimony, does he? That he is saved? Does it offend you if someone comes up to you and says, “Are you a Christian?” And you say, “I go to Believers Chapel where they really preach the word.” “Yeah, but are you a Christian?” That’s a perfectly legitimate question.
I am glad to meet somebody like that because that shows that they have a vital faith in the Lord. So we feel that the New Testament says the field is the world and we are to baptize all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and so we evangelize. We even baptize too. We evangelize Roman Catholics, we evangelize Baptists, we evangelize independents, people who are members of the Bible churches. We evangelize them too until we feel that they really do have a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and we evangelize Jews and Jews do not like to be evangelized. That cross alighting is a very bad thing for them.
Well, one of the most interesting things in Judaism today is the thing that has been put forth in recent years by a number of leading Jewish people that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Messiah for Gentiles but is not the Messiah for Jews. That is a most interesting position to try to maintain. He is the Messiah for Gentiles but not the Messiah for Jews. That cannot be sustained at all, but the interesting fact about it is that there is a recognition of some validity to the person and work of our Lord. Amazing! And one can almost see this in Pharaoh here when says, “Go sacrifice to your God in the land. Yahweh can be legitimately your God,” he acknowledges, “although he is not my God.”
Now in chapter 9, verse 7 we have the second of the second of the second triad and here the murrain and in verse 1 we read: Then Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, “Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep. There shall be a very grievous murrain and the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt, and there shall nothing die of all that is of the children of Israel,” and the Lord appointed a set time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land.” And the Lord did that thing on the morrow; and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go. It has been a great, great day for the Society for the Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals, wouldn’t it? And the Lord God is the one who has brought this to pass. This too is another direct blow from Yahweh at Egypt’s gods. They had a horror of animal sacrifices, and you can this from chapter 8, verse 26 when Moses said, “Oh all right Moses, go sacrifice to your God in the land.”
Verse 25 of chapter 8, Moses replied, “It is not me thus so to do; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to the Lord our God; Lo, we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?” In other words, to carry out our worship of the sacrifice of animals in the land of Egypt will bring the wrath of the Egyptians upon us because they had a horror of animal sacrifices, but God brings the murrain and all of their cattle die. Human sin not only affects men, it even affects the physical sphere of life and the animals themselves were affected. Remember Joel when he describes that they have the Lord. Do you remember the expression that Joel uses when he describes the great day of judgment that comes in the future upon the land because of unbelief and as he is describing this picture, this catastrophic picture of ruin, he says, “How do the beasts grow?”
The future of animal life is tied up with the future of human life. And when we read of the kingdom of God upon earth, we read of a lion eating straw like the ox, for the harmonious relationship between the animals in the kingdom of God upon the earth is reflected with the harmonious relationship between the Lord and the people.
Then there follows the third of these plagues. The boils and the [indistinct] that come in chapter 9, verses 8 through to 12. Loathsome and inflammatory sores are given by the Lord God, and that’s the sixth of the plagues.
And now the third triad begins in chapter 9, verse 13, and there is a lengthy theological introduction before this one. I think I will read it beginning in verse 13. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will this time send all my plagues upon thy heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand that I may smite thee thy people with pestilence, and thou should be cut off from the earth. But in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up for to show in thee my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.”
That is what Paul read. That’s text that he cites in Romans chapter 9. “As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go? Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. Send therefore now and gather thy cattle and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast that shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die. He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses. Getting some believers now, and it’s not going to be long before when they leave the land and a mixed multitude will go up, some who were beginning to understand something of what was happening. He that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field.
And then the Lord gives instructions to Moses and Aaron, and now the last and worst blows up to this point are struck. Instruction turns to punishment and destruction. And Pharaoh, if he will not be a monument of mercy by responding to the warnings and admonitions of the Lord, God will become a beacon of judgment. As F.B. Meyer says in some comments concerning this, “If a man will not bend, He must break.” And so Pharaoh is going to be broken. And the first that comes is the hail. And then, there follows the locusts. Locusts are characteristic of that part of the country, and they darken the sky even today. But in verses 1 through 20 of chapter 10, we have, I think, one of the really great plagues, because the locusts must have surely been one of the most terrible and horrible of all of these mighty judgments from God. I would like to read through the 20 verses and make just three comments concerning three particular points: And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I may show these my signs in before him.
Now notice that language. “I have hardened his heart. And I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants that I might show these my signs before him.” You think God has the right to do that? Do you think when we stand before the judgment throne of God we will be able to say to him, “Yahweh, you didn’t do right. You hardened the heart of Pharaoh. You don’t have the right to do that.” And then we will have cited to us: “I will harden whom I will harden. I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.” You forget, the thing forth shall not say to him that formed it, “Why has thou made me thus?” This is one of the aspects of his majesty and his glory.
Now I know that we would love to find some answer to these questions that would satisfy our human intellect. But let us remember this. Our minds have been affected by sin. We do not really think purely since the Fall. And therefore, there are many things that might seem to us with our limited understanding, our corrupt understanding, our warped understanding. And not harmonious with principles of righteousness and justice, which we think are right. But the ultimate test of what is right or wrong is the will of God. What he wills is right and what he wills to be wrong is wrong. There is no principle outside of God to which he is subservient. He makes the principles. And what he does is right. If you have difficulty, well, join the crowd. We have difficulty, but we are to believe and to obey. “So, I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these My signs before him, and that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt.
Now, this is a very interesting thing. Now some of you are reading modern translations. That’s good, because the Authorized Version in this case is rather bland. It simply says, “And of thy son’s sons, what things I have wrought in Egypt.” But actually, the Hebrew text at this point reads something like this. “I have made a toy of Egypt.” Isn’t that interesting? “I have made a toy of Egypt.” Or to put it in another way, this verb is rendered in the same particular stem in other places to deal wantonly, “I have dealt wantonly with Egypt.” Or “I have dealt ruthlessly with Egypt.” This is the explanation that is used in the Old Testament, incidentally of the abusing of women. And that is what it says that the Lord God has done. This is the explanation of verse 1: And the Lord said unto Moses, “Go in unto Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart, so I have made a toy of Egypt.” This is the word of God, my Christian friends. It cannot be escaped. Who has the NIV version? Does anyone in this audience have the NIV? Would you read it loud for us Mr. Duncan? Verse 2 chapter 10.
Okay. “How I dealt harshly with them.” How many of you have the New American Standard Bible? Would someone read it out loud? Merrill, would you?
Now if you all look in the Hebrew lexicons at this point, one of the most authoritative, which all Hebrew students and theological seminaries recognize as an authority, Brown, Driver, Briggs, suggests the rendering, “I have made a toy of, dealt harshly with, and so on.” That’s what this says.
Now, let’s go on. Let’s give you something to think about tonight, just as you are about to go to sleep. ‘And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring the locusts into thy coast and they shall cover the face of the earth that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field and thy shall fill thy houses and the houses of all servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers nor thy fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.’ And Pharaoh’s servants, they are learning things, but Pharaoh is not. They say, “How long shall this man be a snare unto us? Let the men go, so that they may serve the Lord your God. Noticed thou, not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” The magicians have long ago fled the field of combat, for they recognized the finger of God in the things that were happening, and now Pharaoh’s own servants, but Pharaoh will stand as a monument of rebellion against the Lord God in order that God may be seen to be God.
I will read on a few verses. ‘And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh and he said unto them, Go, serve the Lord your God; but who are they that shall go?’ He still will not let them go. ‘And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old; with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks, with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord. And he said unto them, Let the people be so that the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones look to it; for evil is before you. Not so, go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord; for this you do desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.
Pharaoh was like the wine merchant who kept things bottled up inside, and finally he blew his cork. And the statement of it….sometimes you are so surprised. You didn’t realize what I was saying. All right, okay. I was leading up to verse 9 and verse 10, because verse 10 is not rendered very well in the Authorized Version. I am going to give you the New International Version rendering because it’s really more accurate. Pharaoh says, “The Lord be with you, if I let you go along with your women and children.” In other words, “I’m not going to let you go. Clearly, you are bent on evil. No!”
In other words, he is not going to let them go. And so as a result of it, finally he will say for the second time in verse 16: Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste after the judgment has come, and he says, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you,” and you would think of course that this is designed to be a repentance on his part. No, he says, “I have sinned twice,” but he has not repented at all. That gives a lot of insight into what people say even in our churches today. They make great professions, but often, the profession is not real at all. And Pharaoh makes his second confession of sin, but it doesn’t mean anything. In verse 20, the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
And then the last plague is a plague of darkness, a darkening sandstorm or something like that that covered the whole land, but Israel had light. The gods of [sic. Egypt] then are discredited by the plagues. The magicians have retired from the fray. Nature stands against Pharaoh and his nation because God stands against them. Now, when you look at this, you realize that what we have here is a picture of divine truth overcoming the false religion of the humanists because that’s precisely that for which Pharaoh stood. And we have is the power of spiritual liberation theology.
One of the saddest things in present day systematic theology is the popularity of liberation theology. Liberation theology sounds very good. Liberation theology is a theology in which tying Marxist-Leninism into scriptural language, we are told that it is the divine thing on the basis of Marxist-Leninist principles, to bring liberation to the poor and oppressed of the earth. And this is set out as the Christian thing to do.
Now no one questions the fact that in a capitalistic society, there is a great deal of evil. A great deal of evil in our corporations, a great deal of evil among our rich, a great deal of evil among our middle class and we shall suffer for it. No question about that. But true liberation is essentially, first of all and foremost, spiritual liberation. And those who are talking about liberation theology are talking about social, political liberation, along the lines of Marxism and Leninism. That is not Christian liberation. And the kind of truths found in the Book of Exodus to liberation theology today is doing despot to the word of God.
We have a great deal of it today and it accounts for a great deal of the things that are happening in Latin America and Central America, Nicaragua. The individuals who are in control of that land are individuals who have been supported by people who are professed or founders of “liberation theology,” but it’s a theology that is not grounded in the word of God, but is grounded in Marx and Lenin. It is actually a wedding of Christian words to those principles and set out in the context of people who ostensibly hold to spiritual things as biblical liberation.
Well, the Book of Exodus is a pageant of spiritual liberation, not a pageant of material, social, political liberation. Those things were secondary. The primary thing is the spiritual liberation. It would be nice for us to look at the wiles of Pharaoh, to show the Satanic efforts that he made in order to prevent Moses and Aaron from going, because he wanted those slaves to stay in the land. And finally, as a result of the tenth of the plagues, the Egyptians themselves have to confess, “We be dead men.” And you can be sure, that if we do not follow the teaching of the word of God, that is the ultimate end of all of us.
May God help us to learn from the way in which the Lord God dealt with Pharaoh. His greatness, his majesty, his long suffering and then finally, through the deliverance of the children of Israel, through the shedding of the blood of the Lambs, the spiritual redemption that finds its consummation in the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed his blood, that we might have spiritual life forever.
If you are here tonight and you have never believed in our Lord, we invite you to come to him. Yahweh, The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit, our great triune God, Yahweh the Father, Yahweh the Son, Yahweh the Spirit; there is no God like our God. Come to him. Receive forgiveness of sins on the basis of grace. Let’s bow in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father we thank thee for these lessons that are found in the word of God and for the lessons of divine liberation. Thou art truly Lord, a great God. We are simply creatures. O God, help us to know our place and by Thy grace, enable us to serve Thee, as Thou didst desire of the children of Israel in the land of Egypt in the days of Moses to do. Help us truly to serve Thee with a further enlightenment of the holy Scriptures.
For Jesus’ sake. Amen.