6/30 - 7/7, 1992
v. 3, humility
V. 1, 2.
Moses is commanded to return unto Pharaoh.
1) The Lord hardened the Egyptian's hearts so that He can show Himself strong.
2) There are three reasons given:
A) That the Lord might show His mighty works before Pharaoh.
The harder Pharaoh's heart, the stronger the Lord must prove Himself. I believe this is what we are seeing today: the hardness of the anti-God crowd will cause the Lord to have to show Himself even stronger to overcome them; therefore, we should not be discouraged at their hardness.
B) So Moses and all Israel could tell of the Lord's mighty works to their children and their children's children. (See Ps 78 & 105.) This is the first time this purpose is given.
C) V. 2, reads in a manner which says that one of the reasons was so that Moses would know how that I am the Lord. The Lord tells Moses exactly what is going on to strengthen his faith.
"The ten plagues of Egypt must be inflicted, that they may be recorded for the generations to come as undeniable proofs, 1. Of god's overruling power in the kingdom of nature, his dominion over all the creatures, and his authority to use them either as servants to his justice or sufferers by it, according to the counsel of his will. 2. Of God's victorious power over the kingdom of Satan, to restrain the malice and chastise the insolence of his and his church's enemies. These plagues are standing monuments of the greatness of God, the happiness of the church,a nd the sinfulness of sin, and standing monitors of to the children of men in all ages not to provoke the lord to jealousy nor to strive with their Maker." MH
D) Also included here is Judicial Blindness. See my notes at the introduction of Exodus 5.
I do not understand how any child of God can read Moses account here of God's actions against an extremely wicked man and nation and not see that God can indeed subdue the wicked unto Himself at any time.
1) Notice how Moses and Aaron come in and announce themselves: thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews... The Hebrews were Pharaoh's captive slaves. The affront to proud Pharaoh and to the proud Egyptians would be astounding. The word of God records God's actions against many proud kings, such as Neb and Belshazzar. The Lord knows how to subdue the hardest heart to Himself, and He uses the most unusual of means to do it.
Notice the irony of the situation here: Pharaoh and Egypt, the most proud and strong nation in the world, is humbled by the God of a captive nation (Israel) and a mess of bugs.
2) humble thyself.. The NT cross reference is obvious: Jas 4:10; 1 Pet 5:6. Here in Ex 10:3, humility is in very practical terms: submission to the command-word of God. Pharaoh is not humble (thus proud) because he refuses to obey the voice of the Lord as spoken by Moses (let my people go). In other words, humility is not some kind of an emotional feeling; rather, humility is obedience to the word of the Lord (as given through Moses, in this case). The NT instruction of humility before the mighty hand of God is obviously within this OT context of Pharaoh's refusal to submit to the word of the Lord.
All 10 plagues, thus Egypt's destruction and death of the first-born, were the result of Pharaoh's refusal to humble himself under the mighty hand of the Lord. On the other hand, even though Moses did not want to obey the Lord at the bush, he finally submitted to the Lord. The result is that the Lord lifted him up to a height unknown by any man other than maybe Paul.
3) If.. tomorrow.. Pharaoh's heart is hardened by the Lord, so that the Lord can show Himself even stronger to all watching the events. The Lord gives Pharaoh another day to change his mind.
This is the ninth time we have seen no desire on Pharaoh's part to make any change in order to avoid the destruction which he knows is coming. One of the most disconcerting things is the absolute refusal of people to make any effort to change when they know beyond any doubt that their actions are going to lead to destruction.
1 Cor 4:1-6 clearly tells us that unless the Lord enlightens the individual and gives to them repentance, they cannot repent. Pharaoh is 1 Cor 4 in action. And we see it in action all around us.
4) Locusts, the likes of which had never been since man had been upon the earth. This plague is found in Rev. 9:3-11 and is called the first woe. The locusts will complete the destruction of Egypt's economy by devouring all living plant life which has survived thus far. Remember, from the seventh plague, hail, on, the plagues are upon the Egyptian's heart: they cause great fear.
Throughout Scripture, locusts are a sign of God's anger and judgment against sin and the sinner, De 28:38, 42; Joel 1:4. In 2 Chron 7:13, the Lord calls the locusts against the sinful land for the purpose of calling the sinners to repentance, v. 14. Also, the loss of increase because of sin is compared to the devouring by locusts.
The locusts upon Egypt will cover absolutely every inch of space, Pharaoh's house first of all. There would have been a supernatural amount of locusts now in Egypt.
5) Moses made his announcement of the locusts to Pharaoh, turned and walked away. Many times the only thing we can do is announce the word of the Lord and depart, and we had best be faithful in pronouncing the word of the Lord.
1) Pharaoh's servants turn against him. This would be unheard of because Pharaoh was considered the living god of Egypt. The Lord, through Moses and Aaron, has destroyed the false hopes and gods of Egypt. In the process, we see that He destroyed Egypt, v. 7.
Certainly Pharaoh knew that Egypt was destroyed, but the Lord had hardened his heart so that even the destruction was obvious, he remained firm. God's judgment was upon Egypt for its treatment of His people for the past many generations. He hardened Pharaoh's heart so that He could judge Egypt for her sin.
This does present an interesting situation. The pride and sin of one man is destroying a nation. Should the people of Egypt have thrown Pharaoh off the throne? Are the people being included in God's judgement against Pharaoh because they did not throw him out?
2) The false gods of Egypt was not destroyed until the land of Egypt was totally devastated. As long as Egypt had any kind of economy, they would not believe the Lord God and submit to His command-word (let my people go). Everything which Egypt trusted in had to go: Pharaoh, their living god; the Nile; the calf-god (I would speculate that they had a special bull set aside which they identified as Isis, among other things. These cattle died.); the productivity of the land; whatever they reverenced and/or worshiped had to be destroyed by the Lord. There would be at least two reasons:
A) Egypt had to see the absolute hopelessness of these false gods to provide for or to deliver them in their hour of need.
B) Israel also had to see that the false gods were powerless when confronted by the Lord God. And here are Moses and Aaron, two men alone representing Jehovah God, destroying Egypt.
Observe: We are shown here in these plagues that the Pharaohs and Egypt of our day will not give up on their false gods until those gods are totally destroyed. Every false god must be rendered useless before God can exalt His faithful people. Humanism, in every form, must be brought to its knees, starting in the church (judgment must begin in the house of God).
Furthermore, the power of God is seen as much if not more, in the destructive plagues against the rebellious and proud. Sure, God's power is seen in the opening of the Red Sea, in the water and food supply in the wilderness and in the provision of the clothing, but His power and might had to be seen in the destruction of Egypt and Pharaoh before His power could be exhibited in the wilderness and in the conquering of Canaan.
What will it take to force people to turn from the humanistic gods of our day, including the gods of education & mammon? The other gods which are before the Lord will be cast down. We need to prepare for the destruction of the world order of our day which is in rebellion against the Lord.
3) For the first time, Pharaoh tries to stop the plague before it starts. The fear created in the heart of Pharaoh's servants convince Pharaoh to bring back Moses and Aaron to try to make a deal with them. He brings Moses and Aaron in to see what can be done, or we should say, to see if the Lord has changed His mind any. He already knew what the Lord demanded. Pharaoh says, Go, serve the Lord your God: but who are they that shall go? Moses did not back down; he offered no compromise.
We might mention here that Moses did not have the authority to offer or accept any compromise; nor do we. We have been given clear instructions in His word, and any compromise will bring the curse upon us which was and is meant for the "Egyptians."
4) Vs. 10, 11. Pharaoh tells them they can go serve the Lord, but their departure must be on his terms: he will only permit the men to go. Pharaoh will only permit them to depart if they will leave their families and livestock behind as hostage.
A) Pharaoh's tells them that if they will leave their livestock behind (as hostage), they can go. Notice that Moses has not told Pharaoh that they would not be back, yet Pharaoh knows that they will not return. We discussed this previously, but from the first confrontation between Pharaoh and Moses, Moses has given the impression that Israel only needs to depart for a few days, serve their God and then return and pick up where they left off. All of Moses' words point this direction. Even though Moses has left a deceptive idea in Pharaoh's mind with his words, Pharaoh knows better.
B) Keil points out here that Pharaoh says that he knows Moses is preparing not to return, for evil is before you. Therefore Pharaoh is making plans to force them to return. Not so, says Pharaoh, go now ye that are men, and serve the Lord; for that ye did desire.
But I think that Pharaoh is telling Moses, "Go ahead and
take the men and serve the Lord, but there is trouble ahead, and
you are the one responsible." Edersheim says that this is
MH says here that Pharaoh is warning Moses that if he takes anyone or anything other than the men, he does so at his own risk.
C) It is interesting and we have mentioned this previously, that Pharaoh's offer to let the people go serve the Lord at this point, would be rejoiced over by the vast majority of Christians, including Gibbs and Craze. "Look at the great compromise," they would say, "that we got from Pharaoh. Let's go before he changes his mind"
D) Moses will not compromise (has no authority to), so Pharaoh has them forcibly removed from his presence.
E) Egypt's cattle had been decimated. Pharaoh's desire to keep Israel's cattle would have been a great boon for Egypt.
F) Moses and Aaron were driven from Pharaoh's presence by one of his servants. Pharaoh did not want to hear the doom and gloom, so he runs Moses off. Sinners do not want to here about the results of their sins.
G) This reminds me of Ezekiel 38:11-16, where the Lord prophecies of the desire of the wicked to spoil all the wealth of the perceived weak and defenseless church (the new Israel). The Lord placed the desire in their heart so that they would move against the church, v. 17. The forces of evil will make their move, v. 18. The Lord, in His jealousy and in the fire of His wrath, will call for a sword against the ones which have the wicked desire to spoil the church, vs. 19-21. The Lord will move against those with that [His} evil desire against His church, and He will cut them off; He will show Himself strong to all nations, v. 23.
In other words, what took place with Pharaoh is only a prelude of what will take place in the day which is coming [and what we have to look forward to]. The Lord will place a consuming desire in the hearts of the ungodly to spoil His covenant-people who appear weak and helpless. The purpose of that desire is to cause them to move, then when they make their move against His 'defenseless' people, He will magnify Himself and make Himself known in the eyes of many nations as He moves to destroy them. What a day that will be!
1) The Lord's command: Moses is to stretch out his hand as would a military commander calling for his armies, that they may come up.. "The word used for a hostile invasion. The locusts are represented as an army, as in Joel i. 6." Keil. At Moses' command, the Lord sends His army against the unrepentant Pharaoh. Pusey points out in Joel 2:2, that an individual locust poses no threat, even in the hand of the Creator, by itself. But when He marshals them together, nothing can stand in their path. The same would be true of a united body of Christ. "The locusts obey the summons, and fly upon the wings of the wind, the east wind... A formidable army of horses and foot might more easily have been resisted than this host of insects. Who then is abe to stand before the great God?" MH. We might also add that an army of horses and men might be easier to raise and control than this army of God: locusts. Indeed, who can stand against our Great and Terrible God?
Moses stretches out his rod and the locusts come. It is important to note that Moses does all of these great acts at the Lord's command. We see many people around us today trying to claim great and marvelous things from the Lord, but not at the Lord's command.
2) Four things militate against any effort to connect the locusts with a natural phenomenon:
A) An east wind brought the locusts. [It was also an east wind which parted the Red Sea.] Then it was a west wind that removed the locusts and cast them into the Red Sea; therefore, this east wind blew them in from the sea. The wind blew for a day and a night before the locusts arrived. They came from an extremely great distance, all the way over the Red Sea. The Lord is Lord over all of the natural elements, the wind blew at His command, and over the whole earth.
B) They came at Moses command.
C) There was never anything like them in the past, nor will there be in the future. They could not open a door without the locusts filling the house. They could not open their mouths without locusts filling them.
E) The land of Goshen was free of these flying pests.
3) They ate everything. There is nothing that will escape the wrath of the judgment and wrath of the Lord against those who resist His word. The earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof; therefore, He gives it to whomsoever He will. Here the Lord gives it to the locusts.
4) The destructiveness of locusts are a prelude to God's judgment against sin, Rev. 9:3-10.
I think that it is interesting that locusts are a clean food; they can be eaten.
Pharaoh wasted no time in calling for Moses and Aaron. Pharaoh pretends to be humble, as do many folks who get caught in their sin.
1) He confessed his sin, but it was not a confession of repentance and change. His confession was over the results of his sin against the Lord and against God's man.
A) Paul compares worldly and Godly sorrow in 2 Cor 7:8-10. He points out that godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of the world worketh death, v. 10. Worldly sorrow is sorrow over the results of sin, not over the sin itself. Genuine sorrow over the sin results in a changed life. Furthermore, only the Spirit of God can give godly sorrow because the natural man enjoys sin and has no desire to change no matter how bad the consequences.
2) Pharaoh confessed his sin to Moses. According to God's promise, Moses had become a god to Pharaoh 4:16; 7:1.
3) The reason for his confession was to get Moses to remove the locusts. As he did in 9:28, he asked Moses to intreat the Lord for him. Pharaoh's request was not that the Lord would give to him a spirit of repentance so he could turn from the sin which was bringing this all about. The prayer was that the Lord would remove the results of his sin.
A) How many people have I had ask me to pray for them, but they have no intention of praying or getting right with the Lord themselves?
B) Fallen man desires to have the results of his rebellion and stubbornness removed, but he does not desire to turn from the sin which leads to the results.
C) Under Egyptian Religion, James Hastings makes this statement concerning Domestic worship in Egypt. "Of the prayers to the gods there is evidence in the epithets of Amon, 'who cometh quickly to him who calls on him'; and of Ptah, 'who hears petitions,' and whose tablets have ears carved on them.' (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol 5, pg. 237.)
Observe: With this we are confronted with the pagan concept of worshiping a deity: it is placing that deity under obligation to the worshiper. Nothing could be farther from the word of truth. True religion and undefiled before the Heavenly Father places the worshiper under total obligation to the Heavenly Father Whom he is claiming to worship.
We see this pagan idea of worship reflected in Moses' exchange with Pharaoh; twice Pharaoh asked Moses to intreat for him with the Lord, 9:28; 10:17. Paganism desires a magic formula to solve all man's ills. And he feels that prayer is that magic formula.
Now, certainly God commands men to humble themselves and pray, but even the Christians have Pharaoh's attitude: pray and all problems will be solved. Prayer temporally relieved Pharaoh of the current results of his hardness in sin, but prayer did not change the final death that was waiting his pride and stubbornness. (Pharaoh was probably used to the magicians who stood before him. I would imagine that they had convinced him that if he would submit to their will, they would interceded for him before the gods which they represented and all would be healed..)
Prayer without turning from our word to His word is hypocrisy, idolatry and little more than an exercise in magic; it surely is an abomination to God. Ezekiel 8:7-16 records the actions of men who were worshiping the Lord with their mouth, yet their heart was still far from Him. Vs. 17 & 18 records God's attitude toward this action. Cf. Ez 14. (See Prayer & Magic MO for this.)
4) this death only.. This appears to be a strange statement for Pharaoh to make. Does he see further death? The Lord honors this request because the next death takes the whole land. Again, fallen man only wants to be delivered from the physical death and destruction of this life; he has little or no concern for eternity.
Moses intreated the Lord for Pharaoh, and the Lord, with a mighty strong west wind, removed the locusts. But this did not solve the problem of Pharaoh's hardness.
5) Again, the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart.. Why? Because He is going to show His mighty works through Pharaoh's hardness. The harder Pharaoh's heart the stronger the Lord must reveal Himself to fulfill His promises to His people.
The day will come when those who mocked the Lord will seek His face, Zech 14:15ff.
This ninth plague comes upon Egypt with no warning. Many try to dismiss this as a super sandstorm (using the words, which may be felt to confirm their idea), but such an explanation is not born out by the passage. This was the final plague before the death of the first-born; therefore, this darkness had no natural explanation.
1) The Lord describes this plague as a thick darkness. In some manner, the supernatural hand of the Lord depended over the land of Egypt, removing all light. This plague is the ninth, meaning that it was the worse of all the preceding eight. It is listed first in Ps 105.
2) It came as Moses moved at the Lord's command.
3) It was restricted to the land of Egypt. Notice the key words in v. 23, but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings. Wherever an Israelite lived, in Goshen or throughout the land, they had light in their dwelling.
The NT application is clear:
A) The Lord is the Light of the world, and all outside of Him
and His kingdom dwell in darkness.
B) The Lord told His people that they are the light of the world, Mt. 5:14.
C) The Lord's people are assigned the task of being light scattered throughout this dark world. We are not to bunched up together, communal living, 1 Cor 5:10. Yes, we must separate from the ungodly, but the separation is to get them out from among the congregation of the Lord, not monasticism.
Furthermore, what took place in the darkness of Egypt shows that the Spirit of God will give strength to His people so they can be a light in the total darkness. It is a lame excuse for laziness to say that we cannot have an influence in a dark land for the Lord. Now, of course, this influence must be according to word of God: there are certain things forbidden to the child of God, such as ungodly education, unequally yoking with the unbelievers, &c.
4) It lasted for three days: the three days and nights of the Lord in the grave. The Light of the world was out for that time.
5) The verse, v. 23, reads as though no light would operate within the land of Egypt, ie. they could not even get a candle to work (cf. Rev. 18:23). Remember, this plague is against the heart of the Egyptians; it is to cause fear. Therefore, it was so dark that they could not see to move out of bed: neither rose any from his place for three days. "The reference here is not to the houses; so that we must not infer that the Egyptians were unable to kindle any lights even in their houses." Keil.
Illustration: On a young peoples outing when I was about 25, we went into a cave in southern Indiana. The tour took us deep inside the cave to an extremely large room. While we were in this room, the guide turned out the lights and told us that this was what total darkness was like. It was a darkness that could be felt. It would have been impossible to find our way anywhere. This is a minimum of what the Egyptians experienced for three days. All they could do was the absolute bare necessities.
No doubt as travelers came into Egypt from the surrounding lands, they were astounded at the darkness. Can you imagine, they come to the boarder of Egypt and as soon as they cross over, they enter into total darkness. (Even darkness which may be felt. It would be like stepping into a waterfall: one side of the line is dry, the other wet.)
6) This plague was directly against Ra, the sun god. Pharaoh was his representative, but not even Pharaoh could move because of the darkness. To the Egyptians, Ra was the ultimate source of all life and totally dependable, yet he is shown to be nothing but a myth by Moses. The power of Pharaoh and of the false gods is broken.
7) Egypt was indeed the land of pagan darkness.
"'The darkness which covered the Egyptians, and the light which shone upon the Israelites, were types of the wrath and grace of God'" (Hengstenberg, quoted by Keil.) One of the judgments against the seat of the beast was darkness which caused pain, Rev 16:10. (Note that the city of Jerusalem is called the spiritual Sodom and Egypt, Rev. 11:8. This indicates that a great portion of the book was fulfilled at the destruction of this spiritual "Sodom and Egypt.")
MH makes a very interesting comment here, one which I am unable to find conformation for (in neither Edersheim or Josephus). "
The tradition of the Jews is that in this darkness they were terrified by the apparitions of evil spirits, or rather by dreadful sounds and murmurs which they made, or (which is no less frightful) by the horrors of their own consciences; and this is the plague which some think is intended (for, otherwise, it is not mentioned at all there) Ps lxxvii. 49, He poured upon them the fierceness of his anger, by sending evil angles among them; for to those to whom the devil has been a deceiver he will at length, be a terror."
Not only is this interesting, but it is the most Biblical explanation which I have seen. The devil is called the prince of darkness and his angles are called the powers of darkness. It could well be that the Lord gave Egypt over to the very gods which they worshiped, the powers of darkness, when He removed all light for the three days and nights. There would be nothing to equal the terror of such a thing. Furthermore the fact that the light remained in Israel's dwellings would bare this out: the Light of the Word was with them as it withdrew totally from Egypt. Note that it is only by His mercy that all the world is not engulfed in darkness and we do not all parish. Did He remove all of His presence and mercy from the land of Egypt for the 72 hours?
Is this also an allusion to the chains of darkness mentioned in Jude 6?
8) This plague arrived with no warning. When men reject obedience to the word of God, they live in darkness, James 1:22. The Lord has warned that the natural result of rejecting His word is darkness, so darkness naturally descends over the land which rejects Him. The next logical step in His word is death. We are living in a dark land today, and the next step is death for the land.
9) Egypt had been determined to extinguish the lamp of Israel by their oppression. Now the Lord extinguishes Egypt's lamp. No person or people can fight against God or His church and survive for long.
10) MH makes another very good observation here. "During these three days of darkness to the Egyptians, if God had so pleased, the Israelites, by the light which they had, might have made their escape, and without asking leave of Pharaoh; but God would bring them out with a high hand, and not by stealth, nor in haste, Isa. lii. 12."
Obviously, there may be times for "stealth," but even Gideon, when he obeyed the Lord to throw down his father's idol, did it by "stealth" because of fear. The Lord did not tell him to do it by night, Judges 6:27
V. 24, indicates that Moses was close at hand, because Pharaoh does not have to send for him. And Pharaoh called unto Moses.., although he probably called unto Moses after the three days when light returned.
At the end of the eighth plague, Pharaoh asked, "Who will go?" v. 8. But at the end of this plague, Pharaoh says, "Go." But Pharaoh still refuses to let Israel take with them their movable physical property. In a sinner's typical fashion, Pharaoh is still trying to bargain with God, and God will not bargain.
Observe: Either man, sinner and saint alike, will do it God's way down to the last detail, or they will have the wrath and judgement of God against them.
V. 25. also....
To really make matters worse and humble Pharaoh, Moses tells Pharaoh that he must provide for them sacrifices and burnt offerings.
Every thing that will move must be taken with them to serve the Lord. I think that an important point here is that Moses said we know not with what we must serve the Lord, until we come thither. In other words, they were to take everything (not a hoof left behind) with them as they went to meet the Lord; everything had to be offered or given to the Lord and then He [the Lord] would permit them to retain certain things because it all belonged to the Lord. They did not know yet what the Lord would require of them when they got there, so they were to take everything.
I think here are some points for us:
First, the Lord requires upon salvation, that we give everything
to Him, then He will allow us to retain what is pleasing to Him.
Secondly, we will not know what He requires of us until we get where He wants us to be.
Third, the one who departs from Egypt through redemption needs to understand that everything is to be submitted to the Lord and nothing expected from Him in return, Romans 12:1. Can one honestly "depart from Egypt" without being willing to meet the Lord at Mount Sinai and offering everything to Him?
Service to the Lord REQUIRES total surrender to Him of everything we have, or it is not service to the Lord. The world tells us that we can serve God apart from serving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, strength and possessions. "He [Satan] is a sworn enemy to early piety, knowing how destructive it is to the interests of his kingdom: whatever would hinder us from engaging our children ot the utmost in God' s service, we have reason to suspect the hand of Satan in it." MH
The harder Pharaoh's heart, the stronger the Lord will show Himself.
Vs. 28, 29.
Pharaoh is so hardened that he loses his temper, commands Moses from his presence and threatens Moses with death if Moses returns with another plague upon Egypt. Moses does not return with any more announcements, but they do meet twice more.
In conclusion to these 9 exchanges between Pharaoh and Moses:
1) no matter how hard, strong, rebellious and spiteful of God's people evil leaders might be, when the Lords time is right, they will either turn in repentance or face the wrath and anger of God: death.
2) the Lord did not have to come down in a flaming chariot with a drawn sword to subdue Pharaoh and Egypt unto Himself; He did it with the natural elements, even bugs. In other words, today's idea that man is so hardened in sin that only a supernatural physical intervention by the Lord Jesus as a literal king with a drawn sword seated in Jerusalem can subdue him, is totally contrary to the word of God. The Lord subdued Pharaoh without lifting a hand against him. The Lord does not come literally upon the scene; rather, He uses despised persons (Moses & Aaron) and things (bugs & pestilences) to subdue His enemies.
In fact, Egypt is so docile when the Lord finally brings out His people that not even a dog barks, 11:7.