(K) = Keil
In this chapter, the Lord lays claim to the firstborn of Israel. His claim is based in the fact that He slew the firstborn of Egypt while sparing the firstborn of Israel.
This chapter is worth opening with its most obvious point: Salvation is totally a work of the Lord. Everything that is accomplished here is by the grace of God in fulfillment of a promise made many years previous to Abraham.
Pharaoh and the Red Sea: Note that the reason God drew Pharaoh after Israel was so He could complete the destruction of Egypt. In Ez 37, 38, 39, the Lord draws of the antiChrist powers of this world against His church for the purpose of destroying those powers that are against Him. Israel was fearful of the power of ungodly Egypt, and so is the church today. Note though that the same God Who provided redemption will provide victory over Egypt. Israel has no reason to fear: If the death angel could freely move about the night before, killing whom he pleased, could He not protect them now?
V. 1, the Lord spake... What is given here is the word of the Lord: It is not to be taken lightly.
V.2 would seem to be just a little out of place because vv. 12-16 further explains the sanctifying of the firstborn to the Lord.
The Lord lays claim to all the firstborn among the people and among the beast. Sanctify unto me..., or set apart for My service. The bases for His claim is "the fact that God sanctified them for Himself at that time, and therefore delivered them. Jehovah sanctified the firstborn of Israel to Himself by adopting Israel as His first-born son, or as His possession." (K) Ex 4:22; Num 3:13; 8:17.
Israel, by means of the passover, is made the first-born son of God: His responsibility is to serve and represent Jehovah God throughout the world. Jehovah's claim upon all Israel is manifested by His claim upon Israel's firstborn: The firstborn represents the whole, just as Christ, the FirstFruit of the dead, represents the whole of the dead in Christ. The passover sealed the claim of Jehovah God upon the firstborn, and thus upon Israel as His nation.
We might mention that all souls are the Lord's by the fact of creation, and thus under obligation to their Creator. Furthermore, the redeemed are doubly His by the fact of both creation and their purchase at redemption. Israel was doubly His.
The firstborn is a very important fact in the Word of God. The firstborn:
All of the firstborn in the families of Israel were to be
redeemed (Ex. 13:13). God commanded that the Levites should be
consecrated to Him in the place of the firstborn (Num. 3:40-45).
One Levite was to be taken for each firstborn. The number of firstborn
exceeding the number of Levites were to be redeemed by five shekels
of silver for each child (Num. 3:47). Afterwards every firstborn
son from a month old was to be redeemed in similar fashion, the
shekels being paid to the priests (Num. 18:16)...
Israel as a people is designated the firstborn of the Lord (Ex. 4:22). As such they had many privileges, and as a covenant nation with the Lord they occupied a unique position among the surrounding nations.
The world "firstborn" is used in a figurative sense in expressions such as "firstborn of death" (Job 18:13) and "firstborn of the poor" (Isa. 14:30). In the NT the term in applied several times to the Lord Jesus. In Luke 2:7 it refers to His virgin Birth. He is also the firstborn of God the Father, and as such stands as the Head of the great company of the redeemed (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 1:6). In His relation to His brethren He is pre-eminent and has all rights and privileges of the firstborn. In Col. 1:15 Christ is said to be "the firstborn of all creation." This means that He has authority over all creation; it does not indicate that He was created. Christ is a also stated to be "the firstborn from the dead" (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5. He is the first one to rise from the dead in immortal form. The great company of the elect is designated the Church of the firstborn (Heb. 12:23). The Classic Bible Dictionary, p 424
After the father's death the first-born son is the head of the family, and therefore in family registers he is often distinguished by this honorable title; cf. Num.iii.12, etc. By the law of Deut. xxi. 17, the provision that the first-born son is to receive a double inheritance is confirmed, and therefore, doubtless, the care of mother and unmarried sisters, etc., was incumbent on him... Theology of the Old Testament, Oehler, p 234
1) Israel was redeemed as the firstborn of God. That position certainly held great privilege, but greater still was the responsibility. Paul dealt with this in Romans 3: The Jew was very proud of his place of privilege, but he totally ignored his place of responsibility, resulting in the old nation of Israel being broken off, Rom 11.
And we must say the same problem exists today in the redeemed: They gladly and proudly lay claim to a supposed places of special privilege, but completely deny any place of special responsibility.
Israel was responsible to be priests and kings to the most high God here on earth; the people were responsible to be ambassadors and priests to Jehovah God among the heathens. The Word of God clearly presents the idea of the greater the privilege the greater the responsibility; the greater the responsibility the greater the reward for fulfilling that responsibility and the greater the judgment for failure in the responsibility. As priests of God and His representatives on earth among the pagans, the covenant nation was given the covenant law. Israel failed to fulfill its responsibility as the firstborn and to represent its King properly. Its failure to fulfill the responsibility of the firstborn was met with terrible judgment.
2) Christ, as the Firstborn of the Father, was given great responsibility. He fulfilled that responsibility perfectly, resulting in at least these things:
A) exalted to the right hand of the Father and given all power and all authority.
B) provided redemption for the elect.
C) made the head of a new race of people, a new Israel.
3) Christ, as the firstborn of the dead, provided redemption for the elect. All of the elect are now called the Church of the Firstborn.
A) As with Israel of old, the new Israel, i.e. the Church of the firstborn, has great privileges. But with those privileges comes tremendous responsibilities. The Church of the Firstborn is made up of priests and kings to the Most High God of heaven and earth, who are ambassadors of Jehovah God to the pagans. The Church has been given the law of God, and is responsible to take that law to teach and apply into all the world. Those who fail to accept their responsibility and desire to claim the privilege without the responsibility, will be judges. Those who accept their responsibility will be rewarded.
The firstborn represents the whole. The death of the firstborn of Egypt represented the death of all Egypt. The Lord redeemed Israel by His grace at the cost of the firstborn of Egypt; therefore, He lays claim to all of Israel. His claim of the whole of Israel is manifested in His claim upon the firstborn of Israel. Israel is His; Israel is to represent Him in the midst of the whole earth. The New Israel, bought with the blood of the Lamb of God, is His; the New Israel is responsible to represent its God to the whole earth.
Vs. 3-10, instructions concerning the 7 day feast of unleavened bread is given by Moses at their first stop the next day after the passover. It is to be continually observed yearly at the same period of time, viz. after the passover. Its continued purpose is a reminder of the mighty working of the Lord in providing redemption from their "slave-house." (K)
V. 3. the major emphasis is on the fact that the people had nothing to do with their deliverance. They were delivered by strength of the hand of the Lord, so the Lord institutes the feast of unleavened bread.
no leavened bread... To signify that they did not have time to leaven their bread. Geneva
The feast of unleavened bread was one of the three times a year that all the males were commanded to appear before the Lord at Jerusalem, Ex 23:14-19. The purpose of gathering at Jerusalem was to keep the nation as one unit, and the gathering reminded them that they were not alone. Remember, Israel was a rural nation whose chief occupation was farming.
This command concerning the feast of unleavened bread is given on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea while they were still in the land. Notice the phrase, out of the house of bondage (marg, servants). Obviously, one is redeemed from death before passing through the baptism in the Sea. Redemption has to do with being out from under the control of the world, flesh and devil (Egypt), not with being delivered from the presence of Egypt.
Redemption is freedom from bondage to the old things of this fallen nature, 1 Pet 1:18. Of course, they still had to pass through the sea, but they were already freed from Egyptian servitude, Rom 6:16. (Freedom comes from the passover, not from baptism, 1 Cor 10:2.) In Exo 34:18, we will deal with leaven and the feast of unleavened bread.
1) The command obviously speaks of the new birth, the most important day in one's life. We are commanded to remember the pit from whence we were digged, Isa 51:1. This continual remembrance is through the Lord's supper.
2) Remember this day... Though not dealing with this point at this time, neither the feast of unleavened bread had nor does the Lord's supper have any mystical value: They were/are no more than a ritual to remind God's people of and represent something wonderful that happened in the past. A good comparison would be a birthday cake: The cake has no mystical value, but it does brings to memory and represent a happy event from the past.
3) We must, therefore, conclude that the Old Testament feasts, holy days, rituals and/or sacrifices held no mystical value whatsoever to the participant; rather, they spoke clearly of a literal event which either had already taken, or would take place.
The blood of the passover lamb had no mystical power. It was the faith of the individuals who applied the blood that delivered them. The blood of Christ might be a different story because He was the incarnate Everlasting God, so I do not know and probably never will. All we know is what we are clearly told.
4) The only 'spiritual' value contained in these ordinances was obedience to the Word of the Lord because to fail in keeping them was rebellion.
5) One of Christ's major complaints against the Israel of His day was the mystical value that they placed upon "spiritual" events, resulting in voiding the commands of God.
6) One of the modern dangers of adopting rituals of any kind in the worship' of the Lord is that human nature delights in attaching mystical value to them: They become a substitute for worshiping God in spirit and in truth. But fallen man's temptation give rituals mystical value DOES NOT void the value of rituals.
There are rituals that we are commanded to remember, but they contain no mystical value. It is faith in and obedience to the revealed Word of God that has value, and that value is practical, lifechanging, victory over sin valuenot mystical.
Vs. 5-7, the actual command concerning the feast.
1) V. 5, the time of its observance:
A) When they came into the land.
Note the wording: when the Lord shall bring you in...
First, the wording of these first five verses indicates that the passover itself was to be observed the very next year, but the seven day feast of unleavened bread would not be observed until they came into the land.
Second, they were the heirs of a wonderful promise made to their father Abraham. The promise delivered to them the land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey, i.e. prosperous beyond their wildest dreams. Milkexcellent for raising cattle and field crops. Honeyexcellent for fruit trees and flowers.
The Lord tells them that now He is going to fulfill that promise and their eyes shall see it, but the accomplishment of that promise would not be handed to them with no effort on their part. He indeed promises to be with us always, even until the end of the world, but His promised presence is as we work for Him, not as we do our own thing.
Israel would have to fight and work hard to take the land, but the Lord would honour Israel's efforts. And really, all the Lord promises to do is to rebuke the devourer for His faithful people and bless their hard effort in His name, Mal 3.
Of course the application is obvious: The Lord has given us many promises as well as responsibilities. It will take hard work and discipline to claim those promises.
B) This feast was to be observed yearly in the month they were released from Egyptian bondage.
2) Details concerning the feast:
A) The feast was to last 7 days. During this time, there was to be no leaven in their bread nor in their houses. Apparently, the only restriction during this sevenday period was that there was no leaven allowed in the food nor in the house. Even if traveling outside the land, the Israelite could not eat leaven.
B) On the seventh day, there was to be a feast, not a fast. The Lord told His disciples that there would be a time for fasting, but that time would be the exception. The call and service of the Lord calls for feasting, rejoicing before the Lord our God.
3) The reminder is clear (See my notes in 12:15):
A) Avoiding leaven represents the total dependance upon the work of the Lord in redemption.
1) The full week without leaven would also speak of a life7 days a weekdetermined to walk only in His power and not one's own.
B) Though the Lord did the work in the passover, the people still had to apply the blood.
Accordingly, the Jews' usage was, before the feast of the passover, to cast all the leavened breads out of their houses; they burnt it, or buried it, or broke it small and scattered it in the wind; they searched diligently with lighted candles in all the corners of their houses, lest any leaven should remain. (MH)
1) Of course, an application of this Old Testament ritual of searching diligently for the leaven is given to us by Paul, 1 Cor 5:7 . We are to search diligently both our lives and the church and remove the old works of the fleshCor 5 deals with church discipline.
Vs. 8-10, the instruction of the sons of the family.
1) Most obvious is the fact that the family, father particularly, is responsible before God for the instruction of his family.
2) The feast of unleavened bread was not to be reduced to a mystic ritual; rather, it was to be a living, continual reminder of the strength and power of their God.
OBSERVE: Everything the Lord gave the parents to give the children of the family was centered around teaching the children that it was the Lord Who performed the mighty deed of bringing the people out bondage.
A) The primary thing children must learn in the home is total dependance upon the Lord for their daily existence. They must learn that man does not exist by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
B) The children must be taught in the home that there is no other way to prosperity than obedience to the Word of the Lord.
Even in the Old Testament law, prophets and psalms, the message is loud and clear: I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. Just as clear is I can do nothing without the Lord's strength; everything that came into the children's lives was to have the central theme: All power, strength, honour and glory belongs to the Lord alone, and if they ever accomplish anything, it is because they followed His leading and He, in His grace, saw fit to use them.
I am afraid that the generation from WWII on has not learned this at all. Rather, it learned that everything depended upon self with no real need for the Lord in their lives. This is the message which they received in the home, in the school and in the workplace. In fact, the humanist society in which we live has worked very successfully in making any public acknowledgment of dependance upon God illegal.
I was talking to Phil Apple yesterday (7/31/92) about this very strange weather we are having (11" rain in July, and 55 deg this morning, 8/1/92). He started to tell me that it is because of plots to control the weather from satellites which is creating the problem. I then read to him Deut 28:15 . He could not miss the description of modern America and of the devastation which is taking place in the cities, towns, communities and farms. Even he understood that what is taking place is God's judgment against society's war against God.
V. 8, unto me.. this was the first generation talking. Did this wording continue on after this first generation died?
V. 9, a sign unto thee...
1) upon thine hand
2) for a memorial
There will be another sign given, v. 16: token. 226=TWOT, 41:
Naturally, these categories are artificial and overlap. The simple fact that one Hebrew word covers them all is proof of that. The word "sign" either signifies the unusual event itself or in someway points to that unusual event. Or it may point backward to a historical event such as the stones in the Jordan (Josh 4:6), or even forward to such a promise as a thornless further world (Isa 55:13)
This did not call for the literal wearing of some type of amulet, but the words are used figuratively, as a proverbial expression for the people to be always mindful to observe the ordinance. (K) The reminder of what the Lord did when He delivered them from Egypt is to always be at hand, on their minds and before their eyes.
1) that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth. The value of this feast was as a memorial to call the law of the Lord to mind and place it in their mouth. Obviously, its purpose was not to cause them to "talk that talk" but to "walk that walk." As we follow the history of Israel, we find that these things were reduced to no more than a mystic ritual: the people felt that because they continued on in these observances, they were right with the Lord. The Lord judged them for reducing their "religion" to no more than mysticism. They could indeed "talk that talk," but their walk was ungodly.
God's authority to place the requirements of this feast upon them was that He delivered them from Egypt with a strong hand. With this feast, the Lord gives the people something that even the children can understand.
Observe: There are several reasons that people cannot understand the simple, clear teaching of God's Word.
1) They do not read or study it.
2) They do not want anything that will disrupt their traditions or what they want to believe.
3) They study in order to confirm what they want to believe.
V. 10, clearly tells us two things.
1) This feast is clearly an ordinance which, as practiced in the Old Testament, was done away with in the work of Christ, Col 2:14 .
2) This feast is spoken of as an individual: his season... Therefore, it speaks of Christ and His unleavened work to come. See my notes in 12:8.
Vs. 11-16, continued instruction from v. 2: the setting aside of every firstborn.
The people are still in Egypt and on the Egyptian side of the Red Sea. Moses is telling Israel what they are to do when they come into the landnotice, when, not if.)
V. 11. it shall be... when the Lord.. Moses reminds them over and over that it is the Lord Who is working and is going to work to bring all these things to pass. Notice also Moses' constant reminder to the people that the reason the Lord is moving is because of His promise to their fathers. These two facts should, but did not, keep them humble. The Israelites of Christ's day typified the attitude which developed in this nation: "We are special to God and, therefore, exempt from His laws."
V. 12, the Lord delivered them by the blood of the firstborn who would not apply the blood. The Lord promised their fathers the land. Now the Lord makes His claim upon every firstborn male: 1) man, 2) clean domestic animals, and 3) unclean domestic animals. (See v. 2.) Notice that this verse appears to specifically exclude fowls because they are not born, e.g. chickens, &c., and it certainly excluded females because it spoke of Christ.
V. 13, there were certain things that could not be killed and offered as a sacrifice to God: unclean animals such as an ass, children (Lev. 18:21) and clean animals which had a blemish (it was to be eaten, Deut 15:21, 22). All firstborn children and firstborn unclean animals had to be redeemed. Belonging to God, they had to be bought back from Him. A clean animal was substituted and sacrificed to the Lord in the place of the child and of the unclean animal.
1) the whole nation, man and beast, belonged to the Lord and was to be separated to the Lord. It was to be a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. The claim upon the firstborn represented God's claim upon the whole. The tithe is another example of this type of claim by Jehovah God: The 10% of the top represents and recognizes His claim on the whole.
A) on the individual level, the individual priesthood'setting apart for the service of the Lordof the firstborn male is transferred to the tribe of Levi, Num. 3. Each firstborn male was assessed 5 shekels of silver to be given to the priesthood, Num 3:46-51; 18:16.
2) the Lord determines what and who is His, and His claim is legitimate. He is the creator and thus the Owner.
3) the Lord, therefore, determines the value of what He claims.
4) the Lord tells what is to be done with what He claims.
5) the redemption of man and the unclean domestic beast speaks of Christ and His redemption of the unclean.
6) by including the redemption of the unclean beast in this, it, no doubt, speaks of Christ's redemption of all of creation.
7) Parker makes some very good points here with THE REDEMPTION OF THE ASS.
A) Israel was forbidden horses. They are always regarded as a sign of worldly power and wealthof Egypt especially.
B) All life upon earth, from the smallest microbe in the sea to the largest beast, has a Godordained purpose.
C) Redemption includes more than man can imaginev. 13, the ass was to be redeemed.
D) If God cares to redeem even the ass, how much more man? Of how much more importance is man than a bird of the air or a flower of the field? (Note the old spelling in the below quote.)
The invitation issuing from all these considerations is an invitation of loveCome unto me, all ye that labour and are heavyladen, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meed and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.' How is the yoke easy? Because the increased strength has been so cultured and enlarged as not to feel the chafing which was once intolerable. How is the burden light? Because the back is stronger to bear it. The burden of law remains eternally the same, but the inspiration of grace, the nutriment and comfort of internal edification, enables men to carry the burden as if it were a feather, and to run all the days of life with an untiring energy...
They reason narrowly and superficially who suppose that there is no law under loveits guarantee and its glory. God has not changed. Love is the blossom of law; love is the liberty of law. The whole law is fulfilled in love. The law seems to say in every page of human history: Do not stop me here; I am moving on to a culmination; let us meet in the orchard in blossom time, in the filed in earing time, and then we shall know the meaning of all this supposedly hard, stern, sterile law which has been training the human family to the higher realisations and exemplifications of tenderest, Divinest love. I will rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.'[Joseph Parker on Exo 13:13.]
Vs. 14-16, the instruction of the children.
V. 14, the Lord now gives the reason for His claim upon the firstborn of man and animal. The sons will ask their fathers, "What does this mean?"
1) Every command of God has a purpose behind it, for each points to a truth of great importance. He gives nothing just to be giving it, for His every word counts. In addition, the value of these God given rituals is the fact that they point to something else; there is nothing of mystical value in the rituals themselves.
2) Everything given in the Old Testament had a future purposeif nothing more than to make the future generations ask about past events. Not only was it for the present benefit of those who received the instructions, but it either spoke of a coming future event, or it held a future promised blessing. The word and commands of God do not stand still.
3) The motive behind the feast of unleavened bread was the instruction of the upcoming generations. The motive behind this is the same: instruct the future generations. These were practical illustrations of events that the Lord wanted to remain forever in the memory of His people.
4) Everything is given by the Lord to picture that salvation and life is through obedience to and dependance totally upon the Lord. As did the feast of unleavened bread, this ceremony was another opportunity to teach the children that they were the people of God, that God had provided for His people in marvelous ways and that they were to depend upon the same God. These ceremonies or ordinances spoke clearly that God's people's dependance was to be on the Lord, and only upon the Lord. They spoke also of responsibilities to the Lord as His redeemed people.
The children of Christian parents must learn that it is only
by the strength of the Lord that they will exist, which is sure
contrary to human nature that desires to depend upon self and
human wisdom. What can we do in our families to teach our children
this fact in a day when selfexaltation is so prevalent?
(The Lord is in the process of casting down the exalted.)
V. 15, is the explanation to the children for the sacrifice or redemption of the firstborn to the Lord. Through this use of a practical illustration, the truth of the passover and redemption would be faithfully preserved.
V. 16, is further instruction to the children. Though this verse was taken literally by many Israelites who wished to impress others with their spirituality, it is figurative, referring to keeping the words and works of the Lord continually upon in one's thoughts and actions (see v. 9). They are told that they are to make what they see and hear part of their everyday thoughts and activity. Cf. Pro 3:3, 21, 22; 4: 21, 22; 7:3.
This instruction to the children is concluded with, for by strength of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt. Clearly, everything that is taught to the upcoming generation is centered around the fact that it is the Lord Who must do the work if anything is going to be accomplished.
I suppose that my "pet peeve" in our modern day is the teaching of SelfEsteem and SelfConfidence. Notice that every instruction given by the Lord to Moses to be passed on to the people and to be passed on to the children, MILITATES against anything in the line of self. Everything is designed to teach the children their total dependance upon the Lord God, and that He alone has, can and will supply all their needs.
Furthermore, they are taught the absolute necessity of manifesting their trust in the Lord to do all these things by obedience, viz. their trust is seen in their obedience to His every law-word.
This is precisely the command in the New Testament given by both Peter and Paul.
Vs. 17-22, the leading of the Lord.
Vs. 17, 18, the Lord led them the long way around for a purpose. Though the people came out of Egypt harnessed, in ranks (groups) of 5 armed for battle (v. 18, marg. See Josh 1:14, Jud 7:11, &c.), they were not yet ready to enter into battle. So the Lord led them out in a direction which would not require physical fighting.
1) The Lord leads the "long way around" sometimes. I know in my life as I look back, it seems that there would have been a shorter way to get to where I am today.
2) The Lord knew they were not ready for battle though He called them and treats them as an army. The Lord will not place more responsibility upon us than we are ready for. Furthermore, He will not require more of us than He has prepared us for. He will not suffer us to be tempted above that which we are able to bear.
3) The Lord had just defeated Egypt's mighty enemy in a marvelous way. Why would He not do something similar to the Philistines? Or, for that matter, why did not the Lord do the same against the Canaanites?
The answer is obvious: The deliverance from Egypt is a picture of redemption, salvationredemption is all of God. Every battle from the time of redemption on requires discipline and work on the individual's part, though we must depend upon the Lord to work through us. Therefore, Israel could be no more than a bystander in their deliverance from Egypt, but Israel had to be prepared for battle after their redemption.
4) The newly redeemed need to be protected from the battle, but not forever: This was temporary protection. It was not long before they were fighting and held responsible by the Lord for their fighting.
5) The way of the wilderness is at times better than the way of the Philistines. Note that we do not need to go looking for a fight; it will find us soon enough (Mat 6:34). The Lord will lead us in the way of the battle when we are ready.
6) The Lord is the One who equipped them for battle, and He equipped them through trials and hardships.
V. 19, Moses took Joseph's bones with them.
1) Joseph's faith is rewarded.
It was many hundreds of years before his faith in the promise of God was fulfilled.
3) This verse sure sounds like the bondage of Israel to Egypt started before Joseph died.
3) Moses fulfilled a promise made to a man long dead.
I like what MH says here:
Moses was now a very great man; so had Joseph been in his day, yet he was now but a box full of dry bones; this was all that remained of him in this world, which might serve for a monitor to Moses to remember his mortality. I have said, You are gods; it was said so to Moses expressly (ch. vii.1); but you shall die like men.
What a sharp reminder this should be to every man! One day, far too soon, we will only be a box full of dry bones. But will a man live again? Most certainly! In the resurrection and in his works which he has done for the Lord, works that do follow him.
5) Though we also will soon only be a box full of dry bones, the Lord remembers us who are but dust and ashes. Dry bones! yet the Lord still loves and cares for His own. What a marvelous God we have.
V. 20, (Num 33:3-7) gives the locations of their campsites.
Vs. 21, 22. The Lord's leading.
1) The Lord went before them... He led them in the way at all times. In Num 10:31, Moses requests that his father in law to remain with them as a guide in the wilderness. Why did Moses need a guide when the Lord went before them at all times?
2) by night and by day. The precious promise of God's continual leading.
3) cloud by day. Not only clear direction in the daytime, but protection from the heat and burning sun.
4) fire by night. Not only did the fire by night assure them of His continual presence and protection, but it also provided heat in the chill of the night.
5) the fire protected them from the evil intent of Pharaoh.
6) He took not away... The people got into all kinds of evil deeds and situations, but the Lord still led them. He promises never to leave nor forsake His people.
7) His leading took them to bitter waters and to other places where the people griped and complained, but everywhere He led the people, it was for a purpose. They were the army of God on earth, but they had to be trained before they could fight His battles.
8) This supernatural leading lasted until they came into the promised land.
9) In spite of the obvious leading of the Lord, the people still griped and complained against the Lord and against His man Moses. How like God's people today.
The Word Bible gives Isa 4:5 as a cross reference: Isaiah uses this illustration of the cloud and fire for the Lord's leading of the church under the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the things that stands out about this chapter is the many times the Lord tells the people that these ordinances, rites and rituals, are only a remembrance, a remindera sign and a token of a historical event (vv. 3, 8, 9, 14, 16, &c.). There was nothing of mystical or spiritual value in the rituals themselves: They only pointed to a particular event of God's moving in the life of the nation.
I suppose the reason this has stood out to me is because the English instructor who has been working with men is doing a doctoral theses on the middle ages mysticism of the church. He is unsaved, but he enjoys the mystical area of study. He has a Romish background. He spent some time yesterday, 8/4/92, talking about mysticism in the rituals of the church.
How like man to substitute the form of God for God, the form of God's power for the power of God itself. I have heard of good, strong men going into great ritualistic form in their worship services. This may be fine, but if they are attaching any mystical value at all to their rituals, then they are no better than the religious leaders of Christ's day.