Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials, that I may perform these miraculous signs of Mine among them,
1 Corinthians 9:22) Pharaoh can be saved, he will not be lost for want of the opportunity. God tells Moses his design in dealing with the monarch as he did, and gives him a new message to carry to the royal presence.
I. GOD'S DESIGN (vers. 1, 2). He had hardened Pharaoh's heart and the heart of his servants, that he might show these his signs before him, and that he might secure their being had in remembrance through all succeeding generations in Israel. This bespeaks, on God's part -
1. Definite purpose in the shaping of the events which culminated in the Exodus. As Jehovah, the all-ruling one, it lay with him to determine what shape these events would assume, so as best to accomplish the end he had in view in the deliverance. It was of his ordering that a ruler of Pharaoh's stamp occupied the throne of Egypt at that particular time; that the king was able to hold out as he did against his often reiterated, and powerfully enforced, command; that the monarch's life was spared, when he might have been smitten and destroyed (Exodus 9:15, 16); that the Exodus was of so glorious and memorable a character.
2. It indicates the nature of the design. "That ye may know how that I am the Lord' (ver. 2). We have already seen (ch. 6.) that the central motive in this whole series of events was the manifestation of God in his character of Jehovah - the absolute, all-ruling, omnipotent Lord, who works in history, in mercy, and judgment, for the accomplishment of gracious ends. The design was
(1) To demonstrate the fact that such a Being as is denoted by the name Jehovah, existed; that there is an absolute, all-ruling, omnipotent, gracious God;
(2) to raise the mind to a proper conception of his greatness, by giving an exhibition, on a scale of impressive magnitude, of his actual working in mercy and judgment for the salvation of his people; and
(3) to make thereby a revelation of himself which would lay the foundation of future covenant relations with Israel, and ultimately of an universal religion reposing on the truths of his unity, spirituality, sanctity, omnipotence, and love. Subordinate objects were the making known of his power and greatness to Pharaoh himself (Exodus 7:17; Exodus 8:22; Exodus 9:13, 29), and to the surrounding nations (Exodus 9:16). The design thus indicated required that the facts should be of a kind which admitted of no dispute; that they should palpably and conclusively demonstrate the character of God to be as asserted; and that they should be of so striking and awful a description, as to print themselves indelibly upon the memory of the nation. These conditions were fulfilled in the events of the Exodus.
(3) It shows how God intended his mighty works to be kept in remembrance. "That thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son," etc. (ver. 2). God provided for the handing down of a knowledge of these wonders
(1) By giving them a character which secured that they should not be forgotten. The memory of these "wonders in the land of Ham' (Psalm 105:27) rings down in Israel to the latest generations (see Psalm 78.; 105.; 106. 135.; 126., etc.);
(2) by embodying them in a written record;
(3) by enjoining on parents the duty of faithfully narrating them to their children (Exodus 13:14; Deuteronomy 4:9; Deuteronomy 5:7, 20-23; Deuteronomy 11:19; Psalm 78:3-7). Bible history will soon get to be forgotten if the story is not taken up and diligently taught by loving parental lips.
II. GOD'S REQUIREMENT - humility. "How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me?" (ver. 3.) This lays the finger on the root principle of Pharaoh's opposition, pride. Pride, the undue exaltation of the ego, is a hateful quality of character, even as between man and man. How much more, as between man and God! It is described as "the condemnation of the devil" (1 Timothy 4:6). Pride puffs the soul up in undue conceit of itself, and leads it to spurn at God's dictation and control. It aims at a false independence. It would wish to be as God. In the worldly spirit it manifests itself as "the pride of life" (1 John 2:16). In the self-righteous spirit it manifests itself as spiritual pride. It excludes every quality which ought to exist in a soul rightly exercised towards its Creator. Faith, love, humility, the feeling of dependence, gratitude for benefits, regard for the Creator's glory - it shuts out all. It is incompatible with the sense of sin, with the spirit of contrition, with humble acceptance of salvation through another. It is the great barrier to the submission of the heart to God and Christ, inciting instead to naked and impious rebellion. The degree and persistency of the opposition to God which pride is able to inspire may be well studied in the case of Pharaoh.
III. GOD'S THREAT (vers. 4 7). He would bring upon the land a plague of locusts. The magnitude of the visitation would place it beyond comparison with anything that had ever been known. See below.
IV. MOSES GOING OUT FROM PHARAOH. "And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh" (ver. 6). He delivered his message, and did not wait for an answer. This should have told Pharaoh that the bow was now stretched to its utmost, and that to strain it further by continued resistance would be to break it. His courtiers seem to have perceived this (ver. 7). Moses' going out was a prelude to the final breaking off of negotiations (ver. 29). View it also as a studied intimation -
1. Of his indignation at the past conduct of the king (cf. Exodus 11:8).
2. Of his conviction of the hopelessness of producing any good impression on his hardened nature.
3. Of the certainty of God's purpose being fulfilled, whether Pharaoh willed it or no. It was for Pharaoh's interest to attend to the warning which had now again been given him, but his refusal to attend to it would only injure himself and his people; it would not prevent God's will from being accomplished. - J.O.
1. In companies.
Show these My signs.I. BY A MANIFESTATION OF RICH MERCY, WHICH OUGHT TO HAVE MELTED THE HEART OF THE KING.
II. BY A MANIFESTATION OF GREAT POWER, WHICH OUGHT TO HAVE SUBDUED THE HEART OF THE KING.
III. BY A MANIFESTATION OF SEVERE JUSTICE, WHICH MIGHT HAVE REBUKED THE HEART OF THE KING.
IV. BY SENDING HIS SERVANTS TO INFLUENCE THE HEART OF THE KING TO THE RIGHT. God did not harden Pharaoh's heart by a sovereign decree, so that he could not obey His command; but by ministries appropriate to salvation, calculated to induce obedience — the constant neglect of which was the efficient cause of this sad moral result.Lessons:
1. That man has the ability to resist the saving ministries of heaven.
2. That when man resists the saving ministries of heaven he becomes hard in heart.
3. That hardness of heart is itself a natural judgment from God.
4. That hardness of heart will finally work its own ruin.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
2. Patterns of judgments.
3. Tokens of indignation.
4. The cause of plagues.
5. The curse of the world.
6. Still followed by the minister of God.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
1. He can inflict pain on the wicked.
2. He can protect the good from harm.
3. He can send famine or plenty.
II. THAT GOD IS SUPREME OVER THE CUNNING AND POWER OF THE DEVIL. The magicians of Egypt were agents of the devil. They were inspired by him in their opposition to Moses and Aaron. They were aided by his cunning. Their defeat was his defeat also.
1. God can deliver men from the power of the devil.
2. God can destroy the works of the devil.
3. God can frustrate the designs of the devil.Teach this blessed truth and glorious fact to the youthful: that the good agencies of the universe are more potent than the bad. This will lead youthhood to confide in God.
III. THAT GOODNESS IS HAPPINESS, AND THAT CONFLICT WITH GOD IS THE MISERY OF MAN. Lessons:
1. That in the lives of individuals we have signs of God.
2. That all the signs of God in human life are to be carefully noted and taught to the young.
3. That all the signs of life are evidence of the Divine supremacy.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
I. TO REVEAL GOD. "That ye may know how that I am the Lord." Pharaoh's perverseness revealed all the more fully —
1. The Divine love.
2. The Divine righteousness.
3. The Divine power.
II. TO FURTHER THE INTERESTS OF ISRAEL. God overrules sin to high and happy issues.
(W. L. Watkinson.)I. JEHOVAH MADE HIMSELF KNOWN TO THE ISRAELITES IN EGYPT AS THE ONLY TRUE GOD BY SIGNS. His wondrous acts revealed His supremacy. Christ is the fullest revelation of the true God.
II. THAT THIS KNOWLEDGE IS TO BE TRANSMITTED FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION. Parental influence the most potent in telling of God's acts. No lips teach like the lips of loving authority. Some parents neglect this solemn duty. Ever ready to speak about worldly enterprises, the acts of great men, their own; but they are silent about God's. Such neglect is ruinous to their children and dishonouring to God.
III. IN THE TRANSMISSION OF THE KNOWLEDGE, OF THE TRUE GOD IS THE HOPE OF THE WORLD. Wherever the knowledge of the true God prevails, righteousness and peace are found. Idolatry has ever been the bane of mankind. A false conception of God debases.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)1. Showing the woe of sin.
2. The folly of human malice.
3. The justice of God.
4. The safety of the Church.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)1. Their nature.
2. Their locality.
3. Their design.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)1. Rejected by the proud.
2. Received by the good.
3. Revealed by the works of God.
4. To be acknowledged by all.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(J. Parker, D. D.)
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