I. THE WORD TO THE LEADER: vers. 2-5. The message must be from faith to faith. The heart of God's servant must first be revived ere he can impart strength to the people.
1. He is reminded of God's faithfulness: "I am Jehovah." We cannot grasp this truth without deliverance from fear.
2. The darkness will only make God's glory shine out the more resplendently. Their present sufferings will mark a new era in God's revelation of himself. Known before as the Almighty, he will now reveal himself as Jehovah, "the faithful One," who remembers and fulfils his promises.
3. Having grasped the truth regarding God's faithfulness he is led back to the promises by which the Lord has bound himself.
4. The assurance of present sympathy and speedy deliverance. He has heard their groaning and called to remembrance his pledged word. To dwell in these truths is to possess light and power. God's word will then be a joy to our hearts, and will be in our lips consolation and strength for the fainting ones around us.
II. THE WORD TO THE PEOPLE: vers. 6-8.
1. It is shut in between the reiterated assurance, "I am Jehovah," vers. 6-9. For them, too, the truth to rest in is God's faithfulness.
2. The deliverance will be accompanied by the revelation of God's terribleness (ver. 6). Israel never forgot those days, and never will.
3. God will wed them to himself. He does not deliver us and then leave us: "I will take you to me for a people and I will be to you a God."
4. He will fulfil all the promises and give them the land for a heritage. This is the Gospel message: Our bonds will be broken - God will bind us to himself and give us his people's heritage. Have we received it? Is it a living hope, an abiding joy to us? - U.
I am the Lord.
I. DUTY IS SOMETHING WHICH IS DUE FROM ONE TO ANOTHER: something which ought to be given, or ought to be done; not a thing which is given or done under compulsion, under the influence of fear, extorted by force, not even a free gift or offering; quite different from this; if a thing is a duty, it must be done because it is right to do it and wrong to omit it.
II. The words of the text are. as it were, the sign manual whereby Almighty God, in His dealings with His ancient people the Children of Israel, CLAIMED FROM THEM THE PERFORMANCE OF THAT DUTY WHICH THEY OWED TO HIM. The words which gave validity to an Israelitish law merely rehearsed the fact that He who gave the law was Jehovah; and nothing more was added, because nothing more remained to be said.
III. NOTICE THE PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH OUR DUTY TO GOD DEPENDS.
1. There is a relationship, a close vital connection between God and man, which does not exist between God and any other of His creatures; man is in a very high sense "the Son of God," so that it is inconceivable that the true aims and purposes of God and man can be distinct. Man being made in God's image, ought to do God's will.
2. Our duty to God depends also on the ground of election. God deals with us now as with His Church in former days; it is still a Church of election. We, to whom God sends His commands, are still rightly described as redeemed out of the house of our bondage; and if the redemption of Israel out of Egypt be nothing better than the faintest type and shadow of the redemption of mankind out of the power of the devil, how much greater is the appeal which is made to us on the ground of ,that deliverance which Jesus Christ has wrought out.
(Bp. Harvey Goodwin.)
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