Moses said to him, "When I have left the city, I will spread out my hands to the LORD. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the LORD's.
Exodus 9:22-35Exodus 9:22-35.
I. THE TERRORS OF GOD'S MIGHT. In that awful war of elements any moment might have been his last, and Pharaoh trembled. This plague evoked from him the first confession of sin. Hitherto he had reluctantly granted the request of Moses: now he casts himself as a sinner (27, 28) on God's mercy, and entreats the prayers of God's servant for himself and his people. There is a point at which the stoutest heart will be broken, and the cry be wrung from the lips, "I have sinned." "Can thine heart endure," etc. (Ezekiel 22:14).
III. THE VALUELESSNESS OF REPENTANCE BORN ONLY OF TERROR. God might thus bow all men under him, but the conquest would be worth nothing: men's hearts would not be won. When the terror is gone, Pharaoh's confession fails (30, 34, 35), for it has no root in any true knowledge of himself. He sees the darkness of God's frown, not the vileness of his transgressions. God is met with, not in the tempest and the fire, but in the still small voice which speaks within the breast. Many pass through gates of terror to hear this; but till God's voice is heard there, speaking of sin and righteousness and judgment, there is no true return of the soul to him.
III. THE FULNESS OF GOD'S MERCY. God knows the worthlessness of the confession, yet he is entreated for Pharaoh and the Egyptians. God's pity rests where men will have none upon themselves. Though they believe not, he cannot deny himself. - U.
1. Then admire its beauty.
I. THAT THE TRUE MINISTER IS WILLING TO RENDER HELP TO THE VILEST PERSECUTOR IN THE HOUR OF IMAGINED REPENTANCE. Moses did not remain away from Pharaoh in the hour of his penitence. He did not treat him with contempt, as unworthy of further effort. He went to him at once. Ministers are never justified in leaving even the vilest men to themselves in their time of perplexity. They should visit them and render them all the aid in their power. The hypocrite must never be forsaken by the servant of God.
I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God.1. Gracious souls are willing to yield to vilest persecutors to help them though they deceive them.
2. Time and place convenient, God's servants take to answer the desires of the wicked.
3. Heart and hand do God's saints lay out in prayer to God for their enemies.
4. Under God's revelation his ministers may assure the wicked of His mercies.
5. Such discoveries are made to wicked men that they might acknowledge His propriety and sovereignty over all (ver. 29).
6. Though God's servants know how the wicked will afterward behave themselves, yet they may pray for them.
7. God doth foretell by His servants sometimes the incorrigibility of the wicked under judgment and mercy.
8. Wicked men may tremble under vengeance, but never fear the Lord God when it is removed (ver. 30).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
II. THAT THE TRUE MINISTER WILL PRAY FOR THE MOST OBSTINATE SINNER IN THE HOUR OF DISTRESS. "As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord."
1. The prayer will be offered in private. "Out of the city." Solitude is favourable to prayer. The minister should seek solitude. It is well for him to go outside of the city to meditate and to pray about obstinate men.
2. It will be offered with earnestness. "I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord." The ministers of God should employ their hands and hearts in prayer to heaven for the souls of wicked men.
III. THAT THE TRUE MINISTER MAY ASSURE THE MOST OBSTINATE SINNER OF THE MERCY OF GOD TOWARD HIM. A contrite heart shall not hear the thunder of retributive judgment.
IV. THAT THE TRUE MINISTER MUST ASSERT THE UNBENDING SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD TO THE MOST OBSTINATE SINNER.
V. THAT THE TRUE MINISTER WILL DEAL FAITHFULLY WITH THE MOST OBSTINATE SINNER WHO MAT MANIFEST TOKENS OF REPENTANCE. Lessons:
1. That ministers are often perplexed as to the best method of conduct toward obstinate sinners.
2. They must pray for them.
3. They must be faithful to them.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
2. Then participate in its bounty.
3. Then tread it reverently.
4. Then use it generously.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
2. Because your heart is hard.
3. Because your conscience is seared.
4. Because your will is rebellious.
5. Because your sin is a pleasure.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
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