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Lessons from Moses - Out of Egypt

Scripture: Exodus 4:1-31, Exodus 5:1-23, Exodus 7:1-25
Date: 02/01/1997 
This message focuses on the deliverance of the Israelites through the plagues and out of Egypt.
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Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the live broadcast. It is presented as spoken.

I hope you have your Bibles with you today. Our passage, our study today that we’re going to focus on will be dealing with the experience of the deliverance. That’s also synonymous with the ten plagues that you find. I have a lot to say, and I’m going to do the very best I can to bring out the most in the least amount of time.

Turn to the book of Exodus chapter 4. In our last study together, Moses received his call. I think it’s interesting Moses spent 40 years in the wilderness preparing for his real life ministry. After the baptism of Jesus, how long did Christ spend preparing for His ministry? Forty days. You’ll find a lot of similarities between the life and ministry of Moses and that of Jesus. As a matter of fact, Moses told us, you’ll remember—he said (Deuteronomy 18), “The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me…. Him you shall hear.” That’s probably the most obvious prophecy in the Bible that tells us these Old Testament heroes were allegories of Christ. David, Joseph, Moses, Jacob, Abraham, Isaac, were in some respect or another helping us identify God become a man in Christ.

He’s accepted the call, and I’m going to bring out some details, perhaps, in this study that we brush past at other times. He goes and he gets the blessing and permission of his father-in-law Jethro. There is prudence in receiving counsel and communing with your family when you feel the call of God. So he is commissioned to go. He’s on his way back to Egypt. I suppose he was going with a little bit of trepidation. Forty years earlier when he fled from Egypt he was the most wanted fugitive. Now he’s going back. The pharaoh that was pursuing him had passed away, but the other descendent was continuing to enslave the Hebrews. As a matter of fact, he was even worse than the one before, as we’ll come to see. So he probably went back now hoping they wouldn’t recognize him. He hadn’t been there in 40 years.

On his way back a very interesting little footnote takes place. God has called Moses, and it says in Exodus 4:24, “And it came to pass on the way, at the encampment” or the inn—they stopped somewhere to rest. He’s with Zipporah and one of his sons. It says that “the Lord met him and sought to kill him.” I hope everybody here understands that if the Lord wants to kill you, there’s nothing you can do to stop it. So it wasn’t like the Lord swung and missed when it says He sought to kill him. It’s something like the experience later in Numbers with Balaam, where the Lord met him and his life was hanging in the balance, is what you see in this picture. His life was in danger. Why?

The Bible says in verse 25, “Then Zipporah [his wife] took a sharp stone…” They made knives out of flint stone back then that were razor sharp, and she “cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet….” Some of you were probably hoping I’d jump right past that. Some of you are glad I’m covering it because you always wondered what this meant, and I like to be faithful to preach the Word, whatever it be. Amen? It’s there. She kind of did an on-the-spot circumcision.

Evidently, even though Moses—he had been circumcised because he lived with his family three months. They used to circumcise the male babies eight days after their birth. This was a covenant given to Abraham and his descendents, and it was told, if you read in Genesis 17:14, any child, whether servant or born in the family, that was not circumcised was to be cut off from the people. This was not a suggestion. It was not a recommendation. It was a requirement that if they were going to be God’s people, circumcision was very important.

Circumcision represented a cutting away of the flesh. It represented not living by the carnal nature. It was connected with the reproductive organs because it was to have an effect on your offspring. It was connected with something that had passion associated with it so you were not to be controlled by your passions but by your mind and the spirit and the heart. All these things were tied in with circumcision.

Evidently, because he had married Zipporah, and maybe it was not practiced there in Jethro’s family; maybe there was some contention between Moses and his wife and she thought it was barbaric, as some of you may. God says, “If you are getting ready to lead a people that are under the covenant of circumcision, you as a leader must be following these requirements, or how can you be leading if you’re disobeying?” One of the first things that God needed to set straight before Moses went, he had to have his own house in order, didn’t he? This was a requirement that had been on his heart for some time he had been deliberately neglecting.

Isn’t it interesting God will call a person and then even after they’re called He’ll say, “Now we need to straighten out a few things”? Do you remember when God called Peter? Peter fell down at Jesus’ feet after Jesus filled his net with fish. He said, “Lord, You had better depart from me. I’m a sinful man.” Was Peter telling the truth? Yes. And the Lord said, “That may be true, but hereafter you are going to catch men. I’ll help prepare you for your calling.” But he needed to have some things straight in his own life.

Now he meets Aaron his brother, whom he had not seen in 40 years, and I suppose that was a tear-filled embrace, a long reunion. Then Aaron and Moses together go and meet with Israel. Before they go to the pharaoh, they go to the people. Before people can get saved from the devil, they need to know they need saving, don’t they? So the first step was to go to the people, to say, “God is getting ready to do something great. We need to commit ourselves to the Lord that’s going to deliver us.” Moses did the signs in front of the people. And the Bible says (Exodus 4:31) they believed that God was going to deliver them, and “they bowed their heads and worshiped.”

I want you to know—I think it was very significant that they met with the people, because I believe that during that meeting—it may have lasted hours, Moses and Aaron said, “If God is going to save us, I think we need to be prepared to sever ourselves from the Egyptian pagan influences that have infiltrated our people.” They had been living there in Egypt for hundreds of years. Do you think it was without effect? I think in that meeting that maybe they were reminded to reconsecrate themselves to the Lord, to serving the Lord, to trusting the Lord, to putting aside the pagan gods among them, and practices. I cannot prove this, but I think there’s enough evidence to present to you, during that meeting I believe something was said about remembering the Sabbath day. I’ll explain it as I go on in just a little bit.

Turn with me to chapter 5. Here we have those immortal words where Moses and Aaron come in before Pharaoh. “Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.”’

“And Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.’”

Before I go any farther, I need to tell you, friends, Pastor Doug does not dream up these ideas that the Old Testament heroes and stories are allegories of salvation. The Apostle Paul takes the Exodus experience in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, and he says, “these things … were written for our admonition [and learning], upon whom the ends of the [earth] have come.” Everything that happened to them back there then are ensamples—they’re examples—for you and me so we don’t have to repeat their mistakes.

In the story of the Exodus, in the story of God through Moses saving the people from their slavery, you have the great story of the gospel. Pharaoh is a type of the devil. Moses is a type of Christ who is sent by God to deliver His people. The pharaoh does not acknowledge the Lord; he does not know the Lord. Incidentally, what does eternal life revolve around? Knowing God. “…this is life eternal, that they might know thee…, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The Pharaoh says, “I do not know the Lord.” That’s why he was so miserable probably. He doesn’t want to let them go. He’s forced to let them go. The devil does not want to let go of you. So don’t forget, as we study the Exodus experience, the behavior of the pharaoh is always synonymous with whom? The behavior and the approach of Moses, in most cases, is a symbol of Christ. And the people; well, they’re still the people, aren’t they? The ones being saved from slavery have not changed from then to the present day. And as you read the experience of the Israelites—and some of us think, “Were they ever dense!”—be careful; you’re condemning yourself, because they’re very much like we are.

“I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.” There’s something else I want you to notice. God doesn’t say “Let the people go”; He says, “Let My people go.” God sometimes has people that are still slaves, doesn’t He? It’s as soon as you realize that He has bought you, that you are His, you can appreciate what it means to be set free. One of the first steps to salvation is realizing that He loves you, that you’re His child right now wherever you are. It’s not after you follow Him you become His child. He starts to deliver you now because you are His child. You have the father of the prodigal son looking down the road for a wayward child—still a child, even though he’s wayward. And God is still looking down the road for some of you to come home.

Pharaoh says, “Who is the Lord…?” I don’t want to let them go. Moses pleads with him. Jump down to verse 5; in order to cover these plagues, we have to go quickly. “And Pharaoh said, ‘Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!’” Evidently Pharaoh already knew something had happened as a result of Moses and Aaron meeting with the people. What was happening? “You make them rest.” Now you can see why I said when Moses and Aaron first met with them it could be they had become so preoccupied with working for the pharaoh in order to keep up with the quota, they forgot about the Sabbath. All of a sudden reports begin to stream in to the pharaoh’s palace that on the seventh day of the week the Hebrews weren’t going out. Now Moses and Aaron show up Sunday and they say, “Let My people go,” and he says, “You’re the ones making them rest from their labors.” Notice what Pharaoh does in response to that.

Verse 9. He increases their work. He says they have to make brick without straw. In verse 9 it says, “Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words.” What does the pharaoh do to keep them from thinking about freedom? Work, work, work.

Why is the Sabbath an issue that we believe in? First of all, it’s one of the Ten Commandments, so don’t ever be ashamed of it. Secondarily, the way the devil gets people is by getting them so preoccupied with the cares of this life, they don’t have time for their relationship with the Lord. The Sabbath involves resting in God. It always strikes me as sad, yet comical, when I’m sharing the Sabbath truth with people, sometimes other Protestants will say, “Well, Doug, you’re putting a yoke of bondage on people. You’re telling them salvation by works.” Have you ever heard that before? No! Those who keep the Sabbath believe in rest. The ones who say you don’t have to keep the Sabbath are into works. They’re switching it around, and the devil’s a master at doing that.

So what does the pharaoh do? He tries to make them work more, lest they regard the words of the Lord. How many people would be with the Lord now if it wasn’t that the devil has them so busy working? Workaholics, the different kind of addiction—don’t have time to regard the words of God.

I believe that there was a scenario here that revolves around the Sabbath. I have a little more evidence. Some people say, “Well, Doug, He didn’t give the Sabbath until the Ten Commandments.” Wrong. First of all, not only do you find it in Genesis, and all of God’s children knew about that, but when the manna began to fall from heaven (Exodus 16) before they ever get to Mount Sinai, it falls six days in the week, and Moses is told it will not fall on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, and the people go out looking for it on the seventh day, and God says, “How long are you going to refuse to obey My laws and My commandments?” They knew it was a law and it was a commandment before they ever got to Mount Sinai.

Now, why is it so important that I’m bringing out this point about the Sabbath being an issue before the plagues fall? Did you hear me? The Sabbath being a point of controversy—who’s going to rest in the Lord and who’s going to keep on working—before the plagues fall. Are there going to be another set of plagues before Jesus comes back and we’re delivered from this dark world? Revelation chapters 15 and 16. Could it be that there will be again a distinction between God’s people that rest and the ones that are preoccupied with work, and that becomes a political issue? What happened there? Pharaoh is making laws to keep the people working on God’s day, and then the plagues fall. Do you catch this, friends? Will these things repeat themselves?

It says, Lay more work on them. Do you know what happens? A time of trouble happens for God’s people. They’re about to be delivered, and there’s this little time of trouble that comes before the plagues when they have to try and survive with this extra quota of work being laid on them, and some of them begin to accuse Moses for being the problem. Now Moses has the pharaoh against them, and he has the people he’s trying to save, and they said, “Before you came, things were a little better. Now they’ve gotten worse!”

Have you discovered that sometimes before the baby’s born there’s a time of trouble? Before the main event, things get sometimes worse before they get better, right? Whenever a person is on the verge of deliverance, the devil will try to sink his claws in and tighten his grip. You’ll notice an intensity, a struggle. I’ve seen it so many times. A person is preparing to cross the Red Sea, and the pharaoh chases after them. A person is preparing to make a decision to follow Jesus, and all of these counselors begin to come in and tell them not to do it. They go through a time of trial. Things may intensify.

When a pastor says just make a decision that you want to follow Jesus and everything is going to be all right and everything will be a bed of roses, he’s lying to his people. There is a struggle involved in being a Christian. And sometimes, especially before conversion, you may have to wrestle like Jacob with God.

Just before they got free there was a little time of trouble before the big time of trouble. They had to make bricks without straw. And God says to Moses, “Don’t be discouraged. I haven’t forgotten what I’ve promised. Hang in there, and I’m going to do everything I said I’m going to do. I told you Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened.”

I have to stop and talk about that. I think most of you know God said, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart” in more than one place. Does that mean that the Lord performed a little surgery and He said, “I don’t like the way the pharaoh dresses and so I’m going to make him be lost. I’m going to give him an unconverted heart and I’m going to force him to be lost because I predetermined he’s to be lost and Moses is to be saved.” Is that how God operates? How did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? By just giving him a hard heart? Or did Pharaoh have the same freewill that we all have? The way that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by the Lord is through the experiences that God sent to Pharaoh. He knew he had a proud heart, and those experiences would harden him in his pride. Those same experiences humbled others in his very palace.

So it wasn’t like the Lord was deciding that He was going to make Pharaoh stubborn. He knew that what He sent to Pharaoh would harden him, the same way that it softened others. I heard one minister explain it this way. God sends the sun. The sun will melt the wax and harden the clay. The problem is not with the sun that shines, it’s with the substance it shines upon. So Pharaoh had this hard clay heart, and it just baked under what God sent, while others’ hearts were melted from the very same thing. So God said, “I will harden his heart,” by virtue of the circumstances.

He says, “You’re not going to listen to Me,” and the first plague comes. What is the first plague? The water in the river turns to what? The first plague of Moses is the water turning to blood. What was the first miracle of Jesus? Water turned to wine, and that wine is a symbol of what? The blood of the covenant. You’ve heard me say before the first miracle in Christ’s life was He took water and He turned it into pure grape juice, a symbol of His blood. “You saved the best for last,” they said. It was unfermented. The last thing that happens at the end of Christ’s life, He’s hanging on a cross, and there is sour wine (vinegar) they put in a sponge and shove in His mouth. He gave us His pure wine, and we offered Him our vinegar. There was a transaction that takes place.

This first plague takes place over a period of seven days. How many plagues in Revelation? Seven plagues in Revelation; ten plagues there in Egypt. Incidentally, why ten plagues? They represent the curse for the Ten Commandments that had been broken. How many commandments did God give later in the same book? Ten commandments of His law; there were ten plagues that fell on the Egyptians from keeping God’s people from obedience, holding them slaves. So I think there’s a parallel there.

That lasts for seven days, and there’s blood. Something I’ve rushed past, I didn’t want to rush past—when Moses first went in before the pharaoh and said, “Let My people go,” to demonstrate that He did have a supernatural commission, Moses throws his serpent down (and this is found, of course, in Exodus chapter 7). He went to Pharaoh, he cast down his rod, and what happened to Moses’ rod? It turns into a serpent. Pharaoh is impressed, but he calls his magicians in and says, “How can you do?” They throw down their rods, and what do they do? They turn into serpents. One thing I want you to know. How many rods did Moses throw down? How many did the magicians throw down? We don’t know. Multiple; it says “magicians,” “rods.” Were they able to counterfeit the miracles of God? Were there more counterfeits than genuine? Are you getting the point? But one thing that distinguished the genuine from the counterfeit is they had no sticks when they went home. The Bible says that Moses’ rod swallowed up all theirs and they had nothing to take up, which was sign that he was genuine and they were an illusion.

Then you have the plague of blood.

Now you go to chapter 8. That does not change the pharaoh’s mind, so God sends another plague. The second plague is the frogs.

Is there blood as a plague in Revelation? Were there frogs in Revelation? Not in the same order, but you remember under the sixth plague three unclean frogs. Frogs are kind of a symbol of demons. The Egyptians not only worshiped the river, do you know they worshiped frogs? Not only were these plagues to try to release God’s people, they were judgments on the objects of their worship, showing how powerless they were. Here they worshiped the river and it turned to blood. They worshiped frogs and they got so many frogs… Incidentally, the Bible says that the plague on the river affected what they drank. The plague of the frogs—it says the frogs were hopping around in their kneading troughs. Frogs are not really sanitary. Some of you have played with frogs as kids; you know what I’m talking about. They don’t have a lot of paper training. The blood contaminated what they drank; the frogs contaminated what they ate. Their bread and their water were polluted by their gods. Isn’t that interesting?

Now the pharaoh is really desperate. There are little croaking and hopping creatures everywhere, and he has the heebie jeebies. He calls Moses in, and he wants to assuage the wrath of the God of Israel, so he says, “OK.” Exodus 8:8, he says, “Entreat the Lord that He may take away the frogs from me and from my people;” do anything, “and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to the Lord.” Well, he does not give any specifics. Don’t miss this point. God answers his prayer. He removes the frogs, and the Bible says in verse 15, “But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not heed them….”

One of the devil’s first tactics is he says, “Yes, I’m going to let you go. You need to be free,” but he never does it. I’m going to use “P” words, words that start with “P,” to illustrate the devil’s tactics.

Procrastination. You might write that down next to one of the first things the devil does. He says, “I’m going to let you go,” but he never gets around to it. How many of us have sometimes acted like the pharaoh? We get on our knees when there’s a plague, but when there’s relief, we forget our promises and prayers. We don’t pray unless there’s a crisis. That’s the wrong attitude, friends. If you don’t know how to thank God in the sunshine, you’ll not be consistent in the rain. Procrastination is going to be the devil’s first tactic here. “Yes, I’m going to let you go.” Pharaoh told Moses, “I’ll let you go. Pray that the plagues go away.” Moses went back and said, “He said he’s going to let you go,” to the children of Israel, they all started to celebrate and say, “Isn’t it wonderful?” But the next day came and the taskmasters were there again, and he didn’t let them go. He didn’t say exactly when. Procrastination is one of the most successful things.

I have some quotes here I thought were interesting. Henry George Bond said, “One of these days is none of these days.” How many of us have had things in our lives that we knew were out of God’s will we plan on changing one of these days, and it never happens? “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.” “Procrastination is the thief of time, but it’s much more. It clutters up our lives with an appalling number of half-done things”—Cliff Cole.

You’ve heard often the illustration about how when the devil called all his demons to come before him with the very best tricks and traps to ensnare souls. One demon after another came with an idea, and one demon said, “We’ll tell them there’s no God,” and the devil says, “I do that, but there’s a lot of evidence.” Another demon said, “Tell them God doesn’t love them.” He said, “I do that with a degree of success, but there’s so much evidence of God’s love when they look at the cross,” and one by one these demons came with their different strategies that they presented to Lucifer that would ensnare souls. Finally, his most diabolical demon came and said, “I have a plan. Tell them there’s a God. Tell them that God loves them. Tell them God is going to save them, God wants to save them. Tell them to make a decision to follow Jesus—one of these days.” And a fiendish smile curled on Lucifer’s face, and he said, “That’s it! That’ll work!” Hell is going to be busting over, full to the brim with people who procrastinated.

Never plan on doing tomorrow what you are able to do by God’s grace now. Never in the Bible does Jesus say, “When you get around to it, come unto Me.” Never does He say, “At a convenient season.” That’s what one of the kings said to Paul, “At a more convenient season I want to hear you, and we’ll talk about these things again.” He never did. The Bible says “Today, if you will hear His voice,” “now is the [appointed] time.” I think sometimes we don’t recognize that there’s an urgency connected with salvation. When they finally do get around to eating the Passover, do you know how they do it? Shoes on their feet, staff in their hand. The reason we eat unleavened bread during our communion service—same reason they ate it during the Passover. It says because they had to pack in haste, they did not even have time to put leaven in the bread. Not only unleavened bread is a symbol of not having sin, it’s a symbol of urgency and haste. They didn’t even have time to leaven their bread. There’s an urgency! When Jesus calls you to come, come now!

There was a general of the Revolutionary War fighting for Britain, Colonel Rall. A message was sent by a courier and given to him while he was playing cards with his officers, and he waited until the card game was over before he read the message, and the message says, “Washington has crossed the Potomac with his troops.” He took so long getting around to reading the message that by the time he rallied his men, they were overrun by the American forces, he was killed and many soldiers, because he procrastinated. Procrastination is one of the devil’s most successful ploys.

Let’s go on here. You’ll notice that the devil is very persistent. The pharaoh is able to endure a lot of plagues. You have the plagues of the blood, then the plagues of the frogs, and he uses procrastination and that doesn’t work.

Then you have the plague of the lice. He endures the lice, and it eventually goes away. He doesn’t make any promises; he does not heed them.

Then you have the plague of the flies, and these are not just buzzing houseflies; these are biting horse flies, making everybody miserable. Finally, he calls Moses in again, and I guess Pharaoh starts getting bit. He said (Exodus 8:28), “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the Lord…” You can go into “the wilderness; only you shall not go very far.” “Now pray for me.”

Do you hear the devil saying that? “I’ll let you go, but just don’t go very far. Let’s not be fanatical about this.” Friends, if you want to be a Christian, you have to be a little bit of a fanatic. You’re going to be accused of being an extremist if you are a genuine Christian. How many times I run into people who think that Christianity is something you do in church but you don’t want to do it in public. Sometimes I’ll be eating with a person who is a Christian and I’ll pray over my food, and they’re almost embarrassed that I’ve done that. It’s like, “It’s OK to say you believe in God, but let’s not advertise it. Let’s not be a fanatic.” “You can go, but don’t go too far. Go part of the way.” I think that the devil would prefer to have a person think that they’re a Christian as long as they don’t go too far.

The people who crucified Jesus believed in God, but they didn’t go far enough, did they? The Bible tells us that what killed Ananias and Sapphira (Acts chapter 5), they sold their possession and they brought part of it. They didn’t want to give all of it. I’m not talking about offerings here. They claimed to give all, but they only gave part. That was what the sin was, claiming to give all but only giving part. Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a man who finds a treasure in a field that he’s rented, covers it back up again, and he goes and he sells everything—how much?—everything he has—to buy the field. The kingdom of heaven is like a man who is looking for valuable pearls. He finds a pearl of great value, he goes and he sells how much to get that pearl? Everything!

Do you know why there are so many miserable Christians? Because we don’t get all the way out of Egypt. We’re still slaves! We have just enough religion to fool ourselves but not enough to save us. The devil is not threatened that you take a little trip away from the capital city; as long as you don’t cross the Red Sea, he’s not concerned. You can go, just don’t go very far. That’s another one of the devil’s tactics.

God says, “If we’re going, we’re going all the way.” Verse 32, Pharaoh would not let the people go.

Now you go to chapter 9, fifth plague, disease on the beasts. The Bible says Pharaoh didn’t let the people go. Pharaoh is one of those folks where, as long as the disease wasn’t on him he didn’t really care what happened to his people in the realm. Do you remember what the devil said when the plagues first came on Job’s family? He said, “The reason that he still retains his integrity”—remember the devil was the one who took away all of Job’s possessions, and Job retained his integrity and said, “Naked I came into the world and naked I’ll leave. Blessed is the name of the Lord.” And God said to the devil, “Have you noticed that My servant Job still clings to Me even though you move Me against him?” And the devil said, “Well, that’s because You’re not hurting him personally,” and even after Job went through personal plagues he still stuck to the Lord. The reason the devil said that is because the devil and those that follow him are very selfish. They don’t really care about what happens to others around them.

I heard someone say one time, “When you’re out of work, it’s a recession. When I’m out of work, it’s a depression. That’s the difference.” That’s how the pharaoh thought. When there’s a plague on the beasts, “Well, that’s unfortunate!” But when the flies are biting me, “Go get Moses!” The devil is very selfish that way.

There’s a disease on beasts. It doesn’t do anything. Then the sixth plague, boils on man and beast. Incidentally, is that one of the plagues in the last days, “a noisome and grievous sore”? A lot of these plagues you can also find parallels for in Revelation.

One more thing, just in case there’s anyone here that has doubts. Were the plagues that fell on the Egyptians spiritual, or were they real plagues? Will the plagues in the last days be real? Was there a literal deliverance of God’s people from slavery here in the book of Exodus? Will you and I be experiencing a literal—the greatest of all deliverances when Jesus comes at the end of the seven plagues? Then don’t you think they’re literal, too? I believe they are. You’d be surprised how many pastors say these are all spiritual, and the people are being put to sleep hearing smooth things.

“The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh.” So God sends the seventh plague, hail. Will there be a hail in Revelation? Under the seventh plague there’s a hail and also great thunderings. But the pharaoh doesn’t want to let them go when the rain and the hail ceased. Incidentally, verse 27, he does get scared. “And Pharaoh … called for Moses and Aaron, and said…, ‘I have sinned this time. The Lord is righteous, and my people … are wicked.’” He feigns a false repentance. “‘Entreat the Lord, that there may be no more mighty thundering and hail … [and] I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.’” He pretends to repent but he doesn’t; he goes right back to his former behavior. That’s another tactic.

Then the eighth plague, locusts on the land. Now it’s starting to eat up the crops, and Pharaoh’s advisors are saying, “You’d better get Moses in here. We’re running out of everything.” The Bible says (Exodus 10:8), “So Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, ‘Go, serve the Lord your God. [But] who are the ones that are going?’” Who are the people that are going?

“And Moses said,” We’re all going. “‘We will go with our young and our old; with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds we will go, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.’

“Then [Pharaoh] said…, ‘The Lord had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you. Not so! Go now, you who are men, and serve the Lord, for that is’” what you originally asked; that’s “‘what you desired.’” In other words, it’s not safe out there in the wilderness and I’m concerned with your safety and your wellbeing. I’m concerned about your little ones. That’s the same pharaoh that was throwing them to crocodiles earlier! Maybe not the same pharaoh, but the same government. “I’m concerned about your little ones. We’re worried about you.” Doesn’t that sound like a typical government announcement? He couldn’t care less about them. He didn’t want to lose his slaves. So he said, You can go that are men, but leave some of your relatives behind. Leave your families, your wives, your children. Why? Because he knew as long as he had their loved ones, as long as he had their people, he had them.

Do you notice what’s happening here? First he’s procrastinating; then he’s saying, “You can go, but don’t go very far,” partial commitment. Incidentally, do you remember when Peter said, “I will lay down my life for you, Jesus,” on the night Jesus was betrayed? John followed Christ right into the judgment hall, but the Bible says in Mark 14:54, “Peter followed … at a distance.” What happens when you partially follow the Lord? What happened to Peter that night? Because he was following at a distance and hanging out with the enemies of Jesus, before the rooster crowed twice he three times denied the Lord, didn’t he? And he went out and wept bitterly. Can you be happy following the Lord from a distance?

Now he’s tried procrastination; he’s tried feigning a false repentance; he’s tried a partial commitment. Now the devil’s saying, “Leave your people with me. As long as I have control of your relationships”—are you listening to me? “As long as I have control of your relationships, I have you.” What does Jesus say about priorities in this respect? Matthew 10:37 [KJV], “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” What needs to be the priority for you? People or God? The devil knows that if he controls your relationships he has you. He knows that if your loved ones are in Egypt, it’s really easy to keep you coming back. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have loved ones that are lost. What I’m getting at is that you cannot love anybody more than you love the Lord or you’ll be hanging out in Egypt for them.

You’d be surprised how many times I’ve had someone say to me at an evangelistic meeting, “I believe it’s true. I want to get baptized, but I’m waiting on my husband. I’d sure like to wait for him.” I can understand if he’s waiting one more week, but you’d be surprised how many people never make the commitment because they have somebody in Egypt and they’re still in Egypt waiting on them. Or I’ve heard the husbands waiting on their wives.

I think you already know what the Bible says and how I feel about Christians who become unequally yoked. That’s like someone who’s already in the wilderness on the way to the Promised Land who says, “I think I want to go back and marry someone in Egypt.” That’s really not wise to deliberately tie yourself to people that are in slavery. The devil tries to use our relationships. Didn’t Jesus say that in the last days it could come to the place where “a man’s foes,” his enemies, will “be they of his own household”? Doesn’t that make you shudder to think about that? Father and mother betraying children and children their parents, and vice versa.

Moses says, “We’re going all together.” Doesn’t God want to save our families? That’s one of the wonderful things that we often miss in this passage. Moses said, “We’re taking our little ones with us.” When you follow the Lord, you want to take your loved ones with you. You go all the way.

Pharaoh says, “I’m not going to let them go.”

Ninth plague, darkness. Pharaoh didn’t like darkness. You see, Egypt claimed to be the illuminated center of the world. They worshiped the sun, and when they were plunged into this thick, obscure, black darkness you could cut with a knife, for several days, he sent a messenger stumbling through the dark, found Moses, brought him back, and said, “Please, anything!” Exodus 10:24, “Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, ‘Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back.’” Your little ones can go. You can take your family. Leave your things. Now, these were shepherds. Their primary valuable was their flocks. That was their assets, right? These were nomads. These people were shepherds by trade. He said, “‘[Leave] your flocks and your herds.’

“But Moses said, ‘You must also give us sacrifices.’” How are we going to make offerings if you keep our stuff? You ought to underline that. Remember that and read it next time we have an offering. Some people can’t give an offering because their stuff is in Egypt. You know it’s true. He says, “Leave your stuff with me. I’ll watch over it.” How many times I’ve heard people say, “Doug, I’d like to make an offering, but the bank owns everything I have.” It’s all in Egypt! “Visa and MasterCard have it all. I have to make my payments.” But Moses said, “You need to give us sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.” Some people never have anything for the Lord because the pharaoh has it all.

He tries to keep them by making a partial commitment; he tries to keep them by having control of their people; he tries to keep them by having control of their property. The Bible tells us where your treasure is, that’s where your heart is. If your treasure is in Egypt, that’s where your heart is. Who has your stuff? What profit is it if you “gain the whole world and lose [your] soul”? A lot of people are losing salvation because their treasure is here where “thieves break through and steal” and “moth and rust doth corrupt.” As long as the devil had their stuff, he knew they were coming back. Right? Have you given all that you are and all that you have to the Lord? It’s really easy to sit here and say, “Yes, Lord, it’s all Yours.” But until He touches something, we say, “Wait a second! Not that!” People say, “Yes, it’s all Yours” verbally, and then the Lord says He wants some of it, and they say, “Well, it’s all Yours as long as I get to keep it and use it.”

I understand that there’s a real estate law (I was talking to a lawyer just yesterday to confirm this), that you might have several hundred acres of land or several thousand acres of land, and if somebody owns one acre somewhere in the middle of your land, and even though you completely surround everything around it, they have access across your land in order to reach their parcel. If the devil has property in your heart, if he has a resting place and a nesting place, if he has a possession that he controls in your life, he has access to the whole thing. That’s how it works.

John 14:30, “The ruler of this world…” Who is the ruler of this world? Satan. “The ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” Did the devil have an acre in Christ’s life? He “is coming, and he has nothing in Me.” Nothing he can hang himself—. Jesus has set a really good example for detachment from possessions—if He has any. If you want to live like Christ lived, then all you have is what’s on your back. How did Jesus send out the apostles preaching? He said, “Don’t even take an extra pair of shoes. I want you to live trusting in Me. Don’t take a purse, just your staff in your hand, and you go out preaching.” Because the devil knows how easy it is—we are physical creatures with physical needs, we live in a physical world, and it’s really easy for us to become attached to and dependent upon things and stuff.

Did you ever drive around town and see all these mini storage places popping up everywhere? How many of you have too much stuff in your garage? Let me see your hands. Public confession—it’s good for your soul. How about your closets? How many of you have things you have not looked at in years but you want to keep it? You have things you haven’t used, you have not eaten, in years. Some of you have stuff like that in your refrigerator, right? “I don’t want to throw that out. I know it’s growing, but I don’t want to…” There’s something about, we attach our identity and our value to having valuables. We think the more stuff we have, the more value we have as people. Once you’re secure in Christ you realize you don’t need so much stuff to be valuable. Your value is not connected with what you own. It’s connected with who you are in Christ. You’re a king, you’re a queen, you’re a priest, in Christ. The devil said, “Leave your stuff with me.”

Now the best part is under the last plague. Moses says, “We’re going with our families. We’re going all the way. We’re going with our stuff.” Jesus said, “if the Son [sets] you free, you” are how free? “free indeed,” you’re free—completely free! The Bible tells us then the Lord established that this tenth plague was coming, and God was merciful, even to the Egyptians. He warned them in advance that the plague was coming. He told them how to avoid it. Even some of the Egyptians hearkened to Moses.

Then you have the Passover. I’m rushing through chapters 10, 11, and 12 because there’s so much to cover with Moses, and I hope I’m giving you the big picture here. What the Passover involved was taking a lamb or a goat—it could have been a goat also; you don’t often hear that. It says either a lamb or a kid of the first year, a male (it needed to be a male, for this was a type of Christ) without blemish. It was to be roasted in the fire. Exodus 12:5, Take a “lamb … without blemish … of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” Wasn’t Jesus without blemish?

Verse 6, You “shall kill it [at sundown,] at twilight.” What time of day did Jesus die? Right about the going down of the sun. “Take … the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it.” This represented your border. Our homes are sort of like a symbol of a body. Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. And when they passed into their home, it represented a little mini sanctuary, and they entered under the blood. They would be saved by being symbolically covered by the blood. Their sins, their slavery, was covered by the blood of the lamb that died at sundown.

Verse 9, “Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire—its head with its legs and its entrails”—the whole thing went through the fire. Who is this lamb a symbol of? Did Jesus go through the fire for you and me? Not only did He go through the fire for you and me as He hung on the cross and took the sins of the world, He literally went through the fire with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, symbolizing that He would go through those fiery trials with us, and even more than that, He went through it for us.

So here’s this lamb, perfect symbol of Christ, and then verse 13. Friends, this is so beautiful. “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are.” The angel of judgment was to pass through the land of Egypt at midnight, the darkest hour. And whenever that angel passed by a home that had the blood, the firstborn was spared. It wasn’t just the firstborn of the families; it was the firstborn of the cattle and the beasts. Do you underline in your Bible? It’s a good verse to underline. Exodus 12:13. “Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.” That gives me goosebumps right now, friends.

There’s going to be another angel of judgment that’s going to go through this world. There’s going to be another set of plagues. And the solution that they had back then is still the solution that you and I have today. We need to be under the blood. Except you don’t need to go find a kid and a lamb and a goat anymore; God sent His own Son. John the Baptist pointed to Him and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Jesus was that lamb without blemish. None of His bones were broken. He went through the fire for you and me. He was slain at twilight. You and I as truly today can be covered and protected from the plagues that are coming by virtue of being under the blood of the Lamb.

I heard about an experience. I wish I could remember more details for you. I have a pretty good memory for stories. Sometimes I forget the names. During the Vietnam War, an individual told me this story. He was in a skirmish where he and his platoon were attacked by the communist Vietnamese and just slaughtered. And a grenade or some explosion took place next to him and knocked him unconscious. When he woke up, the enemy soldiers were roaming around among the scattered bodies finishing off the survivors, and he could hear some of his comrades groaning, and then a bullet would go off and there’d be silence. They would cut their fingers off sometimes to get their jewelry or their rings or their watches or their valuables. He woke up, and he felt this warm blood all over him. He didn’t know how badly he was injured, but he knew if he moved, he was dead. He lay as still as he could, and I imagine it’s hard not to breathe when your heart is pounding in your chest and you know you could die any moment. He tried not to move; he tried not to react to any pain.

He said he just felt stunned at the time. Eventually, their voices drifted off and they walked away after having passed down the road and killed all of his comrades. He was so afraid to move he waited until dark, and finally he opened his eyes and lifted his head and saw there was no one around. He sat up to examine his wounds because he was covered in blood, and he realized he was not wounded. He was covered with the blood of his friend that died beside him. The reason that he lived, he had so much blood on him they didn’t even check to see if he was alive. They passed over because they saw the blood, and they figured, “He’s gone.”

One reason that Jesus says we’re under the blood is because blood typically means that someone has died or has bled. And it’s as though you and I die. The angel passes by, and he says, “They have paid the penalty. I see blood there. Someone paid the penalty at this house. I’m going on by.” It’s like He trades places with us.

There is a time of judgment coming. Actually, we’re living in a time of judgment now, an investigative judgment. But there is a time of judgment, executive judgment, that’s coming upon the world, and the only way that anyone is going to make it through is by being under the blood of the Lamb, friends.

It’s my prayer that everybody here that is listening today, and some who may be listening at home, that you have made a decision at some time to say, “Lord, I accept Jesus as my sacrifice. I want to today make a decision to be under the blood of the Lamb.” That blood will not only cover, friends. That blood transforms. It gives you power to be a new creature. Do you believe that?

[Hymn—Cover With His Life]

The story of the Exodus is the story of the gospel. Jesus came into the world to save slaves. He came to set us free. The story of the Passover is the story of the cross, how Jesus, the Lamb of God, died that we might be covered with His blood.

Perhaps there are some here today who have fallen for the devil’s tricks and traps. Maybe you’re procrastinating. Maybe you’re hanging around in Egypt because he has your people, he has your possessions. Whatever the case might be, if you’d like to be free, the Son says He can make you completely free. [You can] know before you leave this service today that you’re under the blood of the Lamb and when the plagues come you have nothing to fear, because you’ve accepted Christ as your sacrifice and you’re willing to follow Him all the way. We want you to know that you can be covered by the blood of the Lamb.

Before we sing verse 4, I want to read the words to you. There is tremendous, powerful theology in some of these great hymns.

“Reconciled by His death for my sin,

Justified by His life pure and clean,

Sanctified by obeying His word,

Glorified when returneth my Lord.”

I think that this is a beautiful, condensed illustration here in one verse of justification, sanctification, and glorification because of the Lamb, the Passover Lamb, Jesus, that died for the sins of the world. Justification means you come just like you are. Sanctification means He will make you a saint. He will not only cover the past, He will give you power to live for Him in the present and the future. And we are moving towards the Promised Land, and that’s glorification. Know today that you can come just like you are, just like I am. That’s justification. We want everyone to know that they are leaving today under the blood.

[Hymn]

Father in heaven, we want to thank You for Your presence here today. Lord, we have heard, we believe in the story of the Exodus, one of the most beautiful and complete allegories that demonstrates how determined and desperate You are to save each one of us, how relentless the devil is in tricking and trapping us to staying in Egypt. Lord, we’re thankful to know that the journey begins because of the death of the Lamb, Jesus, that Lamb that went through the fire that we might not go through the fire. We want to thank You, Lord, for the good news that no matter how dark and deep and scarlet red our stains may be, when we take the blood of the Lamb and apply it to the door of our hearts, You pass by and You see that we’re spotless white as wool, clean as snow. I pray, Lord, that we could not only be justified by coming as we are right now, but that we can experience sanctification, a cleansing that comes from exposure to Your Word and following Jesus. Bless us, Lord. I pray that as we wander through this wilderness with our eyes fastened on the Promised Land, we can know that You are able to finish what You’ve started in our lives. We thank You and pray all these things in Christ’s name. Amen.

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Heroes of Faith by Doug Batchelor

Heroes of Faith by Doug Batchelor
God's Promises




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