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people through the mediation of Moses. He at first presents Himself as one interested in them for their fathers' sakes, whose God He was. He tells them that their cry had come up to Him; that He had seen their affliction, and that He was come down to deliver them. Touching expression of the grace of God! Upon this, He sends Moses to Pharaoh, in order to lead them up out of Egypt.
But, alas! obedience, when there is only that, and when carnal energy does not mix itself with it, is but a poor thing. And Moses raises difficulties. God gives thereupon a sign, in token that He will be with him, but a sign which was to be fulfilled after the obedience of Moses, and was to strengthen him and to rejoice him when he had already obeyed. Moses still makes difficulties, to which God answers until they cease to be weakness, and become rather unbelief. God declares His name I am.” At the same time, while declaring that He is that He is, He takes for ever, as His name upon the earth, the name of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob.
God foretells that Pharaoh will not let the people go; but takes clearly the ground of His authority and of His right over His people, and of authoritative demand upon Pharaoh that he should recognise them. Upon his refusal to do so, he would be judged by the power of God.
Moses still raises difficulties, and God gives him again signs, remarkable signs. They seem to me, in their character, types of sin and of its healing; of power having become Satanic, and being reclaimed and become the rod of God; and then of the presence of that which refreshes, coming from God, having become judgment and death. Yet Moses refuses still, and the wrath of God is kindled against him, and He joins with him Aaron his brother, whom He had already prepared for that, and who had come out of Egypt to meet him; for the folly of His children, while it is to their shame and to their loss, accomplishes the purposes of God.
Whatever may be the power of Him that delivers, it is necessary that circumcision should be found in him who is interested in, and who is used as an instrument, for the
Saviour-God is a God of holiness; it is in holiness, and in judging sin that He delivers; and, acting in holiness, He does not suffer sin in those who are His coworkers, with whom He is in contact; for He comes out of His place in judgment. For us, the question is of being dead to sin, the true circumcision, our Moses is a bloody husband to her who has to do with him. God cannot use the flesh in fighting against Satan. He cannot suffer it Himself, for He is in His place in judgment. Satan also would have power over it, and of right; God therefore puts it to death Himself, and He wills that this should be done on our part also. This is true of the Church; but she can reckon herself dead. It will be true in one way, more evidently, in judgment at the last day, when the Lord pleads with all flesh, and identifies Himself with those who have not taken part, spiritually, in the sufferings of Christ.
At the news of the goodness of God, the people adore Him: but the struggle against the power of evil is another matter. Satan wiil not let the people go, and God permits this resistance, for the exercise of faith, and for the discipline of His people, and for the brilliant display of His power where Satan had reigned.
Before the deliverance, when the hopes of the people are awakened, the oppression becomes heavier than ever, and the people would have preferred being left quiet in their slavery. But the rights and counsels of God are in question. The people must be thoroughly detached from these Gentiles who are now become their torment. Moses works signs. The magicians imitate them by the power of Satan, in order to harden Pharaoh's heart. But when the question is of creating life, they are forced to recognise the hand of God.
At last, God executes His judgments, taking the firstborn as representatives of all the people. We have thereon two parts in the deliverance of the people; in one, God appears as Judge—in the other, He manifests Himself as Deliverer. Up to this last, the people is still in Egypt. In the first, the expiatory blood of redemption bars the way to Him as Judge, and it does it infallibly, but He does not enter within—that is its value.
The people, their loins girded, having eaten in haste, with the bitter herbs of repentance, begin their journey, but they do so in Egypt; yet now God can be, and He is, with them. Here it is well to distinguish these two judgments-that of the first-born, and that of the Red Sea—as matters of chastisement; the one was the firstfruits of the other, and ought to have deterred Pharaoh from his rash pursuit. But the blood which kept the people from God's judgment, meant something far deeper and far more serious than even the Red Sea. What happened at the Red Sea was, it is true, the manifestation of the illustrious power of God, who destroyed, with the breath of His mouth, the enemy who stood in rebellion against Him-final and destructive judgment in its character, no doubt, and which effected the deliverance of His people by His power. But the blood signified the moral judgment of God, and the full and entire satisfaction of all that was in His Being. God, such as He was, in His justice, His holiness, and His truth, could not touch those who were sheltered by that blood.
Was there sin? His love towards His people had found the means of satisfying the requirements of His justice; and at the sight of that blood which answered everything that was perfect in His Being, He passed over it consistently with His justice and even His truth. Nevertheless, God is seen there as Judge; thus likewise so long as the soul is there, its peace is uncertain-its way in Egyptbeing all the while truly converted; for God is still Judge, and the power of the enemy is still there.
At the Red Sea, God acts in power according to the purposes of His love; consequently, the enemy, who was closely pursuing His people, is destroyed without resource. This is what will happen to the people at the last day, already, in reality-to the eye of God-sheltered through the blood. As to the moral type, it is evidently the
. death and resurrection of Jesus, and of His people in Him; God acting in it, in order to bring them out of death, where He had brought them in Christ
, and consequently beyond the possibility of being reached by the enemy. We are made partakers of it already, through faith. Sheltered from the judgment of God by the blood, we are delivered, by His power which acts for us, from the power of Satan, the prince of this world. The blood keeping us from the judgment of God was the beginning. The power which raised us with Christ, has made us free from the whole power of Satan, who followed us, and from all his attacks. The world who will follow that way, is swallowed up in it.
. Considered as the historical type of God's ways towards Israel, the Red Sea terminates the sequel of events; as a moral type, it is the beginning of the Christian path, properly so called—that is to say, of the soul made free.
Hereupon, we enter the desert. They sing (chap. xv.) the song of triumph. God has led them by His power to His holy habitation. He will lead them into the place which He has made, which His hands have established. Their enemies shall be unable to oppose themselves to this. There is a third thing which is found in this beautiful song—the desire to build a tabernacle for Jehovah. But what they sing, is the deliverance effected by the power of God, and the hope of entering into the sanctuary which the hands of Jehovah have made.
The deliverance, then, of the people is accompanied by a full and entire joy, which having the consciousness of this complete deliverance by the power of God, grasps the whole extent of His intentions towards them, and knows how to apply this same power to the difficulties
Afterwards, those difficulties arrive. They travel three days without water-a sad effect, in appearance, of such a deliverance and then the water is bitter. If death has delivered them from the power of the enemy, it must become known in its application to themselves; bitter to the soul, it is true, but, through grace, refreshment and life, for in all these things is the life of the Spirit; it is death and resurrection in practice, after the deliverance; thereupon we have the twelve wells and the seventy palmtrees--types, it seems to me, of those living springs and of that shelter which have been provided through instruments chosen of God for the consolation of His people.
of the way.
Here we have the responsibility of the people put, as a condition of their well-being, under God's government.
. Still, however, it is always grace. The Sabbath-rest of the people-is established in connection with Christ, the true bread of life, who gives it Himself. Then comes the Spirit-living waters which come out of the rock; but with the presence of the Holy Ghost comes conflict, and not rest. Yet Christ places Himself spiritually at the head of His people, typified here by Joshua, of whom mention is now made for the first time.
However sure of victory they may be in fighting the Lord's battles, the entire dependance of the people, at every moment, on the divine blessing is presented to us in this —that if Moses (who with the rod of God represents to us His authority on high), if Moses, I say, keeps not his hands lifted up, the people are beaten down by their enemies. Nevertheless, Aaron the high priest, and Hur (purity?), maintain the blessing, and Israel prevails; the cause was a hidden one; sincerity, valiant efforts, the fact that the battle was God's battle, were of no avail-all depended upon God's blessing from on high. One would have thought, indeed, that if God made war, and unfurled the banner, it would soon be over; but no: from generation to generation, He would make war upon Amalek. For, if it was the war of God, it was in the midst of His people.
Up to this, all was grace. The murmurs of the people had only served to shew the riches of the grace of God, who displayed his sovereignty in giving them all they could desire; which appears so much the more striking, because afterwards the same desires, under the law, brought very bitter chastisements. At length, after this reign of grace, follows (chap. xviii.) the millennium where the king in Jeshurun judges in righteousness, establishes order and government. The Gentiles eat and offer sacrifices with Israel, and acknowledge that the God of the Jews is exalted above all gods.
During the days of the deliverance of Israel, Moses's wife had been sent back; but now she appears again upon the scene, and we have not only Gershom "a