1 And Yahweh said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
The election of grace
God purposed to show forth his power that his name might be declared throughout all the earth. This manifestation was not left to the wisdom or pleasure of Moses. The display was to be according to the divine will. The world was overspread with ignorance and superstition, and Pharoah was the autocrat of the age. He was totally ignorant of who the Lord was, and therefore refused to obey Him.
He was "a vessel unto dishonour" -- an idolator under the dominion of the propensities. Had he been left to himself, he would have continued like all other chiefs of the sin-power,
"a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction."
...He that has power over the clay had appointed Israel to be "a vessel unto honour," upon whom it was His sovereign pleasure to have mercy. They were, therefore, "vessels fitted for mercy," whom He had before prepared, that on them He might make known the riches of His glory, both then and in a time to come.
To affect their deliverance then; to punish Pharaoh and his abettors for their tyranny; and to make himself known to the surrounding nations -- He stirred up the Egyptian king to show all that was in his obdurate and relentless nature. Upon this view of the case, He elected Pharaoh and his host to a terrible overthrow; while He elected Israel to become His people in the land of Canaan. Thus
"He had mercy on whom He would have mercy, and whom He would He hardened"
Elpis Israel ii.3.
2 And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am Yahweh.
If Pharaoh had not resisted, the signs could not have been shown for lack of occasion, and the knowledge of Yahweh's existence and power would not have been communicated
in the vivid and unmistakable form
which the purpose of God, at this stage of the earth's history, called for. It called forth such a manifestation of the visible and personally-directed power of God as sufficed to
convince Israel of Yahweh's existence
and spread His fame and name among the nations of the earth. By this, a foundation was laid for the operations of subsequent ages, the interdependence of which with the Egyptian wonders will become manifest to reflection, and be more particularly and clearly apparent in the day of the clear and open vision that will come with Christ, the prophet like unto Moses.
Visible Hand of God Ch 13
16 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against Yahweh your Elohim, and against you.
It is one of the many symptoms of the intellectual confusion of the age that it is fashionable, and quite the acceptable thing, to suggest that this was an ordinary visitation of locusts such as is common in the East at the present day. If people would only think, they would see in a moment how perfectly worthless and insulting to the judgment such a suggestion is.
If it was an ordinary visitation of locusts, why did Pharaoh "send for Moses and Aaron in haste"? What possible connection could there be between Moses and an ordinary visitation of locusts? And why were the ordinary locusts so very discriminating as to ravage the Egyptian districts, and leave the region occupied by the Israelites untouched?
If it be said, "Oh, that is a mere garnishing of the narrative: Pharaoh didn't send for Moses, etc."; then why trouble to explain the locusts at all? If Pharaoh's hasty summons of Moses and Aaron is a fiction, the locusts are likely to be a fiction too. It would be a much more complete manner of getting rid of the plague of locusts, to simply say there were no locusts, than to say they came in an ordinary way.
But then, why offer such explanation at all? Aye, why? It is perfectly gratuitous, perfectly presumptuous, perfectly absurd. There is no ground for it, whatever, except the dogged determination not to believe. The facts compel belief-whether we begin with Christ, who confirms the writings containing the narrative, or study the history of Israel before his time, or consider the inherent character of the whole Mosaic narrative in connection with the appearance of the Jewish nation on the earth.
To say the thing was thus and so otherwise than it is written, without any ground for so saying, except repugnance to what is written, is certainly an extraordinary intellectual performance. Yet this is the performance that many people supposed to be intelligent go through every day. In any other matter, it would be scouted as it deserves. Men seem rational in everything except that which pertains to God. In this direction it is true, whether men like the doctrine or not, that-
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."
"The carnal mind is enmity against God:
it is not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can be."
Visible Hand of God Ch 13
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
Nothing was more calculated to oppress the imagination than the prevalence of darkness-especially such a darkness-a "darkness that might be felt." In daylight, men can encourage themselves in any wickedness; but in darkness, from which not even artificial deliverance can be obtained, their high thoughts lose buoyancy, their enterprise is arrested, and general paralysis sets in.
Visible Hand of God Ch 13
25 And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto Yahweh our Elohim.
The Mosaic sacrifices beautifully manifest and teach seven basic principles of approach to God:
1. REPENTANCE, CLEANSING, PURIFICATION. We are unclean from birth by reason of the law of sin in our members, and additionally by our allowing it to move us to sinful action, to rule over us. This is especially illustrated by the purifying Sin and Trespass Offerings.
2. ADORATION, HOMAGE, WORSHIP, SUBMISSION. Humble and abased recognition of the greatness and majesty of God.
3. CONSECRATION, HOLINESS, DEDICATION, DEVOTION. The complete, unreserved giving over of the whole life to God. This is seen especially in the solemn Whole Burnt Offering.
4. THANKSGIVING, GRATITUDE. Recognition of goodness and blessing from God. This is shown in the Drink Offering of wine.
5. SUPPLICATION, ENTREATY, DEPENDENCE, NEED. Seen especially in the sweet incense of prayer.
6. OBLIGATION, RESPONSIBILITY, DUTY, LABOUR, SERVICE. Seen particularly in the Meat (more correctly, Meal) Offering -- the fruit of the ground and of man's daily toil.
7. COVENANT-RELATIONSHIP, FELLOWSHIP, COMMUNION. Entrance into the divine family --especially manifested in the joyful Peace Offering, the only one of which the offerer himself partook.
A primary requirement of the sacrifices is that the offerer must bring them "with his own hands." There could be no substitutes. The rich could not pay to have someone do it for them. An earnest friend or parent could not do it for one who was lax. Each must do it himself in person. All stood equally before God, and each must do his required part.
The clear lesson for us today is that no one is exempt from the work of the Lord. We dare not leave it to others, no matter how much better qualified they seem to be. Truly the work may take many different forms according to ability and circumstances -- sweeping the hall is as important as lecturing to many 1,000s if that is our best -- but all are required to give their best and most, and to do everything they do "as unto the Lord."
We should never, in any aspect of life, do anything that cannot be done as unto God. This eliminates all useless, unworthy activity, and gives meaning and purpose and holiness and sanctification to life's every necessary task, however humble or ordinary it may be. And it also emphasizes the responsibility to do everything we do to the very best of our power and ability - not because the thing Itself is necessarily important, but because the way we do anything is important to our character. We must live wholly in God: all must be done as unto God: and God requires the very best.
Bro Growcott - Living Sacrifice
28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.
This was more that Pharaoh's restrained heart could stretch to; his patience snapped here. He ordered Moses out of his presence, declaring he should not see him again, and that if he should dare to present himself, death would be the consequence. Brave but impotent word, O Pharaoh. Thou art in the grip of a higher than Moses. Moses is only a servant-a faithful servant. Moses is able in all calmness to endure the threatening ebullition, and retires.
Visible Hand of God Ch 13