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Lesson Ten: Deliverance from Egypt (Pastor Barbara Caesar-Stephenson)
As we study the story given to us in Scripture of the drama surrounding God’s deliverance of His people from Egypt, we notice many facts that prove the authenticity of the Scriptural account. The picture of Egyptian life given to us here depicts a true picture of ancient Egyptian life at that time and the authority that Pharaoh held in his hand during this period of history.
The part that is played by the magicians of Egypt in performing miracles is a faithful representation of the power that the ancient priesthood possessed.
The Egyptian priesthood was in reality a corporation endowed with magical powers exercised on the behalf of the living and the dead. Archaeologists have uncovered buildings made of brick in which stubble was used instead of straw as recorded in Exodus 5:12. The scriptural account, through every name, incident, and custom portrayed, reveals the very Egypt of this period.
The truth and accuracy of the reflection show it was written by someone who knew the facts. The author of Exodus gives to us this drama of the miracle-working Covenant God moving on behalf of His people. It was not written by a Babylonian Jew about 400 B.C. as some skeptics claim. It bears the mark of the ancient Egypt which God judged.
THE FIRST MIRACLE:
Moses in obedience to jehovah, now approaches Pharaoh on behalf of God’s covenant people. Exodus 7:1-7.
Exodus 7:8-13 gives to us Moses’ first encounter with Pharaoh and his magicians. The first sign which was given was the casting down of the rod which was instantly changed into a serpent. “Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; now the magicians of Egypt, they did also in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod and they became serpents but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.” Exodus 7:10-12.
Some may wonder at the power by which the rods of the Egyptian priests turned into snakes also. The spirits to whom they appealed, which were identified with the gods of the Egyptians, did not leave them without an answer.
The revival in our day of spiritualism and all phenomena which cannot be explained away by trickery, shows the workings of Satan in miracles when it will bring to him the worship of man.
The conflict between the Maker of heaven and earth and the gods of Egypt began at the outset. In this light the miracle in pharaoh’s presence had a startling significance. As the rod of Aaron swallowed up the rods of the magicians, so would the religion which God was about to establish, swallow up the delusive trusts by which the wise men of the world sought a knowledge and a greatness that still left them and their followers slaves of satan.
Let us now study the story of the plagues which smote Egypt’s strength. A sign had been given when the rod was changed into a serpent. The sign was challenged by the magicians with the result that the power of Jehovah was only more fully manifested. But that was only a sign, and it could be easily forgotten. God must, therefore, have recourse to judgment.
The first plague was that by which the waters of Egypt were changed into blood.
The Divine Command came to Moses: “Get thee unto Pharaoh in the morning: lo, he goeth out unto the water and thou shalt stand by the river’s brink to meet him. Exodus 7:15
Observe the command to meet Pharaoh at the brink of the river. We at once see a glorious relevancy in the time and place that was chosen. The God of the Nile was an impersonation of NU, one of the chief father-gods of Egypt and an object of profound veneration in this section of Egypt. By this plague therefore, Jehovah asserted His supremacy. It is probable that Pharaoh went into this meeting to offer his devotion to this god.
To the king, then, while standing before the very altar of his god, the message of Jehovah was delivered and it was a startling one. The god and his worshippers were both to be judged. “And the Lord spake unto Moses: say unto Aaron, Take thy rod and stretch out thy hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers and upon their ponds and upon all their pools of water that they may become blood, that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone.” Exodus 7:19
The male children of the Israelites had been thrown into the waters, and now God would bring the sin of the Egyptians to their remembrance. The river of blood shall tell the story of their deed to the earth and heaven and the horror of it shall rise and cling to them.
The second plague was an affliction well known and dreaded. Its intensity was described in words of God by Aaron which must have gone home and filled with loathing and dread the breast of every Egyptian who heard them.
“Behold I will smite all thy borders with frogs the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bed chamber and upon thy bed and into the house of thy servants and upon thy people and into thy ovens, and into thy kneading troughs, and the frogs shall come up both on thee and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.” Exodus 8:2-4.
Place behind these words the affliction which we know these animals to be in Egypt, and the plague immediately acquires a significance which is terrible. We lose sight of the insignificance of the instrument in the magnitude of chastisement. The plague of frogs was not only a terrible chastisement on the people, but also another judgment upon their gods. Frogs were always a great nuisance in Egypt and from the beginning, the driving of them of them away was entrusted to a goddess called HEKI. She many times appears with the head of a frog. So important was the office which she was to fulfill that she was supposed to be one the slaves of the Egyptians. Jehovah once again shows Himself greater than the gods of the mighty Egyptians.
Another judgment was manifested against the gods of the Egyptians for the flies also were worshipped in Egypt. First, mere signs had been given when the rod was changed into a serpent – then personal discomfort revealed God’s power and displeasure. But now, along with the peril brought by the flies their garments, furniture, and trappings were destroyed: the land was corrupted by reason of the flies.
In the fifth plague, God still goes further. He lays His hand upon one of their most valued possessions – their cattle.
The matter was not to end when Pharaoh said no to God’s demands, or when he promised obedience and then neglected to fulfill his promise.
Again, Moses was sent with the message: “Let my people go that they may serve me.” And Pharaoh is warned, “If thou refuse to let them go and wilt hold them still, behold the hand of the Lord is laid upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the assess, upon the camel, and upon the sheep: There shall be a grievous murrain.” Exodus 9:3
Exodus 9:1-5 we notice that the separation between the Egyptians and God’s Covenant people continues. Nothing was to die of the cattle of the Israelites. Now the possessions of the Egyptians have been touched, the great part of Egypt’s wealth.
Now in the sixth plague, their bodies are touched. They are smitten with a painful and loathsome disease which the magicians, their champions in this conflict, confess to be from the hand of God and at once retire from the contest.
Notice the mercy of Jehovah in His dealings. His mercy sent milder chastisements at first to turn them away from disobedience and to save them from the final and awful calamity. When lighter chastisements fail to save, love lets heavier strokes fall, to see whether these may turn the disobedient from his way.
In the seventh plague a distinct advance is made in the severity of the chastisement. There is now to be a loss of life as well as of crops.
Exodus 9:18 “Behold, tomorrow,” so ran the Divine Command, “about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof until now.”
Exodus 10:4-6 as the eighth plague is announced, the word “locust: had a terrible sound in the ears of the Egyptians
Exodus 10:7 For the first time we hear a remonstrance in court. The princes and great men who surround the king, and who revere him as a god, are driven to forget the awful distance that stands between then and Pharoah’s throne. They throw aside, in very evident terror, their habitual reverence, and expostulate with the lord of Egypt.
“And Pharaoh’s servants said unto him, how long shall this man be a snare unto us? Let the men go that they may serve the Lord, their God; knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?” Exodus 10:7
We now come to the ninth plague. This was God’s last appeal before the long deferred judgment fell. Each man was shut in, so to say, with God during those awful three days and nights.
All business was suspended. Everything was laid aside. Each dwelt alone – king, counselor, noble, priest, merchant , artisan or peasant.
Each was held in God’s hand and confronted with the question, spoken in the memory of one plague after another, reiterated in the consciousness of this: “Canst thou dash thyself against the buckler of the Almighty.? These three days of awestruck isolation permit us to look into the depths of that infinite compassion which would have saved Egypt from the last stroke which was to break all its stubbornness and pride.
God also showed His supremacy over the sun, which was one of the chief gods of the Egyptians.
The Blood Covenant and its Tokens in the Passover
There came a time when the Lord would give fresh evidence of His fidelity to His Covenant of blood friendship with Abraham. Again, a new start was to be made in the history of redemption. The seed of Abraham was in Egypt and the Lord would bring thence that seed, for its promised inheritance in Canaan. The Egyptians refused to let Israel go at the call of the Lord.
Now, as we study the last plague which came upon them, we see the significance of the Blood Covenant.
In the original covenant of blood friendship between Abraham and the Lord, it was Abraham who gave of his blood in token of the Covenant.
Up to this time, the Israelites had had to do nothing to avoid the plagues. Now there was to be an act of the shedding of blood, if they were to escape the tenth plague.
The Lord commanded the choice of a lamb, a male without blemish. This lamb was a type of Christ, so it must be perfect.
The blood of the lamb, a type of Christ’s blood, was to be put on the two sideposts and on the lintel of every house of a descendant of Abraham: And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are said the Lord to this people; “and when I see the blood (the token of my blood covenant with Abraham) I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt Exodus 12:7-13.
The first born is safe when covered by the Blood
The flesh of the chosen lamb was to be eaten by the Israelites reverently, as the indication of that intercommunion with the blood friendship rite secures, and in covenant rites everywhere.
This last plague broke the heart of Egypt. Death, terrible and everywhere made an awful pause in the life of this pleasure loving people. When anyone died in Egypt it especially caused a great mourning. It may be imagined then, what effect this last affliction had upon the entire people. There was not a house in which there was not one dead. Those who might have mourned with others, had to bow under their own grief. “And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians ; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Exodus 12:30
But, when we have noted the grief of Pharaoh and of all his people because of their dead, we have not summed up all that was accomplished by this judgment. Exodus 12:12 reads, “I will pass through the Land of Egypt this night and will smite the firstborn in the Land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.” Notice the phrase, “And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.” Both the pronouncements are spoken against these: Both man and beast.
We have seen that animals were worshipped in Egypt and also that the king was esteemed an incarnation , and worshipped as a god. Now Pharaoh, worshipped as divinity, is smitten and chastised in his own land, and in the presence of his people. His heir who had been already hailed with divine honors lay in the stillness of death. It was impossible to doubt that the blow was from the hand of this Covenant people’s God.
The first born of the Israelites were safe. Not one of the plagues had touched God’s Covenant people. A great fear pressed upon Egypt. The hand that had struck might strike again. freedom was therefore given to the oppressed Israelites. They were thrust out. Pharaoh would not even wait for the day’s dawning.
“He called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, rise up, and get you forth from among my people both ye and the children of israel; and go serve the lord jehovah as ye have said, and be gone , and bless me also, and the egyptians were urgent upon the people that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, we will be all dead men” Exodus 12:31-33
1. Show how Scriptural account gives to us a true picture of ancient Egyptian life
2. What was the first miracle that was performed in Pharaoh’s presence
3. What spiritual significance may be given to it
4. In what way did the first plague bring down judgment upon an Egyptian God
5. What was the second plague and its significance
6. As Pharaoh refuses, show how the afflictions become greater
7. How did the ninth plague reveal His mercy before the last plague came
8. In what Way did God give evidence of His fidelity to the Covenant
Of the tenth plague
9. How was it revealed that the plagues were sent by the Covenant God