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would lead us to think that the Almighty had dealt hardly, if not unjustly, with his people, in thus permitting the severities of their bondage to be increased, and they themselves to be, as they soon afterwards were, partakers of a portion of God's judgments upon the Egyptians, at the very time that the Almighty had most distinctly promised them deliverance. But when the reason is thus revealed to us, many centuries afterwards, by the mouths of the holy prophets, we are enabled to enter much more fully into the motives and intentions of God's dealings with Israel, and we may almost see in it a type of his continued dealings with the world, and with the Church, unto the present day.
God had just before mercifully and graciously said, “ Israel is my son, even my first-born," and had promised them a full and complete deliverance; and yet the first step towards this deliverance, is the infliction of punishment! Who can read it without being reminded of the language of the apostle, when, speaking of the deserved trials and sufferings of the people of God here below, he says, “When we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” This is the merciful intention of all God's apparently severe treatment of his people: did He love Israel? Remember his own frequent declarations, “They are beloved for the fathers' sakes. But did this love occasion Israel to be exempt from punishment? Hear again the words of the Lord, “I will not make a full end of thee, but correct thee in measure; yet will I not leave thee wholly unpunished.” * Does he love us? Then be assured, he will not withhold from us his chastening hand; like a faithful father to a sick or ailing child, he will not give food and deny medicine. No, although affliction is his strange work, he will see that no child of his shall ever require its bitter draught for the strengthening or purifying of his soul, without finding the cup pressed to his lips by a Father's hand, and filled by a Father's love.
CHAP. vi. 1–13.
1. Then the Lord said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall ke drive them out of his land.
2. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord:
3. And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
4. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
5. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.
6. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments :
7. And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a
* Jer. xlvi. 28.
God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.
8. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am the Lord.
9. And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.
10. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
11. Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.
12. And Moses spake before the Lord, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?
13. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, and gave them a charge unto the children of Israel, and unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
In the opening of the passage of Scripture that we have just read, there is a declaration of the Almighty, which, if left unexplained, might greatly perplex the attentive searcher into the divine word. “I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known unto them.” Now, by a reference to the history of the Patriarchs, we shall find several instances, in which God had already revealed himself to them as JEHOVAH, as far as the mere name is concerned; for instance, Gen. xv. 6, speaking of Abraham, “He believed in the Lord," (which in the original is, “he believed in JEHOVAH”) and “he counted it to him for righteousness.” And again, verse 7, “And he said unto him, I am the Lord," (or, as in the original, “I am Jehovah.") So again, " And Jehovah appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt," and other instances which might be cited. When, therefore, the inspired writer, in the passage before us, says, speaking of the patriarchs, “By my name, Jehovah, was I not known to them;" something more is evidently meant than the mere name, for of that it is evident, that the assertion could not have been made. The declaration, therefore, no doubt intends to express, by the name of Jehovah, that wonderful development of the power and judgments of Jehovah, of which the patriarchs, happily for themselves, had never been the subjects, but which was now about to be most fearfully manifested in the long series of punishments inflicted upon Pharaoh, and the wonderful deliverances of God's chosen people. This interpretation appears to be fully borne out, by the manner in which the psalmist declares that the LORD, even Jehovah, is made known to us, when he says, “JEHOVAH is known by the judgment which he executeth.” † And again, “He is JEHOVAH our God; his judgments are in all the earth;" and still more conclusively in the very book upon which we are commenting, when the Almighty himself says, " And the Egyptians shall know that I am JEHOVAH (the LORD) when I stretch forth
my hand upon Egypt.”Ş Clearly manifesting, therefore, that the manner in which JEHOVAH should be made known to the Israelites, different from that in which he was hitherto known by the patriarchs, was by a larger, and more astonishing, and appalling series of judgments and punishments, than he had ever yet seen fit to manifest.
* Gen. xxvi. 2.
+ Ps. ix. 16.
§ Exodus vii. 5.
Happy is it for those who are so sweetly drawn by the mild and softening influences of God's grace, that he is never compelled to present himself to them, in the more fearful attributes of his
power, Happy for those, whose stubborn wills are made to yield, and their hard hearts to break, before the still small voice," and who need not the wind, the earthquake, and the tempest; to whom, in this sense, by his name JEHOVAH, he is not known; but, on the contrary, is well known and gratefully beloved, and entirely rejoiced in, by that endeared and gracious name, “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," and through him of all the children of his redeemed and ransomed family. Let your constant desire and prayer be, to know him thus; for short of this, you cannot enjoy the privileges of the real Christian here, or the portion of the children of God hereafter.
[Here may be read from verse 14, to the conclusion of the chapter.]
CHAP. vii. 1-7.
1. And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaohı; and Aaron thy her shall thy prophet.
2. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Laron thy brother shalt speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land.