MOSES CONTENDED AGAINST PHARAOH
God commissioned Moses to lead the
Israelites out of Egypt.
At first Moses was not willing. He said he was not eloquent. but God assured
him that he would be his mouth-piece and teach him what to say and that his
brother, Aaron, would also go with him. With this assurance Moses went up to
Pharaoh add spoke to him. He said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let
my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh
said, ‘‘Who is the Lord, that I should heed his voice and let Israel go? I do
not know the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go” (Ex 5:1—2). Pharaoh
would not allow two million Israelite slaves to go unconditionally.
But if God wants to do something
who can stop Him? God then sent plagues to afflict the Egyptians. The first
plague was the swarming of the water of the Nile into blood so that the
Egyptians could not drink from it (Ex:20, 21). The second was the plague of
frogs. The whole Nile was swarmed with frogs. The frogs went up into the houses
of the Egyptians, into their bed - chambers, their ovens and their kneading
bowls (Ex 8:1-6). The third plague was the plague of lice. There were lice on
man and beast in all Egypt (Ex 8:16—18). The fourth plague was the plague of
flies. There were great swarms of flies which flew into the house of Pharaoh
and into the house of the servants (Ex 8:24). Pharaoh became afraid. He
summoned Moses and said to him:
“Go, sacrifice to your God within the land” (Ex ).
But Moses unreservedly said, “We must go three
days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord OUF God as he will
command us” (Ex ).
Pharaoh was the king of Egypt
prefigures this wicked world (Rev 11:8, 9). Pharaoh prefigures the ruler of
this world, Satan (Jn 14:30). Sa tan will never allow us to worship God. Satan
wants us to worship God the way the people of the world do.
“only you shall not go very far away” (Ex ).
Further plagues from God compelled
Pharaoh to make some concessions. He allowed the Israelites to worship God
outside Egypt but not too far away. Pharaoh hoped that the Israelites would
eventually return to Egypt to be his slaves. But Moses insisted that his people
would leave far a way from Egypt. He did not want to worship the Lord close to
Egypt. The Bible records that the Israelites were a people dwelling alone and
not reckoning itself among the nations. God wanted to make a distinction
between the Egyptians amid the Israelites.
Paul said, “What accord has Christ
with Belial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? … Therefore
come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing
unclean; then I will welcome you” (2 Cor 6:15—18). Therefore, we should not be
mere believers but must actually separate ourselves from the world as far away
“Go, the men among you” (Ex ).
Since Moses could not accept
Pharaoh’s proposal, Pharaoh did not allow the Israelites to go out of Egypt.
Then God sent the fifth plague, the plague on the cattle. Pharaoh lost all his
cattle, horses, asses, camels, herds and flocks but Pharaoh’s heart remained
hardened. So, God sent the sixth plague, the plague of boils (Ex 9:8-10). All
the Egyptians and their beasts were afflicted with sores.
Then God sent the seventh plague,
the plague of hail storm. The hail storm struck down everything that was in the
fields throughout all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and the hail storm
struck down every plant and every tree of the field. Only in the land
of Goshen, where the people of Israel
were, there was no hail (Ex -25).
Once again Pharaoh summoned Moses
and said to him, “Go, serve the Lord your God; but who are to go?” Moses
replied, “W will go with our voting and our old; we will go with our sons and
daughters and with our flocks and herds for we must hold a feast to the Lord”
(Ex 10:8, 9). But Pharaoh again refused to let them go. Only men were allowed
to go (Ex 10:11). Pharaoh wanted the Israelite women and children to remain in
Egypt so that the Israelite men would return to him. Satan adopts the same
strategy today by restraining some members of our families from believing in
Jesus. However, we must be firm like Moses who insisted on bringing the young
and old out of Egypt. As Joshua has said, “But as for me and my house, we will
serve the Lord” (Jos 24:15).
“Let your flocks and herds remain behind” (Ex ).
Pharaoh’s heart was hardened and
he did not let the Israelites go. God sent the eight plague, the plague of
locusts. The locusts were so many that the land was darkened and they ate all
the plants in the land and all the fruits of the trees which the hail had left;
not a green thing remain, neither tree nor plant of the field through all the
land of Egypt (Ex 10:15). Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened so God sent the
ninth plague, the plague of darkness, over the land of Egypt for three days. In
this plague the Egyptians could not see one another for three days, but all the
Israelites had light where they lived. Pharaoh became frightened and he sent for
Moses and said to him, “Go, serve the Lord; your children may go with you; only
let your flocks and your herds remain behind” (Lx 10:24). This is yet another
deceit of Pharaoh. When he had failed to hold back the Israelite women and
children he told Moses to leave behind their hocks and herds. But Moses
persisted, saying, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings,
that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our cattle also must go with us; not
a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the Lord our
God” (Ex —26).
Pharaoh tried to entice the hearts
of the Israelites to turn back to Egypt.
The Lord Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be
also” (Mt 6:21). Moses being fully aware of this told him unreservedly, “Our
cattle also must go with us; not a hoof should be left behind .“ When Satan is
unable to restrain us and our households from worshipping the Lord he will try
to make us worship God empty-handed. But the Bible has this to say, “Every man shall
give as he is able, according to the blessing of the lord your God which he has
given you” (Deut 16:17). May the children of God have the determination of
Moses who did not want to worship God in Egypt, and who did not want to worship
God close to Egypt. We must bring our whole family to follow the Lord and to
offer Him our possession given by God to serve the Lord (Lk 8:3).