Exodus 3:7-10; 19:3-8
INTRODUCTION Old Testament history of God's dealing with His chosen people Israel provides the indispensable background and foundation for the New Testament. "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" [Romans 15:4]. The New Testament is full of quotations and allusions that cannot be understood by readers ignorant of the Old Testament.
This lesson includes two passages from Exodus. In the first we find God commissioning Moses to become the leader of Israel; in the second we find Israel delivered out of Egypt and gathered at Mt. Sinai to receive the law of God through the ministry of Moses. For an outline we may note: 1. Determination, Exodus 3:7-10. a. Deliverer perceptive, 7, 9. b. Deliverer present, 8. c. Deliverer purposeful, 10. 2. Demonstration, Exodus 19:3-8. a. Deliverance declared, 3-4. b. Deliverance designed, 5-6. c. Deliverance devoted, 7-8. NOTES ON THE TEXT:
DETERMINATION, Exodus 3:7-10.
God's work is always determined in advance and always goes according to His plans. The greatest of men must sometimes improvise changes in their plans to meet changing situations, but God is in control of every situation and has determined the end from the beginning. So He had foretold to Abraham the period of Egyptian bondage and His determination of deliverance [Genesis 15:13-14].
Deliverer Perceptive, 7, 9. "I have surely seen... and have heard... for I know... the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen..." Sometimes men may imagine that God does not notice either the afflictions of His people or the wickedness of His enemies, but He is a perceptive Deliverer, Whose acts of salvation and judgment are always righteously suited to all the facts concerning all nations and individuals. Moreover, divine perception is more inclusive and more discerning than the perception of all His creatures put together. God has perfect knowledge and understanding of intentions and motivations which no man can know or understand, and His judgments are always in accord with His infinite knowledge, wisdom and holiness.
Deliverer Present, 8. Being omnipresent, God is not to be thought of as only a God afar off, taking only occasional interest in a world far beneath Him. The words, "I am come down," are adapted to human limits of understanding, and are intended to emphasize the personal presence of God in the midst of His people. Admittedly, we too often fail to recognize the presence of our Savior, though He never leaves or forsakes His people. But when Israel was delivered out of Egypt, the power of God was manifested; when Israel was brought into a good land, the goodness of God was manifested; when Israel defeated and displaced the Canaanites, Hittites, etc., the favor or grace of God for His people was manifested. So let us recognize the presence of God in every experience of salvation, in the multitude of our material and spiritual blessings, and in the life of victory over the world which is ours through faith in Christ [I John 5:4].
Deliverer Purposeful, 10. Eternal purposes of God are revealed and expressed as truly in the use of divinely appointed means and instruments as in any statement of promises or decrees. No doubt we may suppose that God could have moved Israel from Egypt to Canaan without Moses, if He had chosen to do so. But the fact is that He chose to use Moses, and so the call and ministry of Moses expressed the divine purpose of deliverance as truly as the earlier promise to Abraham.
DEMONSTRATION, Exodus 19:3-8.
At this point in the history, the promise and power of God had been demonstrated to the entire nation, and additional demonstrations were about to follow. We might comment that to carnal minds (and the Israelites were descendants of Adam just as we are) listening obediently to the Word of God and waiting quietly upon Him is not nearly so exciting as it is to see an army of chariots destroyed in the sea. But that is another story - Exodus 32:1].
Deliverance Declared, 3-4. Like ancient Israel, we need to be reminded again and again of what God has done for us. The deliverance here declared included judgment upon the Egyptian oppressors, miraculous guidance, protection, and provision during the wilderness journey ("eagles wings"), and recognition of the divine presence. So we are delivered out of the bondage of sin, through all the perils of life, and into the glorious presence of God.
Deliverance Designed, 5-6. No matter what blessings we have already enjoyed, it seems that God always has greater and better blessings ahead for us. Could anything be better than to escape the bondage of cruel taskmasters? Yes -- to obey the voice of our loving God, Whose commandments are designed always for our good. And could anything be better than to obey His commandments? Yes -- to keep His covenant, with all its promises of future blessings. And what are some of these blessings? First, to be "a peculiar treasure," the special private property of the God Who rightfully owns all things. Second, to be "a kingdom of priests," enjoying a closer relationship to God than all others. Third, to be a "holy nation," partaking of the attributes of God Himself.
Deliverance Devoted, 7-8. Hyper-dispensationalists have written a lot of silly comment about how rash and foolish the people of Israel were in promising to obey God. I suppose that they think the people should have made bold to say, "we will do as we please, no matter what God says or does!" But whatever may have been the failings and weaknesses of the children of Israel, they were not so rash and foolish as commentators of that stripe.
No: the Israelites were humanly sinful enough, but they were too close to the awesome majesty of God, too mindful of His terrible power, to set themselves openly and deliberately against His declared will at this point in their history. When the Creator speaks, the creature can do naught but submit, sooner or later, willingly or unwillingly. It is rather to Israel's credit that for the moment at least, no doubt with about as much sincerity as sinners in this world can muster, the people who had experienced divine deliverance devoted themselves to obedience to their Deliverer: "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do."
CONCLUSION [Exodus 3:14]
Any creature is merely what God made him plus what God has caused or permitted him to become, whether better or worse than originally created; but God is that He is and what He is in and of Himself, with no cause outside Himself. Traditional and competent scholarship tells us that this is the original and essential meaning of the name "Jehovah": He is the one and only self-existent Being; all other beings owe their origin and continued existence to Him.
Jehovah, the eternal I AM, the God manifested in Jesus Christ and operating in the person of the Holy Spirit, is the God Who delivered ancient Israel, as He is also the God Who delivers in personal and eternal salvation every true believer in our Lord Jesus Christ. =================
[From Ashland Avenue Baptist paper, September 13 1974, pp. 2-3. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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