“Exposing the Exodus”
The Authenticating Signs – (Chapter 4 Verses 6-9)
Without any reference to Moses, God moves to the next signs (v6). Moses is shown the real problem of bringing about this great deliverance from Egypt. It’s not Pharaoh, or his magicians, or yet politics, it’s sin. There is in the Old Testament a close connection between skin disease and God’s judgment. In Moses case here, it was a sign. But there are nonetheless overtones of warning and of judgment that are and will the consequences of persistent unbelief. Moses own sister later on, who rose in rebellion against God’s authority is prize example (See Numbers 12). These skin disorders in the old dispensation were a sign of disgrace and judgment. They were extremely infectious and made people very fearful of them. Those infected had to dress, live in seclusion, cry out to others who came near that they were indeed unclean. They were cut off from the worship of God and from his people. The sense of relief at being restored is of course obvious, but also a sign of God’s willingness to forgive, cleanse and reconcile. It is a pointer to and a sign of only one who in fact can deal with our uncleanness, our sins. But the sign is yet another proof to Moses of the presence of God, designed to give credibility to Moses and his message to Israel. And of course there will be many more signs to come as God puts forth his power in judgment over the world-power, Egypt.
The Lord gives instruction for yet a third sign (v9). Which turns out to be the first of the ten mighty acts of God in delivering his people. Do remember the river Nile was Egypt’s lifeline. Its waters overflowing their banks, fertilising the land and preparing it for harvest. The sign will be a great demonstration of God’s ability to turn what is a great blessing of plentiful, into what is an absolute, and fearful scourge. Instead of life it will become a river of death. Instead of fruit, corruption. It is unspeakably solemn, and serious reminder to the West today, that all the material wealth and prosperity we have enjoyed for so long, God overnight, can turn it to death. We know of course that the first sign did not move Pharaoh or his court, the refusal to believe what the sign itself conveyed, the presence and the power of God. But when such is rejected what is left? Given over, left under the rule and power of Satan, the power of our own natures. When the only Deliverer is refused, who could cleanse and set free, forgive, what’s left? Nothing but the fearful looking for of judgment. This is pictured here in these signs, and even more so shall be in the coming chapters, as by way of judgment delivers his people from the grasp of the world-power. It is ultimately a work of grace. Israel were no better than Egypt, we’ll see that too. It was just the free, sovereign grace of God, that’s all.
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)