“Exposing the Exodus”
The Testing of Israel – (Chapter 5 Verses 20-21)
How is the truth presented to people today, is a fair question. Are they told that they are entering into the mother of all wars, that they will have a cross to carry? Are they informed as to the dreadful state that sin has brought them to, one total depravity? Is every door slammed shut in their face until they can see absolutely no way out whatever, except through Jesus Christ? Are they hemmed in by the law until they cry out sincerely, longingly to Jesus, “save me or I perish?” There are many, far too many premature births, that result sick, weakly, vain professors. But if they are left to go full-term, left to the best and only spiritual midwife, the Person of the Holy Spirit, he will bring them to a right and needful knowledge of themselves. The depth of their sin and what it is they need to be saved from, wrought upon and called by the Holy Ghost into God’s marvellous light. When God himself does the work it is always done much better, perfectly. Israel’s officers should have known better than to try to fix things themselves. God had chosen Moses and Aaron as their representatives, in going to Pharaoh themselves they over-stepped the bounds of their authority. And they ought to have known better than to seek sympathy from Pharaoh, he is not the solution to their problem. It’s akin to a slave asking his master to liberate him, or asking Satan to free us. Neither the world, Satan or sin are our friends, but our enemies. Nor is there any hope in seeking to free ourselves. To be set free from our oppression takes divine power. But they get no marks for their reaction here (v20-21). They ought to have cried out to God, but instead, they come complaining to God’s servants. The officers are in a foul state and the confrontation’s a bitter one.
For the word ‘met’ you could insert found or attacked. It is a verbal assault on God’s representatives. Pharaoh’s tactics seem to work only too well, seeking to drive a wedge between God’s people. But it gets worse, they seek to call down a divine curse on their leaders (v21). It is an emotive exaggeration, in fear they vent their rage against Moses. But there was a need for caution, they were already under Pharaoh’s sword, they were already a stench in his unregenerate nostrils. But this is not a response, it’s a reaction and it is a natural one, not spiritual, it’s of the flesh, “now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). God cautions us, “for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13). We are exhorted, “walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16), “if we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25). Folk get mad and feel the need to blame someone, albeit their spiritual leaders. It’s all Moses fault. This is their first test, they failed. But there’s more to come.
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)