Exodus 6:1. “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 he drive them out of his land."
When Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh to request a three day holiday to go “and sacrifice unto the Lord,” they were rudely confronted with the accusation that they were interrupting the work of his slaves. The prospect of losing their service as slaves made him angry so he laid heavier burdens on them to make their bondage more secure. His antagonism never lessened until it ended in the death of his first born son.
In spite of the power of Satan, he defeats himself as he did at the cross. He has no foresight. He can’t see into the future any more than we can and, consequently, he overreaches himself.
This should be a warning to those who are unreconciled to God. The corruption of human nature will confront and even defy the power of God with disastrous results.
In Acts 16, when Paul and Silas’ preaching interfered with the cash flow of the masters of the girl possessed with the spirit of divination, they were beaten and thrown in jail. This led to the salvation of the Philippian jailer and all his family so Satan lost again.
If a soul is convicted of sin and wants peace with God, Satan will use every trick in the book to keep that soul from coming to the Lord.
I’m convinced Satan makes out the Little League Schedule. When my wife offered to start an evening ladies Bible study most of the mothers and grandmothers invited couldn’t find time to attend because there were games scheduled for nearly every evening of the week.
The Children of Israel would get no mercy from Pharaoh. There is no mercy with Satan. In fact, he takes pleasure in the sorrows of his servants.
How true this is in our individual experience. When the unsaved person is overwhelmed by his sense of guilt, Satan will put heavier burdens on him, but God can use them to lead the sinner to repentance and salvation.
In chapter 6 we have God’s declaration of His power of salvation that He had never displayed before. He is very emphatic that He is going to redeem His people from Pharaoh and put them in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Exodus 6:1-9. “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 he 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 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 you for an 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.”
So far, Moses and the people were helpless in Pharaoh's hand and they realized it. God never presents Himself as a Savior until men know that they are guilty and helpless.
God states, in verse 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.”
Until this time, God was known by His people as God Almighty, or El Shaddai, the strong and powerful God. The name Yahweh was known to the patriarchs but the significance of the One who would redeem Israel was not know until this time. God would now be known as Jehovah, the God who would put His power of redemption into action and redeem Israel.
His chosen people had a close relationship with God at that time but the believer of the church age has an even closer relationship. He is known to the believer as “God the Father.”
Jesus called Him “My Father and your Father, and My God and your God” in John 20:17.
Believers can claim God as our Father and He claims us as children in His family.
Jehovah is a name reserved for Israel. That name will again be used when they re-establish their relationship with God in the millennium.
God is emphasizing His power in action and reinforcing it with the statement “I am the Lord” four times and the word “I” 18 times.
Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh:
God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD:
I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob;
by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan,
I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel,
I have remembered my covenant.
say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD,
I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians,
I will rid you out of their bondage,
I will redeem you with a stretched out arm,
I will take you to me for a people,
I will be to you a God:
ye shall know that I am the LORD your God,
I will bring you in unto the land,
I will give it you for an heritage:
I am the LORD.
God made these declarations to reassure the people that He was still in command and control.
In verse 1, He declared that Pharaoh, under God’s hand, would drive them out of his land. The Lord was bringing His people out for two reasons; first, to separate them from the Egyptians, picturing the world, and second, to bring them out from underneath the rule of Pharaoh, picturing Satan. This would allow Him to display His power of redemption from bondage, picturing sin, so the children of Israel would know that only His hand could bring them out of the land of Egypt, which pictures the salvation of the sinner.
God had now entered into a relationship with the children of Israel where He reafirms the covenant and it’s terms that He had established with their fathers. The message He now sends promises complete fulfillment of that covenant.
The name He has taken, “Jehovah” declares they will be redeemed and brought into a relationship with Him as His people, and He will be their God. He will free them from the Egyptians, and He will bring them into the land He had sworn to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. All of His power guarantees the redemption of His people.
Pharaoh had rejected the Lord's demand so there is nothing but failure in his future.
At this point there appears to be only failure for Israel. But the Lord is not affected by human weakness or human resistance.
His purposes are accomplished by His own power and are unchangeable. Exodus 6:13. "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."
Against all of man and Satan’s obstacles, God proceeds to redeem His people.
Exodus Chapters 7 through 11 are a record of the judgments which fell on Egypt, each one more severe than the previous one until God compelled Pharaoh to release the children of Israel from their bondage.
7:1-6. "And the Lord said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh; and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee; and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you, that I may lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth Mine armies, and My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them. And Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded them, so did they.”
God warned the people there would be judgments on Egypt and He has revealed the course of this world's history to us and warned us of the impending judgments and the certain destruction of the world and all who do not belong to Him.
Here is one point that might cause the believer difficulty. It’s in the words, "And I will harden Pharaoh's heart." (verse 3)
If God had hardened Pharaoh’s heart, how could He righteously punish him? Notice that this was not said about Pharaoh until after he had rejected God. In Exodus 5:2, He said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go."
He rejected the Lord and the word of the Lord. He put himself in open opposition to God and His people and now his heart is hardened.
God still acts on the same principle. If one continues to refuse the gospel of God's grace, there is a time when it will be impossible for them to obtain salvation. God has fixed a limit for the individual and even for this day of grace, just as He did for Pharaoh. When that limit is reached, nothing but judgment remains. "To-day, if ye hear His voice, harden not your hearts." (Hebrews 3:15.)
Exodus 7:10. "Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent" and in verse 12, the magicians of Egypt did the same with their rods; but "Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods" showing that God was more powerful than the gods of Egypt.
Pharaoh still wasn’t convinced so God sent a succession of ten terrible judgments. First, the waters of the Nile are turned into blood. The plague of frogs in everything follows, then the lice, followed by swarms of flies. Next the livestock got a disease and died. Then, everybody in Egypt got a severe case of boils. Then the Lord sent thunder and hail and fire that ran along the ground and destroyed the remaining livestock and vegetation. If that wasn’t enough, God sent the locusts to eat what was left. This was followed by a darkness over the land for three days that was so dark it could be felt. Finally, God sent the Destroying Angel to bring death to the firstborn of every man and beast in Egypt.
None of these plagues struck the land of Goshen or the people of Israel. When the final plague came, God redeemed His people with the blood of a sacrificed lamb, sprinkled on the doorpost and the lintel of their houses. How plainly this points forward to the death of Christ on the cross to redeem “whosoever will” come to Him for salvation.
The narrative continues in chapter 12 with the 10th and final juddgment.
Exodus 12:12-13: "For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."
The death of the firstborn of all Egypt was the final blow.
Numbers 33:4. “For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.”
Looking at these plagues as a whole we see a similarity to those that will be visited on the world during the Great Tribulation and the reign of the antichrist.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to give a detailed interpretation of these plagues but their object is clear. God was dealing with Pharaoh as the oppressor of His people and as a figure of the god of this world.
God displays amazing grace by sending repeated messages of the gospel, inviting sinners to be reconciled to Him. He gave His only begotten Son to die as the atonement for our sin and by His death, He can righteously save every one that believes. But if His grace is refused, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;" Hebrews 2:3a.
It is so dangerous for the unsaved to risk a single day in that unsaved condition, not knowing how soon he may be called to an end as irrevocable as the Egyptian king experienced.
Let’s look back at the Egyptian magicians who did miracles in opposition to Moses and Aaron in the presence of Pharaoh. The two chief magicians are mentioned in the New Testament by name. We read, in 2 Timothy 3:8, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith." This reference shows that Satan is a skilled imitator.
When Aaron cast down his rod and it became a serpent, (7:12) "they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents." The Nile River, frogs, and the sun were sacred to them and, in 7:22, when the waters of Egypt became blood, the magicians did so with their enchantments. Frogs were objects of worship and it was the same with the frogs. (8:7.) Their action were an imitation of the acts of God through Moses and Aaron.
In 2 Timothy 3:5, the men who are said to resist the truth, as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, are described as "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." This is one of Satan's most dangerous subtleties. If he succeeds in opposition to the truth, he won’t conceal himself, but if he fails, he transforms himself into an ‘angel of light.’
I want to go back to the eleventh chapter for two things. First, the announcement of the judgment on the firstborn; and, second, the difference God showed between the Egyptians and Israel. Exodus 11:4-7. “And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt: 5: And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts. 6: And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. 7: But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”
The difference lies in the Passover lamb. God is the Judge for both the Egyptians and the Israelites alike.
Both are sinners in His sight. His purpose was to redeem Israel out of Egypt; and by exercising His own sovereign rights He can differentiate between the one and the other. However, God can never cease to be God. All His actions have to be the expression of what He is in some aspect of His character. If He spared Israel, who was equally guilty with the Egyptians because they were both sinners, and destroys Egypt, it has to be done in harmony with His own nature.
In other words, His righteousness has to be displayed in the salvation of the one as well as in the destruction of the other and grace can only reign through righteousness.
This is how God could righteously spare Israel when He destroyed the firstborn of Egypt. He appeared to both as Judge, but the difference wasn’t in any moral superiority of Israel over Egypt, but wholly and solely in the blood of the Paschal lamb. It was grace that provided the lamb; but the blood of that lamb, as a type Christ the Lamb of God, met every claim God had on Israel because of their sins. He could righteously shelter them while the destroying angel was bringing death to every household of the Egyptians.
Christ Himself is now the believer’s Passover Lamb.
1 Corinthians 5:7. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”
Exodus 12:1-2. “And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” Time counts for nothing before God as long as the sinner is in his sins. Until we’re sheltered under the blood of Christ we haven’t begun to live in His sight. We may have lived many years but if we haven’t been born again, it’s all wasted time as far as God is concerned. Every day we add to our guilt and to the number of our sins that are charged against us, all of which are recorded in the book that will be opened at the judgment of the Great White Throne if we pass into eternity unsaved.
God has offered to redeem you and me
and save us from judgment.
He sent His Son to be our Paschal Lamb
whose blood would cause God’s judgment to pass over us.
All we need to know and do is found in
"For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned:
but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name
of the only begotten Son of God."