Moses: Let My People Go

There are several times where it is recorded that God has a conversation with His people. When God talked to Moses at the burning bush Moses objects to being the one that can do this job that God has called him to. Moses tells God they won't believe him so God gives him some signs to do. He also tells God that he is not a very good speaker and so God arranges to have Aaron, Moses brother, be the spokesman. This convinces Moses and so he sets off to Egypt and meets his brother Aaron in the way.

God has not stopped having conversations with His people. I think we just don't believe He will and therefore hang up the phone line. We are all necessary members in the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12 - 31), we each have our place and responsibilities. It is our privilege to do our responsibilities and listen to Him (He knows, He is all knowing, He is the boss). We need to take the time to be still and know that He is God and look to Him for guidance.

Back to Moses: when Moses returned to Egypt from Midian the Children of Israel were a considerable population. One man (Israel) and his sons and their families (about 75 people) begat 600,000 men (Acts 7:14, Gen 46:26) over a period of 430 years (Exodus 12:41). Those men and their wives and children would be roughly equal to 2-3 million people. They were considered foreigners and the Egyptians feared that they would take over the land, so they enslaved them.

Exodus 4
:29 And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together
    all the elders of the children of Israel:
:30 And Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses,
    and did the signs in the sight of the people.

God had given Moses and Aaron the words to say and the signs to do in order for them to believe. God had given Moses a staff that when cast down on the ground it became a serpent and when caught up by the tail it became a staff again. Israel needed a sign to believe, we have a sign, we have speaking in tongues, we believe and then we see.

:31 And the people believed:
    and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel,
    and that he had looked upon their affliction,
    then they bowed their heads and worshipped.

They were excited that God had heard their prayers and had come to their rescue. Now remember that they are the ones who had asked God for deliverance.

Moses goes and talks to Pharaoh and says let my people go (Exodus 5) so they can go out into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord God and worship the Lord God. Pharaoh believes they have too much time on their hands and punishes them by refusing to give them straw for their brick making but they still have to meet their quota. This made the people and the elders mad, and they start blaming Moses, just as soon as the trouble starts they fail in their believing. Instead of remembering God's promise and being patient they lose their minds. So Moses goes back to God. We will see that Moses receives his inspiration, his direction and support from God, not from the people. The people weren't encouraging him, they were attacking his credibility and ability as a leader (again). They complained about having to make more bricks and having to gather their own straw to do it, they thought they were better off before. Moses knew there would be adversity, God had told him that. Moses goes to God.

Exodus 5
:22 And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said,
    wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people?
        [remember the Idiom of Permission--God did not really do this]
    why is it that thou hast sent me?
:23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name,
    he hath done evil to this people;
    neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.

Moses went back honestly to the Lord and wanted to know why He sent him there. The people aren't delivered, things are actually getting worse. He didn't complain to people about it, he went to God. He didn't say God was no good and unable to do anything, he just went to the Lord and wanted to know what was going on.

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.

God assures Moses that He is not done and deliverance is still in the future. By Moses' hand God does miracles and plagues Egypt to get Pharaoh to let Israel go. Pharoah is quite evil. He has a blind hatred of the Hebrews and God. For people like this God lifts His hand of protection and the devil destroys his own. Each plague that was sent upon the Egyptians was a result of Pharoah's refusal to do the word of the Lord so they received the consequences.

The plagues tore down aspects of the Egyptian culture that was revered. The Egyptian gods were closely tied to the forces of nature.

  • The first plague attacked the Nile turning the river's waters to blood. The Nile was an object of worship, it became polluted and unusable.
  • The second plague was a plague of frogs which were worshipped as a symbol of fecundity, the ability to produce young abundantly.
  • The third plague was lice, which the Egyptian word actually means mosquito-gnats. The magicians could not imitate this one showing God's supreme power.
  • The fourth plague was swarms of flies-a severe blow to all idolatrous worship for cleanliness was paramount in their worship. Hence the daily shaving of beards. It was also aimed at Beelzebub, the god of flies to manifest his impotence.
  • The fifth plague attacked the cattle in the field with a murrain or pestilence which was aimed at their animal worship.
  • The sixth plague, taking the ashes of the furnace. The furnace was at the alter where they would do human sacrifices. The ashes were used by the Egyptians priests to avert plagues, here it used to cause one.
  • The seventh plague is a pestilence upon the people. This is directed at the gods Isis and Osiris which God said He would bring them down.
  • The eighth plague, locusts, came at Moses bidding and left at Moses bidding making their god Serapis, who is supposed to protect them from locusts, impotent.
  • The ninth plague was darkness all over the land. This is aimed at their sun god.
  • The tenth plague was the death of the first born of the Egyptians. This is beyond the natural elements of the other plagues. This is the supernatural evil being manifested in the disobedient Egyptians. Israel was saved because they believed God and did according to His commandments in commencing with the first passover.*
    After the last plague where the Egyptian first born die, including Pharaoh's son, Pharoah sends them off. So without firing a shot, but by the mighty hand of God, a few million people go out of Egypt carrying it's riches that Joseph had helped Egypt amass. The Egyptians gave them an abundance of jewelry and wealth. They weren't going into the Promised Land poor; God saw to that, and provided for them.

Our God is the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses!

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* The information about the plagues was taken from The Companion Bible which is a compilation of the work of E.W. Bullinger published by The Bullinger Publications Trust, 1974.