“Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian:
and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain
of God, even to Horeb.”
a remnant: excellence; and Midian contention: strife; and as
has been noted already, his other name Reuel, means associate ye with
God: tend ye God. It was not unusual for a man to have two names in
those days, but the spiritual lesson being taught in such double naming
isn’t readily apparent in the present instance.
The “back side
of the desert” was what is present-day Arabia.
called Sinai, was located in the southwestern tip of the Sinai Peninsula,
where Moses later received the tables of the Law. It means a waster,
and appropriately so, for the Law is indeed a waster as far as being a means
of life is concerned, for it can only condemn us, and leave us at the feet
of Christ either to accept Him as Savior, or to reject Him, and perish.
“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the
midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and
the bush was not consumed.”
bush is an easily recognized type of Christ at Calvary where He endured the
fire of God’s wrath against sin, but without being Himself consumed. It is
also a type of the holiness of God, of Whom it is declared in Deuteronomy
4:24; 9:3, and Hebrews 12:29 that, “... our God is a consuming fire.”
“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the
bush is not burnt.”
but unconsumed bush, was indeed a great sight, but an infinitely greater is
that of which it was but the type: the Lord Jesus Christ hanging on the
cross enduring the judgment of God against my sin and yours, experiencing
the awful anguish spoken of in Psalm 102:3, “... my bones are burned as an
hearth,” and in Jeremiah 1:13, “From above hath he sent fire into my bones,
and it prevaileth against them.”
sight is set before the eyes of men today on the pages of Scripture, but the
giddy multitudes, busy pursuing the world’s worthless wealth, fame, and
pleasure, hurry past with unseeing eyes, unaware of the fact that the road
they travel ends in hell and the lake of fire.
“And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out
of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.”
“And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for
the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”
curiosity impelled Moses to turn aside, but God doesn’t gratify mere idle
inquisitiveness. He had something to teach His servant.
was commanded to remove his shoes, and for a very good reason. The shoe,
which separates the foot from the ground, is the symbol of separation from
the evil of the world through which believers pass on their way home to
heaven, it being instructive to note that during all their years of
wandering in the wilderness the Israelites’ shoes never wore out, see
Deuteronomy 29:5. But the ground upon which Moses stood that day was
sanctified by the presence of God: the symbol of separation wasn’t needed.
“Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God
of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid
to look upon God.”
Moses was well
aware of God’s gracious dealings with the Patriarchs; and the consciousness
that he was standing in the very presence of that same omnipotent Jehovah
produced a reverential awe which led him to cover his face. This is a far
cry from today’s irreverence which mocks God to His face.
“And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are
in Egypt, by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;”
escapes the omniscient eye of God.
means distress, sorrow, humiliation, oppression, all the misery
caused His people by the Egyptians. He had taken note of it all, and was
about to deliver them. Egypt typifies the ruthless world of business and
pleasure in the midst of which His people, true believers, have always had
to dwell as the small, despised, and afflicted minority, their distress
being almost invariably in proportion to the faithfulness of their testimony
for Him. And so has it been in every age right down to the present, their
comfort being the knowledge that He takes note of all they suffer for His
sake, and will bestow an abundant recompense on that day, now surely very
near, when He will repay their faithfulness with an eternal reward.
“And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to
bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land
flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the
Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the
was fulfilled when God delivered them out of Egypt on the night of the
Passover, and brought them into Canaan after a forty-year sojourn in the
wilderness. Their preservation from death, by the blood of the Passover
lamb, is a type of every believer’s deliverance from spiritual death through
the blood of the true Passover Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ; and their being
brought into “a good land,” Canaan, typifies the believer’s being brought
into the enjoyment of those spiritual blessings which only faith can
appropriate and appreciate.
The fact that
their taking possession of that good land would include warfare is the
reminder that our enjoyment of spiritual blessings also involves combat with
the spiritual foes represented here by the hostile Canaanite tribes.
general term for all the occupants of Canaan, means trafficker, a
term which implies illicit or immoral activity; and as such he represents
earth’s unconverted masses and their sinful activities.
meaning terror, represents the world’s inhabitants as those who both
cause and suffer fear, the activity of some causing apprehension to others,
through oppression, crime, or war, etc., all of them in turn occupying the
role of tyrant or victim, but all living, even though unconsciously, in the
fear of death.
meaning a sayer, scarcely needs comment. All men are talkers, much
of their talk being profitless as far as eternity is concerned; but it is
instructive to note that almost invariably they display a strange reluctance
to discuss spiritual matters.
means rustic, with squatter as a possible second meaning, a
rustic being one who is unsophisticated, uncouth, rude, boorish, capable of
little else except digging in the earth. Such is the natural man relative
to spiritual things. He may be educated, cultured, rich ... but when it
comes to spiritual matters he is abysmally ignorant, as it is written, “But
the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are
foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually
discerned,” 1 Corinthians 2:14.
shower of life: liver. He represents the moral natural man who,
though totally lacking in the knowledge of spiritual things, teaches men
that the way to heaven is by morality rather than faith.
he will be trodden down. He portrays the unbeliever, the one who
will be trodden down, i.e., condemned, when he is arraigned before God at
the Great White Throne.
All of these
literal foes against whom the Israelites had to fight, are types of the evil
spirits of the air who oppose us as we seek to take possession of our
spiritual inheritance, as it is written, “For we wrestle not against flesh
and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of
the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,”
“Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me:
and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.”
God heard the
cry of His oppressed people, and took note of the cruelty with which the
Egyptians afflicted them, nor is He any less attentive to us. He is fully
aware of all that befalls us; hears us when we cry to Him, and is no less
ready to aid us than He was to deliver His ancient people out of the hand of
their oppressors, His assurance being, “He shall call upon me, and I will
answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor
him,” Psalm 91:15. While the application of these words is first to the
Lord Jesus Christ, they are no less relevant to us also.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest
bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.”
incidentally, means his nakedness. In spite of the honor accorded
him by men, he was but a naked thing in God’s sight, for he lacked the
covering of righteousness which enables a man to stand unafraid in the
divine presence. The haughty master of Egypt was about to learn that he was
but a worm in the sight of the Almighty, and that he could hold God’s people
captive only by His authority. That permission was now to be withdrawn.
Israel was about to be liberated, and the power of Egypt broken.
deliverance of Israel from Egypt foreshadows another miracle that is now
imminent: the rapture of the Church, for all the signs point to the fact
that it could occur today.
“And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that
I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
appalled by the magnitude of the task being assigned him, Moses pleaded his
own inadequacy, forgetting apparently that God works as described in
Zechariah 4:6, “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord
of hosts.” We too should remember that nothing is impossible to God, and
that though we can do nothing of ourselves, there is nothing that we can’t
do by His enablement when we are submissive to His will, as declared by
Paul, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians
lesson being taught here is that as Moses was to lead the Israelites out of
bondage, so are we also to seek to lead men and women out of their bondage
to Satan and sin, by declaring to them the good news of the gospel which is
the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes,” Romans 1:16.
“And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto
thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of
Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.”
will be with thee” is the same assurance as is given us, the Lord Himself
declaring, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every
creature, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age,” and
again, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” Hebrews 13:5.
noteworthy that the confirming sign wasn’t to be given until Moses had
obeyed God’s command, and the lesson being taught is that there must be
first faith on the part of the sinner to trust Christ as Savior before God
bestows the spiritual ability to find in Scripture the confirmation of
believing faith. Only the obedient believer can understand the deeper truth
woven into the fabric of the Bible’s literal language; and I emphasize
obedient because the disobedient believer can no more grasp those things
than can the unbeliever, for disobedience grieves and quenches the Holy
Spirit, and cuts off His enlightenment, without which we will be as blind to
the deeper truths of Scripture as is the unbeliever.
Israel must be brought out of Egypt, and the lesson being taught in this is
that faith makes a man a citizen of heaven, as it is written, “For our
conversation (citizenship) is in heaven ....” Philippians 3:20. We are in
the world, but no longer of it. Our separation however, is twofold: it is
not only from the world: it is also unto God. But we are not
saved to become recluses. We are to be Christ’s ambassadors to the world,
bringing to sinners the good news of salvation, and to believers the
revelation of the deeper truths of Scripture.
worship of the people “on this mountain” Horeb, may be a typological
foreshadowing of the worship that will be presented by the redeemed in
“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel,
and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and
they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?”
believed that an evidence of special privilege was for the worshiper to have
had disclosed to him a unique name of the so-called “god” which he
worshiped; and Moses, anticipating such an inquiry from the people, desired
to know what name he was to give when responding to their question.
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say
unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”
declared Him to be the eternally existing One who had never had a beginning,
and who will never have an end.
“And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of
Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and
this is my memorial unto all generations.”
memorial” is also translated thus I am to be remembered: by this name I
shall be invoked: it shall stand recorded for ever: this shall remain my
“Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord
God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared
unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to
you in Egypt.”
were here being directed back to the beginning of God’s dealings with them
in the days of Abraham, their knowledge of that part of their history which
began with the patriarch being material with which they were very familiar,
His faithful dealings with them during those years being that which would
inspire their confidence in His continued care for them in their present
gracious dealings with us ought to beget the same confidence when adversity
causes us to doubt His faithfulness.
“And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto
the land of Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the
Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with
milk and honey.”
meanings and significance of these names have already been discussed in our
study of verse 8, the reader may review the comments on that verse.
“And they shall
hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel,
unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, the Lord God of the
Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’
journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.”
Since three is
the number of resurrection, the spiritual message of the three days is that
those who would worship God “in spirit and in truth,” and not just according
to the dead religious forms of Christendom’s sects, must be those who stand
spiritually on resurrection ground, i.e., those who have been born again,
having passed from death to life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as
Savior. Their having to leave Egypt in order to worship, teaches the
further lesson that only those who live in separation from the things of
this present evil world can worship God acceptably. The world must be for
them a spiritual desert. The essence of spiritual worship is distilled only
in the separated place where the believer, undistracted by the things of the
world, can meditate on the Scriptures, and commune with God in prayer, for
the still small voice of the Holy Spirit is rarely heard amid the cacophony
of the world’s business and pleasure.
“... that we
may sacrifice” teaches the further lesson that true worship involves
sacrifice: the relinquishing of time that might have been given to other
things, even those that are legitimate.
connection a word of caution is needed. While attendance at the Lord’s
Table should never be apart from our bringing something to offer in worship,
there is equally great need to be sure that we not attempt to present that
worship apart from the clear leading of the Holy Spirit. What I have
prepared may be indeed the material of genuine worship, but this may not be
the Lord’s day on which the Holy Spirit would have me present it. The
brother who would lead the congregation audibly in the expression of their
worship should consider carefully whether what he has to say is in harmony
with the general theme of the hymns, prayers, and Scripture readings that
“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a
“... no, not
by a mighty hand” is also translated except by a mighty hand: unless he
is compelled: without the use of force: only because of a greater might.”
may well be asked, Why did God command them to make the request of Pharaoh,
when He knew that the king would refuse? One reason at least is obvious: it
tested the obedience of the people; and the lesson God would teach us in
this is that He is to be obeyed even when it seems that obedience will not
accomplish the desired result.
lesson is that He was willing to give Pharaoh the opportunity to obey the
command and thus save his life, for, “God is longsuffering ... not willing
that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Peter
“And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I
will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.”
filled its cup of wickedness to overflowing, and now, rejecting the last
opportunity to save themselves, must perish; and only spiritual myopia will
prevent men from seeing that those cataclysmic judgments which destroyed
Egypt are but the typological foreshadowings of those that will devastate
the world in the now imminent Great Tribulation, and that will see the
believing remnant of Israel and of the nations delivered, and brought into
the enjoyment of millennial blessing.
“And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it
shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:”
So will it be
also with those who survive the Tribulation judgments and pass into the
millennial kingdom: all that will have been the possession of the banished
unbelievers will be inherited by the believing survivors.
But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in
her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall
put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the
In the present
context “borrow” means to demand. The silver and gold and raiment were not
to be returned: they were the wages due to the Israelites for all the slave
labor they had rendered to the Egyptians. This was God’s method of ensuring
that His people were given the wages due to them for that compelled and
normal order the gold should have been mentioned before the silver, but God
has a reason for everything He does. This is the symbolic picture of those
who will pass out of the Tribulation into the Millennium. All of them will
be believers. Silver however, represents redemption; gold, glory; and
raiment, the garment of salvation that clothes every believer. One must be
redeemed before he can be glorified and clothed in the garment of salvation.
possession of the Egyptians these precious things represent what the
unbeliever mistakenly thinks is redemption, e.g., church membership,
morality, generosity, etc., but as the Egyptians were stripped of all these
things when the redeemed Israelites departed, so will it be at the Rapture
of the Church. Those who have religion, but not salvation, will be left
behind to suffer the terrible judgments of the Great Tribulation, those of
them who had heard the Gospel, but without believing it, having no further
possibility of being saved. The only converts in the Tribulation will be
those who had not previously heard the Gospel.