God Sets People Free

KEY VERSE: “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: and I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God.” —Exodus 6:6,7


WITH THE ELDERS of Israel agreeing to cooperate, Moses and Aaron then contacted Pharaoh, saying to him, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness.” But Pharaoh did not take this kindly. He replied, “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.”—Exod. 5:1,2

No amount of persuasion would change Pharaoh’s mind. Instead of allowing the Israelites to go, even temporarily, he increased their burdens. Then the Israelites complained to Moses, and Moses went to the Lord and said, “Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 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.”—vss. 22,23

This was not expressing a lack of faith in God’s ability to deliver his people but rather a request for a better understanding of God’s providences. The Lord assured Moses that in due time Pharaoh would not only let the Israelites go, but would even drive them out of the land.

God brought plagues upon Egypt—ten in all. As each of these plagues fell upon the land, Moses and Aaron went, to Pharaoh with God’s message, “Let my people go.” Each time Pharaoh declared that if the plague were lifted he would let the Israelites go, but each time he broke his word. “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17) This suggests that God could have brought another prince to the throne of Egypt but favored this one because of his wickedness, self-will, and obstinacy.

The Scriptures also declare that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart. (Exod. 4:21 ) The explanation is that it was the goodness of God that hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Divine goodness and generosity were shown in the removal of the various plagues as soon as Pharaoh promised to do right. This, instead of inciting him to love and obedience, led him to greater obstinacy. He determined, as he passed through one plague after another, that others could not be worse; but ultimately he paid dearly for his defiance.

The tenth plague was the most severe. All the firstborn of Egypt died; but the firstborn of Israel, under the protection of the blood of the Passover lamb, were spared. By this plague Pharaoh was brought to the point, as prophesied, where he expelled the Israelites from the land.

It was in connection with this tenth and final plague upon Egypt that Israel’s Passover was instituted. According to the instructions of the Lord through Moses, the Passover lamb was to be slain and its blood sprinkled upon the lintels and doorposts of the houses. The firstborn in any house where the blood was found that night was passed over, or spared.

The Apostle Paul places a typical significance upon this, saying, “‘Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Cor. 5:7) Paul also mentions the “church of the firstborn.” (Heb. 12:23) Israel’s firstborn were delivered from death that first Passover night, and the next day all Israel were brought forth from bondage. This has its counter-part in antitype in that ‘the church of the firstborn’ are delivered from death during the present Gospel Age, and then, during earth’s new day, all mankind will be delivered from their oppressive taskmaster, Satan, and made free from sin and death.

Moses’ greatness is attributable to the fact that he gave the Lord the glory for all things. By cooperating with the Lord, he had delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage. But he kept reminding the people that it was, indeed, the Lord who had accomplished this miracle. He said to them: “Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place.”—Exodus 13:3

Dawn Bible Students Association
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