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CHAPTER IV.

EXODUS.

REDEMPTION AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.

Keynote: Rom. iii. 21, 22.

REDEMPTION and its consequences, might be given as the typical title of this book. It tells us the story of God's way of redeeming His people, and the results that follow this redemption. Its New Testament doctrinal counterpart is to be found, I think, especially in Rom. iii. 21-31. Immediately following the declarations concerning our utterly lost and undone condition in the first part of Romans, to which I have referred as presenting a parallel to the book of Genesis, we are here made glad by the wondrous story of deliverance for these very lost ones, “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare I say, at this time, His righteousness, that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

In the book of Genesis we have seen man passing, by a series of failures, out of the garden of Eden into 45 the land of Egypt, and we open upon him now in a condition of apparently hopeless bondage there. “And the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigour. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service wherein they made them serve, was with rigour.” Exodus i. 13, 14. The rigor of this bondage at last forced frown the Israelites a cry for help, “And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried; and their cry came up unto God, by reason of their bondage.” Exodus ii. 23. And the Lord heard their cry and said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land, unto a good land, and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.” Exodus iii. 7, 8.

All this is a wonderful picture of the stages in our experience, by which we are brought to know the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. We seek first of all to redeem ourselves by our own efforts, and resolutions, and continual fresh starts, but our failures only grow worse and worse, until at last we find ourselves “sold under sin,” in apparently hopeless bondage; and then, when all hope in ourselves is gone, and our bondage has become very bitter to us, we cry unto the Lord, and 46 He hears and delivers us, and our Exodus is accomplished.

The way of our deliverance is wonderfully pictured in this story of the deliverance of the children of Israel. From beginning to end it was God's work, and not theirs, His right hand and His mighty power alone got the victory, and He brought them forth “with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs and wonders.” Deut. xxvi. 8. They were helpless before the power of Pharaoh, their cruel master, just as we are helpless before the power of our master, Satan, who has bound us in a far worse slavery than theirs; and is even more determined than Pharaoh was, not to let us go. Their helplessness was their greatest claim. Like us, they did not merit redemption, but they needed it; and the Lord delivered them, not because they were worthy, but because He loved them. As we read in Deut. vii. 7, 8. “The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.”

The especial points in their deliverance which contain the most teaching for us, seem to me to be found in Exodus xii. and xiv. The Lord had been dealing with their enslavers by showing “signs and wonders, great 47 and sore upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household,” but as yet they had not been willing to let the children of Israel go. In chapter xi. 1, , however, we read, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.” This “one plague more,” which was to prove so effectual, was the judgment of death upon all the first-born of Egypt. And from this judgment, the children of Israel were to be delivered by a ceremony, which has been accepted by the Church of all ages, as one of the clearest types of the work of Christ, given to us in the whole Bible. This type is described in chap. xii. 3, 5, 6, 7, 13: “Speak ye unto the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house.” * * “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side-posts, and on the upper door-post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.” * * “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you 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.”

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The meaning of this ceremony, it seems to me, we simply this, that the lamb died in the place of the man, and that the sprinkled blood was to be a token of this fact to the destroying angel, that he might “pass over” that household. And in 1 Cor. v. 8, we are told that “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;” showing that He as the “Lamb of God” was slain in our place, and that His death delivers us from the judgment which has been pronounced against sin. The word to Israel was “When I see the blood I will pass over you,” not when I see you, and your goodness, or your earnestness, or even your repentance, but when I see the blood. That is, their only claim lay in the merits of an offering slain for them, just as our only claim lays in the “one sacrifice” which was offered for us on the cross by our Lord Jesus Christ, “who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God.” Heb. ix. 14.

To my mind there is unspeakable comfort to be got out of the study of this type. First of all the offering was of God's arranging. He wanted to save the children of Israel. He was not an angry God needing reconciliation, but a loving God who longed to deliver His people, and who therefore Himself provided the way by which it could be accomplished. Just as we read in 2 Cor. v. 19, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Many people seem to look upon God as an angry Judge, whose wrath needs to be appeased, and who can only be satisfied with the blood of His Son. 49 But the real truth, as set forth here, and throughout the whole Bible, is, it seems to me, that God is a loving and just Creator, whose very justice towards His poor helpless creatures, has joined with His love to save us. As we read in 1 John iii. 16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us.” And again, in John iii. 16, “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.” And again, in Rom. v. 8, “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And again, l John iv. 9, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” It would require a volume to quote all the passages where this blessed truth is set forth, and these will suffice. The fact is, God's justice and His love ought never to have been separated, for love always includes justice, and true justice cannot exist without love. And it is indeed true, if we only understood it, that, as Faber says, God's justice is a bed where we may lay our anxious hearts, and be at perfect rest.

If for a moment we will put ourselves in the place of a Creator, and realize the responsibilities of a Creator, I think we will be able better to comprehend this, and to understand the declaration in Rom. iii. 26, that God's very righteousness was declared, by the redemption He bad provided in Christ, and that He was thus enabled 50 to be “just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Not Just, and yet the justifier, as though the two were opposed, but just, and therefore the justifier, because the two go together. As we read in I John iv. 10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

Another point in the type before us, that brings great comfort to my soul, is the fact of their perfect safety when in their blood-sprinkled houses. There were no “ifs” nor “buts,” nor “trembling hopes,” in the hearts of those Israelites, but perfect assurance of safety. “I will pass over you,” was God's word, and they believed it, and were at peace. And to us His word is, expressed over and over again in a hundred different ways, that he that believeth “hath everlasting life;” he that believeth “is born of God;” he that believeth “shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life;” “he that believeth shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life.” It is always the tenses of present possession and assured future possession that are used, and no hint of doubt is ever given. Let us then believe Him as simply as they did, and our assurance will be as undoubting as theirs.

This sprinkling of the blood was the first step in their deliverance. The second is given us in chap, xiv. where they crossed the Red Sea, and left behind them forever their “house of bondage.” The manner of this crossing was very significant. Shut up in a narrow pass, 51 between two high mountains, with the sea in front of them and their enemies behind, it is no wonder that they seemed to their enemies and to themselves to be “entangled in the wilderness,” and that they reproached Moses for having led them there. “And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” Exodus xiv. 11, 12. But the reply of Moses reveals God's very purpose in this entanglement, that He might compel them, because of their utter helplessness, to leave all their deliverance to Him. “And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to-day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” Exodus xiv. 13, 14. Man wants to do something to deliver himself, but God puts him where he cannot do anything, and then says, “Stand still” and see what I will do. To stand still and see, means for us, simply to believe in God's record of what He has done. I “see” an event in history which I believe on the authority of another, as really, and often far more understandingly, than if I had been actually present at the 52 time; and thus by faith we may “see” the path made for us out of our “house of bondage,” as plainly as the Israelites saw the one made for them. And having seen it, the word comes to us, as it did to them, xiv. 15. “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward.” Now is not the time to pray, but to act. I have made the path, now walk on it. Leave the house of bondage, and go forward. Take the deliverance I have provided. Or in other words, I have put away your sins by the sacrifice of Myself. You do not need to ask me to do it, for it is done. Believe it, and reckon yourselves to be free. The New Testament doctrinal counterpart to this is to be found, I think, especially in Rom. iv. and v., where the fact is brought out and established beyond controversy, that our salvation is a free gift, given to us out of the boundless grace of God, and not to be worked for, nor earned, nor purchased, but to be received and rejoiced in, as one always receives and rejoices in the gifts of love. “For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more” not they which do anything, but “they which receive abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” Rom. v. 17.

In Exodus xv. 1-19, the song of deliverance is sung, answering to the song of triumph sung by every redeemed soul, when the knowledge of its redemption first dawns upon it. It will be found very interesting to compare this song of Moses with what I have sometimes 53 called the triumphal song of Paul in Rom. vi., where a grander deliverance is celebrated, and a more glorious victory anticipated. But I shall speak of this again.

The feeding with manna described in Exodus xvi. is typical of the soul of the believer feeding on Christ, as is plainly shown us in John vi. 31-35. Our food is Christ, and Christ only. Not our frames, nor feelings, nor experiences, but Christ. And to feed on Him, and not on them, requires that we should turn away from them wholly, and not dwell on them, nor examine them, nor even think about them, but that we should think always and only of Him, and see nothing but His work and His love.

The giving of the law comes next in chapters xix. to xxiii. And the place this occupies, following and not preceding redemption, is very significant to me. Man's thought always is, obedience first and redemption afterwards, but God's way is, first redemption and then obedience. First the tree, then its fruits. Obedience is in fact only possible where redemption has taken place. Israel in Egypt could not have kept God's law; and the carnal mind, we are told, is “enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” (Rom. viii. 7, 8). The first event in any life must always be the birth into that life. The child obeys the father's laws only after he is born into that father's family, and also just because he is so born. The slave can begin a life of liberty, only after he has been set free. And to 54 demand from either child or slave, the fruits and development of their lives, before the life itself is given would be folly indeed. Let us never then say to ourselves or to one another, “You cannot be redeemed until you obey;” but let us say instead, “You must obey and you can obey, because you are redeemed.” I use redemption here of course in the simple sense of being translated out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and beginning the life in that kingdom; and not in the sense of the full salvation from sin that is to follow. The redemption out of Egypt was only the beginning of the full and grand salvation that awaited the children of Israel further on. But that which followed could not come until this was accomplished. And we cannot become followers of God as dear children, until we have first been made “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

I dwell particularly on this point, because I am sure God's order is often missed here, and we put Sinai on the wrong side of the Red Sea, and will not permit any deliverance from Egypt, until the law is first given and obeyed.

The latter part of the book of Exodus is occupied with God's directions concerning the preparation of a place where He might dwell in the midst of His people. Not content with redeeming them out of Egypt, He desired also to take up His abode with them, and to give them the unspeakable blessing of His manifested presence in their midst. “Let them make me a sanctuary” 55 He said to Moses, “that I may dwell among them.” God so loves His people and longs after them, that He even stands at their door and knocks, asking for admission. “Behold,” He says, “I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him and he with me.” And again He says, “If a man love Me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

This tabernacle, and its furniture, and its service was, as we are told in Heb. ix., a “figure for the time then present,” of a “greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands,” even the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ, who was at once our sacrifice offered for us, our High Priest interceding for us, and the dwelling-place of God in the midst of a world of sin. It was also a type of the spiritual yet invisible temple, in which we worship, the “holy place” of God's presence and of His spiritual sanctuary. But I cannot here go into the details of these blessed types.

On the day that the tabernacle was finished and reared up, we read, Exodus xl. 34, 35: “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.” This coming of the Lord's presence to fill the place prepared for Him by His people, is to me a 56 very blessed type of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, promised by the Lord Jesus to every believer, given first on the day of Pentecost to the waiting disciples, whose hearts were prepared for His coming, and ready, I believe, to be given now to us and to our children, and to “all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” And I believe that to each one of us individually, the command comes now, as it did to the children of Israel then, to prepare a place for our Lord that He may dwell in our midst. And sure I am that many have responded to this call, and have known what it was on the day when the tabernacle of the heart has been made ready, to have the glory of the Lord so to fill the house of the Lord, as to leave no room for any other inmate. May we all learn so quickly the lessons of our book, as to be brought by rapid stages to its consummating glory, and know for ourselves this wondrous indwelling!


Texts illustrating Redemption and its consequences:  Rom. iii. 21-26; v. 8, 10; viii. 1-4I John iv. 9, 10Acts xiii. 37, 38John iii. 14-18John xi. 49-52Gal. i. 4Eph. i. 3-7; ii. 4-10;  Ga1. iv. 4, 5;  Heb. ii. 9-15; vii. 25; ix. 11-14Heb. viii. 10-121 Pet. i. 3-5, 18, 19Eph. ii. 13-22Col. i. 12-141 Pet. ii. 24Col. i. 20Is. liii. 4-6; xliii. 25Ps. ciii. 11, 12Titus iii. 4-7, &c., &c.

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