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In this Chapter we have a relation of God's ambassadors, Moses and Aaron., appearing before Pharaoh to demand, in God's name, permission for Israel to hold a feast unto the Lord in the wilderness. Pharaoh's answer, in which he despiseth God, is also recorded. The ambassadors urge the necessity of the measure, lest God should punish the Israelites with sickness or the sword. And Pharaoh to manifest his defiance of God's power, lays upon the people of Israel greater burthens of slavery. In consequence the children of Israel are more rigorously treated: they make complaints to Pharaoh: which are received with inattention: they complain of Moses and Aaron they murmur, at God's dispensation: and Moses himself is tainted with the dissatisfaction, and returns to expostulate with God.
Exodus 5:1 ; Isaiah 52:4-23.52.5 ; Ezekiel 3:26-26.3.27 .
Reader! Pause over this awful confession of the impious monarch: he knew not the Lord! a dreadful state. And yet this want of the knowledge of the Lord is the cause of all the sin and contempt of the Lord throughout the earth. See Job 21:14-18.21.15 .
Here is an appeal to Pharaoh's wisdom and humanity since he had no religion, that he might not lose his subjects by God's judgments. An eastern prince thought it right to be guided by this policy in after ages. See Ezra 7:23 .
This complaint of the idleness of the Israelites was false. See Exodus 1:11 .
Probably those task-masters were Egyptians, and the officers under them were Israelites, from among the people. Observe the woe upon such characters. Isaiah 10:1 . It was this which made the publicans, that is tax-gatherers, in our Lord's days so odious. Matthew 18:17 .
That is a suitable prayer for souls so exercised, 2 Thessalonians 3:2 .
James 2:13 .
While the Israelites were borne down under the pressure of the most severe labour, this monster of iniquity declared them to be idle. John 15:21 .
Acts 14:22 .
Genesis 34:30 ; Jonah 4:4-32.4.9 . Reader! recollect how the people had bowed their head in token of their trust in God's promises to deliver them. And here we behold them, not only relinquishing their confidence, but even murmuring because difficulties had arisen. And do we not, when at anytime any thwarting providences or dark seasons in grace arise, do much the same? Oh! for faith to keep a steady eye on Jesus: and not suffer anything, within or without, to stagger our confidence in his salvation.
It is right in all our distresses to return to the Lord. Provided we do not complain of God, we are commanded to complain to God. See Isaiah 37:14 . How different this from the conduct of Jeremiah. See Jeremiah 20:7-24.20.9 . Lord! what is man in his highest attainments?
To what a daring height of profaneness and impiety is the human heart capable of arriving, unrestrained by Almighty grace! Lord, keep me from that awful desperately wicked state which is here described in the character of this wretch, who from not liking to retain God in his knowledge was given over to a reprobate mind.
Reader! observe with me how mysterious according to our view of things, the Lord's dealings are with his people. So hath it been with the church of God in all ages. We look for judgment but there is none: for salvation, but it is far off from us. Such was the complaint of the faithful. And such was, and is, and will be their complaints until grace shall be no longer in a state of exercise, but be consummated in glory. In the world ye shall have tribulation, this is the inscription on Jesus' standard. But what a precious thought is it that not an hour, no not a moment beyond the Lord's time of trial, shall man's power be exercised over his people! Reader! beg of God the Holy Ghost to write this sweet Scripture in your heart, and grant you grace to live in the believing assurance of it for the Lord shall judge his people and repent himself for his servants, when he seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left. Deuteronomy 32:36 .
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Exodus 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent