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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Exodus 3

 

 

Verses 1-10

Exodus 3:1. 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.

It must have been a great change for Moses, after forty years in the court of Pharaoh, to be spending another forty years in the wilderness. But it was not waste time; it required the first two periods to make Moses fit for the grand life of the last forty. He must be a prince, and he must be a shepherd, that he might be both a ruler and a shepherd to God’s people, Israel. He must be much alone; he must have many solitary communings with his own heart; he must be led to feel his own weakness. And this will be no loss of time to him; he will do more in the last forty years because of the two forties thus spent in preparation. And it is not lost time that a man takes in putting on his harness before he goes to the battle, or that the reaper spends in sharpening his scythe before he cuts down the corn.

Exodus 3:2. 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.

How near God seemed in those ages when he could be beheld in a bush or sitting under an oak! And is he not equally near to us if we are but prepared for his presence? Surely pure eyes are scarce, or sights of God would be more frequent, for “the pure in heart shall see God.”

Exodus 3:3-5. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 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.

God is not to be viewed by curiosity; he is not to be approached by presumption. A holy trembling well becomes the man who would commune with the most holy God. We are not fit for intercourse with God without some measure of preparation, There is something to be put off ere we can behold the Lord.

Exodus 3:6. 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.

Partly because of the universal superstition that if God appeared to any man, he would surely die; but in Moses’ case, perhaps more because of an appreciation of the holiness of God and of his own unworthiness. There is not a man among us but what must do as Moses did if we are in a right state of mind. They that think they are perfect might presume to look, but they that are truly so, as Moses was, would, as he did, hide his face, for he was afraid to look upon God.

Exodus 3:7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

Beautiful verse. God had seen and God had heard, as if their griefs had had two avenues to his heart. God seeth not with eyes, and heareth not with ears, as we do, but he speaketh after the manner of men, and he saith by two ways they had reached his very soul: “I have surely seen the affliction; I have heard their cries”; and then he adds, as if to show the perfection of his sympathy with them: “I know their sorrows.” Now it is quite true today concerning us and concerning our God, he has seen, he has heard, and he knows — “I know their sorrows.” When the sorrow is known, then God begins to work. He is no passive spectator of the misery of his chosen, but his hand goes with his heart.

Exodus 3:8. 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 Jebusites.

“Now, therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me,” and when the cry of God’s children goes unto him, depend upon it there will be something moving before long. When a father hears the cries of his children, when a mother hears the cry of her babe, it is not long before there will be a movement of the heart and of the hand. I am sure, brethren and sisters, there have been crises in English history which have been entirely due to the prayers of God’s people. There have been singular occurrences which the mere reader of history cannot understand, but there is a number still alive who wait upon God in prayer, and they make history. There is more history made in the closet than in the cabinet of the ministry. There is a greater power at the back of the throne than the carnal eye can see, and that power is the cry of God’s children.

Exodus 3:9-10. 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. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

I do not wonder that Moses opened his eyes when he knew what a poor creature he was for God to say, “Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh” — the very man whose life was sought by Pharaoh — “I will send thee unto Pharaoh” — the man that had been rejected by his own people when he took their part — “Thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” Oh! let us be ready for any commission. If God were to say that he would build up heaven by the poorest and meanest among us, it would not be for us to draw back. Let him do what he wills with us! Oh! for a faith to believe that in the midst of our weakness God’s strength would appear.


Verses 1-14

This chapter tells of the appearance of God to Moses in the Wilderness. Has he removed from us brethren? He used to be seen by godly souls by mount and stream and sea; and even bushes were alive and blazing with the indwelt Godhead. Oh, that he would reveal himself to us tonight! I am going to read this chapter with this longing in my heart. I pray that the same longing may be in the heart of every child of God: “Show me thy face: show me thy face, my God, tonight.”

Exodus 3:1. 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.

There is nothing dishonourable about common trade, and matters of business at all. Here is a shepherd, who keeps his flock, and God keeps him and reveals himself to him. When God wants a man to lead his people he seeks for him not among idlers, but busy, active men, and God was pleased to show himself more to Moses as a shepherd, than he had ever shown himself to him as a prince in Egypt. I find no glowing Deity in the halls of Pharaoh, but I find the consuming fire manifested in the lone wastes of the desert of Sinai.

Exodus 3:2. 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.

Well might it say, “Behold.” I have seen a bush set alight by a match. It blazed in a moment, but it was gone in another moment. It burned up so fiercely and hastily. But God was pleased to make a poor consumable bush to be the unharmed place of his abiding. He dwells today in the human person of the Saviour. The Godhead is in Christ. He dwells today in the church, which might well enough be consumed by his presence; but it is not consumed. He can come and dwell in my heart and in yours tonight, and yet we shall bear the presence of Deity to the hour of our death. He has a way of so throwing himself into our feebleness that it becomes strong, and that which might otherwise have been destroyed, is even preserved by his presence. The bush burned with fire, and was not consumed.

Exodus 3:3-4. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 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.

Oh, that personal call, that voice from God to the heart! How much we need it. Do you not remember when first the Lord called some of you? Then he says to you tonight, “I have called thee by my name. Thou art mine.” Own that sweet impeachment, confess that you are his, and say to him, “For suffering or for service, here am I ready, aye ready, even as Moses was. Here am I.”

Exodus 3:5. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

Stand as a servant stands in the presence of his master in the East. He is not expected to wear in the court of his master the shoes which have trodden in the mire of the world. Now, put off thy cares, put off thy carnal thoughts, put off thyself, put off thy sin. When God is near, solemnity and deep reverence become us. “The place whereon thou standest is holy ground.”

Exodus 3:6. 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.

Thou needest not hide thy face if God shall appear to thee, though I am sure thou wilt do it. Thou mayest come boldly. It is thy Father’s face: it is the face of one who is reconciled to thee in Christ. Therefore open thine eyes and look; and may the Lord show himself to thee!

Exodus 3:7. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;

Now, you troubled ones, are not these verses real music to you? God has seen your afflictions, there are God’s eyes; God has heard your cry, there are God’s ears. “I know their sorrows”: there is God’s mighty understanding. He is thinking about you. He knows all that which tries you tonight.

Exodus 3:8-10. 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 Jebusites. 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. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

“Come now therefore,” This was a very extraordinary thing to follow after all that. God has seen the affliction of his people. What then? He says, “I am come down to deliver them.” What then? Why, the next thing is that he is going to use this trembling man who stands awe-struck with his shoes from off his feet in the presence of the still burning bush. “Come now, therefore.”

Exodus 3:10. And I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.

You have been praying for a blessing. God is going to give it through you. You have been looking east and west and north and south for some deliverer that shall win souls and stir up the church. God calls you to do it. He invites you to undertake this gigantic service, and I think that I see the colour come into your face, and then fly away again. You are ready to faint at the thought of such a charge laid upon you.

Exodus 3:11. 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?

Now, catch this: —

Exodus 3:12. And he said, Certainly I will be with thee;

What more does Moses want? He said, “Who am I?” This showed his weakness. God said, “Never mind who you are. Certainly I will be with thee.” Here was strength enough for him.

Exodus 3:12. 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.

And he did. You know how Sinai trembled while God made it his throne, and how Moses must have been strengthened when he did exceeding fear and quake before God when he recollected that this same God had appeared to him when he was alone in the desert, and had promised that they should worship him there.

Exodus 3:14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM:

That is his name: the Infinite, Eternal, and Unchangeable God.

Exodus 3:14. And he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Oh, what a glorious commission — to receive it direct from the self-existent God, who is the same for ever and ever, and only hath immortality. Speak to us tonight, thou great I am, Jah, Jehovah, God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob. Speak to this company in this house of prayer tonight, because of Jesus, Joshua, Jehoshua, Jehovah, Jesus. I have tried to show you how that name of Jesus has the name “Jehovah” hidden away in it. Because of him, draw near to us, O Lord.

This exposition consisted of readings from Exodus 3:1-14; Romans 9:1-25.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Exodus 3:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/exodus-3.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 26th, 2019
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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