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Sermon #2286[i] Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: “Wonders in the Land of Ham”
Distinguishing Grace Displayed
Text: Exodus 3:19-20
Subject: God’s Plagues upon the Egyptians
When the Lord sent Moses to deliver Israel out of the land of Egypt, he said…
(Exodus 3:19-20) “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. (20) 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.”
“The Lord God of the Hebrews” sent Moses to Pharaoh, determined to harden Pharaoh’s heart, that he might perform wonders in Egypt by which he would manifestly display himself as the God of the Hebrews and manifestly display his distinguishing grace, by which he ever distinguishes and separates his elect form the rest of Adam’s fallen race. The title of my message is “Wonders in the Land of Ham” — Distinguishing Grace Displayed.
You will remember that Noah’s cursed son Ham is held before us as the representative all the reprobate of the earth whose existence is that they might serve (be instruments of benefit to) God’s elect (Genesis 9:18-27). The deliverance of Israel out of Egypt is specifically spoken of in Holy Scripture as that which the Lord God accomplished by performing his “wonders in the land of Ham” (Psalm 105:23-27).
Proposition: That is exactly how God always saves his elect. — He openly displays his sovereign love and distinguishing grace toward his chosen by performing “wonders in the land of Ham.”
(Psalms 105:23-27) “Israel also came into Egypt; and Jacob sojourned in the land of Ham. (24) And he increased his people greatly; and made them stronger than their enemies. (25) He turned their heart to hate his people, to deal subtly with his servants. (26) He sent Moses his servant; and Aaron whom he had chosen. (27) They showed his signs among them, and wonders in the land of Ham.”
This is held before us as a matter of unceasing praise among God’s saints of old. Moses, Nehemiah, David, and Jeremiah all hold these wonders of distinguishing grace before us as encouragements of faith and reasons for praise. The first martyr of the New Testament church, just before he was stoned to death by those who were Jews after the flesh, spoke of God’s wonders in the land of Ham, by which he saved (and still saves) the sons of Abraham (Deuteronomy 6:20-24; Nehemiah 9:5-10; Psalms 135:3-9; Jeremiah 32:17-21; Acts 7:36).
(Deuteronomy 6:20-24) “And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD our God hath commanded you? (21) Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We were Pharaoh’s bondmen in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand: (22) And the LORD showed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his household, before our eyes: (23) And he brought us out from thence, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers. (24) And the LORD commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the LORD our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.”
(Nehemiah 9:5-10) “Then the Levites, Jeshua, and Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, Stand up and bless the LORD your God for ever and ever: and blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise. (6) Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee. (7) Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees, and gavest him the name of Abraham; (8) And foundest his heart faithful before thee, and madest a covenant with him to give the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, and the Girgashites, to give it, I say, to his seed, and hast performed thy words; for thou art righteous: (9) And didst see the affliction of our fathers in Egypt, and heardest their cry by the Red sea; (10) And showedst signs and wonders upon Pharaoh, and on all his servants, and on all the people of his land: for thou knewest that they dealt proudly against them. So didst thou get thee a name, as it is this day.”
(Psalms 135:3-9) “Praise the LORD; for the LORD is good: sing praises unto his name; for it is pleasant. (4) For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure. (5) For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. (6) Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. (7) He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries. (8) Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast. (9) Who sent tokens and wonders into the midst of thee, O Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his servants.”
(Jeremiah 32:17-21) “Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (18) Thou showest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name, (19) Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: (20) Which hast set signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, even unto this day, and in Israel, and among other men; and hast made thee a name, as at this day; (21) And hast brought forth thy people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs, and with wonders, and with a strong hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with great terror.”
(Acts 7:36) “He brought them out, after that he had showed wonders and signs in the land of Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years.”
The Lord God said to Moses, “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand” (v. 19). He was sure of it because he had so ordered it from eternity (Romans 9:17).
(Romans 9:17) “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.”
No mighty hand could bow the heart and bend the will of the obstinate king of Egypt, except one — The omnipotent hand of the omnipotent God! In fact, the opening words of our text might be translated, “And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, except by a mighty hand,” as the next phrase indicates.
The Lord God does not say, “but I will stretch out my hand.” He says, “and I will stretch out my hand.” Pharaoh was raised up by God and his heart was hardened by him for this specific purpose, that God might show his mighty hand and the mighty power of his hand upon him in the deliverance of his people.
“And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 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.” May God the Holy Spirit be our Teacher and graciously show us the things of Christ as we look at his “wonders in the land of Ham.”
The Ten Plagues
Let’s look at the ten plagues God brought upon the Egyptians. We will look at them in more detail individually, as we come to them in chapters 7-13. But I think you will find it helpful to look at them together as the signs and wonders by which the Lord God brings judgment upon the wicked, while performing the salvation of his elect.
Typical — These ten plagues are held before us in the book of Revelation (chapters 5-8 and 11) as things which typified the wonders of God in the land of Ham throughout the ages, by which he brings judgment upon the reprobate and displays his distinguishing grace upon his elect, as our mighty Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, goes forth throughout the ages, “conquering and to conquer,” subduing all his enemies beneath his feet, either by the irresistible power of his saving grace or by the irresistible power of his holy wrath. The Lord God said to his Son, our all-glorious Savior, this One who appeared to Moses in the bush, — “Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Hebrews 1:13; 10:9-14; Isaiah 45:20-25).
(Hebrews 10:9-14) “Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. (10) By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (11) And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: (12) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; (13) From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. (14) For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.”
(Isaiah 45:20-25) “Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. (21) Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (22) Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. (23) I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (24) Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. (25) In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
The Lord God performed ten wonders in the land of Ham, brought ten plagues upon the Egyptians. They came in succession, one after another, with a brief space between each, giving Pharaoh and the Egyptians space for repentance. Each plague was more severe than the one preceding it, but to the end Pharaoh hardened his heart in obstinate rebellion and God hardened his heart in judgment. — Judgment never brings repentance! — “The goodness God leadeth thee to repentance” (Romans 2:4). — “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). By these ten wonders in the land of Ham God destroyed the Egyptians and all Israel was saved. So it is now; and so it shall be forever, to the praise of the glory of his grace!
1. Water to Blood
The first wonder God performed in Egypt was the turning the waters of the Nile river into blood and death (Exodus 7:17-18).
(Exodus 7:17-18) “Thus saith the LORD, In this thou shalt know that I am the LORD: behold, I will smite with the rod that is in mine hand upon the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. (18) And the fish that is in the river shall die, and the river shall stink; and the Egyptians shall loathe to drink of the water of the river.”
I cannot help pointing out the fact that the first wonder wrought by Moses was the of turning water into blood; but the first miracle performed by our Lord Jesus Christ was that of turning water into wine (John 2:11). Everything in the law, just as the waters of the Nile were turned into blood, is made a source of condemnation and death to all men, by reason of our sin. It is called “the ministration of death” (2 Corinthians 3:7). But everything in the Gospel brings life and liberty.
That which is touched by the rod of Moses is smitten with death. Under the law, everything is a curse. But that which is touched by the gracious hand of Christ is made to live. Under the Gospel, Christ makes everything a blessing, putting his blessing upon everything, sanctifying everything to the blessedness of his people.
The second plague of Egypt was that of the frogs. (Exodus 8:1-15).
(Exodus 8:5-6) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch forth thine hand with thy rod over the streams, over the rivers, and over the ponds, and cause frogs to come up upon the land of Egypt. (6) And Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt.”
There was a striking progression in the plagues God sent upon Egypt. The first was remote and distant, confined to the rivers and water; but this second plague came much closer to each person. Frogs came into their houses, even into their bed-chambers. — “Their land brought forth frogs in abundance in the chambers of their kings” (Psalms 105:30). When men harden their hearts and refuse to hear the voice of God warning them in one judgment, another often follows. Usually, the second is worse than the first.
In the third wonder God sent was that of lice to cover the Egyptians. All the dust of the land was turned into lice, covering man and beast (Exodus 8:16-17).
(Exodus 8:16-17) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. (17) And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.”
What a horrible, disgusting plague of filth! Other plagues had been on their water and their property. This one brought judgment upon every man, woman, and child among the sons of Ham, and upon every animal in their land. Pharaoh’s magicians were stumped. They had imitated the previous wonders of God. But this one they could not even pretend to imitate. They were compelled to confess, “This is the finger of God.” But no change was wrought in Pharaoh’s heart. — “And Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not (even to the voice of his magicians); as the Lord had said” (Exodus 8:19).
Next, the Lord smote the land of Egypt with swarms of flies (Exodus 8:20-21).
(Exodus 8:20-21) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; lo, he cometh forth to the water; and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Let my people go, that they may serve me. (21) Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.”
Flies were everywhere, filling the land and every house with flies, so much so that even the ground was covered with dirty, smelly, biting flies! The plague of lice was great, but this of flies was indescribably greater. At last, Pharaoh seemed affected. His heart was not changed; but in order to get relief from torment, he finally consented to let Israel go. — But as soon as the torment was over, he hardened his heart and refused to let Israel go (v. 32).
I said, “Flies were everywhere,” but that is not exactly right. They were everywhere, except in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived. The Lord God of the Hebrews made an open display of his discriminating grace, putting an invisible (though clearly obvious) net over all the land of Israel, as he plagued the land of Ham (vv. 22-23).
(Exodus 8:22-23) “And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. (23) And I will put a division between my people and thy people: tomorrow shall this sign be.”
There were no flies in Goshen. How wondrously protected and blessed the Israelites were! How wondrously protected and blessed God’s elect are in this world! What evident tokens of God’s distinguishing mercy, love, and grace we witness every day of our lives!
(Malachi 3:17-18) “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. (18) Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
God’s fifth wonder in the land of Ham, his fifth plague upon Egypt, was even more severe and terrifying. Because Pharaoh still hardened his heart and refused to let Israel go, at an appointed time, the Lord God sent pestilence upon all the cattle of the Egyptians, identifying it as the work of his own hand in an undeniable way. And, he again, made an obvious display of his distinguishing grace upon Israel. — Not one calf or lamb in the flocks and herds of the Hebrews was found dead (Exodus 9:1-7.)
(Exodus 9:1-7) “Then the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. (2) For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still, (3) Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. (4) And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel. (5) And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. (6) And the LORD did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one. (7) And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.”
Children of God, how we ought to rejoice in our God’s discriminating, providential goodness! (See Psalm 91.)
(Psalms 91:1-8) “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (2) I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (3) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. (4) He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (5) Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; (6) Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. (7) A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. (8) Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.”
(Psalms 32:6) “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.”
As the earth bore a part in the curse upon man’s disobedience, God makes the earth itself to bear a part in our deliverance from the curse, of which Israel’s deliverance out of Egypt was a type (Romans 8:20-23).
(Romans 8:20-23) “For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, (21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. (23) And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
In the sixth plague upon the Egyptians we see the hand of God’s judgment even more heavily in “boils breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast” (Exodus 9:8-12).
(Exodus 9:8-12) “And the LORD said unto Moses and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. (9) And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast, throughout all the land of Egypt. (10) And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast. (11) And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians. (12) And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.”
Throughout the land a universal, previously unheard of epidemic broke out upon every man and beast of Egypt. — Their bodies were covered with running sores. I cannot imagine such a thing. But there it stands. — The work of divine judgment. Nothing this side of hell could be compared to this plague for the misery it caused in Egypt. Oh, what a horrible thing it is to have the Lord God of the Hebrews for your enemy! (See Deuteronomy 28:15-68.)
(Deuteronomy 28:15-20) “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: (16) Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. (17) Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. (18) Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. (19) Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. (20) The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.”
(Deuteronomy 28:22) “The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish.”
(Deuteronomy 28:28-29) “The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: (29) And thou shalt grope at noonday, as the blind gropeth in darkness, and thou shalt not prosper in thy ways: and thou shalt be only oppressed and spoiled evermore, and no man shall save thee.”
7. Hail and Fire
The seventh plague of Egypt was the “thunder, lightning, rain, and hail” (Exodus 9:13-35).
(Exodus 9:22-26) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt. (23) And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. (24) So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. (25) And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field. (26) Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.”
Before sending this horrible storm in the fury of his wrath, God plainly told Pharaoh that there would be a continual succession of plagues upon him until he was cut off from the face of the earth. Then he told him that he had raised him up for that very purpose, to show his power in him, that the Lord’s name should be declared throughout all the earth (vv. 14-16).
Again, the Lord graciously displayed his love and mercy upon his chosen (v. 26). And there is another great display of distinguishing grace recorded here. Some of the Egyptians were converted by the Word of God (v. 20). We are told that those among them who feared the Word of the Lord, called their servants home and put their cattle in their stalls. Later, when Israel went out of Egypt by the high hand of God, a mixed multitude went with them. They were numbered by God as true Israelites, marked by grace as his own. These converted Egyptians were typical of God’s elect among the Gentiles, given to the Lord Jesus, as his Bride before the world was made (Isaiah 49:6).
(Isaiah 49:6) “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.”
The eighth plague was a plague of locusts covering the land, devouring all the vegetation of Egypt (Exodus 10:1-20).
(Exodus 10:1-2) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him: (2) And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the LORD.”
(Exodus 10:12-16) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left. (13) And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. (14) And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such. (15) For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt. (16) Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.”
(Exodus 10:20) “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.”
Moses, the man of God, was commanded to tell Israel that the Lord had hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he might openly display his love toward Israel in showing these signs and wonders before them. How greatly the Lord God himself delights in his in distinguishing grace! He would have us ever aware of the manifold proofs of it, that we might rejoice in too! — He says, “Tell it in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them, that ye may know how that I am the Lord.” The plague of locusts was so grievous that the earth was covered with them, and the sky was darkened by them. But there were no locusts found in Goshen.
The ninth plague was darkness covering the land of Egypt; but, again, Goshen was spared. The habitation of Israel was full of light (Exodus 10:21-23).
(Exodus 10:21-23) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. (22) And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: (23) They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.”
For three days there was unrelenting darkness in Egypt. For three days no human being saw another. For three days no one in Egypt dared stir out of his tent. For three days God sent such darkness in the land of Ham that it was felt darkness! Who can imagine such a thing? Never before or since, in all the history of the world has there been such a thing!
Š What a picture that darkness is of the darkness of heart and soul and mind in fallen humanity!
Š What a picture that is of the everlasting torments of the damned in hell! — Felt darkness! — Ever-increasing misery!
Š Yet, Israel was spared! — What a picture of grace!
10. Firstborn Slain
At last, in his tenth wonder wrought in the land of Ham, in his tenth display of distinguishing grace, the Lord God of the Hebrews destroyed the firstborn both of man and beast in every house of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:29-30).
(Exodus 12:29-30) “And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. (30) And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.”
Who can imagine the horrors of that Egyptian midnight! Who can imagine the shrieks and cries that must have been heard in Egypt that night! There was not a house in Egypt where there was not one dead.
All this was done to manifestly display God’s distinguishing grace in the salvation of his elect by Christ.
Š The lamb the Israelites were commanded to slay, called by God himself, the Lord’s Passover, was typical of Chris our Passover sacrificed for us.
Š The blood sprinkled on their houses portrayed the sprinkling of Christ’s blood upon our hearts by the Spirit of God in the blessed gift of life and faith in Christ.
Š The eating of the paschal lamb typified faith in Christ, the eating of Christ’s flesh and blood by faith.
Š In a word, the whole of Egypt’s destruction was performed by God to vividly portray the salvation of our souls by the sacrifice of Christ our Passover.
There is something stated in verse 30 that I simply cannot fail to emphasize. The Spirit of God distinctly tells us that there was not a house in Egypt where there was not one dead. In the other plagues, the land of Goshen, the place of Israel’s habitation, was specifically exempted. Why not here? Because even in the land of Goshen, there was not a house where there was not one dead! — In the land of Goshen, the firstborn died under the wrath of God, too. — Behold, the Paschal Lamb slain, God’s Firstborn, “the firstling of the flock” (Exodus 13:2-3). — Behold, Christ our Passover sacrificed for us! That is the zenith of distinguishing grace! The zenith of God’s wonders wrought for us in the land of Ham! The zenith of his love for his own! No lamb was provided for the Egyptians; but Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us; and when he died for us we died in him (1 John 4:9-10).
(1 John 4:9-10) “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. (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.”
Š This is our salvation. — “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us!”
Š This is our security forever. — Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us!”
(Exodus 12:13) “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye 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.”
Come, eat this Passover, cease from your labor, and rest forever!
(John 6:48-58) “I am that bread of life. (49) Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. (50) This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. (51) I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (52) The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (53) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (54) Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (55) For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. (56) He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. (57) As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (58) This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever.” (John 6:48-58)
[i] Danville —Tuesday Evening — August 16, 2016
Zebulon Baptist Church, Pikeville, KY — (THU – 08/18/16)
Readings: Bobbie Estes and Merle Hart