God's Holy Nation (part 1)

OT and Pentateuch  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:18
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From Slavery to Nationhood

The Cry of a People

Exodus 1:6–7 NKJV
6 And Joseph died, all his brothers, and all that generation. 7 But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.
Exodus 1:8–11 NKJV
8 Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. 9 And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we; 10 come, let us deal shrewdly with them, lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses.
Exodus 1:13–14 NKJV
13 So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. 14 And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage—in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. All their service in which they made them serve was with rigor.
Exodus 2:23–25 NKJV
23 Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. 24 So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.

The Cultivation of a Person

Moses’ Preparation in Egypt

Exodus 2:9–10 NKJV
9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 And the child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
Acts 7:22 NKJV
22 And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.

Moses’ Preparation in Midian

1. Even after his leadership setback in Egypt, Moses was still willing to champion the cause of the weak. The seven unmarried daughters of Reuel, following the custom of that region, were shepherdesses. They had come to water their father’s flock at a well, but some shepherds drove them away. This injustice aroused Moses’ anger. He rescued the daughters and even watered their flock for them (2:15b–17).
2. Moses lodged in a godly home. Reuel (“friend of God”), was a “priest of Midian.” Reuel is called Jethro in 3:1, a name which appears to be a title meaning “highness.” He seems to have been a worshiper of Yahweh. This is not surprising since the Midianites were descendants of Abraham by Keturah. When Reuel heard of the kindness performed by Moses at the well, he rebuked his daughters for their lack of hospitality and sent them to seek out the “Egyptian.” Reuel was so impressed with Moses that he invited him to live with him and manage his flocks. Moses agreed, and for the next forty years he lodged in the camp of Reuel (2:18–21a).
3. Moses eventually married Zipporah, one of the daughters of Reuel. By her he fathered Gershom (“sojourner there”). The name of the child reflected Moses’ discouragement at being an exile from the land of his birth and from his people (2:21b–23).
4. Moses tended the flock of Reuel and learned the discipline of the desert for forty years (3:1a).
James E. Smith, The Pentateuch, 2nd ed., Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1993), 251–252.

The Calling

Exodus 3:11–12 NKJV
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” 12 So He said, “I will certainly be with you. And this shall be a sign to you that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Elaborate on this section to Exodus 4:17

The Confrontation

Exodus 5:1–2 NKJV
1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’ ” 2 And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”
Exodus 5:22–23 NKJV
22 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”

The Contest

Exodus 6:1–3 NKJV
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.” 2 And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them.
Contents: Jehovah’s answer to Moses’ first prayer. Covenant renewed. Families of Israel. Moses’ commission renewed.
Characters: God, Moses, Pharaoh
Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity of helping and saving. God’s covenants are as firm as the power and truth of God can make them and we may venture upon all His promises.
Key Word: Covenant, v. 4.
Strong Verses: 3, 6, 7, 8.
Striking Facts: v. 12. Disconsolate spirits often cause us to put from us the comforts we are entitled to in Christ and we stand in our own light. If we indulge in fretfulness, we lose the comfort of His word and must thank ourselves if we go comfortless.

First Plague (chapter 7)

Contents: The Contest with Pharaoh begins. First plague. Water turned to blood.
Characters: God, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh, magician.
Conclusion: We see God’s almighty power, the unstability of all things under the sun and the changes we may meet with in them. What is water today may be blood tomorrow. Sin turns man’s comforts into crosses.
Key Word: Smitten (waters), vv. 1, 17.
Strong Verses: 1, 5, 17.
Striking Facts: Satanic resistance to God’s testimony of His Son is often offered by those who have “a form of godliness without the power thereof.” The magicians finally failed, proving (8:7) their tricks “lying wonders” (Rev. 13:15).
Exodus 7:4 NKJV
4 But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments.
Key verse


Contents: Plagues of frogs, lice, flies. Pharaoh’s compromising offer.
Characters: God, Moses, Pharaoh, Aaron.
If God be against us, all creatures can be made to be at war with us. God can, as He pleases, arm the smallest parts of creation against men. He may choose contemptible instruments to defeat one, that He might magnify His own power.
Key Word: Smitten, v. 2.
Strong Verses: 1, 2, 19.
Striking Facts: Pharaoh’s compromises are types of those Satan makes with the Christian. “Be a Christian but stay in Egypt, or at least, don’t be so narrow as to come out entirely from the world.”


Contents: Plagues of murrains, boils and hail.
Characters: God, Moses, Pharaoh, Aaron.
The creature is made subject to vanity by reason of man’s sins, liable to serve man’s wickedness or share his punishment. When judgments are abroad, they may fall both on righteous and wicked but they are not the same to one as the other in the final reckoning.
Key Word: Smitten, vv. 27, 15.
Strong Verses: 5.
Striking Facts: v. 12. The Lord hardened his heart. Before this, Pharaoh, hardened his own heart, resisting God’s grace. There is a time when God gives one up to their own reprobate mind. Wilful hardness is sooner or later punished with judicial hardness. If men persist in shutting their eyes, God will close them.


Contents: Plagues of locusts and darkness.
Characters: God, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh.
Conclusion: God’s terms of reconcilliation are fixed and cannot be disputed or lowered. Men must meet the demand of God’s will or God will permit their delusions and answer them according to their sin.
Key Word: Smitten, v. 21.
Strong Verses: 12, 17, 25.
Striking Facts: v. 11. Godly men make a subtle compromise if they desire for their children, a position in the world, or (v. 24) if they fail to consecrate all their possessions along with themselves to Christ.


Contents: Last plague. Death of firstborn prophesied.
Characters: God, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh.
Conclusion: Persistent enemies of God and His people will be made to fall under at last and those who have approved themselves, will look great in the eyes of those who have viewed them with contempt.
Key Word: Death, vv. 1, 5.
Strong Verses: 3, 7.
Striking Facts: In some way, God will always redress the injured, who in humble silence, commit their cause to Him, and in the end, they will not be losers by their adherance to Christ.


Contents: Deliverance for Israel through the Passover.
Characters: God, Moses, Aaron, Pharaoh.
Conclusion: Deliverance for the believer is based entirely upon the shedding of the blood of a divinely appointed substitute and its application to the heart once for all. If death has taken place for us, it cannot come to us.
Key Word: Passover, v. 13.
Strong Verses: 2, 13, 14, 27.
Striking Facts: v. 8. Secured by the blood, the believer feeds on the Person of the Lamb of God, roast with fire, not raw. If Christ is not seen as the One subjected to the fires of God’s wrath against sin, one cannot feed upon Him. He cannot be an example if He is not first an atoning sacrifice.


Contents: Firstborn set apart for Jehovah. Directions for feast of unleavened bread and consecration of males.
Characters: God, Moses, Joseph.
The believer should retain remembrance of God’s great deliverance and to impress it on the heart, should use the appointed means for preserving remembrance. So, under the Gospel, Christ said, “This do in remembrance of me.”
Key Word: Remember, v. 3.
Strong Verses: 9, 16, 21, 22.
Striking Facts: That which by God’s special mercy has in Christ been spared to us should be peculiarly dedicated to God’s honor. God who is first and best should have our first and best.


Contents: God’s power exerted to redeem Israel. Passing the Red Sea.
Characters: God, Moses, Pharaoh, angel.
Conclusion: The believer cannot go ahead in the strength of Christ until he has learned to stand still in his own helplessness. God can then place Himself between us and our circumstances and wonderfully deliver.
Key Word: Saved, v. 30.
Strong Verses: 13, 14, 19, 30, 31.
Striking Facts: By the blood, God comes between us and our sins. By His presence, if we will permit, He will come between us and every overcoming circumstance. The cross separates from sin; the cloud from circumstances.


Contents: The song of the redeemed.
Characters: God, Moses, Miriam.
Conclusion: Those who love God triumph in His triumphs and what is His honor is their joy. Our first thought should be to give glory to God.
Key Word: Triumph, v. 1.
Strong Verses: 2, 6, 7, 18.
Striking Facts: Bitter waters (v. 23) in the path of God’s leading, remind us of the trials that come to God’s people for their edification, not punishment. The tree (cross, Gal. 3:13) cast into the bitter waters, will make them all sweet.


Contents: Murmuring of the people. Manna and quails given by God.
Characters: God, Moses, Aaron.
Conclusion: The believer is apt to forget a thousand mercies in the presence of one trifling privation. God is longsuffering. Better to be in a desert with God than in the brick kilns of Egypt with Pharaoh.
Key Word: Murmuring, v. 2.
Strong Verses: 4, 7, 12.
Striking Facts: Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6) is the true wilderness bread for believers, ministered by the Spirit through the Word. Christ may be partaken of unreservedly but we have no more of Him than faith appropriates. v. 16.


Contents: Smitten rock at Meribah.
Characters: God, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Hur.
Fed by the Bread of Life; refreshed by the Water of Life (John 7:37) means victory for the believer in every conflict with the world, the flesh and the devil.
Key Word: Jehovah-nissi (The Lord our banner), v. 15.
Strong Verses: 7, 15.
Striking Facts: Christ is the Rock (1 Cor. 10:4) He was smitten, and resulting from His finished work was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit giving power to all those who believe.


Contents: Moses joined by his wife and children. Judges selected to solve the problems of the people.
Characters: God, Moses, Aaron, Jethro, Zipporah, Gershom, Eliezer.
Telling of God’s wondrous works is good to the use of edifying What we have the joy of, let God have the praise of, thereby confirming others to faith and encouraging them to real worship.
Key Word: Told, v. 8 (testimony).
Strong Verses: 8, 9, 10.
Striking Facts: It will be noticed (Num. 11:14–17) that God ignored Jethro’s counsel and his man-made organization, putting in its place, His own order (v. 18). We are not called to service on the ground of our ability, but Christ’s ability. Phil. 4:13. Elihu’s discourse continued. God’s justice defended.

Laws for a Holy Nation

1. At the head of the list is the weekly Sabbath (23:2–3).
The day was celebrated by suspension of all labor. The Sabbath commemorated the original creation rest and the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
2. The Passover began at twilight on the fourteenth day of Nisan, the first month (23:4–5).
Each family ate a roasted lamb which memorialized the lamb slain and eaten on the night Israel was delivered from Egypt.
3. The Feast of Unleavened Bread commenced on Passover and lasted seven days (23:6–8). The first and last days of the feast were sabbaths in which no regular work was permitted. Special offerings were presented each day of the feast.
4. On the first day of the new week following Passover the Feast of Firstfruits was scheduled (23:9–14).
A barley sheaf was waved before the Lord to express gratitude for the spring harvest. Special burnt, meal and drink offerings were presented.
5. The Feast of Weeks—later called Pentecost—was observed fifty days after the presentation of the firstfruits (23:15–22).
This was a sabbath day on which wheat loaves were waved before the Lord. A burnt offering consisting of seven male lambs, two rams and a bull were presented. Two lambs and a male goat were offered as a sin offering.
6. The sacred seventh month was ushered in with the Feast of Trumpets (23:23–25).
The blowing of a ram’s horn signaled that all regular work was to be suspended. Special offerings were presented. The trumpets may be a memorial to the giving of the Law at Sinai.
7. The Day of Atonement, the most sacred day on the Israelite calendar, was scheduled for the tenth day of the sacred seventh month (23:26–32).
This was a sabbath day, and the only required fast day of the year. The rituals of this day are discussed in detail in Leviticus 16.
8. The Feast of Tabernacles (also called Ingathering) began on the fifteenth day of the seventh month (23:33–43). James E. Smith, The Pentateuch, 2nd ed., Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1993), 392–393.

The Mosaic Covenant

The first day of the seven-day festival was a sabbath. So also was the day after the week of celebration. During the week the people lived in booths to remind them of the wilderness wandering. Numerous special sacrifices were made during the week.
The sabbath principle undergirds all the laws regarding festivals. Seven festivals were scheduled during the year. During these festivals seven days of rest were designated. The majority of the festivals fall in the seventh month. Every seventh year was a sabbatical year. The Year of Jubilee came after forty-nine (×) years.
James E. Smith, The Pentateuch, 2nd ed., Old Testament Survey Series (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub. Co., 1993), 392–393.The Mosaic Covenant
But they are of interest to Old Testament scholars because of a number of formal elements that they have in common with the way the covenant made at Mount Sinai was expressed. The following similarities can be traced:
Introduction of the speaker In a political treaty, the king would introduce himself by name, just as God does in the introduction to the ten commandments (Exodus 20:2).
Historical background The king then reminded the other party of what he had done on their behalf—usually military intervention of some kind. In the Old Testament, God reminds the people of their unexpected deliverance from Egypt (Exodus 20:2).
Requirements Then follow the obligations which are placed by the king on the other party. In a political treaty these would normally be military obligations, while in the Old Testament they consist of the requirements of the Law.
The document Arrangements were then made for the treaty to be written down, and deposited in a suitable place to be read at specified times. There is no such provision directly linked to the ten commandments in the book of Exodus, but similar instructions are given in Deuteronomy 27:1–8.
Witnesses were called to seal the covenant—usually the deities of both states. The Old Testament contains several examples of witnesses to the covenant. In Exodus 24, twelve pillars were set up, probably for this purpose, while a central part of the covenant ceremony recorded in Joshua 24 consisted of a large stone being put in a public place to serve as a witness to the promises that had been made (Joshua 24:25–28).
Curses and blessings were then invoked, depending on whether the treaty was observed or disregarded. In the Old Testament, there is a long series of such curses and blessings in the book of Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 27:11–28:68).
John William Drane, Introducing the Old Testament, Completely rev. and updated. (Oxford: Lion Publishing plc, 2000), 57.The Tabernacle

The Priesthood

The Offerings

Feasts and Seasons

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