THE KING’S BUSINESS
3. The Effect. (1) "The people believ ed,”—the signs confirmed the message. (2) "They bowed their heads and worshipped.” The joy they felt, the tears they shed, the congratulations they interchanged are not mentioned. The Bible tells its own story in its own way. A stroke or two—and we are left to fill it in and color. Lincoln’s proclamation was the admiration of the world, and the jubilation of the enslaved. Friend, the Lord has “visited” us, “seen our afflictions,” broken Pharaoh’s arm, promised us rest, and certified all by con vincing “signs” (Heb. 4:14; 2:9, .14; Matt. 11:23, 29; Heb. 2:4; Matt. 12:39, 40). Have you believed? Bow your head and worship. II. J ehovah ’ s D emand of P haraoh . Jehovah’s Requisition. 1. “Let my people go.” This was not “Moses’ request” (so our lesson commit tee). (a) Jehovah, not Moses, spoke; (b) He did not request but require (literally, “Send away My people”) ; (c) Pharaoh had no rights in God’s people; (d) it would have been arbitrary and unjust to have punished him for declining a “request”-; (e) the very1point is that kings and peoples be taught by the whole conflict that Jehovah is Lord and God (Exod. 9:13-16). Be rid of this current notion that children, crim inals, and sinners are to be requested, not commanded, and that by commands that have plagues in their train. “Let MY people go.” Hear ye Pharaohs and devils all. And we poor serfs of Satan, the clay of Egypt cleaving to us, and the smell of its “leeks and garlics” on us, are “MY people!” (1 John' 3:1-3). “Grace'as boundless as the sea; Grace enough for me.’’ 2. “To hold a feast unto Me.” Saved to serve,- and “Him only shalt thou serve,”. God’s people have no more business to serve Satan than Satan to serve himself of them. But Jehovah’s people serve neither in the clay pits nor under the lash (remember that). Their service is “a continual feast.” Jehovah feasts on the bliss of His ser- . vants, and their “meat is to do the will of Him who” saves them (John 4:34).
III. P haraoh ’ s R efusal . 1. His Question. “Who is Jehovah?” Jehovah was about to answer that with an emphasis; as He will all who inquire after Him in the same spirit. 2. His Agnosticism. “I know not Jeho vah.’ Clear enough! as with all who work wickedness; who if they knew Him would flee from Him, or to Him. Agnostics boast their ignorance in but qne branch of knowl edge, but that one is the foundation of all (Ps. 111:10). But if Pharaoh did not know God he knew good, and that to oppress his neighbor ■ “was worthy of death” (Rom. 1: 18-25, 32). True of all sinners; who ara to blame in their ignorance, and for their ignorance. 3. His Tyranny. This is suggested by: “No straw;” “Get straw;” “Make bricks;” “Diminish not;” “They are idle.” Pharaoh well represents that trinity, the World, the Flesh and the Devil. It knows and-shows no mercy. The slaves of this trinity unlike» Israel are voluntary. They put their necks under the yoke. It .galls,- but they are mostly unaware of the cause, of their misery. Not till a longing and hope of deliverance rouses them do they realize their wretched ness. With all the phases of this bondage it is as with that representative one, the slavery of strong drink. The victim does not dream of its grip till, he grapples with it. Then he finds how cruelly oppressive it is. Conviction of sin is conscious cap tivity. It is then men are driven to works. They feel that they must work the works of God; must make bricks, the full output, while they find no straw to finish the product, and build a storehouse whose wall shall crumble to dust. Not Je hovah, but Pharaoh assigns this severe and impossible task. Jehovah says, “feast" “rest," not work; for His yoke is easy and His burden is. light. His redeemed make brick for fun, for pastime; and He.will give the straw of grace, to make the work stan dard and imperishable. 4. The taskmasters. They assigned the tasks and beat the poor toilers for not ful filling them. These taskmasters—what are
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