Today’s Reading: Exodus 5-7
Exodus is the account of Moses leading Israel out of the land of Egypt. But, this story foreshadows another exodus, a greater exodus, the true exodus.
In Deuteronomy 18:15, Moses says, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers – it is to him you shall listen.” Moses’ prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus. According to Luke 9:35, while Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration with Peter, John, and James, a voice called out from heaven, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!”
In Exodus, Moses is a type of Jesus.
Israel is the people of God. In Genesis 46, we see that Israel was made of the 70 people that came into Egypt with Jacob. These 70 were the descendants of Abraham. They are connected to the 70 nations dispersed from the sons of Noah and represented the nations of the world that would be blessed through the promised offspring, who Paul says was really Jesus, not Isaac.
In Romans 9:6-7, Paul says, “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but ‘Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.'” Just because you descend from Abraham by flesh and blood does not mean that you are a child of Abraham. Well, then, who is a child of Abraham? Paul says in Galatians 3:7, 29, “Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham…And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” The true people of God, the people of the promise, are those that believe the gospel just as Abraham did.
In Exodus, Israel is a type of the believer.
What Egypt is is not as explicitly stated in the Bible, but we can infer what it represents from the whole of scripture. In Matthew 2, an angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him to take Jesus and his mother to Egypt. Matthew 2:15 says, “This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.'” Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world. These are just a few points that help us understand what Egypt is.
In Exodus, Egypt is a type of the world.
Therefore the true exodus is Jesus leading all those that believe in him out so that they are no longer of the world and can worship in spirit and truth.
That was a rather lengthy, but I believe necessary introduction, to what the Holy Spirit immediately laid on my heart this morning as I read Exodus 5.
Moses and Aaron had gathered the elders of Israel. They spoke all the things God told them to speak and did the signs God gave them to do in front of all the people. And, the people believed and bowed their heads in worship.
At the start of Exodus 5, Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh. They tell Pharaoh that God said, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.” God spoke to the ruler of the world and basically said let my people go so they can worship me. “But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”
The Holy Spirit immediately brought to my mind Jesus’ conversation with Pilate just before he was crucified. Shortly before that conversation, the people proclaimed hosanna to Jesus as he entered Jerusalem. They believed he was king and worshiped him like the Israelites believed and bowed their heads to worship at the end of Exodus 4.. But, Jesus is arrested and led before Pilate, who symbolized the ruler of this world.
Jesus had been gathering people, people of Israel, to himself to worship God in spirit and in truth. When Jesus was brought before Pilate by the chief priest and elders, Pilate asked who he was and what he had done. In John 18:36, Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Jesus is saying, “Let my people go.”
Pilate says, “So you are a king?” Like Pharaoh, Pilate is thinking strictly in earthly terms. He’s thinking that Jesus is a king like him, or Caesar, and he wants an earthly kingdom. In John 18:37, Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” I think many read Jesus’ statement as if he was saying “I was born king.” But, I don’t think that’s what he is saying here. Jesus says to Pilate, “You say that I am king.” That’s what you say, but not what I’m saying. Jesus then tells Pilate why he was born – to bear witness to the truth. In fact, Jesus is truth and everyone who is of the truth listens to his voice. Jesus is talking about worship. He is saying, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.”
But, Pilate said to Jesus, “What is truth?” Pilate said exactly what Pharaoh said. “I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”
Pilate sends Jesus to be flogged. Pilate meets with the Jews. The Jews say that Jesus declared himself to be the Son of God. Now, Pilate was afraid. So, he asked Jesus, “Where are you from?” But, Jesus didn’t answer. Clearly this angered Pilate. Pilate said, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” What does Pilate mean by this? I think he was telling Jesus that he has authority to take his life so Jesus better worship him. But, in John 19:11, Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.” Jesus was saying I will not worship you, but I will worship the one in heaven who has authority over you.
Most of the rest of Exodus 5 is about Pharaoh trying to get the worship that belongs to God and how the Israelites struggled under the burdens of Pharaoh could not believe and worship as they did at the end of Exodus 4. How so?
God wanted his people to go into the wilderness a three days’ journey to have a feast before him. Three days is the time between death and life, the period of time between Jesus’ death and resurrection. God was calling his people to a new life to worship him, to believe who he is. Jesus was asked what people must do to be doing the works of God. In John 6:29, Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”
However, Pharaoh told Moses that by going out into the wilderness to worship he was taking the people away from their work. Moses was just trying to get them our of their burdens. Pharaoh told Moses and Israel to get back to work. Their work was to make bricks. And, Pharaoh was determined to make their work, their brick making, as difficult as he could.
So, Moses was talking about worship, believing, which is the work of God. And, Pharaoh was talking about making bricks, work, burdens. Did you know making bricks is a type of self-worship or the worship of man by man? Genesis 11:3-4 says, “Come, let us make bricks…Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” Mankind wants to get worship by building his own city, his own temple, so that man can gather together to themselves.
But, I left something out of Genesis 11:3, “And they had brick for stone.” Man builds with brick. God builds with stone.
Genesis 28:18-19 says, “So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel.” Jacob had seen a vision of a ladder with angels ascending and descending. He saw a vision of heaven and earth connected. So, he set up a stone and poured oil on it – a living stone. And, Jacob called that place Bethel – the house of God. Jacob recognized that God builds his temple, his place of worship, with stones not bricks. Man can make bricks, but he can’t make stones. Only God can make stones. And, only God can make stones live.
Jesus was the cornerstone, the chief stone, the stone that the builder’s rejected. Listen to what Peter says when we come to Jesus to worship, when we go out into the wilderness three days’ journey for a feast, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” God builds his city, his temple, with living stones, men and women who believe, not bricks.
Therefore, Pharaoh wanted to build his own temple through the work of man with bricks. He wanted man’s worship. Of course, Pharaoh is a type of Satan here.
But, God, Jesus, Moses, wants a different kind of work, a work that is believing God. God does this work with living stones. I think Hebrews 11:8-10 sums it all up, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.”
Let my people go. Let them go out. Into the wilderness. Three days. From death to life. They won’t know where they are going. But, by faith. By faith dwelling in the land of promise. A foreign land. As strangers. Not of this world. Living in tents. Sojourners passing through. Looking for the city, the temple, built by God. This is what a lifestyle of worship looks like.