Lesson 2 | Sabbath, 10 July 2021
“The Lord is not regardless of His people, and He will punish and reprove everyone who oppresses them. He hears every groan; He listens to every prayer; He observes the movements of everyone; He approves or condemns every action. The Lord of heaven is represented as raising up the fallen. He is the Friend of all who love and fear Him, and He will punish everyone who dares to lead them astray from safe paths, putting them in positions of distress as they conscientiously endeavor to keep the way of the Lord and reach the abodes of the righteous.” –The Upward Look, p. 364.
Called to carry out a great mission
2. What did the Lord communicate to Moses when He appeared to him from the burning bush? What moment had come in His great plan?
Exodus 3:7-9. 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; 8And 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. 9Now 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.
“The Hebrew nation were in servitude for a great number of years. They were slaves in Egypt, and the Egyptians treated them as though they had a right to control them in soul, body, and spirit. But the Lord was not indifferent to their condition, He had not forgotten His oppressed people. The record says: ‘God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.’ ‘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; 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.’”–The Southern Work, p. 41.
2. After God gave Moses the good news that he would deliver His people from bondage, what mission and encouragement did He give him?
Exodus 3:10-12. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. 11And 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? 12And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; 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.
“The Lord commanded Moses to go and speak unto Pharaoh, bidding him to allow Israel to leave Egypt. For four hundred years they had been in Egypt, and had been in slavery to the Egyptians.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 287.
“The time for Israel’s deliverance had come. But God’s purpose was to be accomplished in a manner to pour contempt on human pride. The deliverer was to go forth as a humble shepherd, with only a rod in his hand; but God would make that rod the symbol of His power….
“The divine command given to Moses found him self-distrustful, slow of speech, and timid. He was overwhelmed with a sense of his incapacity to be a mouthpiece for God to Israel. But having once accepted the work, he entered upon it with his whole heart, putting all his trust in the Lord…. God blessed his ready obedience, and he became eloquent, hopeful, self-possessed, and well fitted for the greatest work ever given to man. This is an example of what God does to strengthen the character of those who trust Him fully and give themselves unreservedly to His commands.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 87.
Great news for God’s people
3. Going to Egypt, with whom should Moses first meet? What wonderful message from God was he to give them?
Exodus 3:15-17. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. 16Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 17And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Moses was commanded first to assemble the elders of Israel, the most noble and righteous among them, who had long grieved because of their bondage,…” –The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, p. 170.
“From the beginning, God has been working by His Holy Spirit through human instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose in behalf of the fallen race. This was manifest in the lives of the patriarchs. To the church in the wilderness also, in the time of Moses, God gave His ‘good Spirit to instruct them.’ Nehemiah 9:20. And in the days of the apostles He wrought mightily for His church through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The same power that sustained the patriarchs, that gave Caleb and Joshua faith and courage, and that made the work of the apostolic church effective, has upheld God’s faithful children in every succeeding age.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 53.
4. To whom would Moses and the elders of Israel need to present the request for the people’s release? Could they expect the Egyptian authority to readily accept such a petition?
Exodus 3:18-20. And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. 19And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 20And 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.
“Moses did not expect that this was the manner in which the Lord would use him to deliver Israel from Egypt. He thought that it would be by warfare. And when the Lord made known to him that he must stand before Pharaoh, and in his name demand him to let Israel go, he shrank from the task.
“The Pharaoh before whom he was to appear, was not the one who had decreed that he should be put to death. That king was dead, and another had taken the reins of government. Nearly all the Egyptian kings were called by the name of Pharaoh. Moses would have preferred to stand at the head of the children of Israel as their general, and make war with the Egyptians. But this was not God’s plan. He would be magnified before His people, and teach not only them, but the Egyptians, that there is a living God, who has power to save, and to destroy.” –The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, pp. 170, 171.
Pharaoh’s refusal and the plagues
5. What message from God did Moses deliver to the Pharaoh after five plagues had struck the land and the king would still not free the enslaved people?
Exodus 9:14. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all the earth.
“Every time he refused to submit to God’s will his heart became harder and less impressible by the Spirit of God. He sowed the seed of obstinacy, and God left it to vegetate. He might have prevented it by a miracle, but that was not His plan. He allowed it to grow and produce a harvest of its own kind, thus, proving the truthfulness of the scripture: ‘Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.’ When a man plants doubts, he will reap doubts. By rejecting the first light and every following ray, Pharaoh went from one degree of hardness of heart to another, until the cold, dead forms of the first-born only checked his unbelief and obstinacy for a moment. And then, determined not to yield to God’s way, he continued his willful course until overwhelmed by the waters of the Red Sea.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 119, 120.
6. After the tenth plague, which was required to bend the iron will of the Egyptians, what sudden order did the Pharaoh finally give?
Exodus 12:31-33. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve theLord, as ye have said. 32Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. 33And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
“The marvelous providences connected with Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage and with their occupancy of the Promised Land led many of the heathen to recognize the God of Israel as the Supreme Ruler. ‘The Egyptians shall know,’ had been the promise, ‘that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth Mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.’ Exodus 7:5. Even proud Pharaoh was constrained to acknowledge Jehovah’s power. ‘Go, serve the Lord,’ he urged Moses and Aaron, ‘and bless me also.’ Exodus 12:31, 32.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 369.
7. What great event finally took place? What was the Lord’spurpose in delivering Israel from Egyptian slavery?
Exodus 12:40, 41. Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
Acts 7:6, 7. And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.7And the nation to whom they shall be in bondage will I judge, said God: and after that shall they come forth, and serve me in this place.
Exodus 29:46. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.
“That day completed the history revealed to Abraham in prophetic vision centuries before: ‘Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.’ Genesis 15:13, 14. The four hundred years had been fulfilled. ‘And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.’” –Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 281, 282.
“… Like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God’s purposes know no haste and no delay. Through the symbols of the great darkness and the smoking furnace, God had revealed to Abraham the bondage of Israel in Egypt, and had declared that the time of their sojourning should be four hundred years. ‘Afterward,’ He said, ‘shall they come out with great substance.’ Genesis 15:14. Against that word, all the power of Pharaoh’s proud empire battled in vain. On ‘the self-same day’ appointed in the divine promise, ‘it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.’ Exodus 12:41.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 32.
For additional study
“This case is placed on record for our benefit. Just what took place in Pharaoh’s heart will take place in every soul that neglects to cherish the light and walk promptly in its rays. God destroys no one. The sinner destroys himself by his own impenitence. When a person once neglects to heed the invitations, reproofs, and warnings of the Spirit of God, his conscience becomes seared, and the next time he is admonished, it will be more difficult to yield obedience than before. And thus with every repetition. Conscience is the voice of God, heard amid the conflict of human passions; when it is resisted, the Spirit of God is grieved.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 120.