Exodus Teaching - 02 - Hope

Title: Exodus Teaching - 02 - Hope
Category: Bible Studies
Subject: Exodus Study

Exodus Teaching #2


TEXT: Exodus 3:7-8


"Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings.

“I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:7-8, HCSB)

In the first message in this series we looked at the call of Abraham and the covenant the Lord made with the man he called to leave his home in Ur of the Chaldees and go to a distant land, which in time became known as the Land of Promise. The Lord referred to it as a land flowing with milk and honey, a fertile and productive land. The Lord entered a covenant relationship with Abraham that directly concerns you and me, and not just the Jewish race: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say “and to seeds,” as though referring to many, but and to your seed, referring to one, who is Christ.” (Gal 3:16, HCSB) If you are in Christ, you are blessed by that covenant.

Before Abraham’s descendants would possess the land, however, they would spend 400 years in another country. Why? For one thing, they had to grow into a strong enough nation to conquer the land and possess their possessions. In the 400 years they were in Egypt the little clan of 70 grew into a nation of some 2 million people. They flourished in the fertile Land of Goshen until “ A new king, who had not known Joseph, came to power in Egypt.” (Ex 1:8). We shall see that things changed rapidly after this new king came to power.

In the Scripture we will be looking at today we will see the great I Am God, Yahweh, declare Himself, attack the false gods of Egypt, demolish the claims of those gods, and prove to both Israel and Egypt that He is the only true God.


A. He Did not Recognize the Treaty Made with Joseph By and an Earlier Pharaoh.

“A new king, who had not known Joseph, came to power in Egypt. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and powerful than we are. Let us deal shrewdly with them; otherwise they will multiply ⌊further⌋, and if war breaks out, they may join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country.” (Ex 1:8-10).

Commentaries often differ on the identity of this new king, the date, and other circumstances concerning the Exodus. Some of those writers offer up dates that may not stand the test of time. For example, one commentary offers up the suggestion that:

“About sixty years after the death of Joseph a revolution took place -- by which the old dynasty was overthrown, and upper and lower Egypt were united into one kingdom. Assuming that the king formerly reigned in Thebes, it is probable that he would know nothing about the Hebrews; and that, as foreigners and shepherds, the new government would, from the first, regard them with dislike and scorn.”
[Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary]

If this time is right, the Israelites would have been in Egypt a much shorter period of time than we might expect before the oppression began. Furthermore, they would have not growl into such a large body of people that it would taken to frighten a pharaoh. Another source holds that the Pharaoh at the time Jacob entered Egypt was Sesostris III (1878 - 1843) and the Pharaoh at the time of the Exodus was Amenhotep II (1450 - 1423). The time is about right for the 400 years the Lord told Abraham that this descendants would live in a foreign country.

We are told about the cruel slavery and orders to put to death male babies were in effect at the time of the birth of Moses, who was spared by the grace of God and by a brilliant move on the part of his mother and sister. Moses was 80 years old at the time of the Exodus, and the Israelites had moved from being productive residents in the Land of Goshen to being tortured slaves in Egypt. They had been enslaved for a long time before the birth of Moses. The slavery was supposed to have slowed the population growth, but possibly because the response of the mid-wives, a lot of male babies had survived. The king gave orders to kill all male babies when they were born.

There is something else I would like for to consider here. Israel was God’s Chosen People, who had been promised a land of their own, the Land of Canaan. That must have seemed very remote at this time, if they even thought of it. Theirs was a hopeless situation, as far as their efforts were concerned. They were a long way from the Land of Promise, they were dead to the land flowing with milk and honey. They were hopelessly lost to all the possessions God had promised them. There was absolutely nothing they could do about the situation. They could not escape, they could not hide, they could not outrun the Egyptian chariots and they could not overpower the slave drivers and soldiers of the land. Egypt was a land of death.

Please remember that before you were saved, you were spiritually dead: dead to the life Jesus offers all who believe in Him; dead to the fruit of the Spirit; dead to the joy of God’s salvation. You were, humanly speaking, hopeless and helpless. You were dead in your sins until Jesus redeemed you. Was there any hope for the Israelites? Absolutely! They could call on the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. As the hymn says, “He is able to deliver thee.” We do not have to ask how God might do something to know that He will do what He promises. We shall see how He delivered His people from the land of slavery and death by His mighty hand.

B. The Israelites Were Forced into a Cruel Slavery.

“So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh. But the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. They worked the Israelites ruthlessly and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them.” (Ex 1:11-14)

Those who would compare the slavery of the Israelites by the Egyptians to any form of slavery in the world today should remember that in most cases people take care of their slaves so they can get more work out of them. This Pharaoh who began the cruel slavery in Egypt wanted to lower the population of males, so if a Hebrew was killed there was no need to worry about it. This slavery was particularly cruel, vicious, and deadly.

We must remind ourselves that there is a form of slavery in the world that does not seem so cruel and deadly when one begins to participate in the things of the world. I knew a man who, as a youth, had to hold his nose to drink moonshine liquor. He finally cultivated a taste for it and in the end it pickled his brain. I knew another man who joked about drinking until he became addicted to it and it was no longer funny. Another person told me how he got hooked on crack cocaine. A friend told him he could take him to a certain place and give him something that would give him a rush. He began going to a large city every week end to buy more drugs from the Mexican Mafia and returning to sell it around his home. He told me that when he was arrested and placed on the back seat of a police car he looked around and thought, “This is just like it is on TV!”

That man was delivered from both the addiction to the drug and to the addiction to that kind of money. He was delivered, but he did not deliver himself. He is a living testimony to the salvation of Jesus Christ, who delivered him from something worse that physical death.

C. The King Issued an Order for Midwives to Kill all Male Babies (Ex. 1:15-18).

The king’s officers ordered the Hebrew mid-wives to kill the male babies. The female babies may have been spared with plans to marry them to Egyptian men so that they would lose their identity as Israelites, but whatever the case may have been, the mid wives managed to be late for the birth of a baby, or they simply disobeyed the authorities. What we do know is that the king was determine to cut down the rate of growth among the Hebrew people.

We have seen movies depicting the slavery in Egypt and some show the Egyptian taskmasters beating all the workers mercilessly all the time. They wanted to get a lot of work out of these Hebrew slaves, and while they wanted to decrease the population, they also wanted them to be productive. Only a lunatic would beat a slave so badly that he could not work, not just show up for work but be productive. Some have always abused slaves, but many have been careful to keep their slaves healthy and productive. These people were merciless in their treatment of the Hebrew slaves.
There is another side to this that may not be seen as we read the story. When Moses led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, the Lord told him how to build a Tabernacle, and altar, the Ark of the Covenant, and numerous other things they would need in worship. That included the robe, turban, and ephod worn by the high priest. Now, who among those escaped slaves could work with fabric, animal skins, gold, sliver, wood, and precious stones? Right! Those slaves who had been trained in the school of artisans down in the Valley of Kings. God blessed some with certain skills and the Egyptians trained some of those same people in the school of artisans in the Valley of the Kings.

Where did they get the gold, silver, precious stones, wood, and all the fabric they needed for the Tabernacle? When they began the Exodus the Israelites asked the Egyptians to give them whatever they wanted and they gave it gladly to get them to leave the land. After all, they were mourning the death of their first born sons. What might happen next? When it was needed they had the gold, silver, precious stones, wood, fabric, and skins - and they had some of the very best artisans in the world to do the work. Isn’t our God amazing? They had everything they needed to do what He wanted, and the people trained to do the work.


A. The Oppression Was Severe.

“So the Egyptians assigned taskmasters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh. But the more they oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. They worked the Israelites ruthlessly and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them.” (Ex 1:11-14)

Fear on the part of a new Pharaoh led to an especially cruel form of slavery designed to reduce the population. This is not the way slaves are normally treated because their purpose was not only to get work out of them but also to radically reduce their numbers. They had more slaves than they needed and the overseers were pushing the slave-drivers to make them produce more and more. They were ruthless, but not so vicious as to beat the slaves to the point that they could not work. There are always exceptions in a situation like this, so we cannot be too surprised that some Egyptian slave driver might have killed a slave. With that in mind it is not surprising that some slave driver might go overboard and kill a slave, especially one he did not believe “carried his weight,” as one did in the presence of Moses. Moses killed the Egyptian and had to flee from the wrath of Pharaoh.
To make matters worse, the orders to kill all the male babies brought much added grief to the Israelites. If Pharaoh had his way the population would have decreased radically in one generation, but he didn’t get his way:

“So God was good to the midwives, and the people multiplied and became very numerous. 21 Since the midwives feared God, He gave them families. 22 Pharaoh then commanded all his people: “You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile, but let every daughter live.” (Ex 1:20-22)

B. The Israelites Called on the Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Lord had never forgotten His Chosen People, nor had he forgotten his promise to Abraham: His descendants would be numberless and the Israelites would dwell in the land God promised Abraham, but only after they had lived in that land for 400 years. Now, when the people begin to call on the name of the Lord, He heard them and began preparations to deliver them. But why, we may wonder, did it take the Lord so long to deliver them. Moses was 40 years old when he fled into the wilderness to avoid the wrath of the king after he killed an Egyptian to save a Hebrew slave. There are a number of things we need to consider to appreciate how the Lord dealt with the Egyptians in order to deliver the Israelites. There is no wonder that the Scripture tells us He did it by His might hand. Consider the:

1) Birth of Moses. A Hebrew woman gave birth to a son and

“when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with asphalt and pitch. She placed the child in it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. Then his sister stood at a distance in order to see what would happen to him.

“Pharaoh’s daughter went down to bathe at the Nile while her servant girls walked along the riverbank. Seeing the basket among the reeds, she sent her slave girl to get it. When she opened it, she saw the child—a little boy, crying. She felt sorry for him and said, “This is one of the Hebrew boys.” Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a woman from the Hebrews to nurse the boy for you?” (Ex. 2:2-7)

2) Care for Moses.

“Go,” Pharaoh’s daughter told her. So the girl went and called the boy’s mother. Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse him for me, and I will pay your wages.” So the woman took the boy and nursed him. When the child grew older, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, “Because,” she said, “I drew him out of the water.” (Ex 2:8-11).

3) Training for Moses.

Moses had an opportunity for the best education offered anywhere in the world. I took my wife and son Mark to see the Ramsees Exhibit in Memphis a number of years ago, and it was amazing to see what those Egyptian were able to do in that ancient time. They designed an built the pyramids, using Hebrew labor and their own ingenuity to shape huge stones so that they would fit together without mortar. They made jewelry that compares favorably with that made in the finest shops today. I read somewhere that the Egyptian physicians actually diagnosed brain tumors and surgically removed some of them, with about a fifty per cent success rate. Now Consider:

4) The courage of Moses. At age forty Moses killed an Egyptian who was abusing an Israelite.

5) The flight of Moses. When it was known that he had killed and Egyptian he fled to Midian.

6) Shepherd life of Moses . For the next forty years Moses tended sheep and raised a family.

C. The Lord Appeared to Moses in a Burning Bush that Was not Being Consumed.

1) The Lord attracted Moses through a bush that was burning but not being consumed.

“Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. So Moses thought: I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up? “When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses, Moses!” “Here I am,” he answered” (Ex. 3:1- 4).

2) Moses went over to see the burning bush and saw that it was burning but not being consumed.
Someone recently suggested that the bush was not really on fire, but Moses looked at the sun through the bush and thought it was on fire. And I suppose they would say Moses imagined that he heard the Lord speaking to him! Maybe he was dreaming that his rod turned into a serpent. If I had been in his place and the Lord told me to pick up the serpent that is what I would call a nightmare, especially if it was a cobra! As a matter of fact, Moses started to run, but the Lord told him to turn back and pick it up, and it turned back into a staff.

3) God called to him by his name, Moses (3:4). Moses may have needed an introduction to God but God needed no introduction to him. Moses’ life had been preserved, he had received the most sophisticated training in the world at the time, and Moses had herded his father-in-law’s sheep for another forty years in the same area to which the Lord would lead the Israelites upon their Exodus from Egypt.

4) The Lord warned that he was on holy ground (3:5). “Do not come closer,” He said. “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

5) Next, the Lord identified himself to Moses: “Then He continued, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.” (Ex 3:6)

6) God assured Moses He had observed His people in Egypt. The Lord explained to Moses that (1) “I have observed the misery of My people in Egypt, and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors, and I know about their sufferings (3:7). (2) I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians, (3) and to bring them from that land to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (Ex 3:8).

D. The Israelites Were Dead to the Purpose of God in Egypt.

1) There was the death of the babies.

2) There was the death of hope.

3) There was the death of freedom.

4) There was the death to God’s prophecy.

5) There was the death to God’s covenant.


Moses, in verse 13, asked the Lord who he was to tell Pharaoh sent him. Remember that the Egyptians had a whole pantheon of gods, and since the Israelites were their slaves the gods of Egypt must surely be superior to the God of the Israelites.

“God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I AM has sent me to you.” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation.” (Ex 3:14-15).

Years ago, I was talking with the late Dr. H. Leo Eddleman, of whom FBI Director J. Edgar said, “Leo Eddleman has the best working knowledge of Hebrew of any non-Jew in the United States.” We were talking about the name God gave Moses at the burning bush and I made the statement that His name means, “I am that which I am, I have been that which I was, and I shall be that which I shall be.” He said, “There is more to it than that when you read it in the Hebrew. It also means, I exist of Myself, and I am the cause of your existence.”


A. The Lord Knew Pharaoh Would not Let the People Go.

“However, I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go, unless ⌊he is forced⌋ by a strong hand. I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles that I will perform in it. After that, he will let you go.” (Ex 3:19-20).

When Moses and Aaron first appeared before Pharaoh he refused to let the people go to worship the Lord because they would be leaving their work (Ex. 5:1). Again, “The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you causing the people to neglect their work? Get to your work!” Pharaoh also said, “Look, the people of the land are so numerous, and you would stop them from working.” (Ex 5:4-5)

Of course, this was no surprise to the Lord. He had assured Moses that He would have to convince Pharaoh to let His people go. First there were signs, but those first signs were matched by the Egyptian magicians. There were more, and the sorcerers would not match that.

B. Then Came the Plagues God Unleashed on Egypt and Her False Worship.

1) Turning the water to blood, 7:14-25.

a. “This is what the Lord says: Here is how you will know that I am the Lord. Watch. I will strike the water in the Nile with the staff in my hand, and it will turn to blood. The fish in the Nile will die, the river will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from it” (Ex 7:17-18).

b. “But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their occult practices. So Pharaoh’s heart hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said” (Ex 7:22).

c. This plague was directed against the god of the Nile River. The Nile was worshiped as the giver of life and nourishment. In this plague Yahweh declares His sovereignty over the Nile.

2) Invasion by frogs (except in Goshen), 8:1-15.

a. This plague was directed against the goddess Hekt, represented by a frog-headed statue, was believed to have power of creation.

b. The reason for this plague is stated: “...Moses replied, “As you have said, so you may know there is no one like the Lord our God, the frogs will go away from you, your houses, your officials, and your people. The frogs will remain only in the Nile” (Ex 8:10-11).

c. Pharaoh again hardened his heart, 8:15.

3) The land was stricken with gnats (lice), 8:16-19.

a. This plague was directed against the priests and magicians of Egypt.

b. Their satanic power was limited.

c. “The magicians tried to produce gnats using their occult practices, but they could not”

d. “This is the finger of God,’ the magicians said to Pharaoh” (8:19a).

e. “But Pharaoh’s heart hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said”

4) The plague of flies follows, 8:20-32.

a. The plague of flies (scarab headed beetle?) was an attack against the Egyptian god, Khephera.

b. “But on that day I will give special treatment to the land of Goshen, where My people are living; no flies will be there. This way you will know that I, the Lord, am in the land. I will make a distinction between My people and your people. This sign will take place tomorrow” (8:22-23).

c. “ But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also and did not let the people go” (8:32).

5) The fifth plague targeted livestock, 9:1-7.

a. This plague was directed against animal worship. Apis the bull, Mnevius the cow, and Hathor, a cow-headed goddess.

b. “But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that the Israelites own will die” (9:4).

c. “But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not let the people go” (9:7).

6) The next plague was boils, 9:8-12.

a. The plague of boils was directed against Inhotep, the god of healing.

b. “The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians” (9:11).

c. “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had told Moses” (Ex 9:12). Until now Pharaoh had hardened his heart; now God hardens it.

7) The harvest is destroyed by hail, 9:13-35.

a. This plague was directed against the so-called gods of nature.

b. “However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth” (9:16).

c. “So Pharaoh’s heart hardened, and he did not let the Israelites go, as the Lord had said through Moses” (9:35).

8) The eighth plague was locusts, 10:1-20.

a. This plague was directed against the gods that insured a good harvest.

b. “And so that you may tell your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am the Lord” (10:2).

c. “But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the Israelites go” (10:20).

9) Total darkness upon the land was the ninth plague, 10:21-29.

a. This plague was directed against the sun god Amen-Ra.

b. “One person could not see another, and for three days they did not move from where they were. Yet all the Israelites had light where they lived” (10:23).

c. By now the Lord was hardening the heart of Pharaoh to the point that he could not believe (10:27).


By His mighty hand, the great I Am demolished to so-called gods of Egypt, in every case showing that they could not stand up to Him for a very good reason. They do not exist. In case you are wondering what is so bad about worshiping a god that does not exist, listen to these words from the Lord Himself - words delivered a seven hundred years later, not to pagans, but a warning to the Israelites, His Chosen People:

“Why should I forgive you? Your children have abandoned Me and sworn by those who are not gods. I satisfied their needs, yet they committed adultery; they gashed themselves at the prostitute’s house. They are well-fed, eager stallions, each neighing after someone else’s wife. Should I not punish them for these things? ⌊This is⌋ the Lord’s declaration. Should I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?” (Jer 5:7-9, HCSB)

Throughout the history of Israel, Yahweh promised to bless His people if they remained faithful to Him, but to judge them if they did not obey him. Surely, in Jesus, with the New Testament, and with the Holy Spirit Who indwells all true believers, we should not expect to escape His judgment if we refuse to obey him.

The Lord has promised to bless those who follow Him, but those who refuse to follow Him may be sure of the judgment to come - unless we genuinely confess our sins, repent, and live for Him. How will He bless us? Read the New Testament. Look at the Beatitudes for a few of His blessings. Those blessings are things He builds into the character and spirit of believers. He promises to answer our prayers when we pray believing. I have heard people say God answers all prayers, either by saying Yes, No, or Wait for the right time. True prayer will be answered, but it is not always answered the way we want it to be answered. Why is that? Let’s let Him answer that for us: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is⌋ the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9.

There is another Word from the Lord in this chapter: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while He is near. Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive.” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

Even after all the miracles Israel saw in Egypt and the wilderness, they still refused to obey the Lord. Surely, you are not that foolish today! Are you?