« AnteriorContinuar »
His future career and character depended upon that.
Verses 9-10. And Pharaoh's dauglder said, etc. The Egyptian priucess readily agrees to what has already been determined in the counsels <>f providence. The mother now sees her faith rewarded. The issue is even more favorable than she had, perhaps, dared to hope She had, perhaps, only hoped that the child would fall into the hands of such as would preserve its life, and now it is given back to herself to nurse-and train. This issue could only have been brought to pass by a superintending providence, that watched over every movement connected with the child's life. Those whom God has chosen as the instruments of His will in the accomplishment of human salvation, and over whose lives and fortunes*He is constantly watching, cannot perish. In respect of this wonderful preservation there is a parallel between the infancy of Moses and the infancy of Chriat. The infancy of Christ was endangered like the infancy of Moses. Pharaoh and Herod were men of kindred minds. The former persecuted Christ in God's people, the latter persecuted Him directly in person. But in either case their machinations were vain. God knows how to bring to nought the counsels of His enemies. See Ps. ii. And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter. How old Moses was when his mother surrendered him to Pharaoh's daughter, we are not told in the Bible. But it must have been as soon as he no longer needed maternal protection and care, that is, probably, when he was about five or six years old. But during this time his religious principles had already become settled, and all the pomp and glitter of his subsequent court-life could not efface them. There are three things that Mcses never forgot during all the years of his life in the palace of Pharaoh : these are, his mother, his religion and his people. And he became her 'son. She adopted him, and he was brought up as one of the royal household. She called his name, Moses. Moses, in its Hebrew form (Mosheh), denotes drawing out, drawer-out, deliverer. But the name which the Egyptian princess gave him must have
been Egyptian, not Hebrew. She called him Mouses, which, as Josephus explains, means drawn out of the water. Hy a slight change Mouses became Mosheh or Moses: the drawn-otd became the drawer-out, the delivered became the deliverer. Moses lived at the Egyptian court until he was forty years old, and was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians (Acts vii. 22), which was a matter of immense account in the great mission of his life.
Verses 11-12. It came to pass ■ . . when Moses was grown, etc. Mosts was now forty years old (Acts vii. 23). He had never ctased to be a Hebrew. His ears we're filled with accounts of the burdens of his people. The " feeling of his destiny" began to stir within him. There may now also have been some change in the royal family, (perhaps the death or removal of his patroness), which served him as an occasion for quitting the Egyptian court, with all its flattering promises, and formally identifying himself with his people. In Heb. xi. 21-26, the motive of this grand 'renunciation of self is called faith. Among his people he soon saw evidences of their affliction. He spied an Egyptian smiting a Hebrew. The Egyptian taskmasters would often cruelly beat their servants, at the same time that these were sinking beneath the weight of their burdens. Such cruelty was common. He slew the Egyptian- In our day and circumstances that would be murder. No man has a right to take the law ict > his own hands and to shed blood, even to punish the violent and avenge the injured. "But in a time and place where the wild will and the high hand have the rule, he who lifts the hand, not for selfish ends, but for the defence of the weak, is not to be hastily condemned." This deed of Moses, while it ean not be approved, and while it delayed for many years the commencement of his great work, yet shows his intense devotion to his people and the nobility of his soul. But it also shows that he still needed the discipline of many years of solitude and reflection to fit him for his work.
Verses 13-14. Behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together. That was an unpleasant sight. Brethren, members of the same family, and of the same household of faith, ought not to strive with each other, or quarrel. Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow t The word fellow here means neighbor. Moses not only had a quick sense of the wrong which the Egyptians did to his people, but also of the wrong which they did to each other; and the latter grieved him even more than the former. Moses was not like many big boys who take pleasure in seeing smaller boys abuse each other. We ought all to be as ready to rebuke wrong, and favor the right, as Moses was here. Who made thee a prince and a judge over vs f Not very graciously were these first acts of Moses in behalf of his people r> ceived by them. The Hebrew for whose sake he had slain the Egyptian must have informed on him; and here is one who is ready to cast up that act. The Hebrews were not yet ready for deliverance. They had not yet suffered enough at the hands of the Egyptians to accept the judge whom God had raised up for them.
Verse 15. Pharaoh . . . sought to slay Moses. "This was perhaps not so much with a view to avenge the death of a single individual of the Egyptian race, as because Moses had by this act discovered himself to be a friend and favorer of the oppressed Israelites."But Moses fled . . . antZ dwelt in the land of Midian. The Midianites were an Arabian tribe, descended from Abraham and Keturah, and dwelling on both 6ides of the Aelanitic gulf. They were, accordingly, related to the Hebrews by blood, by language and by religion. Among them it was natural for Moses to seek refuge. That portion of the tribe among whom Moses dwelled occupied the southern part of the Sinaitic peninsula. Here, under the shadow of Mount Sinai and Mount Iloreb, Moses resided for forty years. Here he married Zipporah, a daughter of Reuel, priest of Midian, whose flocks he kept in the vicinity of Mount Horeb. Amid such scenes and in such employments, Moses led a life of quiet meditation and contemplation during a period of forty years, which were years of preparation for his great work", of equal importance with those which he had spent in acquiring the wisdom of the Egyptians.
The Praying Child.
"My children," said a poor widow to her five little ones, "I have no food for you this morning, as all the bread in the home is gone, and I have no money to buy more. Pray to the good God to supply our need, for He has said, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble.'"
Little Christian, one of the widow's children, who was not more than six years of age, went on his way tq school sad and hungry.
But as he passed the door of the church he saw that it was open, and determined to enter in and pray there; for his mother's dwelling was so small and crowded that he was never able to say his prayers quite alone. So he went into the church, not knowing that anyone was there; he knelt down in the middle aisle and said the following prayer:
"Dear Father in heaven, we children have nothingvleft to eat. Our mother has no food in the house for us, and without Thy help we must all starve! O Lord! help us. Thou art rich and powerful, and to Thee it is an easy thing to help us. Thou hast promised to do so, therefore now fulfil Thy Word."
So prayed Christian with child-like simplicity, and then went to school. On his return he saw the cloth laid for dinner, and bread, meat, eggs, and rice temptingly spread upon the table.
"Thank God !" said little. Christian, when he saw it. "He has heard my prayer, mother; did a beautiful angel bring these things for us?"
"No," replied the widow, " but God has sent them in answer to your prayers. When you were in church you thought no one saw you but God; but there was a lady sitting in one of the pews, and she heard you pray.'and saw you through the lattice work on the side of the pew. She sent us our feast; she is the angel whom God raised up to help us. Now let us ask His blessing on our meal, and never forget, my children, those sweet lines—
•Trust the Lord, and wait His hour,
—From the German.
JULY 17. 1881.
Fifth Sunday after Trinity.
Kky-notb: "Fear not; from henceforth thou shall catch men."
The Call of Moses—Exod. iii. 1-14.
1. Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of M idian: and he lei the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.
2. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire oat of the midst of the bash: and he looked and behold the bash barned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3. And Moses said, I will now tarn aside, and see this great Bight, why the bush is not burned.
4. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put' [ off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the ground whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; fur he was afraid to look upon God.
7. 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.
8. And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up oat 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 Hivrtes, and the Jebusites.
9. Now therelore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
10. Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
11. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel oat of Eivpt?
12. And 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.
13. And Moses said unto God, Behold when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say unto me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.
What is the key-note of the day? What is its relation to the Gospel for the day? Why are the Apostles called fishers of men?
Verse 1. What interval of time elapsed between the events of the last and those of the present lesson? What was Moses now doing? What relatii n was Jethro to Moses? Whither did he lead the flock? What is a desert f Where is mount Horeb? Why is it called mountain of God?
Verses 2-3. What appearance met Moses here? What is meant by the Angel of the Lord f Was the fire here nalural fire? Or what was this burning bush a symbol? What did Moses do when he saw this sight?
4-6. When Moses drew near the bush, what did God do? Was Gcd in the b ish? What did Motes answer? What does that mean? What did Gol command him to do then? Why was that place holy? Are there any holy places now? How sh* uKl we behave when we are in the house of God? How does God describe Himself here? Why? What u-e does our Lord make of this passage in Mat hew xxii. 32?
7-8. What iloes the Lord say here? How long nad this affliction been continuing? Had God seen it all the time? Whv did He suffer it 'o continue so long? Does God know all our afflictions? Will He deliver us too a' the ritrht time? Why does the Lord here call Israel His
people t What does He say that He is about to do? Into what kind of a land does He say He will bring them? What was the name of that land? Had God promised to give them that land? Who were its inhabitants now?
9-10. Do God's people ever cry to Him in vain? What commission does the Lord now give Moses? Why would Moses have to go to Pharaoh? What was the name of this Pharaoh? How long did he reign over Egypt?
l!-12. What reply did Moses make to God' Does that imply that he was unwilling to undertake his commission? Was there not a time when he would have anticipated it? What has wrought this change in his mind? What promise does God give him now? Can we do all things by God's aid? What did God promise him as a token? How could t at be a token?
13-14. Why did Moses here inquire about the divine name? By what names had the divine being b.en called hitherto? What name does God give Himself here? What does this mean? What relation is there between this self-designation of God and that of our Lord in John viii. .">*? What may we infer from this? What proper name of God, frequently u«ed in the Old Testament, comes from this / am that I am t What does Jehovah mean?
Notes. The Gospel for the day contains an account of a miraculous draught of fishes, taken by Peter and his companions, when, at the word of the Lord, they had launched out into the deep and let down their nets. This miracle was a parable of their future labors in the ministry of the Gospel. The Apostles are called fishers of men, because with the Gospel as a net, they take and bring men out of the sea of the world into the kingdom of God.
Verse 1. Between the events of the last and those of the present lesson there lies an interval of forty years, according to Acts vii. 30. During this time Moses had been leading the quiet life of a humble shepherd, and slowly maturing for his great calling, at the same time that he perhaps thought he had renounced all aspirations to anything higher than his present employment. For a man educated as he had been, and possessing the lofty spirit that distinguished him, it was peculiarly difficult to content himself with his present lot; but the very self-renunciation which was thus required of him, became the condition of his ultimate greatness. And Moses kept the flock. This statement points to the end of his residence of forty years in Midian. Jethro, his father-in-law. Moses' father-in-law is called Reuel or Reguel (Exod. ii. 18), Jethro (here and Exod. xviii), and Hobab (Judges iv. 11). According to Num. x. 29, Hobab was a son of Reguel, and must have been a brother-in-law of Moses, although he is there also called his father-in-law. Reguel and Jethro may be names of one person, or what is perhaps more probable, Jethro also may have been a brother-in-law of Moses, the term father-in-law being used simply in the sense of relative by marriage. Back side of the desert. A desert is not a barren waste of sand, such as we now understand by the term, but simply an uninhabited wilderness, where however there may be abundance of water and of pasture for cattle. Such a wilderness lay between the residence of Jethro, which was probably near the Aelauitic gulf and the Horeb range of mountains. This wilderness Moses crossed and came to the fertile valleys and slopes of Mount Horeb, or the mountain of God. This mountain is so called not simply in
consequence of what occurred there subsequently, but because it was, from the earliest times, regarded as a sacred mountain by the surrounding nations, lu the imagination of the earliest races of men, the tops of mountains which seem to pierce the skies, were regarded as the abodes of the gods. Thus the Greeks had their Olympus. For the same reason Ararat was regarded as a holy mountain. And so also Horeh.
Verses 2-3. And the angel of the hard appeared. The angel of the Lord is one wiih the Lord Himself. It was the form in which the Lord manifested Himself. In a flame of fire. Moses saw only the flame of fire in the thornbush, from the midst of which came the divine voice. The bash burned with fire . . . and was not consumed. The fire was playing in the branches and foliage of the bush (thorn-bush, bramble, a "species of acacia), but the bush was not consumed by the fire; from which it follows that it was not natural fire. The fire was simply the form in which the angel of the Lord clothed Himself for the vision of Moses. The burning bush unconsumed is a symbol of God's people, who are not consumed by their afflictions. The Egyptians were oppressing the children of Israel, but instead of being destroyed, these only multiplied the more rapidly. With a similar result the Church has more than once come out of " fiery trials." Moses said, I will now turn aside, etc. Undoubtedly Moses, whose thoughts, in these mountain solitudes, turned much upon God and upon his suffering kinsmen in Egypt, with their divine traditions and hopes of deliverance, saw in the burning bush some answer to his anxious thoughts, some message from Jehovah, which with eager haste he turned aside to receive.
Verses 4-6. ' Out of the midst of the bush. For the vision of Moses, and for the purpose of communion with him, God was in the bush. God, indeed, is omnipresent; but not like a law of nature, the force of gravity, for instance, that can not limit or localize itself, being everywhere alike near and far off. God is a person who can control His" infinity, and manifest Himself in one place as He does not in another. Hence special places and forms (altars, tem
pies, sacraments) appointed for the purpose of communion with God. Here am I. A common expression, denoting readiness to listen and obey. Put off thy shoes from off thy feet. We are accustomed to uncover our heads on entering a church or other sacred place. Among orientals the custom prevails of uncovering the feet. The priests were required to be barefooted when they ministered in the temple. To remove the shoes, therefore, is an expression of reverence. The place where thou standest is holy ground. The place was holy because God was there in a special manner. Any place is holy which serves as a scene for God's special revelation and communion with men. For this reason a church is a holy place, and differs in this respect from other buildings. All acts of irreverence, such as keeping on the hat on the part of boys and meD, and talking, laughing and jesting in church are wicked. I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, etc. God describes Himself in this way because of the covenant relation into which He has entered with the posterity of Abraham. The promise of the covenant made with Abraham was ihat He would be a God unto him. (Gen. xvii. 7). The one who appears here to Moses is the God who has made, and who forever keeps that covenant. In Matt. xxii. 32 our Lord uses this passage as an argument for the continued existence and future resurrection of the d»ad. Abraham had been dead more; than five hundred years, when God said, I am the God of Abraham. But, inasmuch as God is not a God of the dead, but of the living, Abraham must still be living in the spiritual world.
Verges 7-8. I have surely seen the affliction. This affliction had already been continuing during a period of more than eighty years. The Lord had seen it all this time, but permitted it because it served as a furnace in which His people were purified and prepared for their future great calling. There is great comfort in the assurance that God knows all our afflictions, and will suffer them to continue only so long as they are capable of doing us good. Compare Heb. xii. 11. At the right time He will make an end of them, as He made an end of the afflictions of
Israel in Egypt. My people. Another reference to the covenant relation. The Lord is the God of Israel, find Israel is the people of the Lord. The Lord stood in no such relation to any other people. Unto a good land and large, etc. The land of Caraan or Palestine, which, though now in consequence of bad cultivation is very barren, yet possesses great natural resources, and can be made productive. Flowing with milk and honey "A proverbial description of a choice land abounding in the grasses and flowering plants from which milk and honey come." This land God had promised to Abraham aud his posterity for a possession (Gen. xii. 7. xiii. 15. xvii. 8). It was now occupied by a number of Canaanitish tribes, whose iniquities were not yet full in the time of Abraham (Gen. xw 16) but were now ripe for judgment, just when Israel was ripe for deliverance. Nations are under God's righteous government, and must perish and make room for others, when they forget God.
Verses 9-10. The cry of the children of Israel is come unto me. God's people never crv to Him in vain. Even though He may be silent for awhile, yet He hears all the time; and when the measure of suffering on the one hand, and the measure of iniquity on the other, is full, then He will stretch forth His hand to help. Come now, therefore, and I will send thee. Moses had long been sighing for the deliverance of his people, had once attempted their deliverance in a wilful way, had since become discouraged and scircely dared entertain any hope of deliverance, and now he is himself sailed to be the deliverer. Unto Pharaoh. As the Israelites had come to stand in a feudal relation to the Egyptian government, the consent of the king was neces-ary to their departure. The name of t his Pharaoh, according to Josepl 03 and the best modern authorities, was Amenophu, who is said to have reigned nineteen years and six months.
Verses 11-12. Who am I, that I should go, etc. Language which implies that Moses was not willing now to undertake this great commission. Once when he was younger and more impulsive he would even have anticipated that commission. But he has since become