"THE WILDERNESS!—FLIGHT, MURMURINGS & MIRACLES!"
NOW WE'RE GOING ON WITH THE STORY, TO THE FINAL GREAT PLAGUE. The last and most awful of these great plagues was the plague of death upon the firstborn, in every household of the Egyptians and every household which was not covered by the blood, upon the doorpost and the lintel of the house. The blood of the sacrificial lamb is a type of the blood of the Messiah Jesus Christ, upon the cross, as an offering—that last offering, the last blood sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
1. THE FIRSTBORN ARE TO BE SLAIN IN EVERY HOUSEHOLD, as we see here. In spite of Pharaoh, Israel is to leave Egypt.
EACH FAMILY OF ISRAEL WAS DIRECTED TO KILL A LAMB AND MAKE A FEAST‚ which should be ended by midnight. At that hour God had commanded that death should come to the firstborn in every family in Egypt, from the king's son to the least important servant. At the time of the striking of the firstborn in all families of Egypt, Israel was to be packed and ready to go.
2. WE SEE THE DEATH ANGEL PASSING OVER ISRAEL. Where he found the blood sprinkled upon the doorpost and the lintel of the house, as ordered by the Lord through Moses—the blood of the lamb without spot or blemish‚ a type of Christ—here the Death Angel passed over. It must have been an awful night, as they waited—wondering what was going to happen!
THIS WAS A SIGN THAT THEY BELIEVED: If they would put the blood upon the doorpost, God spared both Jews and Egyptians. But the Egyptians, most of them of course, would not believe and did not do it! Even some of the Jews, perhaps, did not put blood on their doorpost, not believing, and if so, they died!
HERE AGAIN IS A TYPE OF SALVATION BY FAITH AND BY OBEDIENCE!—Not by lineage, not by inheritance, not just because they were Jews were they saved, not just because the Egyptians were Gentiles were they dammed. Those who obeyed and had faith in God and the Word of the Lord were saved, whether they were Jews or Gentiles—even as it is to this very day!
3. HERE WE HAVE AN ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPH OF HOW THE PASSOVER LAMB IS STILL SELECTED, amongst certain peoples of those lands to this very day. The Passover was instituted 3500 years ago‚ about 1500 B.C. Yet in the remotest part of the Holy Land today, you may see this ancient rite still carried out to the very letter. A lamb of less than one year of age is examined religiously, as to whether it has any blemish or not.
4. THEN IT IS SLAIN according to the strictest letter of the Law.
5. THE BLOOD IS COMPLETELY DRAINED OUT and caught in the proper vessel. The Jews were instructed not to eat anything containing blood. "For the life of the flesh," God's Word says‚ "is in the blood." (Lev.17:11.) "Without the shedding of blood there shall be no remission of sins." (Heb.9:22.)
SO IT WAS, THAT WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF THE BLOOD OF THE MESSIAH JESUS CHRIST, GOD'S SON, THERE WOULD BE NO REMISSION OF SINS. This shedding of the blood of the sacrificial lamb was to be a picture, a foreshadowing, a type of the coming of Christ and the shedding of His blood for our sins!
6. SISTER ROSIE MOHAMMED‚ A FORMER MOHAMMEDAN, A FROM TRINIDAD, HER PEOPLE ARE FROM INDIA‚ SAID, "THAT'S JUST THE WAY WE DO IT IN OUR OWN LAND. We kill the sacrificial lamb; we put the blood upon the doorpost and the lintel of our own homes." The very same practice is being carried on to this very day!
7. AFTER THE BLOOD WAS APPLIED TO THE LINTEL AND THE DOORPOSTS OF THE HOUSES OF THE BELIEVERS, THE LAST GREAT PLAGUE CAME: A night of mourning, lamenting, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth throughout the land of Egypt!—Even as it shall be when Jesus comes again to deliver His people in that Last Day! (Mat.25:30-32.)
THE GREAT PASSOVER OF EGYPT IS A TYPE OF THE GREAT PASSOVER WHICH WILL OCCUR AT THE COMING OF JESUS CHRIST, when His children shall be saved through their faith, and the children of the world shall be slain because of their unbelief!
ONE MEMBER OF EACH FAMILY LAY DEAD! The royal palace was not exempt, the king and the peasant mourned alike! Israel, meanwhile, was making haste to leave the country, while all Egypt was caring for their dead.
8. ISRAEL HAD BEEN IN EGYPT NOW FOR 430 YEARS. They numbered 66 souls when Jacob arrived‚ but now they are 600,000 men! In spite of the Egyptians trying to kill them and stamp them out, they still had multiplied in tremendous numbers! Now there were 600,000 men alone‚ not counting all the women and the children. Bible students estimate that there must have been at least 3-6 million all told, because they had very large families and there were many women and many children.
THE MORNING AFTER THE PASSOVER THEY MOVED QUICKLY AT DAWN TO SUCCOTH, about 15 miles east of the city of Rameses. You remember as they went they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth? The night before God instructed them to borrow the jewelry of the Egyptians. God certainly must have performed a miracle in the hearts of the Egyptians, to be willing to lend these Israelites their jewelry! They took all the wealth of Egypt with them when they went!
(Q: THAT MEANS THEY STOLE THEIR JEWELS THEN?) Well, not exactly. Remember, they had stolen the liberty and the wealth of the Israelites for many years. It was like a war or battle, actually spoiling their very enemies, who were trying to kill them!
8A. HERE ARE THE RUINS OF THE OLD CITY OF RAMESES—THE SCENE OF THE LABOURS OF ISRAEL. The slave labour of the Jews was responsible for the building of this great city, under Rameses, who was king over the slaves. Now it lies in desolate ruins because of the sins of the Egyptians!
9. THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL STARTED HERE AT THE CITY OF RAMESES, and journeyed eastward to Succoth and then to Ismailia.
10. HERE YOU SEE AN ACTUAL PHOTO OF THE RED SEA, at this point I believe it's about 10 miles wide. This narrow neck of the Gulf of Suez, as it's called today, is a branch of the Red Sea‚ through which the Suez Canal passes. Here you see shipping passing through the Suez Canal.
11. THEN THEY TURNED AND ENCAMPED BEFORE PI–HAHIROTH between Migdol and the sea, over against Baal-Zephon. "Before it ye shall encamp by the sea."—God was leading them by the Voice from the Cloud and the Pillar of Fire, telling them exactly what to do. They are going to cross the mouth of the Red Sea, from Pi-Hahiroth over to Baal-Zephon.
MEANWHILE THE LAND OF EGYPT WAS IN DESOLATION! They had lost all of their firstborn children. The Israelites had stripped them of their wealth when they left—their jewels, their cattle and so on. They had also lost all of their slave labourers, and now they are going to lose even more!
12. PHARAOH'S HOST FOLLOWED THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL with 600 chariots mounted with select soldiers—all the charioteers of Egypt, and all of his army. They overtook them on the shore of the Red Sea.
13. ISRAEL MURMURED AGAINST MOSES AGAIN NOW, BECAUSE OF THEIR FEAR—behind them the host of Pharaoh, before them the Red Sea and seemingly no escape! My mother used to say God has to have an impossible situation in order to do a miracle. So in the impossible situation, God did the miracle! Man's extremity is God's opportunity!
HERE BY THE SHORE OF THE RED SEA‚ THE CLOUD OF GOD CAME DOWN AND PROTECTED THEM from the Pharaoh and his host—just long enough for God to send the east wind. "Moses stretched out his hand over the Red Sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land‚ and the waters were divided. And the Children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon dry ground." Think of that! The wind had to blow so hard on it‚ that it even dried out the muddy bottom of the sea!
THEY WALKED ON THAT ENCRUSTED MUD OF THE DRIED BOTTOM OF THE SEA—Clear across to the other side! A might miracle of God, showing how He can do anything to protect His children!
THIS IS A TYPE OF THE SALVATION OF GOD IN THAT SALVATION OF GOD IN THAT LAST DAY WHEN JESUS WILL COME AGAIN! When the world is flooded with a sea of fire, He shall make a way for us, through the fire of atomic bombs and battle and Armageddon and all, and protect us and carry us through to be with Him on the other side!
14. THE EGYPTIANS PURSUED THEM INTO THE SEA. "When Moses stretched forth his hand again over the sea‚ from the other side, the waters returned and covered the chariots, the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh—there remained not so much as even one of them!"
NOW HOW MUCH HAD EGYPT LOST? Egypt, the greatest power on the face of the earth, the greatest Empire, the greatest civilisation in the world of that day, had lost all of its firstborn‚ had had terrible plague after plague which had almost destroyed the land, had lost all of their wealth‚ their gold, their silver, their jewels, their cattle and their slaves, and now what do they lose? Now they lose their whole army, their chariots, their horsemen and most of their noble leaders!
IN ONE FELL STROKE, THROUGH THIS DEALING WITH THE JEWS, EGYPT LOST EVERYTHING THEY HAD and became nothing almost over night! It never truly recovered its great power from this horrible blow! After the Children of Israel left Egypt, it was just a small weak kingdom from that time on.
GOD KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING, DOESN'T HE? God knows how to save His people! God knows how to take care of His children! God knows how to wonderfully rescue the children of God from the enemies of God!
AND IT'S JUST SO, WHEN THE FLOOD OF FIRE FACES THIS OLD WORLD OF OURS IN THE TIME OF THE ATOMIC BOMBS, WAR AND THE PERSECUTION OF THE ANTICHRIST FORCES! Is God able to take care of His own children? Do you think God will help us in that hour? Absolutely! He will spare His own! Some may have to die as martyrs perhaps, as witnesses for Him. God, by and large, I believe, is going to spare His own children and carry us through, but He will not spare the wicked!
THE WICKED SUFFERED AND DIED AND WERE WIPED OUT—even as the Anti-Christ forces of the great world dictator, that is going to come, will be wiped out at the coming of Christ‚ and God's children will be left to rule the world!
15. NOW WE COME TO THE SUN SET, seen here on the shore of the Red Sea, at the northern end. Baal-Zephon, believed to have been located here, is where the Children of Israel crossed this arm of the Red Sea.
16. HERE'S ANOTHER PHOTO OF THE RED SEA. This is the northern point of the Sea, where it connects with the Suez Canal.
17. THIS IS WHERE ISRAEL CROSSED THE RED SEA, Beyond that dyke is the canal. Before the canal was here, the water was quite shallow—as it is at this side of the dyke. It would have been a great sight to have seen the multitudes of Israel standing on those hills beyond, looking this direction toward Egypt—where we are standing‚ as we look across the sea to the other side, to the Sinaitic peninsula.
IT MUST HAVE BEEN A GREAT SIGHT TO THEM, standing upon those hills over there, looking back across the sea toward Egypt—in that great day of their triumph, when Moses stretched out his hand and the breach in the sea closed up over the forces and armies of Pharaoh!
18. HERE HE STANDS WITH HIS ARM OUTSTRETCHED ACROSS THE SEA, AND THE SEA CLOSES! After the crossing, they came to the heights overlooking the sea—spreading out into a flat country, eastward, called the Wilderness of Shur. Here Moses and Miriam composed and sang those great songs of triumph, called the Songs of Moses. All Israel joined them in those songs—recorded in the 15th Chapter of Exodus.
19. PICTURE 19, THEY STARTED OUT ACROSS THIS DESERT EASTWARD, and travelled three days. The country is very desolate and it became more and more so, as they journeyed onward. You see the actual photographs of the very land through which the Children of Israel journeyed, on their way out of Egypt.
20. NUMBER 20 IS THE WILDERNESS OF SHUR. Here they found themselves where there was no vegetation whatsoever, no water to be found. This was in striking contrast to the canals and the water of the Nile of Egypt, from which they had come—a land of abundance of water! It must have been a very great trial, a very great testing of the faith of the Israelites; and sad to say‚ they began to murmur!
21. THEY TRAVELLED FROM BAALZEPHON NORTHWARD INTO THE WILDERNESS OF SHUR, and then circling backward down to the waters of Marah.
22. THIS IS THE OASIS OF MARAH. They found water here, but as the name suggests the water was very bitter or brackish, and they could not drink it at that time.
23. HERE WE SEE SUCH AN OASIS. Again the people murmured, as they had already done a number of times against Moses—which will be seen to be a frequent think throughout their coming years. Sad to say, it seemed that murmuring was their chief occupation—complaining, beefing, griping; as my dad used to say, belly-aching.
THEY SPENT MOST OF THEIR TIME MURMURING AGAINST MOSES. They didn't realise that in murmuring against God's leader, they were also murmuring against God! Sometimes they murmured directly against God. They were murmuring against God's servant and against God Himself! Why were they murmuring?—Because of their trial?—Because of their difficulties? No! Because they couldn't believe God to bring them out of their difficulties! Do you get the point? I don't want you to miss the point of this story!
THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE MURMURING BECAUSE OF THE DIFFICULTIES THEY WERE IN‚ BUT THEY WERE REALLY MURMURING OF THEIR OWN UNBELIEF! They were not able to believe God! They were not willing to trust God to bring them out of their trial!
NO MATTER HOW GREAT YOUR TRIAL MAY BE, no matter how difficult your difficulty may be, no matter how bad it may be, if you have faith to trust God to bring you out of that difficulty‚ you won't murmur and complain! You'll rejoice and praise God and thank Him‚ even for the trial, because you know He is able to save you!
THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL MANIFESTED DOUBT, they had showed their lack of faith in God! That's why they suffered so much, for so many years in that same wilderness!
24. HERE AT THE BITTER SPRING Moses cried unto the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he cast it into the water it was made sweet. "There He made them a statute and an ordinance and there He proved them!"
HE WAS TESTING THEM, TO SEE IF THEY WOULD BELIEVE AND TRUST HIM, BUT THEY DID NOT! Sad to say, His own people, His own children refused to trust Him and believe Him, even though He had already done such great miracles to bring them out!
25. THEY MOVED FROM THE WATERS OF MARAH SOUTHWARD TO ELIM. They are going in the general direction of Mount Sinai—God is leading them there for a purpose!
26. HERE WE ARE AT ELIM, WHERE THEY FOUND 12 WELLS OF WATER—springs of water. There was a grove of 70 palm trees here. To this very day there are these wells of water and many palm trees at Elim, in the Wilderness of Shur in the Sinaitic peninsula.
27. THESE ARE SOME OF THE 70 PALM TREES OF ELIM. They encamped here by the waters. A great plain stretched out before them to the east.
28. HERE IS HOW THEY WANDERED FROM ELIM SOUTHWARD AND EASTWARD INTO THE WILDERNESS OF SIN. That was the name of the wilderness, it was not sin as in our language—it was a foreign word. But it certainly was a wilderness of sin for the Israelites—because they sinned in rejecting God, and rejecting Moses His leader, and refusing to have faith and believe!
SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK THAT: "OH, A LACK OF FAITH ISN'T A VERY GREAT SIN. Oh‚ just not to have much faith and not to be able to believe isn't a very great sin. "But God's Word tells us it's the greatest sin of all! He classes it along with adultery, whoremongering‚ lying and witchcraft! He makes it just as great a sin, not to believe—to doubt!
DOUBTING IS SIN, BELOVED, UNBELIEF IS SIN! He said that all unbelievers and those who lacked faith would have their part in the Lake of Fire, along with all the rest of the sinners! So no matter how righteous you many be, no matter how good you may be, if you do not have faith, you doubt God! That's the greatest sin of all! So, beloved, have faith, believe God! He is able to take you through!
29. THE WILDERNESS OF SIN. There is no more barren and dreary desolate place in the world, than this wilderness desert called Sin! The ground was parched and never a blade of grass grew in this horrible terrible plain!
30. THEY CAMPED HERE IN THIS TERRIBLE WILDERNESS. You must have a little sympathy for those poor people. The outlook was very discouraging—if they weren't able to trust God!
31. THERE WERE VERY GREAT MURMURINGS! The Children of Israel said, "Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full!"
NOW THEY ARE NOT ONLY DOUBTING GOD‚ NOT ONLY COMPLAINING AND MURMURING, NOT ONLY FEARFUL AND LACKING IN FAITH‚ BUT NOW THEY'RE WISHING THEY WERE BACK in the wicked land of the world of Egypt and back among the flesh pots of Egypt—sorry they ever had to leave Egypt! That is a very terrible sin in the sight of God! He says,
"HE THAT HAVING PUT HIS HAND TO THE PLOUGH AND EVEN LOOKING BACK IS NOT WORTHY OF ME!" And in another place, "My soul abhorreth him that turneth back." (Luke 9:62 & Heb.10:38.) Remember when He said, "Remember Lot's wife!" What did she do? She just looked back! Not that she was going to go back, but she was just sorry to leave the world and all of its pleasures and all of its sin and all of its luxury! She just looked back and was sorry to leave! (Luke 17:32.)
IT WAS A GREAT SIN IN THE SIGHT OF GOD, AND GOD JUDGED THEM FOR IT! He judged them very terribly here in this Wilderness of Sin! They certainly did do a lot of sinning here! They said, "You have brought us out in this wilderness to kill us with hunger!"
GOD IN HIS MERCY‚ NEVERTHELESS, SAID, "BEHOLD, I SHALL RAIN BREAD FROM HEAVEN‚ that the people shall go out and gather, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in My Law or no!" He even gave them law on how they should gather the bread—just so much, no more than they needed, no less than they needed. They that gathered little had no lack, God's Word says, and they that gathered much had nothing left over. God made the quantity as far as the need was concerned!
HERE'S WHERE THE COMMUNISTS GET THEIR IDEA—THEY STOLE IT FROM THE BIBLE! "From each according to his ability, unto each according to his need."—That's God's principle! The Devil just stole it, that's all. Of course, we hope they'll live-up to it—that's the one catch! (Acts 4:32–35.)
SO MANNA WAS GIVEN THEM DAY BY DAY FOR FOOD. From that time on, for 40 years, they lived on this manna that God rained down from heaven. It tasted like coriander seed and honey—it must have been delicious! It makes me hungry to think about it! Yet they complained even about that!
"GOD DID GIVE MAN ANGEL'S FOOD", GOD'S WORD SAYS—AND YET THEY COMPLAINED! (Ps.78:25.) Beloved, no matter how perfect the conditions, no matter how much God does for people, even Adam & Eve in the Garden, the two most perfect people God ever created, under the most perfect conditions God ever put man in—were they satisfied? Were they happy? Were they content to obey God? No!
EVEN THE TWO MOST PERFECT PEOPLE UNDER THE MOST PERFECT CONDITIONS SINNED AGAINST GOD! Man's heart is rebellious and wicked and sinful and disobedient and never content without God!
THAT'S WHY GOD HAD TO WORK OUT THIS WHOLE PLAN OF SALVATION! Not through our own righteousness, because we can never be good enough! The Children of Israel were never good enough. God said to them, "Not for thy sakes, O Israel, for thou art a stiffnecked and a rebellious people, but for My Holy Name's Sake and the Word which I sware unto thy fathers, Abraham‚ Isaac and Jacob." (Deut.9:5,6.)
HE SAID, "NOT BECAUSE YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH TO DESERVE IT! Nobody's good enough! But simply because of My own Word and My own Promise and My own righteousness and My love and My mercy, I will save you—if you will trust Me and believe!" One catch, one condition: You must believe!
YOU MUST BELIEVE; AND OF COURSE, IF YOU BELIEVE, YOU WILL OBEY! Amen! They refused to believe, and of course, they could not obey, if they couldn't believe!
IF YOU HAVEN'T GOT FAITH, IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE, IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO OBEY! They refused to believe, therefore they had a hard time obeying! Believe you me, trust and obey is true! "Trust and obey, there is no other way‚ to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey!" You've got to both trust and obey!
32. THIS IS A FAMILY LIVING IN THE WILDERNESS OF SIN TODAY—in tents, very much like the Israelites lived in when they were camping out there, as they were fleeing from Egypt.
HE SENT THEM GREAT FLOCKS OF QUAIL, to settle in the camp to feed them. They got sick of this manna, and they said, "Oh, we want some meat to eat!" So God even supplied them quail to eat‚ and they ate till they all got sick! God's Word says,
"HE GAVE THEM THE DESIRES OF THEIR HEARTS, BUT HE SENT LEANNESS TO THEIR SOUL!" (Ps.106:15.) Did you get that? Sometimes if we demand it, we insist on it—"God, I want a certain thing, I gotta have it, You give it to me!"—He'll give it to you! Sometimes, just to teach you a lesson!
THEN YOU'LL FIND THAT YOUR HEART IS VERY HUNGRY! Your stomach may be full, but your heart is hungry! Your soul is lean and you have lost fellowship with God! So it was with the Children of Israel!
WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE THIS STORY OF THE SINS OF ISRAEL IN THE WILDERNESS OF SIN. May you have faith, may you be obedient! May you not sin as the Children of Israel did in that day, in the land of their wilderness wanderings, in their unbelief! Amen?
Bible Study on Lean or Fat Soul:
Psalm 106:15: "And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul."
James 4:3: "Ye ask, & receive not‚ because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lust."
Isaiah 55:2: "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? & your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me‚ & eat that which is good, & let your soul delight itself in fatness."
Psalm 37:4: "Delight thyself also in the Lord; & he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." (See also Psalm 107:9.)
Review Questions for Chapter 10.
1. Did Israel decide to leave in spite of Pharaoh?
2. What was the last plague?
3. Upon what should Israel feast?
4. What was done with the blood of the lamb?
5. What was this sign?
6. What do we call the celebration today?
7. Is this celebration practised today?
8. By whom?
9. What did Israel do while Egypt was mourning?
10. How long have they been in Egypt?
11. What is their number?
12. In what part of Egypt are they?
13. Where was their first move?
14. By what sea did they camp?
15. How were they led?
16. What did Pharaoh do?
17. Did he overtake them?
18. Was Israel courageous?
19. What saved them from attack?
20. How did Israel cross the sea?
21. What was the name of the sea?
22. What did Pharaoh's soldiers do?
23. What happened?
24. What is the nature of the country west of the sea?
25. What is the nature of the country east of the sea?
26. Who composed a song?
27. Who sang after the deliverance?
28. In what direction did they travel 3 days?
29. What is the name of the wilderness?
30. Then they turned south to what place?
31. Was there water at Marah?
32. Was it drinkable?
33. What did Moses do?
34. Where did they camp after Marah?
35. Was there water?
36. In what wilderness do they camp next?
37. Was there food & water?
38. What did the people say?
39. How were they fed?
40. What was their meat?
41. How long had their journey been now?
42. What was their general course from Egypt?