Lecture 1 - Egypt

(Exodus, chap. 2.)

The historical books of the Old Testament present to us a
regular series of types, each book having a set of its own, connected with a
special line of truth, upon which in perfect order the separate gems are
strung. To read them aright, therefore, we must see first what is the truth
which characterizes each, and then each individual type will find its place.
For instance, in the book of Genesis, a series of seven lives is given
exemplifying the life which God gives to man - not the life which is now
natural to him, but, in contrast with that, the life which we have as born of
God, shown in its different stages and features from the first point where it
begins with conviction of sin, in Adam, to the time when, in Joseph, it is
master of the world. A series of seven lives gives its whole history. In Exodus
we have a fresh beginning, and a new line of things. It begins a little later
than in Genesis; for we must first of all have life before we can be redeemed.
It is His people whom God redeems out of bondage, redemption being this actual
deliverance, which must be accomplished in order for any practical Christian

In Leviticus we still find an advance on this. We enter as priests
into the sanctuary, and are instructed in all that suits His presence there.
The theme of the book is Sanctification; having learned which, we are prepared,
in Numbers, to go out into the world, and walk with Him there.

I need not go
any further, but the order in which they are given is to be as much observed as
anything else. And we must not run these things one into the other. Each is a
picture by itself, and we must be careful how we join together even things
which are apparently the same, until we have learnt their peculiar significance
in the separate books. We shall have, no doubt, examples of this as we

To come now to the book before us: It has two main parts. In the
first part, the first eighteen chapters, we have the redemption or deliverance
out of bondage itself. In the last part, from the 19th chapter onward, we have
the other part, so to speak, of redemption - we are redeemed to God.

In the
first part, the tyrant who rules over us naturally is dispossessed; in the
second part, we are brought under the yoke of our true Master. Each part is the
complement of the other. It is absolutely necessary, in order that deliverance
should be realized, that the Deliverer should become the Sovereign. His service
is indeed the only perfect freedom. It is necessary for the house not only to
be emptied of its former occupant, but the way whereby he will be kept out is
by One stronger than he being in possession. Before we speak of the deliverance
itself, let us first look at the land of bondage, the state to which this
deliverance applies.

Egypt is a very remarkable land in itself, and in
every point peculiarly fitted for the type for which God uses it. As we think
of it we realize how true it is, as the apostle says in 1 Cor. 10, speaking of
the history of Israel: "All these things happened unto them for types," God
controlling things that really happened, so as to make them fit representations
of the greater things which He has in His heart through these to communicate to
us. What a wonderful thing it is to be permitted to look upon these things thus
unveiled !- to have things which were kept so long waiting till God could
reveal them, now made known to us "upon whom the ends of the ages have

The land of Egypt is a remarkable land in this way; that it is a
little strip of country along the great river which makes it what it is, and is
in perpetual conflict with the desert. This desert runs on both sides, and a
little strip through which the river flows alone is Egypt. The desert on each
side hems it in, blowing in its sands in all directions, and the river is as
constantly overflowing its banks and leaving its deposit upon the sand. and
renewing the soil. The Scripture name is not Egypt but Mizraim; and Mizraim
means "double straitness." This doubtless refers to the two strips, one on each
side of the river. Mizraim was son of Ham, the Ammon, or Khem, of profane
history - a very significant name in this connection. It means black or
sun-burnt - darkened by the light. Ham is the father of Mizraim. That is, what
we call the natural state is not what is really natural; for it is not the mere
absence of light, but the effect of the light itself. And such is the darkness
of the world.

For instance, the heathen often are spoken of as groping
after the light and unable to find it; and it is looked upon as their
misfortune, not their sin, because they are bound down by circumstances too
hard for them. Now that is not really so. The truth is, "There is none that
seeketh after God." God's account of it in the first chapter of the Epistle to
the Romans is a totally different one. God states there by His apostle that,
"When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but
became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." That
was the beginning of heathenism. It is man,not seeking God, but endeavouring to
escape from God, and has escaped, so to speak, into the darkness. The darkness
is the darkness of resisted light, not the absence of light. The light has not
been absent. The very character of the darkness shows that it has not.

land and river of Egypt present a scene of perpetual conflict between death and
life. While the mercy of God is feeding that land by the rain of a far country,
no rain comes, or seldom falls in Egypt. The rain falls far off. The people
know nothing about it. It comes rolling down in the shape of a mighty river,
and that perpetual stream ministers unfailing plenty to the land. It is, so to
speak, independent of heaven. I do not mean it really is independent; but that
it is watered not from the clouds, but from the river. In their thoughts the
people do not look up for it, but down. It is the very thing God points out in
contrasting the land of Canaan with the land of Egypt, that Canaan, Israel's
portion, drinks in the water and the rain of heaven. Canaan is a land of
dependence. Egypt is a land of independence, figuratively.

And that is the
serious character of our natural condition, alas! what is natural to us now -
that we are independent of God! God indeed supplies the streams of plenteous
blessing, and none else than He; but they come so regularly, so constantly,
that we speak of natural laws, and shut God out. Just as for long years men
were sent to find the sources of that river, so men have been constantly
seeking to explore the sources of natural supply, and have hardly succeeded
yet. They are taking up as new a very old question, "Canst thou by searching
find out God?" to settle it in their own fashion (Job 11: 7).

From the side
of so-called science, they are beginning to say "God is the Unknowable." God
said long ago, that that would be the result of their unholy efforts to remove
His veil. But they did not believe it; and now, when they find it out
themselves, they vaunt it as a new discovery, and yet will not believe. They
only decide that, if science cannot find out, He is not to be found at all. The
gracious revelation, by which He has come near to put away the darkness, they
will not accept; but putting forth their very ignorance as knowledge, prate of
Him as Unknowable.

Egypt worshipped her river. The river came to her so
constantly that she was practically independent of heaven; yet heaven was the
source of her supply. She did not see the blue hills which shed down the
blessing they received. And they worshipped but the river. It is our state of
nature away from God. God was far off to us. We did not realize the blessed
hand from which all things came, and we took the blessings in willing ignorance
of the hand upon which both they and we really depend.

This Egypt was
remarkable in other ways - as the abode of science and civilization. To that
wonderful country people go now to study her monuments and her architecture.
Egypt built as if she had eternity before her to enjoy it in. Her buildings
were made to outlast by ages the people of a day who builded them; they could
not make the people last, yet tried their best at that. They embalmed their
dead; and sent their dead down to the generations yet to come side by side with
what their hands had made, as if solemnly saying: "Here are the mighty works of
those over whom a mightier has triumphed." What a comment upon all her
grandeur! Her main literary memorial is a "book of the dead." In her monuments
death is stereotyped. The desert, after all, has vanquished the river. The land
of science and of art is a land of death, not of life.

And that is the
history of the world. Death is what is stamped upon it everywhere. It is the
stamp of "vanity" upon a fallen creation. It is more; it is the stamp of Divine
reprobation. For "in His favour is life." Could He repent and unmake, unless we
had given Him cause for repentance? Surely He could not. What a solemn thing
that we should have given Him a reason! When God is able to rest in His love,
as He will by and by, that will necessitate the eternity of the condition in
which He can rest. All that in which He can rest, will be stamped as eternal.
When He "rests in His love," nothing can deprive Him of the object of it.

The religion of Egypt was remarkable. They had a religion in which were
embalmed the relics of another religion, the dead tradition of a life that had
been. It is remarkable that the very expression which God employs when He tells
Moses His name, "I am that I am," is attributed to God in the monuments of
Egypt. Yet, with all that, what did Egypt worship? Emphatically, and
universally, the creature - not the Creator. Egypt, which testified of the true
God, took up everything that was His total opposite, and deified a hundred
bestial objects - the images of their own lusts, debasing themselves by the
service of these!

Their worship was a deification - as all heathen worship
is - of their own lusts and passions. That is everywhere what controls man
naturally. In the garden of Eden, Satan said to the woman, "Ye shall be as
gods." it was the bait he presented to her: and man has sought after this ever
since. There is a craving in man's heart for what will satisfy; and not being
able to find satisfaction in God, not able to trust God's love and care, lust
and care devour him. He worships himself, in a way continually more and more
brutalizing and degrading.

Let us now look at the king that reigned over
Egypt. Pharaoh is a title, as "king" or "kaiser." A very absolute king he was.
The key to the interpretation of types is found in Scripture itself. The types
of Redemption in Exodus, for example, are interpreted for us in the epistle to
the Romans. There we find one from whom we are delivered, who is exercising a
despotic power over man his captive, and the steps of the deliverance are there
detailed. "Sin hath reigned unto death." How that expresses Pharaoh's iron rule
over the Israelites in Egypt! Verily, it was a reign unto death. And then, for
deliverance, "Our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be
destroyed; that henceforth we should not be the slaves of sin." There you find
truly and exactly what answers to Israel's deliverance at the Red Sea. Pharaoh
and his host were cast into the sea.

We have looked at the land, and its
king who rules over the land; let us look at the state of bondage in which we
find Israel.

It is striking how the book opens. "Now these are the names of
the children of Israel who came into Egypt. Every man and his household came
with Jacob." Jacob means Supplanter. His other name, which God gave him, is not
given: it would be out of place here. They are indeed the "children of Israel,"
but "every man and his household came with Jacob." We also came into the land
of bondage with our father Adam.

The bondage itself does not begin at once;
for bondage is not the expression of our mere natural state. You take the man
in the 7th of Romans. Some say it is the natural state, but it is not so. In
the natural state you will not find a man crying out, "O wretched man that I
am, who shall deliver me?" That is an expression of great bondage. There was a
time when Egypt pleased us well enough, as for a time it pleased Israel. We
know how in the wilderness they not only lusted after the good things of Egypt,
but went after its gods too. The golden calf was made in imitation of the
worship of Egypt. They had a flourishing and happy time, a time when they were
not slaves, but the very contrary. And it was God, who, as He says, "raised up
Pharaoh," and thus brought about this state of bondage. God promised Abraham
this very furnace of affliction in the vision of Gen. 15. This iron furnace is
God's representative, along with the lamp, when it passes between the pieces of
the sacrifice. It was the necessary means to bring them out for the inheritance
He promised them. It is His way to make them the people He wants them to be.
God pledges them they shall have this fiery furnace, and Pharaoh was the
instrument in God's hand for this. And it is surely part of God's faithfulness
to us when He allows us to know what real bondage is; and although in the first
place we do not cry to God, God hears. Mark that, in this 2nd chapter, it does
not say they cried to God because of their bondage; but "they cried," and the
Lord heard them. And when we wake up to find out what this world is, what a
place of useless conflict with death, what an iron hand rules over us - when we
wake up with yearning at last after some better condition, when we begin to
find out where we are, and a little what we are, it is God that is producing
that in our souls already. It is light breaking in, though the discovery is of
darkness. Thus the life of God begins. It enables us to feel even death. We
never know really what it is to be dead, until we are alive. It is when we come
to live, when life begins, that we learn what death is.

And so here, and
always, it is God that makes us open our eyes to see - if it be not, at first,
so much a yearning after Himself, as yearning after relief. And when we do come
to Him, is it not, as the prodigal, for the bread in our Father's house, rather
than for the Father's sake? Yet He receives; for He says simply, "Come unto Me,
and I will give you rest." He does not say, "Come in such a way"- nay, not
even, "Come, feeling your sins." In fact there are different ways in which God
draws men to Himself. On the one hand, a sense of guilt which needs a Saviour;
and on the other, through hunger and thirst and weariness, which need rest and
satisfaction. But the Lord says to just such, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

We may take the Lord's
words in the largest way. We can say there is no weariness to which the Lord's
words would not apply; no state of desolation and unrest and evil in which and
by which He is not calling souls unto Himself. Yet sin must of course be felt;
and this will come. And bondage to sin is what is typified here.

Let us
look at this a little more closely.

You find in the first chapter, "There
arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph. And he said unto his
people: Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than
we. Come on, let us deal wisely with them . . . and they built for Pharaoh
treasure cities, Pithom and Raamses."
They built "treasure cities"-
magazine cities, cities of warlike provision. Pharaoh sets to work to keep the
people down and in bondage; and for this purpose he uses their own strength
against themselves. He makes them labour to rivet their own chains: for these
cities were in Goshen, the land allotted to themselves. And that is what is
being done everywhere the world over. Men are rivetting their own chains; are
building Pharaoh's magazine cities to enable him to hold them fast. Take the
drunkard: every cup he takes makes him more and more a slave to it, although he
knows what a hard and bitter service it is, and what a terrible master he is
working for. "He that committeth sin is the slave of sin," says the Lord. He
cannot give up his master's service, when he pleases. There is One surely ready
to hear his cry; but that is another matter. If it is money that man covets,
every dollar that he puts into his treasury only makes his heart more set upon
it. The very heathen had a proverb:
"The love of money increases with the
increase of money."

And so it is; the more you succeed in getting what your
heart prizes, the more it will attach your heart to itself.

And this is
true of Christians too. If we allow our hearts to go out after the world in any
shape, the more we gain of it, the more its weight will drag us down to

Now let us look at the deliverer. We have Moses brought before us in
the 2nd chapter. I need not say that Moses is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He is son of a Levite: and Levi was the third son of Israel. The third speaks
of resurrection, and of Divine display. Leah says when her third son is born,
"Now will my husband be joined to me," and she calls him Levi, "joined!" The
true Levite is He who really joins God to man, and man to God. Need I say who
He is?- the Risen One who, having passed through death for us and gone on high,
is thus our Daysman, the "One Mediator between God and man." We find thus the
genealogy of Moses and Aaron carefully given in the early part of Exodus, in
order that we may know these men as the double type of the Lord Jesus

Moses is exposed to the death-sentence under which Israel lies in
Egypt: he of course by birth. We must distinguish and contrast, however, for
here we have the shadow, not the very image. The Lord only came to put Himself
under our sentence, in grace, not being exposed to jt naturally, I need not
say. Nor did it have title over Him at any time. He could have gone to God in
that sin less, perfect humanity of His with twelve legions of angels from the
garden where He delivered Himself up into His creatures' hands. "Death passed
upon all men, for that all have sinned," but no principle of mortality lurked
in the body prepared Him. It was only when He came into it for others that He
could die. He took of course a body capable of dying. That is truly so: but He
did not take a body with a seed of death in it. He took a pure spotless
humanity; a true humanity, of course: truer than our own because it was
humanity without flaw or defect, entirely according to God's thought of what
humanity should be. Even in the grave the Holy One of God saw no

Moses was naturally exposed to death; but the Lord went down
into it in grace. In this sense too His zeal for God was what devoured Him.

Before Moses becomes a deliverer, he has to be exposed to death and taken out
of it. He does not actually die, we know. He could be spared, as Isaac too was
spared. Only His own beloved Son God could not spare. Sentenced to death at the
world's hand, Moses is taken out of it; then he has to take his place in
rejection at the hands of his own people, else he would not be properly a type
of the Deliverer here. He is not only cast out by the world, but rejected by
his brethren, as was our Lord. True, there was failure on Moses' part, however
much the affliction of his brethren was in his heart. There was a true desire
for them, and a presentiment that God had chosen him to be the deliverer. As
you find in Stephen's words to the Jews, he thought they would recognize him as
such. They did not recognize him. They say, "Who made thee a ruler and a judge
over us?" and Moses fled into Midian, rejected by his brethren. It is in that
character that we have to do with the Lord Jesus Christ now.
We find Moses
then in the land of Midian, and soon with a Gentile bride. But his son's name
tells us that no real home is yet found by him. He names his son, "Gershom"--"a
stranger"- for he says: "I have been a stranger in a strange land." Beautifully
here Moses reflects our character and position in the world, and of Him to whom
we belong. The wife belongs no more to Midian, but to her husband. The
"stranger" son becomes no resident of the land in which he is born. These
things should want no interpreter to any of our hearts. God grant us only to be
more Gershoms in the land of Midian - strangers in a world where, if Christ can
find a bride, He cannot a home.

In the next chapter, Moses will appear
distinctly as the divinely appointed saviour. This tonight, is a preliminary
sketch, by way of introduction to that which is the great theme of the book.
The story in Exodus itself is so far brief and rapid. We shall have soon
abundant details of the deepest interest - details of our own history as God's
redeemed: a history which transcends this wonderful story as the antitype must
needs transcend the type. From the Passover to the Land, the wonderful and
majestic dealings of God with a people whose weakness and waywardness made them
the objects of his tenderest care, and the subjects of the display of His power
and grace, are our types, "written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of
the ages have come." What must we be to Him who has written our history in the
records of these bygone agesl Oh, may we adoringly accept the love, and bow our
hearts to receive the admonition!