Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt…
I. THAT MAN HAS A RIGHT TO EXPECT THAT ANY SPECIAL REVELATION FROM GOD SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY INFALLIBLE AND UNIMPEACHABLE CREDENTIALS. (ver. 9).
1. We require these credentials to vindicate the authority of the speaker. The Bible contains the evidences of its Divine origin on its own pages, for on every page we see the miracle repeated, the rod is turned into a serpent. And the miracles which the book contains, and the miracle which it is in itself, are sufficient token to the honest mind that it comes from God. This evidence is equal to the case. It leaves disobedience without excuse.
2. We require these credentials to vindicate the credibility of the speaker. God would never give men power to work a miracle to authenticate a lie. The miracle not only demonstrated the authority of these men, but also the unimpeachable honesty and verity of their statements. And so men take the Bible to-day; they perhaps say that in general terms the hook has come from God, and has His authority, and yet how many question the verity of its corn tents. They call one part of the message a myth, another part a fable, until, indeed, there is very little remaining as true.
3. That God anticipates these requests on the part of man, and provides His messengers with the needed credentials. Any one who rejects the claims of the Bible, rejects the highest proof, the most reliable evidence; hence his condemnation will be awful as that of the rebellious king.
4. The spirit in which these credentials should be investigated and received —
(3) Never sceptically.
(4) Remember that the messengers of God can only offer the credentials divinely permitted to them.
II. THAT MEN HAVE RECOURSE TO MANY DEVICES TO WEAKEN AND NULLIFY THE CREDENTIALS WHICH ARE PRESENTED TO THEM IN TOKEN AND SUPPORT OF A DIVINE MESSAGE AND CLAIM. "Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments."
1. We find that men in the investigation of a Divine message are not satisfied with the evidence they themselves propose. A sceptical mind will not yield even when it has attained evidence for the truth of its own seeking. It is most criminal in its unbelief.
2. We find that men in the investigation of a Divine message often seek others to supply them with sceptical arguments they are not clever enough to produce themselves.
3. We find that men endeavour to confirm their comrades in scepticism by imitating the credentials of the messengers of God. But in vain. The truth-seeker can distinguish between the productions of the two; he never mistakes the enchantment of the Egyptian for the miracle of Moses.
4. That the men who endeavour to confirm their comrades in scepticism respecting the Divine credentials are subject to the truth. The rods of the Egyptian magicians were swallowed up by Aaron's rod.
III. THAT THE MEN WHO REJECT THE CREDENTIALS OF DIVINE MESSENGERS COMMENCE A CONFLICT WHICH WILL BE PRODUCTIVE OF GREAT WOE AND OF FINAL OVERTHROW TO THEM. "And He hardened Pharaoh's heart that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said." Lessons:
1. That the messengers of God can always produce Divine credentials.
2. That Divine credentials are often rejected by men of high social position.
3. That a continued rejection of Divine credentials will end in destruction.
4. That the servants of God are often perplexed by the conduct of men in rejecting Divine claims.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.