Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you.
I. GOD'S JUDGMENT.
1. Though restrained for a time, it will surely fall. It is no argument that the threatening is vain, because, while the servants of God try to persuade, there is no token of the coming judgment.
2. When it does come, it is not less than was foretold (14, 15). God's deed is his comment on his Word, and reveals the terror whose shadow lay in it. The flood was not less than Noah's warnings painted it, nor Jerusalem's judgment than the prophecies which predicted it. Nor shall the woes coming upon the nations, nor the end of sin, be less than God's Word has said.
II. PHARAOH'S CRY. It was sincere, both in confession and entreaty. He saw his folly, he desired relief, he purposed amendment. Good visits him, but it will not abide with him. The self-delusion of repentance born of the visitation of God and the need of heart-searching.
III. PHARAOH'S HEART HARDENED THROUGH DELIVERANCE. With the outward blessing we need inward grace. If we wait upon the Lord he will increase fear, and zeal, and tenderness of heart, but if we still keep far from him we are reserved only for heavier punishment. Instead of forsaking evil we shall build upon God's readiness to forgive, and repentance itself will become impossible through the soul's deep insincerity. Have we received no warnings which have been forgotten? Have we made no vows as yet unfulfilled? God's word says, "Flee from the wrath to come." Sin cries, "Tarry, there is no danger; wait for a more convenient season." - U.
I. IT PROCEEDS FROM THE IMPULSE OF THE MOMENT, AND NOT FROM CONSCIENTIOUS CONVICTION.
Intreat the Lord your God.1. God's hasty judgments may work hasty passions in sinners, though no repentance.
2. Vengeance may make persecutors call in God's servants for help as hastily as they drove them out.
3. Double confession of sin may hypocrites make under plagues, yet not in truth.
4. Proud persecutors may be forced to confess their guilt against men as well as against God (Exodus 5:16).
5. Hypocritical oppressors may desire forgiveness of God's people under plagues, as if they would sin no more.
6. Wicked persecutors under judgment are earnest with God's servants to intercede earnestly for them.
7. It is only death which wicked sinners deprecate.
8. Hypocrites pretend upon deliverance from death, as if they would sin no more, or desire no more mercy (ver. 17).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
II. IT IS MARKED BY SELFISH TERROR, AND NOT BY A GODLY SORROW FOR SIN.
III. IT CRAVES FORGIVENESS OF AN IMMEDIATE OFFENCE, RATHER THAN A THOROUGH CLEANSING OF THE HEART.
IV. IT CONFIDES IN THE INTERCESSION OF A FELLOW-MORTAL, RATHER THAN IN THE PERSONAL HUMBLING OF THE SOUL BEFORE GOD. Christ is the only Mediator.
V. IT REGARDS GOD MORE AS A TERRIBLE DEITY WHOSE WRATH IS TO BE APPEASED, THAN AS THE INFINITE FATHER WHOSE LOVE IS BETTER THAN LIFE.
VI. IT EXPRESSES A PROMISE OF AMENDMENT WHICH IS FALSIFIED BY PREVIOUS DISSEMBLINGS.Lessons:
1. To be sure that our repentance is genuine.
2. To bring forth fruit meet for repentance in daily conduct.
3. Not to pass a hasty judgment on the repentance of men. Half the Revivalists of the day would have called Pharaoh a true convert; time tests conversion.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
1. Belief in God, He called Him the Lord your God. He spoke of Him as of a stranger. Now, it is impossible that any person or child can love the Lord until he feels himself reconciled to Him by faith, until he can call Him the Lord my God.
2. Pharaoh had humbled himself before men, rather than before God.
3. He besought the prayers of others, instead of praying for himself.
4. He asked the forgiveness of the servants of God, instead of seeking pardon from God Himself. If he had said, like David, "I acknowledge my sin unto the Lord," he might have added like him, "And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin."
5. Pharaoh did not concern himself about the salvation of his soul. He intreated, not that he might be delivered from sin, but only that "this death" should be taken away from him; he did not think of eternity, but only of the plague under which he was suffering.
6. Lastly, remark that the king still cherished secret designs in his heart; his submission was not unreserved. We have begun as it were to repent; but as long as we are not willing to renounce all, to follow Jesus, our repentance is of no avail. Pharaoh said, "Go ye, serve the Lord, only let your flocks and herds be stayed." His heart was not yet submissive, thus his repentance was vain.
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