Exodus 10:24
This was the third of the great plagues, and it came, as in certain previous instances, unannounced.

I. THE LAST OF THE ADMONITORY PLAGUES (vers. 21-24). The plagues, viewed as trials of Pharaoh's character, end with this one. The death of the first-born was a judgment, and gave Pharaoh no further space for repentance. We may view this last of the nine plagues:

1. As awful in itself. Whatever its natural basis, the preternatural intensity of the darkness now brought upon the land told plainly enough that it was one of the wonders of Jehovah. For three whole days no one human being in Egypt saw another, even artificial light, it would appear, failing them in their necessity. The fearfulness of the plague was heightened to those stricken by it by the fact that the Israelites "had light in their dwellings"; also by the fact that the sun in his different phases was the chief object of their worship. When one reflects on the terrors which accompany darkness in any case; on the singular effect it has in working on the imagination, and in intensifying its alarms, it will be felt how truly this was a plague laid upon the heart (Exodus 9:14). Darkness suddenly descending on a land invariably awakens superstitious fears, fills multitudes with forebodings of calamity, creates apprehensions of the near approach of the day of judgment; what, then, would be the effect on the Egyptians when they "saw their crystal atmosphere and resplendent heavens suddenly compelled to wear an aspect of indescribable terror and appalling gloom"? We may gather how great was the distress from the fact of the king being compelled, after all that had happened, again to send for Moses (ver. 24).

2. As symbolic of a spiritual condition. Egypt was enveloped in the wrath of God. The stroke of that wrath, which might have been averted by timely repentance, was about to descend in the destruction of the first-born. Darkness was in the king's soul. The darkness of doom was weaving itself around his fortunes. Of all this, surely the physical darkness, which, like a dread funeral pall, descended on the land, must be taken as a symbol. When Christ, the sin-bearer, hung on Calvary, a great darkness, in like manner, covered the whole land (Matthew 27:45). The darkness without was but the symbol of a deeper darkness in which Christ's spirit was enveloped. The sinner's condition is one of darkness altogether. He is dark spiritually (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6). He is dark, as under the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:3). God's people are "children of light," but the transgressor's soul is buried in deadliest gloom (Ephesians 5:8). The place of woe is described as "the outer darkness" (Matthew 25:30).

II. PHARAOH'S LAST ATTEMPT (vers. 24-27).

1. It was made under dire compulsion. The darkness had shaken his heart to its foundations. It is noteworthy that each of these three last plagues extorted from him a full or partial consent. The lesser plagues, severe though they were, had not had this effect. He could hold out under two, and in one case under three of them.

2. It was, like the former, an attempt at compromise. He would let the "little ones" go, but the flocks and herds were to be left; an absurd prohibition, when the object was to sacrifice. It is made painfully evident that Pharaoh's judgment has left him; that he has become absolutely reckless; that he is no longer his own master; that he is being driven by his passions in opposition to all right reason and prudence; that the end, accordingly, is very near.

3. It testifies to his increasing hardness.

(1) There is on this occasion no confession of sin.

(2) Neither does Pharaoh concede the whole demand.

(3) He ends the scene with violence, ordering Moses never to appear again before him, under penalty of death.

III. PHARAOH'S REPROBATION (ver. 29). Moses took Pharaoh at his word. "Thou hast spoken well; I will see thy face no more." God's work with this great, bad man was ended, save as the judgment for which he had prepared himself was now to be inflicted upon him. He had not been given up till every conceivable means had been exhausted to bring him to repentance. He had been tried with reason and with threatening; with gentleness and with severity; with mercy and with judgments. He had been reproved, expostulated with, warned, and frequently chastised. His prayers for respite had in every case been heard. He had been trusted in his promises to let Israel go, and when he had broken them was still forborne with and trusted again. Plagues of every kind had been sent upon him. He had suffered incalculable loss, had endured sore bodily pain, had been shaken in his soul with supernatural terrors. His first plea, of ignorance, and his second, of want of evidence, had been completely shattered. He had been made to confess that he had sinned, and that Jehovah was righteous. Yet under all and through all he had gone on hardening himself, till, finally, even God could wring no confession of sin from him, and his mind had become utterly fatuous, and regardless of consequences. What more was to be done with Pharaoh? Even that which must be done with ourselves under like circumstances - he was rejected, reprobated, given over to destruction. "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?" (Luke 13:7). It was the same fate which overtook Israel when the nation became finally corrupt and hardened. - J.O.







Thou must give us also sacrifices.
1. God's instruments of redemption seek not only liberty of persons, but of means, to serve Him.

2. Due worship and true sacrifice to God are the scope of all God's redeemed (ver. 25).

3. God's ministers must be resolute for all, and not bate a jot of what God requires. Not a hoof.

4. All the exactions of God's instruments must be aimed at God's service truly.

5. God's servants know not themselves, but depend upon His discovery for what they must offer to Him (ver. 26).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

I. THE FACT OF THIS RELUCTANCE ON THE PART OF MAN TO YIELD COMPLETE OBEDIENCE TO THE CLAIMS OF GOD.

1. This reluctance is seen in the judgments that are sent to overcome it.

2. This reluctance is seen in the mercy that is despised.

3. This reluctance is seen in the faithful ministries that are rejected.

4. That men resist these judgments, etc., is complete evidence of their great reluctance to surrender all for Him.

(1)This reluctance is a matter of revelation.

(2)This reluctance is a matter of history.

(3)This reluctance is a matter of experience.

II. THE REASONS OF THIS RELUCTANCE ON THE PART OF MAN TO YIELD COMPLETE OBEDIENCE TO THE CLAIMS OF GOD. These reasons are obvious.

1. Depravity of nature.

2. Pride of heart.

3. Selfishness of motive.

4. Obstinacy of will.

III. THE FOLLY OF THIS RELUCTANCE ON THE PART OF MAN TO YIELD COMPLETE OBEDIENCE TO THE CLAIMS OF GOD.

1. Because it provokes painful judgments.

2. Because it is useless to contend with God.

3. Because final overthrow is its certain outcome.Lessons:

1. That man will consent to any terms rather than yield a complete submission to the will of God.

2. That God will only be satisfied by an entire surrender to His will.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. THAT MEN ENDEAVOUR TO COMPROMISE THE SERVICE OF GOD BY NOMINAL ALLEGIANCE.

II. THAT MEN ENDEAVOUR TO COMPROMISE THE SERVICE OF GOD BY AN OCCASIONAL PERFORMANCE OF DUTY.

III. THAT MEN ENDEAVOUR TO COMPROMISE THE SERVICE OF GOD BY A PUBLIC PROFESSION OF IT ACCOMPANIED WITH PRIVATE RESERVATIONS.

IV. THAT MEN ENDEAVOUR TO COMPROMISE THE SERVICE OF GOD BY EXCLUDING IT FROM THEIR WORLDLY PURSUITS.Lessons:

1. That men must not compromise the service of God.

2. That ministers must warn men against compromising "the service of God.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I.IT IS OPPOSED TO THE SERVICE OF GOD.

II.IT IS LOATH TO PART WITH ITS EVIL POSSESSIONS.

III.IT IS SLOW TO HEED THE VOICE OF THE SERVANTS OF TRUTH.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

"Only let your flocks and herds be stayed." How many souls are caught in this snare! They have left their business, their work, their worldly interests, down in Egypt. They cannot be "very far away" in such case, for they must needs go down to Egypt to attend to their possessions. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth"; "Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof" (Matthew 4:9; Romans 13:14). These are words that need to be considered in connection with this last snare of Satan. I think when Satan sees a Christian go out of Egypt with all his flocks and herds, he has no hope of getting him back again. So he makes a last stand here: "Keep your business and your religion separate. Give yourself to God; but do not consecrate your property." Now, will you just take a look at the state of the Christian world to-day. Look at the wealth of Christians in London, and in New York, and over the whole world. How they have piled it up — thousands upon thousands, heaps upon heaps! And where is it? Surely in Egypt. It is not held in sacred stewardship for the Lord. It is used for the most part to gratify "the lust of the flesh," "the lust of the eye," and "the pride of life." Look, I pray, at the magnificence of the residences, the costliness of the furniture, and the expensiveness and luxury of the equipage. Go into the houses of the wealthy Egyptian Christians, and behold the splendour and costliness of their entertainments! See the crowds of Egyptians gathered there to enjoy the feasts and pleasures that are provided by God's people with the proceeds of the flocks and herds that should be used in His service. Again, look at the condition of the Lord's work the world over. Consider the fewness of the number of missionaries who are abroad! Note how from every direction the cry comes up for help! There are men and women who are waiting to give themselves to the work — to forsake home and country, and go to the darkest spots of heathendom; but there are not the men and the women who are ready to spare from their hoards the money to send and support them. If the flocks and herds were out of Egypt, and really given over to the Lord to be used in His service, the world could and would be evangelized in less than five years.

(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)

Not an hoof be left behind
Now, it seems to me, that this grand quarrel of old is but a picture of God's continual contest with the powers of darkness. Evil is hard in dying; it will not readily be overcome. But this is the demand of God, and to the last will He have it. "All My people"; the whole of, every one of them, and all that My people have possessed, all shall come out of the land of Egypt. Christ will have the whole; He will not be contented with a part, and this He vows to accomplish. "Not an hoof shall be left behind."

I. First, then, Christ will have THE WHOLE MAN. In His people whom He has purchased with His blood He will reign without a rival. No sin is to be spared; no service shunned; no power unconsecrated.

II. This is equally true of THE WHOLE CHURCH as of the whole man — "Not an hoof shall be left behind." When I come to the matter of redemption it seems to me that whatever Christ's design was in dying, that design cannot be frustrated, nor by any means disappointed. All that His heavenly Father gave Him shall come to Him. Iii. Jesus Christ will not only have all of a man, and all the men He bought, but He will have ALL THAT EVER BELONGED TO ALL THESE MEN. That is to say, all that Adam lost Christ will win back, and that without the diminution of a single jot or tittle, Not an inch of Paradise shall be given up, nor even a handful of its dust resigned. Christ will have all, or else He will have none.

IV. CHRIST WILL HAVE THE WHOLE EARTH.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

This was the Divine policy of "No surrender," and I plead for it with you. Satan says, "Do not use your property for God. Do not use your talents and your abilities; especially do not use your money for the Lord Jesus. Keep that for yourself. You will want it one of these days, perhaps. Keep it for your own enjoyment. Live to God in other things, but, as to that, live to yourself." Now, a genuine Christian says, "When I gave myself to the Lord I gave Him everything I had. From the crown of my head to the soul of my foot I am the Lord's. He bids me provide things honest in the sight of all men, and care for my household; and so I shall; but yet I am not my own, for I am bought with a price; and therefore it becomes me to feel that everything I have, or ever shall have, is a dedicated thing, and belongs unto the Lord, that I may use it as His steward, not as if it were mine, but at His discretion and at His bidding. I cannot leave my substance to be the devil's. That must come with me, and must be all my Lord's, for His it is even as I am."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

God's will is that we should be completely set free. This will be accomplished. Repeated conflicts first.

I. THE TRUTH SUGGESTED THAT OUR DELIVERANCE WILL BE COMPLETE.

1. Our natures will be entirely freed from the thraldom of sin. Every power of body, mind, and soul will ultimately escape from the dominion of evil.

2. Our families shall be saved.

3. The whole Church shall be saved.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENT THAT MAY BE DERIVED FROM THIS TRUTH. We need encouragement. The bondage is often bitter, and hope fails. The enslavers powerful and the chains strong. But a deliverance, complete, triumphant, and eternal, is sure. This ought to lead us —

1. To live in the expectation of perfect freedom from all evil.

2. To continue to strive, believe, and pray for it.

3. To pray and labour zealously for the salvation of our families.

4. To sympathize with and aid the weak and lowly in the Church.

(W. O. Lilley.)

We know not with what we must serve the Lord until we come thither
I. SOME THINGS ARE UNCERTAIN IN THE FUTURE.

1. The continuance of our life on earth.

2. The new circumstances in which we shall be placed.

3. The particular duties which will be required of us.

II. SOME THINGS ARE CERTAIN IN THE FUTURE.

1. The obligation of service.

2. Special opportunities of service.

3. Adequate directions for services.

III. SOME THINGS ARE NECESSARY FOR THE FUTURE.

1. Diligent preparation of heart.

2. Humble dependence on God.

3. Hopeful anticipation of better things to come.

(B. Dale, M. A.)

I. The teaching is that NOT A PART, BUT THE WHOLE, OF OUR POSSESSIONS MUST GO OUT OF EGYPT WITH US. "There shall not an hoof be left behind." Is that so with you? Are you conscious that all your possessions are solemnly consecrated to the Lord, withdrawn from all Egyptian unrighteousness and sinful self-indulgence? Or are you using your wealth as any other worldly man might use it?

II. Notice, THAT IT IS MORE THAN TAKING WEALTH ON TO RELIGIOUS GROUND. It is distinctly taking it out for the purpose of serving the Lord. Not that the Lord is to have a portion; but that it is all held at His call, for, says Moses, "We know not with what we must serve the Lord." It may be that He will want few, it may be that He will want many sacrifices. We must hold all subject to His call. This is a high standard to hold up before us; but it is without question the true one. I do not believe God grudges to His children any comfort which may be had out of wealth honestly and righteously won from the world; but without doubt the Lord does insist that the necessities of His service must first be met, before we can indulge ourselves. How far we must allow ourselves to go in self-provision is a question that can be easily settled by the man or woman who is honestly out-and-out — spirit, soul, body, and property — for the Lord.

(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)

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