At the time Moses was sent by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt Pharaoh refused twice to let the people go and then, because of the plagues God sent, he relented; but only to change his mind again when God removed each plague.
After the seventh plague (the plagues were: water turned to blood, frogs, gnats, flies, death of Egyptian livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and death of the firstborn males Exodus 7:-12:) ‘Pharaoh’s servants said to him, ‘How long shall this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the Lord their God. Do you not understand that Egypt is ruined?’ So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. And he said to them, ‘Go, serve the Lord your God. But which ones are to go?’ Moses said, ‘We will go with our young and our old. We will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds, for we must hold a feast to the Lord.’ But he said to them, ‘The Lord be with you, if I ever let you and your little ones go! Look, you have some evil purpose in mind. No! Go, the men among you, and serve the Lord, for that is what you are asking.’ And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence” Ex. 10:7-11.
Only after Egypt’s economy was almost ruined did Pharaoh consider letting the men go to worship their God, but he would not let the children go. It took two more plagues to convince him to let the children go but then he would not let them take their animals for their offerings: “Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, ‘Go, serve the Lord; your little ones may go with you; only let your flocks and herds remain behind.’ But Moses said, ‘You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must take of them to serve the Lord our God, and we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.” Pharaoh refused to let them go and after this came the passover and the death of the firstborn males in every house not covered by the blood of the unblemished lambs.
“And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead. Then he (Pharaoh) summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, ‘Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!'”
I am sure you know the rest of the story of how the people left in a hurry and how they got to the red sea a little bit ahead of Pharaoh (who had changed his mind again!) and were afraid they would all die. God parted the sea so they could walk across on try land and then drowned Pharaoh and his army. Their enemy was loud, angry and scary but he couldn’t do anything against the Israelites because they belonged to God–when the people trusted God He protected them from Pharaoh.
Later on the Israelites complained when the journey to the promised land gets tough and decide they want to go back to Egypt where life was easier (their memory was really bad–they had been slaves in Egypt!).
The Old Testament was written to help us understand our own lives as God’s people and even though the exodus out of Egypt really happened it is also symbolic of our rescue from Satan and his kingdom. A few things have stood out to me as I’ve thought about this story:
1) Satan doesn’t give up without a fight. When the Lord is drawing someone to Himself to be saved Satan will stand against it; but God is greater and will have the victory because ‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil” 1 John 3:8. In Exodus God told Pharaoh through Moses that the reason he (Pharaoh) had been raised up was so that God could show His power and so that His name would be proclaimed in all the earth (Ex. 9:16).
2) Salvation is for whole families and we must not be content to be saved ourselves–we have to fight for our children. It is not enough for us to follow the Lord and hope for our children to do the same. We must not rest until our entire household has been covered by the blood of the lamb. When the the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas ‘What must I do to be saved?’ They told him, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And he and his whole family were saved (Acts 16:25-34). Other examples include Noah and his family in the ark during the flood, Rahab and her family in her house on the wall in Jericho, Cornelius and his household in Acts and Joshua when he told the Israelites, “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, adn serve the Lord. Ad if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your father served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:14-15.
Throughout Israel’s history we read about how one generation served the Lord but the next one fell away–the fault was with the parents because, though they loved the Lord, they did not do the work of passing that on to their children. The few families that did pass on their faith bore fruit in the lives of their children and grandchildren that is still blessing us today.
Satan doesn’t like to give up individuals to God, but when he has to give up whole families he knows he’s in trouble. Godly families are a serious threat to him because they rapidly grow and shine the light of the gospel to the world in darkness. This is why the letters to the Ephesians, Colossians and to Titus spend so much time talking about family relationships and why in Ephesians 6:4 Paul said, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In Malachi 2:15, God states that the thing He desires to come from marriage is godly offspring, and that is why we face many temptations to either not have children, only have a couple or to let our children do whatever they want and take part in the ways, things, entertainments, etc. of the world.
The enemy’s tactics vary from family to family and individual to individual–but his goal is always the same: to divide or distract us from our relationship with God. He doesn’t really care how he does it as long as we are not in a close, loving, abiding, knowing, experiencing relationship with the Lord that is bearing fruit for the glory of God. He really doesn’t even care if we go to church and do good things. He uses both evil and good things to distract us from the Lord Himself. There will be so many people at the last day who say, ‘Lord, Lord, we did this in Your name and that in Your name.’ And He will say to them, ‘Depart from Me, I never knew you.’ Those are scary words.
The devil is after our hearts, and if he can’t have ours he will attack our children head on. We have to fight for them through prayer, immersing them in the Word of God, demonstrating to them a life of faith, love for God and complete surrender and obedience to Him–we can only do that if they are with us more often than not. We need to be aware of their thoughts and temptations so we can arm them with the truth they need to overcome and we have to teach them how to fight for their own hearts through faith and trust in the Lord and the renewing of their minds by the Word of God and His Spirit. And it is so important to train them to be quiet enough to listen to the voice of the Lord in their hearts and to discern between God, the devil and the world and their own flesh. This is not an easy task, and that is why many of our children are back in Egypt. Most of us give up without much of a fight. The pull of the world seems so strong and we don’t see how we can stand against it. But the promise of salvation is for us and our household and we need to claim it–Satan may not have our children! The blood of the Lord Jesus was shed for them and He is able to set them free. We must not let our children be immersed in the world because it is the kingdom of the enemy. We and our children belong to God’s kingdom and it is opposed in every way to Satan’s defeated kingdom. Choose this day whom you will serve. . . .I know that the cost is that we will look strange and will probably be made fun of and people will not understand why we do the things we do and don’t do the things we don’t, but God has told us to come OUT and be SEPARATE and not be conformed to the world. The Israelites were called to the same things.
3) Many Christian parents are following God but their hearts are longing for the things of Egypt more than they long for God. They haven’t learned how to really know the Lord, to turn away from the distractions to seek the Lord with all their hearts and so haven’t really tasted how good and wonderful He is and cannot convey that to their children. Their lives are so filled up with the thrills of the world and it seems to themselves and to their children that those things are better and more enjoyable than God and His ways–even though they know the truth in their heads that He is better. The children then are even less inclined to follow God than their parents are. And because the parents are acting like Egyptians in many ways they are powerless to prevent their children from living like Egyptians. I am speaking generally, but I am sure we can each identify at least one way we are being pulled by ‘Egypt’ away from God.
4) Moses would not leave Egypt unless he could take everything with him because all of his possessions and all of his livestock were the Lord’s. When we get saved we are to bring every aspect of our lives to the Lord and sacrifice it to Him. Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” And Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it (like the Israelites who refused to believe and obey God in the wilderness because they thought their way was better), but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” Mark 8:34-38″.
The Lord, because of His great love and mercy, has rescued us out of the kingdom of darkness and brought us into His kingdom of light and He doesn’t want us to have anything to do with darkness other than to expose it with the LIGHT of His truth and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us, with our families, come out from Egypt completely so that the power and name of the Lord will be magnified throughout the earth!
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you OUT of DARKNESS into His MARVELOUS LIGHT. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against our soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” 1 Peter 2:9-12.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy. And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” 1Peter 1:13-19.