The Loneliness of Moses - RR171H15
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|This transcript is unedited. It was:|
|Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library|
|Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules|
|Posted by with permission.|
Let us worship God. Thus saith the Lord, ye shalt seek me and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jesus said blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. Let us pray.
Oh Lord, our God, we thank thee that thou hast made known thy love, grace and mercy in Jesus Christ. Thy presence and thy Holy Spirit, and thy word, which lightens our path and teach us the way in which we should go. We pray, our Father, that day by day we may serve thee more faithfully to the end that all things may be brought into captivity to Christ. To the end that men may know thee, that thy peace, thy grace, thy mercy, and thy law may be made known unto all nations, peoples, tribes, and tongues. Bless us, we beseech thee, this day and always, in thy service. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Our scripture this morning is Exodus 5:10-13. Exodus 5:10-13, and our subject is The Loneliness of Moses. Exodus 5:10-13. “10 And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. 11 Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it: yet not ought of your work shall be diminished. 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 13 And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. 14 And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to day, as heretofore?
15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thus with thy servants? 16 There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick: and, behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people. 17 But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle: therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the LORD. 18 Go therefore now, and work; for there shall no straw be given you, yet shall ye deliver the tale of bricks. 19 And the officers of the children of Israel did see that they were in evil case, after it was said, Ye shall not minish ought from your bricks of your daily task. 20 And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way, as they came forth from Pharaoh: 21 And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.
22 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all..” [00:04:36]
The response of Pharaoh was to increase the work by...
The response of Pharaoh was to increase the work by requiring the Israelite forced labor to collect its own straw to make adobe bricks. Now, when you realize that the straw could be miles away from the building site, you can appreciate the difficult of that assignment. In fact, it could be in some instances, we don’t know exactly where this construction was, as much as a day’s journey away to collect the straw, the stubble. So that not only was the task made difficult, but it meant they had to go somewhere else, collect the straw or stubble, and bring it. Then they had to chop it up and prepare it, because it was not already prepared and ready for them to use. So, their labor was very greatly increased.
Pharaoh’s attitude was that the Israelites were lazy workers and were led by two labor agitators. He therefore punished the workers directly in order to kill off all protests. The Egyptians were used to labor unrest, and were experienced in dealing with it. Moreover, the Egyptians regarded idleness as one of the very serious sins. In the judgment of the death before Osiris, idleness had to be disclaimed. Epitaphs on tombs often absolved the dead of idleness as a way of praising them. To charge Israel with idleness was to declare Israel worthless in the eyes of the Egyptians. This charge of idleness was made to the Israelite foreman. [00:07:02]
Now, as we have seen, it was common in Antiquity to...
Now, as we have seen, it was common in Antiquity to use a subject people’s leaders to control them. This is a practice still used. The Nazis used Jewish police in their labor and concentration camps. It’s an old pattern. One of the advantages of such a method was and is that it deflects criticism, because a forced labor force could not and can never be certain how much of their task came from their overlords, and how much of it from their own people who were foremen and eager to please their superiors. It was thus, very effective. It was for this reason that the foremen went directly to Pharaoh. They had to clear themselves in the eyes of the people. They normally represented Egypt to the people, now they were representing their people to Pharaoh, and Moses and Aaron obviously went with them because they waited outside to see what the result would be. We are told in verse 15 that the foreman cried unto Pharaoh. This is the same word that is used in Exodus verse 23, where we are told the children of Israel sighed by reason of their bondage, and they cried and their cry came up unto God. It means a despairing plea in a time of grief and dismay. Moses and Aaron were waiting outside waiting to hear Pharaoh’s reaction to the foreman.
Pharaoh’s strategy of causing division began at once to work. The people were hostile to their foremen. The foremen now were turning on Moses and Aaron. The real enemy was Pharaoh and Egypt, but the leaders turned on Moses. The foreman said very literally, “You have made us stink in Pharaoh’s eyes.” So, Pharaoh’s strategy was very clearly working. Like all such strategies, it should have worked had Pharaoh’s basic presupposition been true. Namely, that in any given situation, there are two factors or two sides only. Now, this is the humanistic assumption, but it is wrong. The decisive, the overruling, the supernatural factor in every situation is God. To overlook Him is to invite His judgment. And so what Pharaoh felt had always worked, this time, backfired after a time.
When the report on the audience was made to Moses, and when the foreman turned against Moses, the reaction of Moses was one of grief. God had warned him, however, that Pharaoh would not agree to let Israel go. But Moses, however much he had been prepared for that, was less prepared for his rejection again by his own people. That was a bitter, bitter thing for him. He had once before staked his life on helping his people, and once again he was doing so, and the people were rejecting him again. [00:11:41]
We are told that Moses returned to the Lord, that is...
We are told that Moses returned to the Lord, that is, having received his commission from God, he returned now to question its validity, and Moses raises two questions: First, “Lord, Adonai, why hast thou brought such grief upon this people?” Moses, like so many of us who pray, wanted easy answers. People too often pray expecting special delivery answers from God with no accompanying change in themselves, or in their loved ones, or in the church our country, or whatever else they pray. They say, “Lord, now I want it, therefore, give it.” This is why the saying, “Prayer changes things” can be very dangerous, because prayer must change us first of all, and its course can be like an earthquake. For Moses to have expected this confrontation with Pharaoh to result in an easy answer was altogether wrong, but Moses, and so many, many of us since feel that when we’ve prayed, God changes something else but he doesn’t change us, and Moses and Israel were going to be put through the wringer first. They were going to be tried and tested before they were delivered.
So, to pray for the salvation of the United States means to pray that God test us, judge us, purge us, and cleanse us, and then reestablish us in His covenant. Cheap praying is blasphemy. Cheap praying has always been blasphemous. The answer to Moses’ question, “Why this grief upon my people?” was that, without that grief and much more, there could be no redemption. The humanist in politics is always the same, he expects the passage of a statute to solve a major social problem, when what usually happens when congress or parliament, or any other body passes a statute is that is compounds the trouble. They believe in cheap solutions. They want life to be a bed of roses, and in Watts, in one of his great hymns says, that he warns us that we’re not going to be wafted to heaven on flowery beds of ease. But that’s what people expected. They were expecting it when Watts wrote his hymn, and it’s been sung in the church for generations since then, and they’ve only come to expect it all the more. “Lord, where are the flowery beds of ease on which I’m going to be wafted out of all my problems?” Cheap answers. Well, people who want cheap answers, can be called a cheap people. The humanist in the church expects cheap prayers to set all problems right, and he forget that God works at both ends of every matter. So, God was going to work awhile on Moses and on Israel, in order to prepare them for freedom. [00:16:14]
Moses’ second question was, ...
Moses’ second question was, “Why is it that thou hast sent me? Given the fact that I am now discredited in my very first move, and I came back already a discredited man, why use me? If you want to deliver Israel, why not somebody else?” Well, Moses was right in this, he was now a thoroughly discredited leader. Pharaoh had successfully separated Moses from Israel and Israel had turned bitterly against Moses, and so God had called Moses and God was going to use Moses. Israel might not like it, and almost to the very end, they were not happy a good deal of the time with Moses, but it was with Moses God gave them. So, this left Moses alone with God, and this was God’s purpose from the beginning. Now, Moses didn’t know it, but that was God’s purpose. Here was a man who loves his people, here was a man who was a prince of Egypt, no doubt had a vision of uniting Egyptians and Israelites and making a great nation. We don’t know what great dreams he had, but we know he proceeded with idealism, and at a certain point he broke with Egypt, with the palace, he left it and he said, “If they don’t want this, I’m going to my people, Israel,” and they rejected him. So, Moses was left alone, progressively step by step, more and more so by God’s ordained purpose. God’s purpose from the beginning. No credit was going to go to Israel for the deliverance, only shame. No credit would go to Moses, who complained step by step about God’s ways.
We are told that Moses was a meek man. Now, when we read that we must realize that the word “meek” is not what we mean by it. It’s old original root meaning was somebody who has been broken to harness, been tamed. You don’t break a horse gently. It’s never a gentle process. Moses was broken to God’s harness, that’s why Moses was a meek man. It didn’t mean mousiness, it meant strength that had been harnessed. So all the glory would be God’s and, in the process, Moses would be hardened for leadership. He would also be schooled to look Godward. He would be schooled to see the hope of the people, and God’s covenant grace and law. The people rejected both Moses and the God of Moses. In verse 21, we see they use the very name of God to damn Moses and Aaron. They said, in effect thereby that, “Our God wants us to reconcile ourselves to defeat and slavery,” and there’s a lot of that kind of talk in the church among Christians. “Let’s live with it, let’s not make waves.” And the church today is full of many who preach the same bad news of defeat and slavery in the name of the Lord. [00:21:06]
The generation then wanted to believe that God wanted...
The generation then wanted to believe that God wanted them to be slaves in Egypt. And Moses was making things bad for them. That generation perished in the wilderness. They kept looking back to Egypt. They remembered not the slavery, but the vegetables, the good food they had there, and as Moses records it, I think he does so with a sense of humor and gives only a part of their statement when they talk about the leek, the onions and the garlic of Egypt. Their nostalgia for Egypt stank, so Moses records the smelly vegetables that were in Egypt alone instead of all the other vegetables, because in those days it was a place where vegetable production was plentiful and easy. Now it is a cotton-producing country because they’re producing for export.
Well, people that are slaves at heart are never given the privileges of freedom, and this is why God breaks men first of the slavery in their heart, before He gives them the freedom of His kingdom, and He breaks them by putting them through a great deal more than slavery. Today we have an incredible mythology about the past. We have recreated the past in terms of our images of it, and one of the things we have schooled in everybody is how terrible it was under slavery. How it was because it was slavery, not because of the material conditions. There is evidence to indicate that the free immigrant labor that was landing in places like Boston and New York was living below the level of the slaves in the south, but they were free, and in a few years they were able to prosper because they worked. Whereas, slaves were by and large indolent. [00:24:06]
It was very poor economics to have a slave, because...
It was very poor economics to have a slave, because for every slave that was working, you had children and elderly slaves who were not able to work. It was a welfare economy, and the slaves never produced. It is said that one of the things that precipitated a lot of laughs in the South during the slave days was when a Northerner went down there and described the hard work of the slaves, and Southerners laughed because the slaves were not known for working hard, or at a fast pace, but in slow motion. And that’s the way slave people worked throughout history. It’s the fact of slavery and what it does to the work ethic and to the man, that is degrading about slavery. Free labor is hard labor, not slave labor. But free labor makes men, and it has a future. So that the Israelites, in turning on Moses were saying “We don’t want a future,” and that’s the mark of slavery. A slavery situation means you don’t gamble, you don’t risk anything. You don’t have a future because it’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. You’re cared for from cradle to grave. You don’t have the options of advancing yourself. It’s a risk-free society, and this is exactly what people today want, risk-free society. And this is why we are becoming slave people, and unless God break that in us, we will be a slave people and to break it, He’s going to put us through the ringer, it’s very obvious. We’re not going to have freedom. We’re not going to have the blessing of God. We’re not going to have a future without very serious problems, and this is what the Israelites refused to see. And therefore, being a people who are slaves at heart, they were not going to be given the privileges of freedom until they were broken, and even then, because they were still fearful of freedom, God kept them in the wilderness until they were all dead, except for two men; Joshua and Caleb, and only then did He move the next generation into the Promised Land. Let us pray. [00:28:00]
Oh Lord, our God we give thanks unto thee for this...
Oh Lord, our God we give thanks unto thee for this thy word, and we thank thee that thou who art all wise must answer our prayers in thy wisdom with the things that we need to be prepared for thy blessings. Make us grateful, make us joyful for all thy ways, knowing that thy purposes are altogether good, and altogether holy. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Are there any questions about our lesson? Yes?
[Audience] It’s interesting that people always expect the end of the chapter in their own time.
[Rushdoony] [laughs] Yes, a very good point. A very good point. Yes, we want history to wrap up everything in our time, and “God, why don’t you wind up history so we can see how it ends, at least our chapter of it.” Yes. Any other questions or comments? It is interesting, you know, a book could be written on, how age after age, people have expected history to wind up very shortly. Right now.
[Audience] With us.
[Rushdoony] Yes, with us. How could it go beyond our present exalted state? That would make a subject of an excellent book.
[Audience] Sort of like the writer, I can’t remember his name, that found out that he was dying and he said, “I’ve always known of the inevitability of death but I thought in my case an exception would be made.”
[Rushdoony] And that wasn’t too long ago, it was about two years ago.
[Audience] It was Saroyan.
[Rushdoony] Yes, William Saroyan. Well, he’s not happen with the present chapter in his life. Yes?
[Audience] Is the reason for that because people basically, from within, want everything to be easy? Is it something that’s born into humans?
[Rushdoony] Because they’re sinners, they want the world to be created after their own image. Yes. “Ye shall be as gods”, that’s what the tempter said, knowing, determining good and evil for yourself. So that history will be what you declare it to be, morality will be what you declare it to be, the rewards will be what you imagine they are going to be. So, with that, “Let all things happen as I want them to happen. I want to write the last chapter.” [00:31:23]
I think it is indicative of our day that a book was...
I think it is indicative of our day that a book was written four or five years ago, published under a pseudonym and, oh, about either or ten, or maybe fifteen writers wrote it, each wrote a chapter without knowing anything about what the other one was going to do with the story, and nobody tumbled onto the fact that it was one such a composition when it was published, until after the joke revealed. Now that tells us something about the stupidity of the modern novel, and the lack of causality in it, as well as the fact that people want that kind of a world which doesn’t go according to a causal pattern. Any other questions or comments? Yes?
[Audience] I was just sitting here wondering why God wanted to make His way the hard way, and after I thought about it for a minute I guess He did make it the hard way, that man then his fall into sin made God’s way the hard way.
[Rushdoony] He made it the good way and the good way isn’t always the easy way in terms of man’s thinking. He made it the righteous way. Any other questions or comments? Yes?
[Audience] The announcement?
[Audience] The potluck next Sunday, isn’t that it?
[Audience] Yes, the potluck’s next Sunday and then, we wanted to share with everyone that we made over $1200 yesterday at the garage sale for the school.
[Rushdoony] Very good. Well, let us conclude now with prayer. Lord, it has been good for us to be here, thy word is truth, and thy word corrects us in thy ways. Keep us from being set in our ways and in our expectations, and in our demands of thee. Teach us to pray that thy will be done and that thy kingdom come, and the world and in our lives. And now, go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:34:14]
End of Tape.