Thus Saith the Lord - RR171G14

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Thus Saith The Lord
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 14
Length: 0:38:12
TapeCode: RR171G14
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Exodus Unity of Law and Grace.jpg

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. Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful until Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting and His truth endureth to all generations. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we come into thy presence mindful of all thy past and present mercies. We thank thee that they are new every morning. We rejoice, our Father, that thy hand is upon us for good, that thou hast called us to be thine for all time and eternity. Give us grace so to walk, that we are mindful not of the burdens of the moment, but of all thy promises to us in Jesus Christ, which are yea and amen. Prosper us in thy service, bless us by thy word and by thy spirit. In Jesus name. Amen.

Our scripture is Exodus 5:1-9. Our subject: Thus Saith the Lord. Exodus 5:1-9. “And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, thus saith the LORD God of Israel, let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. And Pharaoh said, who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go. And they said, The God of the Hebrews hath met with us: let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, and sacrifice unto the LORD our God; lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or with the sword. And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let [or hinder] the people from their works? get ye unto your burdens. And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. And Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let not them regard vain words.” [00:03:35]

These verses are especially relevant to prayer, because...[edit]

These verses are especially relevant to prayer, because they tell us a great deal about the ways of God. At times over the generations one theologian or commentator, or another, has called attention to the fact that these verses, the entire chapter, are very relevant to prayer, but it goes against the grain as far as people are concerned and therefore, not much attention has been paid to this aspect of this chapter. Because people too often pray for escape from confrontations, and from moral decisions, and from their responsibilities, and from their sins, and the consequences thereof.

Over the years, I have regularly encountered people who ask for prayers where prayers are offensive to God. My son, or my daughter, they will say is on drugs, or is promiscuous, or is stealing from us. Pray that God save him or her and deliver them from this evil. Now, such prayers are a judgment very often on all who pray so. God requires us to exercise godly discipline and chastisement, not to abdicate our responsibilities and then ask Him to bail us out of all our troubles. But there is more. When we make a stand in the Lord, we must expect to pay a price. Men will resent it, they will oppose us and they will treat us as enemies. Israel had prayed to God. It had cried out to God, we are told, in chapter 2 for deliverance. They were now to learn that there are troubles attached to deliverance. Slavery has its problems, but it does diminish the burden of responsibility. This is why the world of our time, the United States, is headed for slavery. We are headed for slavery because slavery has, throughout most of history, been desirable to many people because it diminishes responsibility, and when you have that, that temper, you also have false praying and false preaching. Designed to diminish responsibility, designed to take away the necessity of facing up to the responsibilities of freedom, and the responsibilities of moral decision, and this is why cheap praying abounds in an evil generation. [00:07:32]

Now, the request of Moses and Aaron of Pharaoh was...[edit]

Now, the request of Moses and Aaron of Pharaoh was for a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to God in order to reestablish Israel as a covenanted people. Because such sacrifices would be religiously offensive to the Egyptians, it was necessary to distance themselves. They had to go out of Egypt. Pharaoh’s response was first, to treat Moses and Aaron as labor agitators. Now Israel, in that era, had experience with such men. Its method of dealing with labor unrest was to penalize the workers. The conditions of work and the work quotas were made more difficult in order to turn the workers against their organizers. We are told, for example, and I quote from A.S. Yahuda, “There is also documentary evidence from and Egyptian papyrus, in which a man who had to supervise or construct a building says, ‘I am not provided with anything. There are no men for making bricks and there is no straw from the district.’”

In this instance, the Israelite workers had to provide the straw for the adobe bricks, and also make more bricks than before, according to verse 9. So, the taskmasters were required to withhold the straw and if need be, increase the tally of the bricks required per day. For Pharaoh to have ordered the arrest or execution of Aaron and Moses would have made them martyrs. By increasing the work of the people as a whole, and by placing the blame for it on Aaron and Moses, Pharaoh counted on a reaction by the workers against the two men, and this is exactly what happened. Pharaoh was schooled in this, it was a regular Egyptian practice. [00:10:35]

Second, Pharaoh treated with contempt the purported...[edit]

Second, Pharaoh treated with contempt the purported message from an unknown God. “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice?” The god of a slave people was nothing to him. Even more, the claim of a subject and his god represented a religiously outrageous presumption for an Egyptian ruler. As Frankfurt has pointed out so tellingly and I quote, “The Egyptians judged pride more like the Greeks than the Hebrews. It was not a sin of the creature against his maker, but a loss of the sense of proportion, a self-reliance, a self-assertion which passed the bounds of man and hence, led the disaster. But while the Greek hubris [or pride] was overtaken by nemesis, the God’s resentment, the Egyptian’s pride dislocated him with his appropriate setting, society.”

By analogy, we could compare it to a modern garbage man, assuming he had the right to associate with the wealthy members of high society. This is what the idea of the God of these Israelites, a slave people, commanding Pharaoh, a living god and the power over all of Egypt meant to Pharaoh. It was arrogance and pride. Pharaoh may have known something about Israelite religion when he said, “I know not the Lord [or Jehovah].” He perhaps meant, “I do not choose to know or to recognize so insignificant a thing.”

One-third of the Egyptians were convinced of their racial superiority, and they were concerned with preserving it. One of the interesting things about Egypt is only once in all its history did it give a royal princess to a foreign ruler in marriage. This was to Solomon. And it indicates how great the wealth and power of Solomon was, that Egypt took that one unprecedented step. [00:13:39]

Pharaoh observed, verse ...[edit]

Pharaoh observed, verse 5, “The people of the land are now many.” The term “people of the land” could mean, and it often did mean the common people. But it also could mean aliens, slaves of the state, and non-Egyptians, and it is clearly that meaning here. Egypt was fearful that these outsiders would outnumber Egyptians and in time, revolt and gain power and control over Egypt. This is apparently Pharaoh’s meaning here. “We have a problem. These people now have agitators leading them. We must break their will.” The earlier execution of the Israelite male infants had served, for a time, to break the people’s will to resist. Now, new steps Pharaoh felt, had to be taken.

The word used in verse 1 and translated as “feast,” is a Hebrew word which is a common word throughout the whole of the Semitic world. In fact, it has gone into other languages. It is still used to describe pilgrimages to Mecca; Hage, and a Hagee is someone who has made the pilgrimage. Aaron told Pharaoh that unless Israel were faithful to God, he would fall upon us with pestilence or a plague, or with the sword. Now, this refers to an aspect of God’s revelation to Moses and Aaron, which is not mentioned before this. But it was one obviously taken very seriously by Moses and Aaron. The fact of judgment and God’s wrath, these are facts too seldom preached in our time. Men want a kindly, grandfatherly god, one who only loves and this is clearly anti-scriptural and blasphemous. We rarely hear mention, for example, such verses as Malachi 2:3, wherein God declares that because He finds the religious observances of Judea blasphemous, he says He will spread manure, it’s not put that politely, over the faces of the religious leaders. We’re not dealing with a God who is a buttercup, as Otto Scott has so well put it. God does not take kindly to misrepresentations of His nature and word. [00:17:15]

In verse 6, we have a reference to the taskmasters...[edit]

In verse 6, we have a reference to the taskmasters of the people who were Egyptians, and their officers who were Hebrews, and who kept records of the work done and saw to the requirements. Because the work was supervised by Hebrews, the resentment of the workers was thereby deflected in part from the Egyptians to their own people. This was a common aspect of many an imperial policy. In verse 8, we have a reference to the tale, or the number, or the tally of the bricks. This in an interesting usage of the word “tale.” In Old English to tell means to count, and we have that usage very often in the Bible. We still speak of a vote-counter as a teller, and we have the same term used for certain bank employees. We have the expression, “And thereby hangs a tale,” doesn’t mean a story, but the recounting of the sequence and of the meaning of some event. The Gothic form of the word tale meant to instruct so that the usage of tale in fairy tales goes against the root meaning of the word. Tale, in its root meaning, is to instruct and it came to mean to count, and it still has that basic meaning. And therefore, a novel can be a valid tale if it recounts something with fidelity to truth.

In verse 1, we have the great declaration, “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, ‘Let my people go.’” The prophets of later years all began their proclamations with the same prefix, “Thus saith the Lord.” This is the premise of all life, and of all faith, of all moral action, and it is the only true ground for any challenge to the powers that be. “Thus saith the Lord.” All human action must be founded on the assurance of God’s infallible word as the authority for man’s life and work. [00:20:10]

Now, what follows therefore, is a battle, a contest...[edit]

Now, what follows therefore, is a battle, a contest between “Thus saith the Lord,” and thus saith Pharaoh. In such a battle, David’s words, as he faced Goliath are still true. “All this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear, for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.” Pharaoh spoke the word on command in contradiction to God, and it was Pharaoh who was broken. The Pharaohs of all ages will be broken only by those who stand, not on their word and will, but on the word of God. Let us pray.

Our Lord and our God, we give thanks unto thee that we have thy word, that we can say to the men in Washington and Moscow, and Sacramento, all over the world. To the homosexuals, to those who kill by abortion, to sinners of all kinds, “Thus saith the Lord.” For thy word is truth and thy judgments never fail. Give us grace to stand, not in terms of our feeling and thinking, but in terms of thy requirements. In Christ’s name, Amen. Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] I think it’s interesting that the protest of the Israelites was the protest of a minority, and the protest’s throughout the west now are the protests of the majority treated as the Israelites were treated.

[Rushdoony] That is very often the case, and it is interesting that in France, {Le Pan?} is regularly in the periodicals and newspapers, whether conservative or liberals, is referred to as a racist. Now he may be, but nothing that’s been quoted thus far would indicate that. So, it’s a very curious fact. I would say moral cowardice has made many a majority the oppressed group. Yes? [00:23:42]

[Audience] This ...[edit]

[Audience] This {economy?} right now, the Congress right now are debating over catastrophic health insurance and various programs like this, it looks as though, and the American people are crying out, but this looks like we’re asking to go back to Egypt at this time also. Even though we know the debt is getting higher and higher, the deficits are growing, we are still crying out for more programs. It looks like we’re crying out for slavery because we don’t want to take care of people as they get older. We don’t want to take care of ourselves.

[Rushdoony] Yes, it begins with the breakdown in the family. That’s where it started, a failure to care for one’s own, and that has been spreading throughout all our society. We want to return to the past without the responsibilities of the past, and this is a very, very ugly fact. People think that, because their grandparents were good, that makes them important in God’s sight. Well, being the grandparents of fine Americans doesn’t make one deserving in God’s sight. Any other questions or comments? Yes?

[Audience] I had a question regarding your opening comments with regard to false prayers for deliverance. I have a vague recollection that St. Augustine credited his mother’s constant prayers for his turning from a life of sin. Are we not to pray for relatives or others who are trapped in sin.

[Rushdoony] Of course, but we must remember there is no salvation without judgment, and the point is that people want salvation now for their loved ones without a judgment, and this is what is wrong. There has to be judgment, so in this instance there was judgment on both Israel and Egypt. Israel was put through the ringer before the plagues began. It was punished through Pharaoh. It was then subjected to the first three plagues, and potentially the tenth, because the tenth struck all who refused to believe in God, Israelite or Egyptian. [00:26:24]

So, when we pray for people, we need to pray that God...[edit]

So, when we pray for people, we need to pray that God judge them, and break them. I’ve never heard a parent who prays for an erring son say, “Break him Lord, and save him.” I think that’s the kind of prayer God will honor. And that kind of prayer I can still remember when I was very young, and I can recall it disappearing. I can remember a mother, with her only son saying, “He needed breaking.” Now, when do you hear that sort of thing today? That’s our problem. But that was once much more common than we can begin to realize at this distance. In that particular instance, the mother never did see that, but he was broken and he became a godly man years after his mother’s death. So, that type of prayer is a rarity, but it’s a necessity. So, if we pray falsely, God’s going to break us. I cannot recall, but one of the leading figures among the early reformers had, as his motto more or less, a prayer that he be broken that he might be remade, that was the general idea of it. And this, our prayers today, let me say, are socialistic. They want easy answers without any cost, and that’s to believe in fairytales, and that’s to invoke the judgment of God. Yes?

[Audience] Again, in your opening remarks, you talked about hardships against the workers being used to turn the workers against their organizers. Is this mechanism being used in godless countries like Poland today to turn the workers against the solidarity type leaders?

[Rushdoony] Yes, it is a kind of thing that’s still practiced. For example, in the slave labor camps of the Nazis, as well as the concentration camps, they used Jewish policemen, Jewish foremen, and it’s been a practice used over the generations. Divide and conquer. Any other? Yes?

[Audience] I don’t know if this is a question {?} the answer or not, but I have a fear that with the homosexual movement and the AIDS crisis that we’re now going through, there’s going to be an extremely high medical cost to both patients and the research involved with this. What should be our, the Christian response to this whole crisis, because the homosexual community is going to cry out to the government once again to bail them out, both in paying for the patients to be treated as well as the research to look for some sort of a cure, if that’s possible. Now, we know that this is God’s judgment, but what should be our message to our community, you know, as far as all the money that’s going to be involved in this? [00:30:52]

[Rushdoony] I don’t think it’s worth bothering with...[edit]

[Rushdoony] I don’t think it’s worth bothering with. First of all, the people as they are now going to vote in anything they want. The homosexual community, because it is unmarried, has more money, and uses it heavily in political spheres, something very few Christians do. Very few Christians give to a politician, so they don’t get much, they don’t elect anybody. Alright, so you have to say there are some things you’re not going to change. What can you change? Well, you can begin now to build for the future. You can say realistically, there is judgment and AIDS is going to eliminate a great many people, and at a time such as this, over and over again in history, there are frequently more than one epidemics that come along, so that there will be other disasters, other ways that there will be judgment. So, we need to look beyond this and say, “This present era is finished, it’s judged. What are we doing to rebuild? What are we doing to create new institutions? What are we doing to create a new people? In other words, you can do more if you build one new Christian school, or add one or two new students to an existing school than you can by trying to combat something where there isn’t any likelihood of altering the situation until people wake up, and right now they are much happier to leave things alone. In fact, they don’t like those who call attention to these things. The man or the church who does is asking for rejection. People don’t want to wake up, or until God wakes them up, nothing will and they, some of them never will. Let the dead bury the dead, our Lord says. So, if we’re trying to save a generation that is surely lost, and willfully, gleefully heading towards destruction, we’re very foolish.

One of the saddest experiences I ever had was when a very, very fine man, a man who gave a gift of money to help start Chalcedon, but said he would give nothing more, because he was pouring millions, untold millions into trying to turn this country around by winning elections. He remembered what a marvelous country it was when he had grown up as a boy. How law-abiding it was, and godly and he wanted to restore that by winning election. When he was elderly and very feeble, and all the control of his millions had passed into the hands of trustee for the children and grandchildren, he called me in and he said, “When we first met, you told me I’d be better off putting my money into the Christian school movement.” And he said, “I know you were right, I just wanted you to know.” He recognized that you couldn’t turn around people who were set in their ways, who were not going to learn, but if you worked with the young generation and began to educate them, you had a future. So we have to think in terms of the future, and build in terms of the future. Too often we’re fighting the battles of the past, and that’s a sure way to defeat. Any other questions or comments? Well, if not, let us conclude with prayer. [00:36:01]

Our Lord and our God, it is good for us to be here...[edit]

Our Lord and our God, it is good for us to be here. Thy word is truth and thy word compels us to confront thee. Lord, thou didst take thy chosen people into slavery. Thou didst subject them to more harsh terms when the word of deliverance came. Thou hast taught us that judgment precedes redemption. Make us strong in thy word so that we may face our generation in our time as more than conquerors, knowing that if God can be for us, who can be against us. That all these judgments are for our deliverance and for the destruction of thine enemies. Make us therefore faithful in the day of adversity, that we may be thy free and victorious people.

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. [00:43:47]

End of tape