Up! . . . Leave!! . . . GO!!!

, , ,

We can trust God's provision and promises in and for our lives.

Exodus(30) (Part of the Rescued(29) series)
by Marc Webb(70) on March 17, 2024 (Sunday Morning(336))

Acceptance(1), Blessed(10), Promises(13), Provides(12)

Up! . . . Leave!! . . . GO!!!

The time has come. The time has come. The time is now. Just go. Go. GO! I don’t care how. You can go by foot. You can go by cow. Marvin K. Mooney, will you please go now! You can go on skates. You can go on skis. You can go in a hat. But please go. Please! I don’t care. You can go by bike. You can go on a Zike-Bike if you like. If you like you can go in an old blue shoe. Just go, go, GO! Please do, do, DO! Marvin K. Mooney, I don’t care how. Marvin K. Mooney will you please GO NOW! You can go on stilts. You can go by fish. You can go in a Crunk-Car if you wish. If you wish you may go by lion’s tail. Or stamp yourself and go by mail. Marvin K. Mooney! Don’t you know the time has come to go, Go, GO! Get on your way! Please Marvin K.! You might like going in a Zumble-Zay. You can go by balloon . . . or broomstick. Or you can go by camel in a bureau drawer. You can go by Bumble-boat . . . or jet. I don’t care how you go. Get yourself a Ga-Zoom. You can go with a BOOM. Marvin, Marvin, Marvin! Will you leave this room! Marvin K. Mooney! I don’t care HOW. Marvin K. Mooney! Will you please GO NOW! I said GO and GO I meant . . . the time had come. So . . . Marvin WENT.

You may have recognized that from the Dr. Seuss book called Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now. (I thought about doing the rap myself but that would have been a sight and sound no one would be ready for) I thought that was an appropriate way to start the study of our scripture this morning in Exodus 12:31-42. This morning Pharaoh and the Egyptian people will tell Moses and the Israelites, respectively, to go, Go, GO! And they won’t care how. They just want them gone and the Egyptians will even give them gifts as they leave the country. After 430 years, in God’s perfect timing and sovereignty, Pharaoh will say GO and GO he meant . . . the time had come. So . . . Moses and the Israelites WENT. Today we will see that Moses and the Israelites will realize that God always keeps his promises no matter how long it takes and that he will provide exactly what they need just when they need it. That brings us to our big idea that Moses wants us to understand this morning: We can trust God’s provision and promises in and for our lives.

Before we begin to study our scripture for today, let’s pray: Dear Heavenly Father, we bow before you this morning as we gather in this place to worship you in Spirit and in Truth. May our thoughts and attitudes be honoring and glorifying to you. Open our hearts and minds to your Word and guide us in learning your truths from it by your Holy Spirit. Help us to be attentive to your words so that we can apply them to our lives and so we can share them with others this week. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Our first point this morning is Complete Surrender found in Exodus 12:31-36. Follow along as I read. This is what God’s Word says, “During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.” The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!” So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.”

During the night Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron. “During the night” is repeated from verse 30 to point out that this is the same night that the Lord “passed over” and struck down all the firstborn of Egypt. Sometime during that night, Pharaoh had been awakened by the sound of wailing. In fact, he may have been awakened first by the sound of wailing in his own household, when it was discovered that his firstborn had been struck down. We may think it odd that he summons Moses and Aaron since back in 10:28-29 we see these words, “Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.” “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.” This last time had ended on an angry note and they both probably figured they would never see each other again. But this was a special circumstance that warranted Pharaoh summoning Moses and Aaron for another face-to-face encounter.

Pharaoh tells Moses in three successive imperative statements to “GO.” First, he says “Up!” Second, he says “Leave.” In fact, he says, “leave my people, you and the Israelites.” Pharaoh didn’t seem too concerned with his people as God was sending the plagues. But now that he had shared their grief, he was in agreement with them. This was also the first time Pharaoh had called them Israelites, recognizing their identity. And third, he says “Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.” Ross says, “He (Pharaoh) was admitting there was someone who had a greater claim upon their service (worship) than he did.” Pharaoh wanted Moses and the Israelites to GO NOW and he was bent on driving them out of his country. This was predicted by the Lord in Exodus 6:1 which says, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” ​​ And Exodus 11:1 says, “Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.” There was no question that Pharaoh had now made up his mind that the Israelites had to GO and GET out of Egypt immediately. God promised to free the Israelites from slavery and that promise was now going to be fulfilled. (Big Idea)

“As you have requested” and “as you have said” signal a total and complete surrender. Pharaoh would now allow everyone to go, meaning men, women and children. This was a reversal of what Pharaoh said after the plague of locusts. Pharaoh wanted to know who would be going to worship the Lord, and in Exodus 10:9 we see these words of Moses, “our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, with our flocks and our herds . . .” And Pharaoh responds in verse 11, “No! Have only the men go and worship the LORD, since that’s what you have been asking for.” And Pharaoh would also now allow them to take their flocks and herds, which was a reversal of what he said after the plague of darkness. Pharaoh summons Moses, and in Exodus 10:24 we see these words, “Go worship the LORD. Even your woman and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.” Now, everyone and everything they owned could go and worship as Moses earlier requested. There were no conditions on how far they could go or how long they could go for. For all intents and purposes, in Pharaoh’s mind, he was now giving permission for them to leave and he was not expecting them to return. This was a total, unconditional and complete surrender.

Pharaoh knew he was beaten but didn’t want to admit defeat. We see this in two ways. One, he is still giving orders and acting like he has a say if God’s chosen people stay or go. Two, at the end of saying GO for the third time, he asks Moses to bless him. He may have wanted to be rewarded for letting the Israelites go. Or maybe have felt the land of Egypt had been cursed by the Lord and a blessing from Moses would reverse it. He may have thought that without the blessing, even when the Israelites left, the land would still be under a curse. Seeking a blessing from Moses, again highlights his complete surrender. But Moses does not bless Pharaoh. Again, as we have seen before when he asked Moses to pray to the Lord on his behalf, Pharaoh wanted something from the Lord, but was not interested in a relationship with him, nor was he repentant or did he want to take any responsibility that came with being a true follower. We can fall into this same trap today. We want blessings from God, but we want them on our terms and not on His terms. We want the perks of being a Christ-follower but not the relationship or responsibility. We want to continue to live on the throne of our own hearts instead of submitting to God and letting him rule our lives. God will not bless us unless we are pursuing a personal relationship with him, truly repentant of our sins, and accept the responsibility of being in that relationship. God’s blessing is for those who trust in the blood of Jesus Christ. That brings us to our first next step found on the back of your communication card which is to “Allow God to rule and reign in my heart and life letting him bless me, as he sees fit.”

Not only did Pharaoh completely surrender, but the Egyptian people did, as well. They urged or pressured the Israelites to hurry and leave the country. They felt that if the Israelites stayed any longer, all of the Egyptians would die, not just their firstborn. The proof that the Israelites were pressured to go is seen by leaving in the middle of bread-making. The Israelites took their dough before the yeast could be added, put it in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing and carried it on their shoulders. The next days’ bread would have already been mixed and ready to add yeast the next morning. But they weren’t going to have time to add the yeast and let it rise. When Pharaoh said go, he meant go now. Moses and the people were supposed to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice and that time had now come. They would have to take their bread without yeast with them as they left in a hurry. Later on, the unleavened dough would remind the Israelites of eating the Passover meal and would connect it with the haste and the urgency of the exodus that was about to take place. This was the Lord, in his sovereignty, teaching his people obedience, making their future observance of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread even more meaningful.

We see the fulfillment of God’s promise to make the Egyptians favorably disposed to the Israelites so they would not leave empty-handed in verses 35 and 36. God had promised Moses this would happen back in Exodus 3:21 and again in Exodus 11:3. ​​ The Israelites asked the Egyptians for articles of silver, gold and clothing. The clothing would have been expensive articles. In Exodus 3:22 it says, “Every woman is to ask her neighbor and any woman living in her house for articles of silver and gold and clothing, which you will put on your sons and daughters.” The Egyptians wanted the Israelites to leave the country so badly that they voluntarily gave them anything and everything they asked for. We are never told when Moses gave this command to the people, but are now told that they obeyed, and God provided just what he had promised. (Big Idea). By giving them what they asked for the Israelites “plundered” the Egyptians. “Plunder” is a military term giving us the picture of soldiers conquering a city and leaving with the spoils of war. Numbers 33:3-4 says, “The Israelites set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after Passover. They marched out defiantly in full view of all the Egyptians, who were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had struck down among them; for the Lord had brought judgment on their gods.” The Israelites left Egypt, not as slaves, but with their heads held high like conquering heroes.

Pharaoh and the Egyptian people had been thoroughly disgraced and conquered and their gods were shown to be impotent and false. They raise the white flag in total, unconditional, and complete surrender. Now our attention turns to the Israelites as they are given Complete Deliverance by the Lord, which is our second point this morning found in 12:37-42. This is what God’s Word says, “The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves. Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.”

Pharaoh and the Egyptian people said GO . . . So Moses and the Israelites WENT. The Israelites were now freed from slavery and the tyranny of Pharaoh. The oppression was over. God had heard their cry, was concerned for his people, and was faithful to his promises to them. They journeyed from Rameses to Succoth that first day, which would have been about a 15-mile journey southeast. At Succoth they probably regrouped, rested and ate. We don’t know where these two cities were exactly located during that time, but Rameses was probably one of the Egyptian storehouses that the Israelites were forced to build in the area of Goshen where they lived. It must have been centrally located as the Israelites seem to mobilize there to start their journey out of Egypt. Our main concern is not that we can or can’t locate these cities on a map, but that the Israelites exodus from Egypt really happened. It was a true event and the places named prove it. Although we do not know exactly where these places are today, when Moses wrote this book, the first hearers and readers would have known.

About 600,000 men “on foot,” besides women and children left Rameses and journeyed to Succoth. It has been estimated that there could have been anywhere from two to three million people involved in the exodus. The phrase “on foot” was used to mean foot soldiers in an army. This is the second time a military term has been used in this passage. This astronomically high number appears consistently in the Bible. In Numbers 1, God commanded Moses to take a census of the whole Israelite community on the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. The total according to Numbers 1:46 was 603,550. In Numbers 26:51 the number of Israelites taken in the second census was 601,730. These numbers would attest to what Pharaoh said in Exodus 1:9, “The Israelites have become far too numerous for us.” When Jacob and his family originally came to Egypt, they were seventy people, now with God’s miraculous blessing they had multiplied to over 600,000. Their number was also great enough to terrify the Moabites. Numbers 22:3 says, “and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.” Moses was not worried about giving us exact numbers but with letting the first hearers know that their God was and is a miracle-working and promise-keeping God.

We notice that “many other people” or a “mixed multitude” went up with them. These may have included Egyptians who believed in what Moses was saying and knew Pharaoh was not the right horse to back, so to speak. They may have included Egyptians who had married Israelites and other foreign slaves that had been captured by the Egyptians and had been oppressed as the Israelites were. All of these groups of people and possibly others took this opportunity to get out while the getting was good. Fretheim says, “God’s redemption is not for the chosen few; it is for the sake of all the world.” Isaiah 56:6-7 says, “And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it and who hold fast to my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” We don’t assume that all this “mixed multitude” changed their allegiance to God, but it reminds of God’s covenant with Abraham in Genesis 12:3b: “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Idaville Church should also be a blessing to the “mixed multitudes” around us. All people are made in the image of God and are worthy to be accepted in God’s house. We are to be a hospital for the sick, not a country club for the entitled. Everyone is somewhere on the journey of becoming more like Jesus and we need to be welcoming and accepting of others no matter where they are on that journey. That brings us to our second next step this morning which is to “Be welcoming and accepting of others no matter where they are on their journey with the Lord.”

We also see that large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds, went with them. God is concerned about all of his creation and brings everyone and everything out of slavery. It was truly a complete deliverance. When they had arrived in Succoth to rest, they also took time to eat. They took the dough that they carried in the kneading troughs on their shoulders and now baked them into cakes of unleavened bread. We are again told that the dough was without yeast to remind us of the Passover meal and the haste in which they left Egypt. We might think why didn’t they now add the yeast? First, the journey was far from over. There was still a long way to go, and they were probably thinking that Pharaoh was not going to let them go that easy. They still wasn’t time to waste by letting the dough rise. Second, it continued the theme of remembering what God had just done in freeing them from slavery. In the picture of the unleavened bread God was providing for his people and keeping his promises to them.

The Israelites spent 430 years in Egypt which was foretold to Abraham in Genesis 15:13, “Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions.” The difference between the four hundred years in Genesis and the four hundred and thirty years here is insignificant. Again, Moses was not concerned with exact figures. He was concerned that future Israelite generations would know that their God was faithful to his people, and he had brought the Israelites out of Egypt right on schedule on the very day he had planned it. They needed to know that God kept his promises and provided for them, and that he would continue to do so in the future. (Big Idea) At the end of the 430 years, the Israelites left Egypt. “To the very day” doesn’t mean they left exactly 430 years from the day they arrived there. It means that on “that very day” after the Passover night, Moses and the Israelites left Egypt. ​​ “All the Lord’s divisions” is the third instance of a military term being used in this passage. The chosen people of Israel are portrayed as the army of God, looking forward to a time when they would conquer the Promised Land. This is the beginning of the nation of Israel, and they left Egypt as a conquering army and would enter the promised Land the same way.

As we near the end of the passage we are reminded of the commemoration, first introduced in Exodus 12:14, that was to take place in future generations. On Passover night, the Lord kept vigil and “passed through” Egypt striking down the firstborn and “passed over” the Israelites. The word “vigil” gives the sense of “watching” or “observing.” Psalm 121:7-8 says, “The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.” In the future, the Israelites were to do the same. They were to carefully “watch” or “observe” the Passover which would remind them of that night when God kept his promises made to Abraham and brought them out of slavery in Egypt. The phrase “out of Egypt” will be repeated 56 times after this. God wanted his people to remember that he delivered them out of slavery in Egypt and brought them to the land he had promised their forefathers.

On God’s promises, C.H. Spurgeon said: “God never gives his children a promise which he does not intend them to use.” He goes on to say, “There are some promises in the Bible which I have never yet used, but I am well assured that there will come times of trial and trouble when I shall find that that poor despised promise, which I thought was never meant for me, will be the only one on which I can float.” Charles Spurgeon (Spurgeon, Spurgeon’s Sermons, vol. 2, 404.) The Lord had made many promises to Abraham and Moses concerning his people who would be or were now in captivity in Egypt. In Genesis 15:14 and Exodus 3:8, the Lord promised he would bring his people out of slavery in Egypt and into the Promised Land. He also promised that they would leave as wealthy people providing everything, they would need in the wilderness to survive and to worship him. In Genesis 12:2, the Lord promised they would become a great nation and in Genesis 12:3, the Lord promised that they would be a blessing to the world. In Exodus 3:20, God promised Moses that he would perform mighty wonders in Egypt. 1 Kings 8:56 says, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised. Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” No matter how long it takes, God’s promises always come true. No matter what we need, God will provide it for us.

The Israelites after 430 years may have thought that the Lord had given Abraham and Moses promises that he did not intend for them to use. They may have thought that his promised deliverance was too good to be true. But the Lord’s promised deliverance was the poor despised promise, that they never thought was meant for them, but was the one on which they could float. They could trust and believe in God’s promises and provision for their lives, and we can too no matter how long it takes and no matter what we need. That brings us to our last next step this morning which is to Trust in God’s provision and promises in and for my life.

As the praise team comes forward to lead us in a final song and the ushers prepare to collect the tithes and offerings, let us pray: Lord God, you are so great. You are so high above us. Thank you for teaching us your ways and showing us who you are and how you want us to live. Help us to allow you to rule and reign in our hearts and life letting you bless us as you see fit. Help us to be welcoming and accepting of others at Idaville Church no matter where they are on their journey with you. And help us to trust in your provision and promises not only in and for our own lives but in and for the life of our church. I pray all this in the precious name of Jesus Christ. Amen.