Bargaining with Pharaoh (5): “Go, Sacrifice in the Land!”
If the god of this age
cannot keep us from
being saved, he will at least
seek to keep us within
When Moses first went in and told Pharaoh to let the Children of Israel go, Pharaoh simply refused, saying he did not know the Lord. (See
However, after God began to send the plagues, Pharaoh began to be subdued, to the point that he began to bargain with Moses over the Children of Israel. After the plague of the flies, he told Moses,
“Go, sacrifice to your God in the land!”
— Exodus 8:25
This is exactly the same offer the “god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4) will first make to us when we begin to turn to the Lord today. Just as Pharaoh wanted to keep the Children of Israel in the land of Egypt, Satan may allow us to be saved, but will try to keep us in the world, under his authority. He will tell us,
“You can become a Christian, but you must remain under my authority; you must still live your life for the sake of gaining something in my world system, not for the sake of Christ.”
Yet, the real point of the gospel is to save us from Satan’s world system so we can follow Christ, just as God wanted the Children of Israel out of Egypt so they could build up His dwelling place. In the first gospel message of the church age Peter told the Jews,
Be saved from this crooked generation!
— Acts 2:40
And later, Paul declared to the Galatian believers that Christ
…gave Himself for our sins that He might draw us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
— Galatians 1:4
Moses himself is a good example of this:
By faith Moses, when he had become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing to be ill-treated with the people of God rather than enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.
— Hebrews 11:24
To leave Satan’s world system does not mean we no longer participate in any of the world’s activities, such a getting an education, making a living, or raising a family; God does not expect us to become monks. What it does mean is that we now are now followers of Christ, living our lives under His authority, so He can work through us to build up His kingdom on the earth. When we do this, the world becomes to us, in a moral sense, a “wilderness,” which is pictured in the Children of Israel leaving Egypt to serve God in the wilderness.
In contrast, if we continue to live as the worldly people do, using our lives to pursue the enjoyment of the world and the pleasures of sin, God will have no way to gain his testimony on the earth; His enemy simply will not allow it.
Thus, we must surely reject Satan’s subtle offer to allow us to “sacrifice to your God in the land.” Even the statement “your God” shows that if we do so, we are presenting the Lord as merely one God among many; is this not exactly the case with so many of the mainline, nominally Christian churches today? No wonder they promote and even bless so many things the Bible clearly identifies as sin!
As Mackintosh states in his Notes on Exodus 8,
The glory of the name of Jesus finds no place at all in this….Satan’s object is gained when people accept of a worldly religion, and refuse to “come out and be separate” (2 Cor. 6). His unvarying purpose from the beginning has been to hinder the testimony to God’s name on the earth. Such was the dark tendency of the proposal, “Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.”
And Scofield adds, in his footnote on Exodus 8:25,
The compromises proposed by Pharaoh are those urged upon Christians today. The first says in effect, “Be a Christian if you will, but not a ‘narrow’ one—stay in Egypt.” Invariably it ends in world-conformity, world-pleasing, and seeking the world’s money for God.
So, Moses rejected this compromise with Pharaoh, boldly telling him,
“We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the LORD our God as He will command us.”
— Exodus 8:27
May the Lord grant us, as His true followers today, to take such a “three days’” journey with Him of genuine separation from Satan’s world-system, to live our lives under the authority of Christ, so that He may establish His kingdom on the earth in our time!
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— 20 January 2024 —