Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we covered four aspects of God’s calling of the prepared one: the motivation of God’s calling, the time of God’s calling, the place of God’s calling, and the calling One. In this message we shall consider the purpose of God’s calling and the called one.
Both on the negative side and on the positive side, God’s purpose in calling Moses was very great. Negatively, God called him to deliver the children of Israel out of the tyranny of the Egyptians. In 3:8 the Lord said, “I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” At the time God called Moses, Egypt was the leading country on earth, and Pharaoh had absolute power. Here was a man now eighty years of age, one who had spent the last forty years of his life shepherding a flock in the wilderness. How could such a one deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh’s tyrannical power? To Moses, it might have seemed impossible. Nevertheless, this was the purpose of God’s calling on the negative side.
The purpose of God’s calling was not only to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt, the land of bondage, but to bring them into Canaan, a land “flowing with milk and honey” (3:8, 10, 17). Humanly speaking, the positive side of God’s calling was even more of an impossibility than the negative side. Such a thing could only be a dream. But this is precisely what God was calling Moses to do, even though forty years before he had turned his back on the highest culture on earth in his day and had been shepherding a flock in the wilderness ever since.
The nation of Egypt typifies the kingdom of darkness, and Pharaoh typifies Satan, the Devil. How can God’s people be delivered out of the hand of such an evil power and be rescued from the kingdom of darkness? Today this is done through the preaching of the gospel. Do not think that preaching the gospel to bring people to salvation is an easy task. To bring a person out of Satan’s hand and out of the kingdom of darkness is a mighty work. For this reason, the divine revelation in the New Testament places a very high value on the preaching of the gospel. Paul says that the gospel is the power of God (Rom. 1:16).
The purpose of God’s calling is a matter of tremendous significance. In typology, bringing the children of Israel into the good land signifies bringing people into Christ, the all-inclusive Person typified by the land of Canaan. Christ today is a good land flowing with milk and honey.
In His wisdom God uses the expression “flowing with milk and honey” to describe the riches of the good land. Both milk and honey are products of a combination of the vegetable life and the animal life. Milk comes from cattle, which feed on grass. The animal life produces milk from the supply of the vegetable life. Therefore, milk is a product of the mingling of two kinds of life. The principle is the same with honey. Honey has much to do with the plant life. It is derived mostly from flowers and trees. Of course, a part of the animal life is also involved—that little animal, the bee. Hence, in the production of honey, two kinds of life cooperate. These two kinds of life are mingled together, and honey is produced.
Milk and honey signify the riches of Christ, riches that come from the two aspects of the life of Christ. Although Christ is one Person, He has the redeeming life, typified by the animal life, and the generating life, typified by the vegetable life. On the one hand, Christ is the Lamb of God to redeem us; on the other hand, He is a loaf of barley to supply us. Both kinds of life were part of the Passover meal, for in the Passover there were the lamb and the unleavened bread with bitter herbs. These lives were combined for the enjoyment of God’s redeemed people. The purpose of God’s calling, however, is not to give His people a little enjoyment of the animal life and the vegetable life in Egypt; it is to bring them into a spacious land flowing with milk and honey. Do you have the assurance that in the church life today you are enjoying Christ as the good land? I can testify that I daily enjoy Christ as a spacious land flowing with milk and honey.
Who was qualified to bring God’s people out of the land of Egypt into such a marvelous land? Before Moses was sovereignly prepared by God, there was no one who could have done this. Even before he reached the age of forty, Moses must have known that his people, the children of Israel, were in bondage and were suffering persecution. Having realized this, he might have determined to learn everything necessary to equip him to rescue his people. However, Moses probably did not see clearly that the goal was not just to deliver God’s people out of Egypt, but to bring them into the good land. After the children of Israel had been brought out of Egypt, they needed a goal, a destination. Although Moses was not altogether clear concerning the goal, he still expected to do something on behalf of his people. He “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be ill-treated with the people of God than to have the temporary enjoyment of sin” (Heb. 11:24-25). At the age of forty, he considered himself matured, qualified, and equipped to deliver them. Actually, he was not able to do anything. In himself he did not have the power to rescue the people. As soon as the situation became threatening, he fled.
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