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"Profit for the soul, for both young and old"

These are some excerpts from a review by Rev. Dennis Lee of Moses: Typical Mediator of the Old Covenant. For the full review, click here.

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Woven into the unique, lively and historical narrative of the life and ministry of Moses are concise biblical expositions and spiritual insights that will help the reader appreciate the spiritual challenges Moses faced, the sinfulness of God's people, and the greatness of God's wisdom, love, mercy and faithfulness to His covenant and His people in Jesus Christ.  Accordingly, the book has a robust meditative flavor and is of great spiritual value.

We see this from the very first chapter.  Shortly after calling attention to the grievous afflictions and slavery of God's people in Egypt, the question is asked: “Why was it even necessary for Israel to be in Egypt?” The author is not content with giving just one clear reason from Scripture.  He gives three: beginning with the most immediate and obvious reason which was to save the Israelites from a devastating famine and concluding with the deepest one:

“God was planning to reveal his gospel more clearly than ever before through many marvelous demonstrations of his grace and power. For this the scene was being set when God sent his people into Egypt.”

He was going to deliver His people out of Egypt in the way of many marvelous demonstrations of his grace and power.  What needed to happen first, though, was that the people themselves must see the need for and then cry out to God for such a deliverance.  But how were they going to do that when they were enjoying a comfortable life in Egypt?  Their spiritual decadence is set forth in a pithy manner:

“This very ease of life, however, eventually became for them a temptation in itself. The children of Israel became attached to the land of Egypt. Life was pleasant, and they enjoyed Egypt's rare and delicious foods, its fish, its cucumbers and melons, its garlic and leeks.  Seldom did they think anymore of the promised land of Canaan as something as to be desired.  They had little longing to return.  Joseph's coffin was still with them, but its testimony they neglected.  In effect, they disdained the covenant promises of God because of their love for the fleshpots of Egypt.”

Does not this description of their spiritual state give pause for all we who are living in earthly abundance and cause us to reflect upon our own spiritual state?  How greatly do we value the testimony and heritage of our biblical, Reformed faith?

Because God is faithful and loves his people, He would take action.  

“But God... saw the complacency of his people.  He also knew what should be the cure.  He set on the throne of Egypt a new king “which knew not Joseph” (Ex. 1:8).... He felt no real appreciation for Joseph and no obligation to his heirs  He looked upon the Israelites as aliens, intruders in his land. He hated them and determined that they should be enslaved. He had been given over unto a reprobate mind by God.”

Through the cruel slavery of Pharaoh, the people would cry out to God for deliverance out of Egypt.  In that way, God would provide a deliverer for them who would deliver them out of Egypt.  That deliverer and mediator would be Moses, the typical mediator of the old covenant.

Much of the rest of the book has the same flavor as what is set forth in the first chapter. For example, as the people of God left Egypt under the leadership of Moses and guided by God, they were led on an apparently impossible escape route.  Behind them was Pharaoh and his pursuing army, surrounding them on all sides were mountains, and before them was the Red Sea.  How were they going to escape?  Reflecting on this, the author writes:

“This was the way of salvation: to follow the guidance of the Lord even when it led into the very depths of the sea. The Lord would provide salvation for his people, but only through the way that he had determined, not by bringing them along an easy road, which was the carnal expectation of many in Israel, not by engaging the Egyptians in open battle as Moses had evidently expected, but by leading them through the depths of the sea.”

Have we today not also experienced God leading us “into the very depths of the sea”?  While we may not know the reason that God has for leading us this way, there was a reason for this being God's way for His people then.  The author explains:

“That way, we are told in the New Testament, was a symbol of baptism in the blood of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 10:1–2). In the cloud was the Angel of Jehovah, Jesus Christ in his Old Testament form. Israel must follow the cloud in faith, and following it must pass under it even by passing through the depths of the sea, which sea was a symbol of death. The gospel was being unfolded, that the believing children of Israel might see and learn of the only way of salvation. Although in the shadow of Old Testament type, the chosen people of God had to learn the same truth that was later set forth by the apostle Paul when he said... (Romans 6:3-5).”

Because God is unchanging, we today may take to heart that even though we may not know exactly the reasons for God leading us in a difficult and seemingly impossible way, we know that He only purposes good for us and that somehow, those seemingly impossible circumstances we find ourselves in serve our salvation.  This is of great comfort!

...The book as a whole, being richly laden with precious meditative thoughts and keen practical insights, is worth reading.  Undoubtedly, much godly wisdom can be gleaned from reading it.  In addition, because the book is very readable and non-technical, it is an enjoyable read and especially suited for (though not limited to) use as a daily devotional.  If one chapter, comprising just several pages, is read daily, the book can be finished in about six weeks, with much food for thought and profit for the soul, for both young and old.

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