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Volume 12 - Page 76 of 160 Index | Zoom | |
is enough to condemn it. When He says "wilderness" and "three days' journey", to
debate the question of "in the land" is sin. Upon this resolute stand being taken by Moses
Pharaoh appears willing to lengthen the chain, but it is still a chain:--
"I will let you go, that ye may sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness"
(Exod. 8: 28).
So far, that is good. Pharaoh, moreover, does not speak irreverently of God; he uses
the full title of the Lord. The snare, however, is still set. "Only"--Ah yes! the world will
give a good length of chain. "Only ye shall not go VERY FAR AWAY". The contested
point is the clear-cut division between the Church and the World. While many would
hesitate to offer the abomination of the Egyptians IN THE LAND, they are ensnared at
the HALF-WAY HOUSE. Let the Church have its separate gatherings, its ecclesiastical
laws, its ordained priests, its ritual, its "form of godliness", but let it deny "the power
thereof" by leaving out the "three days' journey". Once more the demand is made, and
once again the chain is lengthened:--
"Go, serve the Lord your God: but who are they that shall go? And Moses said, We
will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our
flocks and with our herds; for we must hold a feast unto the Lord" (Exod. 10: 8, 9).
True scriptural unity has ever been the target of Satan. If the attractions of the world
from without do not avail, distractions from within may prove more effectual.
"And he said unto them, Let the Lord be so with you, as I will let you go, AND
YOUR LITTLE ONES: look to it; for evil is before you. Not so, go now YE THAT ARE
MEN, and serve the Lord" (Exod. 10: 10, 11).
The distraction of divided heart, the serving of two masters, the miserable failure of
the attempt to make the best of both worlds, are suggested here. After further judgments,
a yet further concession is made:--
"Go ye, serve the Lord: only . . . . ." (Exod. 10: 34).
The presence of that "only" is deadly. Shakespeare puts it--"but me no but's", and it
were well that we met all attempts to evade the full truth as peremptorily.
"Only let your flocks and herds be stayed, let your little ones go with you" (Exod. 10: 34).
That is, bind the saint of God down to earth by the shackles of worldly possessions.
The love of riches, the cares and riches of this age, the things that so easily entangle us.
"Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may sacrifice unto the
Lord our God, our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for
thereof must we take to serve the Lord our God; and we know not with what we must
serve the Lord, until we come thither" (Exod. 10: 25, 26).
Demas was caught in this snare, so also were Ananias and Sapphira. The parable of
the Sower speaks of the thorns as representing the cares, riches and pleasures of this life.
The evil is two-fold. While our possessions remain in Egypt, our hearts are likely to turn