Lessons From God’s Past Judgment

Dr. Ian Paisley, the fiery Irish cleric and politician was reported to have been preaching one Sunday on the End Times - and in particular on the Day of Judgement. As he reached the climax of his address he said that on the Day of Judgement “there would be wailing and gnashi … More

Judgment

Having briefly referred to the plagues in Egypt (v. 12), the author now describes some of them in greater detail. The death of the first-born was the last and worst of the plagues of Egypt, and that which perfected the deliverance of Israel. If gentler methods would have done the work, this would have been prevented: but it is here largely described (vv. 49-51).

First, The anger of God was the cause of it (v. 50). Wrath had now come upon the Egyptians; Pharaoh’s heart having been often hardened after less judgments had been softened. God now stirred up all his wrath; for He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger. This He cast upon them and did not spare, and they could not flee out of his hands (Job 27:22). His anger was weighed with the greatest exactness in the balances of justice; for the path of his anger is always weighed.

Secondly, The angels of God were the instruments employed in this punishment (v. 49): He sent evil angels among them, not evil in their own nature, but in respect to the errand upon which they were sent. They had orders, not to kill all, but the first-born only. Good angels become evil angels to sinners. Those that make God their enemy must never expect the holy angels to be their friends.

Thirdly, The judgment itself was very severe (v. 51): He spared not their soul from death, but suffered death to ride in triumph, which cut life off immediately; for He smote all the first-born in Egypt. Because Israel was precious in God’s sight, He made a way for his own people to go forth like sheep, not knowing whither they went, and guided them in the wilderness, as a shepherd guides his flock, with care and tenderness, (vv. 52-58).

Application

The psalmist makes it evident in this passage that it is essential that I listen to the voice of history. When God speaks I need to listen and then act on what He says or I can expect judgment.

Psalms 78:45-58 (English Standard Version)

He sent among them swarms of flies, which devoured them, and frogs, which destroyed them. He gave their crops to the destroying locust and the fruit of their labor to the locust. He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost. He gave over their cattle to the hail and their flocks to thunderbolts. He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels. He made a path for his anger; he did not spare them from death, but gave their lives over to the plague. He struck down every firstborn in Egypt, the firstfruits of their strength in the tents of Ham. Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them in the wilderness like a flock. He led them in safety, so that they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had won. He drove out nations before them; he apportioned them for a possession and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents. Yet they tested and rebelled against the Most High God and did not keep his testimonies, but turned away and acted treacherously like their fathers; they twisted like a deceitful bow. For they provoked him to anger with their high places; they moved him to jealousy with their idols.

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