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"But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondsman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence; therefore I command thee to do this thing."
– Deuteronomy 24:18.
THE deliverance of the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage, is one of the most wonderful and instructive events recorded in the annals of revelation. Considered as a mere historical fact, it eminently displays the power and goodness of God in the liberation of his people from the oppressive yoke of their enemies. But when it is viewed as a type and figure of the believer's emancipation from the bondage of sin and Satan, it is infinitely more important and interesting to the pious mind. And thus it certainly ought, and may very profitably, be regarded as furnishing many necessary and useful lessons of wisdom and piety, in the most striking similitudes and impressive representations. It is thus calculated to remind us of the enslaved and perishing state of mankind - the nature and the author of redemption - and the various privileges and obligations of the redeemed. Accordingly, therefore, to this application of the subject, we may consider the text as an injunction of the Divine Being, requiring all his people gratefully to recollect, and practically to exemplify, the benefits of redeeming love; "But thou shalt remember," &c. In attempting an improvement of these words, we shall observe the deliverance obtained - the deliverer described - and the remembrance enjoined.
"Thou wast a bondsman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence." As the Lord ransomed the children of Israel from their Egyptian oppressors, so he graciously liberates his people from the more awful thraldom of their spiritual enemies. He redeems them,
1. From the curse of the law. The law of God is a glorious transcript and exhibition of his essential character and moral perfections - It is "holy, just, and good;" and requires universal and perfect obedience. But we have all violated its precepts, and are therefore under its condemning sentence, and obnoxious to its final penalties, Gal. 3:10; Rom. 6:23. From this deplorable state, the Lord delivers them that believe - "He that believeth is not condemned;" - his guilt is absolved - the sentence of the law is cancelled - and he is fully justified through faith in the Redeemer, Acts 13:39; Rom. 8:1.
2. From the Bondage of sin. The Saviour declares, that "Whosoever committeth sin, is the servant or slave of sin." And as we have all sinned, we are naturally tied and bound with the fetters of our iniquities. Sin reigns in the hearts and lives of its obsequious votaries, Rom. 6:12, 13, 16. But from this enslaved subjection the Christian is happily liberated. His guilt is not only removed, but the galling yoke of corruption is also destroyed. Sin is completely dethroned, and "grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life," Rom. 6:14, 22; 14:17.
3. From the tyranny of Satan. He is expressly called, "The god of this world," and "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience." His power is great, and his kingdom extensive, I Pet. 5:8. Yet the saints are emancipated from his influence, Luke 11:21, 22. - He is cast out of their hearts, and though he tempts, they resist him steadfastly in the faith. To them he is a conquered foe; for being rescued from his dominion, they are no longer taken captive by him at his will, Col. 1:13; Heb. 2:14, 15.
4. From the evils of the world. The natural state of mankind is exceedingly corrupt and degenerate. Iniquity abounds, and the captivating riches, honours, pleasures, and maxims of this life ensnare the minds and vitiate the habits of the impenitent, Mat.12:22; Luke 18:24,25.- Redemption, however, from the world which lieth in wickedness, is the privilege of the righteous. They are convinced of its vanity and folly, and have escaped its snares and corruptions. They are saved from its criminal fear and love, and are not conformable to its spirit and practises, 2 Cor. 6:17,18; Gal. 1:4; l John 2:15. Thus God hath redeemed his people, and will ultimately rescue them from the sting of death - the power of the grave - and from eternal perdition. This will lead us to notice,
"The Lord thy God redeemed thee thence." The eternal Jehovah was peculiarly the God of Israel, Exod. 6:7. He is still the God of his people by the most endearing relations, and precious promises, Heb. 8:10,12. Their redemption is eminently his work, being devised by his wisdom, and accomplished by his power. It engages the joint agency of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
1. Redemption originally proceeds from the mercy and love of God. He "remembered the Jews in their low estate, for his mercy endureth for ever." - He has also propitiously regarded the ruined state of mankind, and provided a Saviour for us. The scheme of redemption is a glorious display of the infinite love of God to sinners, Rom. 5:8. - His love is unmerited - unparalleled - and incomprehensible: "Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us," 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:9, I0.
2. Redemption is meritoriously procured by the Lord Jesus Christ. To redeem the world, God must be honoured - law magnified - and the equity of his moral government maintained and displayed. To accomplish these purposes, and become a ransom for sinners, the only-begotten Son of God took upon him the seed of Abraham - fulfilled all righteousness - was made the "propitiation for our sins" - and is now our perpetual advocate with the Father, "having obtained eternal redemption for us," Isa. 53:5; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19.
3. Redemption is personally realised by the power of the Holy Ghost. He reveals our true state; - exhibits the person, character, and offices of the Saviour to the mind; - and enables the penitent to embrace him by saving faith, John 16:13, 14. Under his sacred influences, we are enlightened, subdued, renovated, and brought into the glorious liberty of the children of God. He applies the merit of Christ's death - the efficacy of his gospel - witnesses our adoption - purifies the heart - and seals the believer unto the day of complete redemption, I Cor. 6:11; 2 Cor. 3:17, 18. What a glorious salvation! Behold the matchless achievement of the triune God!
How important and interesting then is,
"Thou shalt remember," Etc. This command is applicable to the people of God in every age, and extends to all the blessings we receive. As it regards our redemption, we must cherish,
1. A grateful remembrance. We should frequently call to mind, the deplorable state from which we are redeemed; - the inestimable privileges with which we are honoured; - and the ineffable felicities to which we are entitled. Such pious reflections will always be profitable, and associated with deep humility - devoted admiration - unfeigned gratitude - and fervent praise, Ps.103:1-4; Isa.12:1.
2. An affectionate remembrance. A consciousness of the unspeakable love of God to us, should deeply interest, and inspire our souls with a reciprocation of love to him. We certainly ought to love him, because he hath first loved us. Our love to God must be supreme - vigorous - manifest - and progressive. It must be the ruling principle of the heart, and the actuating motive of the life, Matt. 22:37, 38; Rom. 5:5; 1 John 5:5; 1 John 5:3.
3. An obedient remembrance. This is the specific argument of the text, - "Thou shalt remember - therefore I command thee to do this thing. "Their obedience was demanded on the ground of Divine goodness. We are all under innumerable obligations to obey the voice of God; - but the work of redemption is eminently designed and calculated to promote unreserved obedience to him "who loved us, and gave himself for us," 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15.
4. A perpetual remembrance. Redeeming grace deeply involves our immortal interests, and therefore should never be forgotten. We ought invariably to retain a lively sense of it in our minds. It can never be an unseasonable or uninteresting subject. It suggests many important instructions, and inspires the most encouraging prospects. It will constitute the blissful and triumphant theme of the redeemed around the throne of God forever and ever, Rev. 1:5, 6. May we participate in their joys - unite in their hallelujahs - and eternally ascribe "glory, honour, and salvation, unto God that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb which was slain for us."