Out of and Into
(47) He destroyed their vines with hail and their sycamores with frost. (48) He gave their cattle over to hail and their herds to lightning bolts. (49) He unleashed against them his burning anger, wrath, fury, indignation, and distress – a deputation of evil angels. (50) He made a pathway for his anger. He did not spare their souls from death, but gave their lives over to the plague. (51) He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, the first fruits of their strength in the tents of Ham. (52) Then he led out his people like sheep and guided them like a flock in the wilderness. (53) He led them in safety so that they were not afraid, but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. (54) He brought them to his holy land, to the mountain which his right hand had acquired. (55) He drove out nations before them. He apportioned an inheritance for them by measure and settled the tribes of Israel in their tents.
Repetitions and groups of synonyms point us to the message of the passage. In the first segment we find several words describing the plagues of Egypt: “hail” used twice as well as “frost...lightning bolts...death...plague” (vss. 47-51). Next, the psalmist uses a cluster of words to describe God’s wrath: “burning anger...wrath...fury...indignation,” and “anger” again (vss. 49 & 50). Twice the expression, “he gave over,” describes how God dealt with the Egyptians (vss. 48 & 50).
In the second segment, we find another cluster of synonyms used to portray God’s care for Israel who are called “sheep” and “flock” (vss. 52-55). This is made evident by the psalmist’s use of two words for “led” (vss. 52 & 53), along with “guided” (vs. 52), and “brought” (vs. 54).
I. What God in wrath did to the Egyptians (47-51)
II. What God in love did for the Israelites (52-55)
God manifested his love for Israel by delivering them OUT OF Egypt and bringing them INTO the land as he had promised.
God in love brought Israel OUT OF Egypt (bondage) and INTO the Land of Promise (freedom). That is always how God’s salvation operates. He takes us OUT OF something terrible and INTO something wonderful. What we are rescued OUT OF is described in the New Testament by the term, “dead.” Paul in Ephesians 2 wrote: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath” (Eph. 2:1-3).
What God has brought us INTO is described by the term, “alive.” Again, quoting Paul: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6). In Christ, we are made alive spiritually and are no longer enslaved by our sinful natures under God’s wrath in a state of spiritual death. God raised us up with Christ to life eternal and seated us with him in the heavenly realms. For Israel, the move from bondage in Egypt to freedom in the land of promise was a complete change. How much greater is the transformation for those in Christ when we have been brought OUT OF Satan’s shadowy domain of sin and death INTO the glorious realms of God’s eternal presence and never-ending love!