Exodus 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs.
That God should so distinguish Israel, from the Egyptians must ever be resolved into this, that it was the good pleasure of his will which he hath purposed in himself. Some of mankind are declared to be “vessels of mercy,” and others “vessels of wrath” (Rom. 20-24). This we must leave to the holy sovereignty of Jehovah. The Son of God, Christ Jesus, our dear Savior said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matt. 2:25-26). “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables” (Mark 4:11). Now, if we have tokens that we are loved, and called, and taught of God, “Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou didst not receive it?” (l Cor. 4:7). It was the good pleasure of Jehovah’s will, which he purposed in himself, to call Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees: “I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him” (Isaiah 51:2). The seed of Abraham on the night of the Passover were in Egypt, and his dealings with them then were all in sovereign kindness. The Lord told them often that it was of his grace, all of love, all because of his covenant that he dealt so wondrously in loving-kindness with them. Read Deut. 4:37; 8:6-8; 10:14-l5). The Lord did put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel; this was very manifest when the Lord stretched out his hand and smote Egypt with all his wonders, and now on the night of the passover they are to march forth out of Egypt, the house of bondage, and “against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue.” There are times when the Lord suffers dogs to bark against his people; instances of this are recorded in the Scriptures which we will look at shortly. But on the night of the slaying of the passover lamb they could not move their tongues against any, either great or small, of the children of Israel. This was all of the sovereign graciousness of God unto his people. It was even so because it seemed good in his sight. These transactions of the Lord with Israel, as seen with an eye of faith, are blessedly opened up to our view to be in consequence of Israel being in God’s purpose and grace, put in such association, such intimacy with the blood of the passover lamb: typical of Christ our passover sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7). He put away all our transgression, freed us from reproach and curse and bondage far worse than Egyptian. So no harsh words, reviling, accusing voices were heard against Israel that passover night. Saith the Lord, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exod. 12:13). “Against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue.” “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.” Israel marched out of Egypt, and in their freedom from the house of bondage “there was not one feeble person among their tribes. Egypt was glad when, they departed; for the fear of them fell upon them” (Psalm 115:37-38). But how soon those Egyptians were turned unto their hatred again against the people. Their mouths were opened, and thus they barked in their irritation, “Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? and off they started in pursuit of them. Hark! Hark! how these Egyptian dogs bark, “I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will, draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them” (Exod. 15:9). But the Lord rose up against them, and sent forth his wrath and consumed them as stubb1e. “Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them: they sank as lead in the mighty waters”, “the depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.” “There was not one of them left” (Psalm 106:11). Not a dog returned to tell Egypt the story. The holy and all-wise Lord has his own sacred counsels to fulfill in the barking of dogs, and so at times he suffers them to move their tongues even against his own elect. Oh how the dogs did howl and bark against Jesus, the incarnate Son of God. Christ exclaimed, “Dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16). They sharpened their tongues like a serpent, adders’ poison was under their lips (Psalm 140:3). They so hated the Holy One they laid to his charge things he knew not. These vile dogs said he was a gluttonous man, a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, and their meaning was, not that he was pitying, befriending, helping, delivering them, but that they were his associates, that he was their companion in wickedness, that he himself was a wicked one. Oh their deceitful, lying tongues compassed him with words of hatred (Psalm 109:2-3). They made wide their mouths, and drew out their tongues, and loud and viciously barked, Away with him, crucify him, crucify him, and when they nailed him to the cross they railed upon him until with a loud voice our almighty Savior exclaimed, “ It is finished”; he bowed his head and gave up the ghost. Their barkings were hushed, were ended, they could move their tongues no more. “And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned” (Luke 23:48). Barking dogs have annoyed and filled with trembling many a dear child of God. But God, who closed the mouths of lions (Daniel 6:22), can stop the months of all the dogs who dare to move their tongues at his redeemed. For by Christ’s precious blood every tongue of accusation (Rev. 12:10), every tongue that riseth against them in judgment they shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord (Isaiah 54:17). There was one Shimei, described as “this dead dog,” who moved his tongue against David and cursed him, saying, “Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial.” Ah, wretched, chastened David said, “Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the Lord will requite me good for his cursing this day” (2 Sam. 16:11-12). Oh what ignominy and reproach he heaped upon David. The chastening hand of the Lord was upon David, so God had lengthened the chain of this dog and suffered him to move his tongue and belch forth his vicious reproaches and curses upon the king. Oh how David must have suffered, but his chastened soul is looking to God in all his afflictions. Wicked Shimei was God’s sword, his hand to smite David (Psalm 17:12-13). Oh to be able under all our chastenings to look up unto our God, and with the prophet Habakkuk say, “Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction,” See that pack of vile hypocritical dogs how they barked against that adulterous woman. The scribes and the Pharisees brought unto Jesus a woman taken in adultery. Oh the hypocrites! Why did they not bring the man also? (Lev. 20:10). This is how they barked about and against her, “They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.” But they are still moving their tongues, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” There was nothing in what Christ said that set aside the law that was given of God to Israel by Moses. Jesus was not antagonistic to Moses. He came not to destroy but to fulfill it. His very reply to those yelping hypocrites was calling upon them, if any of them imagined themselves fit to do so, to execute the penalty of the law upon the poor woman. She had no word to say, she could not excuse her shameful act, she could not silence the tongues of her accusers. According to Moses’ law she must die, there was, she felt, no mercy for her “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two witnesses” (Heb. 10:28). Ah, it appeared that Christ himself would not rescue her from her tormenters, for from the lips of Jesus, who is meek and lowly in heart, the words have gone forth, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And again Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground. Did her shamed, downcast eyes read what Jesus wrote on the ground? Oh I think her eyes only read that writing: it was for her only he wrote on the ground. None of her accusers could read a word. Those vile hypocrites had no pity for the woman. They snarled and barked against her, and had they dared they would have dragged her away and stoned her to death; they let the wicked man go free. But what is this that has happened to these men? They have ceased barking, their clamorous accusations are hushed. They have heard what Jesus said to them. They are silenced, not a stone is cast at this adulteress. There goes the oldest dog out, and the others, one by one, in silence follow him out. “And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even to the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst”. Will Jesus rise up and stone her to death? Can he release her? Redeem her from the curse of the law? Can he, will he, has he magnified the law and made it honorable? Hear the glad tidings, poor sinner, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Gal. 3:12). “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” Oh those words, “Sin no more.” They entered not merely her natural ears, but the blessed voice of Christ, the Lamb of God, entered her heart, and ever after all her days that graciously sweet voice was saying in her heart, Sin no more. Dear child of God, your hope is in the blood of the dear Lamb of God shed for the remission of sins. You may have been kept in your outward life from all shameful behavior. What a mercy is this, and yet in the dreadful knowledge that has been given you of the depravity of your adamic nature you have often felt you were the vilest of the vile. The self-righteous cannot understand this, for they hold their heads up high, and glory in their superiority in holiness if they keep the outside of the cup and platter clean, and yet all the while they are as whited sepulchers, fair to behold on the outside, but inwardly full of dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness. If we are taught of the Lord we in some measure will know the plague of our heart (1Kings 8:38), and there will be sacred times when in our distress we will be drawn to seek our God and the Lamb, and cry,
“Foul I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Savior, or I die.”
“Beware of dogs.” They are troublesome, bark and bite, and have often distressed the church of God. Jeremiah was much plagued with perverse men who, as dogs, said one to another, “Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words” (Jer. 18:18). And in his lamentations over their treacherous and vile conduct his yearning soul exclaims, “Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies; but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth: for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord. Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every man his neighbor, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. * * * Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait” (Jer. 9:2-8). The poor and the needy may suffer from the flattering, proud tongues of the wicked (Psalm 12:2-5), but the time will come when the Lord will shut their mouth forever. When our precious Christ was crucified the reproaches against his people fell upon him. The dogs barked at him, yet amidst all their revilngs his people were in his thoughts, his heart, and so in his agonies in their behalf, he cried unto the Father, “Deliver my soul from the sword; and my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns” (Psalm 22:20-21). “Without are dogs.” They are not of God, they are not of the assembly, and church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in heaven, but their company, their meet associates are “sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev. 22:15). Let them prowl around, and bark as they may, they are not of the city of the living God. But the nations of them which are saved dwell there. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Rev. 21:37). Here we but taste the earnest of our eternal blessedness of immortal glory with Christ the Lamb of God, our Husband, Savior, our immortal Friend, and so our souls are moved in earnest expectation, in fervent longings we breathe after the bliss to come, “The glory which shall be revealed” (Rom. 8:18).
“Without are dogs.” No dogs will he found in the city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God, but in everlasting blessedness we shall live and reign with Christ our Redeemer.
FREDERICK W. KEENE,
SIGNS OF THE TIMES,
Volume 95, No. 10