The controversy between Jehovah, the living God, and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is recorded in the Bible to show the power of God to save His people and to redeem them from all their sins. The apostle Paul, in Romans 9:17, when speaking of the sovereign, almighty predestination of God, that is, God’s eternal choice to choose who will be saved and to damn those who will not be saved, shows from the life of Pharaoh that this is accomplished by the mighty will of God. Romans 9:17, “For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.”
Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was an absolute monarch. He hardened his heart and set himself to prevent the will of God to redeem His people Israel out of the yoke of bondage. And God, by raining destruction upon Pharaoh, showed that His purposes shall stand and that He would do all His good pleasure.
Remember with me that God had sent His people Israel into Egypt in order that they might multiply into a great and mighty nation. After Joseph died, a new Pharaoh arose who did not know Joseph. Fearing the people of Israel he began to oppress them and to make their lives bitter with bondage and slavery. With mortar and brick, and under the lash, they served Pharaoh as slaves until, at last, the cry of God’s people went up to heaven, and God laid bare His arm and brought all the seed of Jacob out of the house of bondage.
To do so, He raised up Moses and sent him to Pharaoh with the words, “Thus saith Jehovah, God of Israel, Let My people go that they may serve Me.” Pharaoh scorned God’s word and hardened his heart. He responded to Moses: “Who is the Lord that I should obey him?” And then God, through the hand of Moses, sent plagues – terrible plagues. One plague followed another upon the land of Egypt. Water turned to blood; frogs; lice; boils; hail. In the midst of these plagues Pharaoh, seeing the destruction visited upon his land, thought he could dicker with God. He says to Moses: “All right, you may go. But not very far away.” “No,” responds Moses, “We must go into the wilderness.” Then Pharaoh says, “Well, you may go into the wilderness, but only the men, not the children and the wives.” To which Moses responds: “No, we go all.” The Lord rains more plagues upon Egypt: locust and darkness. Then Pharaoh says to Moses, “You may go; you may go with your wives and your little ones. But your flocks and your herds, they shall be stayed” (cf. Ex. 10:24). To which Moses responds: No. “Our cattle also shall go with us” (Ex. 10:26). “There shall not an hoof be left behind.”
Now, I trust that you see the significance. The significance is that the redemption that God gives to His children, and the redemption of His church, is a complete and full redemption. When at last Israel was taken out of Egypt, all that pertained to Israel – the sick and the aged, the weak, the children, the cattle, the sheep – all of it came out of Egypt. Not a hoof was left behind. All that is given to Jesus Christ, every one of them of whom Christ could speak in John 6 (all that the Father hath given Me), of whom He could speak in Hebrews 2:9 (I and the children whom the Lord hath given Me) – He has redeemed all of them. And He has redeemed them completely. And He will keep and sanctify them so that they might serve Him. Christ will have all whom He died to purchase. All whom He bought with His blood upon Calvary, not a fraction of it will be lost. Those for whom He laid down His life shall be saved. And they shall be saved because He lay down His life for them. Not a hoof shall be left behind.
Moses is making it quite emphatic to Pharaoh in Exodus 10 that Israel’s redemption out of Egypt will be full. “Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind.”
As I said, Pharaoh in his hardened heart tried to negotiate Israel’s release. If he could not hold back a part of the people, then perhaps he could hold back something that belonged to them. And make no mistake, Pharaoh is looking for a lever to get Israel back. But God’s word is, “All will come out.” For redemption, the purchase out of slavery, must be full or it is not redemption at all. If anything is left behind, then it is not redeemed. Nothing can be left behind. Not a hoof of the smallest little lamb. Not one hoof of a cow. Nothing of God’s people belongs to Egypt. For God has called it all out. And by the power of His hand, He shall bring it all out.
What a marvelous picture of our redemption in Jesus Christ. The cross of Calvary is this: All that Jesus suffered to obtain shall be obtained. All that He bled to redeem shall be redeemed. All that He went to the cross to save shall be saved. Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sin, according to the riches of his grace.” Colossians 1:13, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
There is a teaching called “universal redemption.” That teaching says that Jesus died for all men and women head for head. And yet, really, He did not die for any of them unless they believe. This leaves many for whom He died still behind in the Egypt of unbelief and the slavery of sin. This idea of universal redemption dishonors the blood of Jesus Christ and would rob the blood of Jesus Christ and the cross of its power to save. This idea presents a disappointed Christ, a Christ who had a great purpose and grand design but could not accomplish them. This presents a frustrated cross. Christ then spent His agony upon the cross in vain. He poured out His blood on the ground as water in vain.
The Bible teaches no such thing. We believe no such thing. Not a hoof of all His purchased flock shall be left behind. All, all who were included in the body of God’s elect, all who were given to the Son from all eternity by the decree of God, all for whom He was nailed to the tree shall be brought out by His redemption from sin and death. Christ’s design in His dying cannot be frustrated. Not a single drop of His blood was shed in vain. All whom He came to save He saves. They were engraven upon the walls of His heart. And having purchased them with His blood, He shall save them. For He not only shed His blood for them, but by His Holy Spirit He shall renew them and bring them to Himself by mighty and, yes, irresistible grace.
Think of it. Think of the picture of redemption given in this text. The Lord’s flock. And not a hoof is left behind. The great Shepherd walks in the front of His church and people. And not one for whom He died is absent. That certainly means that all of God’s elect whom He loved eternally and gave to Christ to redeem shall be redeemed. They shall be redeemed because of the love and faithfulness and the power and grace of God. Not a hoof shall be left behind.
Suppose you are in old age and are suffering, but you are one of His flock. You have lain upon a bed of pain for years, and old age ravages you. There seems to be nothing left. You seem to be left lying outside the border of Paradise. You have no strength to get you over Jordan. Shall you be left behind? No! He shall bring all with Him.
Suppose your heart today has become overwhelmed. You cannot keep yourself up. The former blessedness of faith has escaped you. The way is dark and lonely. You feel isolated. You are despondent, desperate, and hopeless. Will your Savior leave you behind? No, not so much as a hoof shall be left behind. He will save you.
Suppose you shamefully have fallen into sin, horrible sin, and grief rolls over your heart. You have erred. You have submitted to the power of temptation. You have sinned repeatedly. Will the enemy, the devil, be able to say concerning you that Jesus saved the strong ones in the church but He could not keep the weak? That He suffered to save you but you shall perish? No, He shall bring you to Himself through repentance.
Suppose you are a parent and you have given birth to a newborn little lamb of the fold. Your child is feeble, and perhaps death and cancer ravages through the body. And soon your little child dies. Will Jesus lose one of the little ones entrusted to Him of His Father’s grace? No! To believe that Jesus would leave one hoof behind Him is to impugn His grace and His power. On the basis of His blood, none of the flock shall be left behind.
And if Satan were to say to Him today, “Take the best of the flock, the fattest of the flock. But what do you want with that diseased one over there, that shriveled one over here, that ornery one over there? Well, no one can love that one over there. What do you want to have those sheep for? They’re nothing but trouble.” The Lord says to Satan, “Stand back. All that the Father giveth to Me shall come to Me. And they shall in no wise be cast out.”
The redemption of Jesus Christ is complete. And all that pertains to us is redeemed. All that our sins have thrown away in foolishness has been redeemed to us and restored. We lost divine fellowship. We chose darkness. We lost the right of sonship. We cast away the happiness and joy found at God’s right hand. Consider all that we have lost in our sins. But Christ hath redeemed us. And all that belongs to us in God’s grace shall be ours – fellowship and favor, joy in God, and adoption as children. We brought upon ourselves ruin, but Christ has brought life and immortality to light. All the blessings in Christ shall be ours, our inheritance.
Now there was a purpose for this full redemption. There was a reason why nothing could be left behind. Moses says to Pharaoh in Exodus 10:26, “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.” Moses is saying there must be a full redemption of Israel in order that there might be a full service of their God. Israel must leave with all her flocks and herds because she must be ready to serve the Lord completely, in whatever way He leads.
Now hear the Word of God: Our redemption was full in order that our service might be complete, in order that we might now serve the Lord with mind and heart and soul, so that we might serve Him as His possessions. God says to us, in the redemption that is in Jesus Christ, “I am not like a shareholder in your life. I did not take over ninety percent of stock in you so that I have a controlling interest in your life. I have not given My Son’s blood in order that I will go halves with the devil – half for the devil and half for Me. I have not taken most of what pertains to you out of the dominion of sin, most of your time – say from Saturday morning to Sunday evening, but the rest is yours. I am satisfied with redeeming only part of your time and part of your life.” Oh, no! Not a hoof is left behind. Why? Because we shall serve God completely and entirely. All must be redeemed so that we might serve with our all. We know not, says Moses, what the Lord shall bring us to from this point thither. We must be prepared.
As a redeemed child of God, you no longer belong to Egypt. You do not belong to yourself or to the world, to obey yourself after your lust. But now, being made free from sin, ye are the servants of God to obey Him ( Rom. 6). He may require of you service now, and in the future He may require of you most difficult service, a service contrary to your will. He may send you upon a path that you do not know about today. But, you remember, you are redeemed completely so that you might serve the Lord entirely. Do not say, “I am redeemed in the blood of the Lamb, His child and forever I am,” and then, when the first appeal is made to serve your lust and to follow your own way and to soothe your own feelings, go headlong after it. Do not do that! Then you make a mockery of His redemption.
No, we have a full redemption in order that we might fully and completely serve the Lord our God.
There are many people who imagine that they can divide their life into parts. Portions of their life can stay with Pharaoh in the land of Egypt. They think that, though purchased with Jesus’ precious blood, they may leave parts of their life in Egypt to serve the monarch of this world, and while the rest can go out and serve the Lord.
That is contrary to Scripture. I Thessalonians 5:23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly [completely]; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” No, the redemption of Jesus Christ is not so that we can have our right hand in God’s service and our left hand employed in the dungeons of hell. The purpose of our redemption is not that we are one person now on Sunday and another person tomorrow in the world when we are before our peers and on the job. The purpose of our redemption is that we might be, from the crown of our head to the sole of our foot, and with every moment, with heart, hand, mind, will, and talents, entirely His. A full redemption for a complete service.
If your sheep, if you were a shepherd, gets caught in a burning barn, you will rush in. You may see that this sheep has been covered with debris, but you rush in and you pull off the bales of hay from its shoulders. You succeed in delivering its head. You free its shoulders and front legs. You lift the weight of plywood and lumber off its back. But then you discover that there is just one hoof that is caught, that is wedged between the heavy joists, the great beams of the barn. And you cannot get it loose. You have rescued the head, the shoulders, the back, the rump. But one hoof cannot be brought out. You have not brought out the sheep.
Do not content yourself, as a Christian, with parts of your life in the service of the Lord. Do not comfort yourself by saying, “Well, a good portion of my heart is devoted to the Lord. But there is this one vice that I want to spare, just one sin that I want to excuse. I want to live in it. I want to enjoy it. I want it to stay in Egypt.”
No, the Word of God says, “Awake to righteousness!” “I have redeemed you,” says the Savior, “in order that now you might serve God.” No, we do not do that perfectly. We do that with the burdens of our sins upon us. But the Lord calls us entirely, with heart and mind, will and soul, to live unto Him.
We need to hear that our salvation is complete in Christ. We need to know that our sins were paid upon the cross. We need to know that all those who were given to Jesus Christ of the Father were redeemed. And not a hoof shall be left behind.
We need to be renewed in the service of our God. We need to go out into His service and live unto Him wherever He leads us. And we need to go forth in the assurance of our victory in Jesus Christ. For He has purchased our salvation. He has brought us out of Egypt. Nothing shall be left behind.
And one day all of God’s people, weak and weary, burdened with sin, struggling, cast down often but not forsaken, will come with joy and singing. We shall follow our great Moses, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Shepherd and the Savior of the flock. And we shall follow Him in that great day of days into the gates of the new Jerusalem. And as we pass through those gates, we will hear Him say, “Father, of all those whom Thou hast given to Me I have lost none. The lion did not devour even one. The cold did not claim even one. I have brought them all out of Egypt safely to enter into the eternal Canaan of rest. Not a hoof is left behind.”
Let us pray.
Father, we thank Thee for the glories of redemption. Work in our hearts that with mind and soul and strength and talents we might live unto Thee wherever Thou dost place us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.