DIG: What are some of the things Moses learned when God appeared to him?
REFLECT: What would your Land of milk and honey be like? To get there, what route do you imagine having to take? What Pharaoh stands in your way? What elders will you consult? What has God called you to?
God had tested Moses for forty years in the desert. Now he was being called to be the deliverer of the nation of Israel. In the process, he will be highly exalted by ADONAI. It is interesting to compare the way in which God calls to service the one He has appointed to His service. Read the story of His call to Gideon (Judges 6), Isaiah (Isaiah 6), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-10), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1-3), and Paul (Acts 9). In every case there is first a vision of the LORD, which humbles to dust the one whom God called. Then there is a clear explanation of the work that God wishes accomplished; often there is reluctance on the part of the one commissioned to undertake the task. But there is always the assurance of God’s presence and power that enables him to go forward. It was no different with Moses.43
Then God identified Himself in the burning bush and said: I AM the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. He announced that He is the same God who had appeared to the patriarchs and that He had not forgotten the Covenant that He had made with His people. At this Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God (3:6). Moses and others of faith believed that they would be destroyed if they looked at God because of their own lack of holiness (Genesis 16:13, 32:30; Judges 12:22), as God Himself would later affirm (33:20).
ADONAI spoke with compassion and said: I have indeed seen the misery of My people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I AM concerned about their suffering (3:7). God sees, hears and knows everything concerning His people. No affliction, no crying, or sorrow escapes His tender watchful eye and ear. He is always ready to help those who cry out to Him.
Moses learned the threefold work that God had come down to do for Israel (3:8). Fifteen hundred years later Christ, or the Messiah, came down to do this same work for all mankind. First, He came down to rescue the nation of Israel from the hand of the Egyptians. The verb to come down is a common anthropomorphic expression meaning that God is especially intervening in the situation. It is the same phrase used in Genesis 11:5 concerning the Tower of Babel. Later, God will rescue us from the hand of our enemies (Luke 1:74).
Secondly, He came down to bring them up out of that land. God would not deliver them from the hand of the Egyptians, and then leave them in the land of the Egyptians. Later, Paul, in his letter to the church at Corinth would say: Come out from them and be separate (Second Corinthians 6:17).
Thirdly, He came down to bring them into a good and specious Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. The LORD not only brought His people out of the bad, but also into the good. Many believers say they have come out of the world (Egypt), but they have not come into the fullness of the Christ (Canaan).44
The phrase a Land flowing with milk and honey means Canaan was ideal for raising goats and cows. Feeding on good pastureland, the goats, sheep, and cows were full of milk. The bees were busy making honey. Milk and honey suggested agricultural prosperity. This is the first of many references in the Old Covenant to the Land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 33:3; Leviticus 20:24; Numbers 13:27, 14:8, 16:13-14; Deuteronomy 6:3, 11:9, 26:9 and 15, 27:3, 30:20; Joshua 5:6; Jeremiah 11:5, 32:22; Ezekiel 20:6 and 15).45
Canaan was the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. This list of pagan nations is an oft-repeated formula in the Bible. Genesis 15:18-21 provides the first list of ten nations occupying the Promised Land. The number of nations in the formula changes from one citation to another, although the reason is obscure. The point of the formula was to demonstrate that God would work mightily to remove the pagans and give the Land to the Hebrews. In addition, the fact that six nations resided there suggested that it was spacious enough to provide for the Hebrews.46
ADONAI knew the suffering of the Hebrews. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them (3:9). Although at times He may seem distant and uninvolved, God intimately knows and understands your suffering and pain. Because this is a repeat of 3:7, it brackets the beginning and the end of God’s speech to Moses.
The call of the LORD to us is always personal and individual, and our response to Him must be similarly personal and individual. So it was with Moses.47 So now, go. I AM sending you to Pharaoh to bring My people the Israelites out of the land of Egypt (3:10). Here was the climax of the burning bush episode - the call of Moses. Notice that God’s call was not in the form of a question, as if Moses had a choice in the matter. It was in the form of a command. There was no uncertainty about the task before him.
This Pharaoh was Amenhotep II; it will be to him that Moses, as God’s spokesman, would come and say: Let My people go (5:1). He was the Pharaoh who experienced the ten plagues, including the death of his firstborn son (see Bc – Pharaoh as god and upholder of Ma’at). It is under him that the Exodus finally occurred, and thus he is called the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
Exodus is the story of how the LORD redeemed His people. The essence of redemption is to be bought back. One of the great pictures of being bought back is in the book of Hosea, who prophesied to a corrupt and idolatrous Israel from his own experience. Instructed by ADONAI to marry an adulterous wife, he married Gomer and she bore him two sons and a daughter. Afterward she continued her unfaithful ways and Hosea put her out of his house. But God commanded him to demonstrate his love for her once more. This gracious act would serve as an object lesson of God’s great love for Israel despite her great unfaithfulness in chasing after other gods. Hosea responded obediently to the LORD’s command when he redeemed, or bought his wife back for a substantial price. In that sense, the book of Exodus reveals how God bought back his people.48
When God redeems, He not only redeems from something, He always redeems to something. We have been saved from sin to holiness and heaven. If you are saved today, you are completely saved. You will be just as saved a million years from now as you are today because you are in Christ (Ephesians 1:1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 13, 20). You have been bought out of Adam and put into Christ. You have been brought out of death and put into life. You have been brought out of darkness and put into light. You have been brought out of hell, if you please, and put into heaven. ADONAI said to Moses His servant: I AM going to rescue them from the land of the Egyptians and bring them into a Land flowing with milk and honey. That is the salvation of God. That is redemption.49
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017