DIG: Why does Moses react the way he does? How does God reaffirm His trustworthiness? How did Moses end up feeling?
REFLECT: In your own walk with God, which is more important: the past acts of the LORD, your present circumstances, or His future promises? Why? In what ways can God deliver you from the might of the very thing oppressing you?
Moses confronted God over the reason why Isra'el has not yet been delivered from Egypt. Moses complains directly to Him and is quite bold in addressing God in this manner. But ADONAI does not rebuke Moses. Instead He patiently explains, in great detail, what is going to take place in Egypt and why it is going to happen. God’s forbearance with Moses is a concession to the prophet’s weakness and impatience. He is being taught to wait upon the LORD who does things according to His own timing.87
His fellow Hebrews had just accused Moses of wrongdoing; therefore, he returned to God. We should not regard the response of Moses to God as being irreverent or insubordinate, but these were words of a searching heart and of one deeply confused by the turn of events. What is significant about all of this is that Moses did not surrender the cause to which God had called him.88 In faith, he turned to God and said: ADONAI, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me (5:22)?
Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and You have not rescued Your people at all (5:23). Moses laments that things had gotten worse because of him and his confrontation with Amenhotep II. Moses could not see the entire picture, but God was moving slowly and patiently to work out His plan. However He responded with words of assurance. He had much to teach Moses, the Israelites, the Egyptians and Pharaoh.89
In every instance where God brings about judgment, He always brings someone to give warning and an opportunity to repent. Enoch warned the antediluvians, or the people before the flood, to repent. He even named his son Methuselah, which means, “When he dies, it shall be sent.” Noah built an ark for one hundred and twenty years in his driveway as a testimony to preach a message of repentance. Jonah preached to Nineveh. Isaiah and other prophets preached to the northern kingdom of Isra'el before they were assimilated by Assyria. Jeremiah and other prophets preached to the southern kingdom of Judah before being taken to Babylon. John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1) preached a message of repentance before the coming of Christ. And the hundred and forty-four thousand will preach a message of repentance before the plagues of the book of Revelation, which mirror the plagues of Egypt in many ways, will come upon the whole world. Who came, or has come into your life with the Gospel? What did you do with the message of repentance?
The Israelites were now at the end of their self-sufficiency. Moses and Aaron could not help them; Pharaoh would not help them; and they were powerless to help themselves. If help was to be had, it had to come from God. Just then, when they had given up hope through any other source, was the time for God to step in and save them. That was just what He did.90
First, God contrasted His strength with that of Pharaoh. Then ADONAI said to Moses His servant: Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of My mighty hand he will let them go and drive them out of this country (6:1). The initial failure of Moses was necessary to show him why God would drive him out of Egypt. Pharaoh had to be given the opportunity to repent and respond. At that point the opportunity had been given and rejected. Then the mighty hand of God would respond with ten plagues. In the final analysis, Pharaoh would not only allow the Hebrews to leave, but he would drive them away.
Having established the principles by which God would act in the next few chapters, the promise that He had made to Moses earlier is now renewed. God also said to Moses with much conviction: I AM ADONAI (6:2). This is God’s personal name and emphasized His ability to keep His covenant. This is important to understand because of what He says in the following verses.
Secondly, ADONAI showed Moses that redemption of Isra'el from bondage was assured because it rested on His unconditional promises. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, or El Shaddai, or the provider, but by My name, YHVH (Yud-Hay-Vav-Hay), I did not make Myself known to them. This did not mean that the patriarchs did not know that God’s name was YHVH. Even non-Hebrews, such as the king of Sodom, were familiar with the Name. They knew Him by that name, but they did not experience what that name implied, namely that He is One who keeps His covenants. The name El Shaddai emphasizes God as One who would take care of them, provide for them and make a covenant with them. God did bring the patriarchs into the Land, and He did provide for them and God did make the Abrahamic Covenant with them. But while the LORD made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they never experienced the fulfillment of that covenant because they all died before possessing the Land. Their only possession was a burial cave at Machpelah (Genesis 23:9-20). Therefore, they did not know Him as ADONAI who keeps the covenant; they only knew Him as El Shaddai, the One who makes covenants. Then God continued: I will also establish My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens (6:3-4).
But now God said that Israel was about to experience Him as ADONAI, because part of the Abrahamic Covenant said that after four hundred years they would be brought out of Egypt into the Promised Land. It was this generation of Hebrews and the following one, who would experience what the name ADONAI implied. He was not only the maker of the Abrahamic Covenant, but also the keeper of the Abrahamic Covenant.
Moreover, He said: I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered My covenant (6:5). In other words, He was prepared to act, and act very soon. In 6:6-8 God reveals the seven I wills of redemption (also see Genesis 17:1-8 and Jeremiah 31:31-34). These verses paint a marvelous picture for us today and were a great encouragement to Moses in his day. God announced who He is and what He is going to do. Today we have the same Savior who tells us who He is and what He is going to do. He is able to save all those who come to Him.91
Thirdly, YHVH made a sevenfold promise with the words: "I will" beginning each phrase. Therefore, say to the Israelites: I AM ADONAI; and I can be trusted to honor My promises.
1. I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. His people had been groaning under the intolerable cruelty of their taskmasters. Was there no one to deliver them? There was. The covenant God made with their fathers had promised that at the end of four hundred years of affliction, they should be delivered (Genesis 15:13-16). That time had come for God to make good on His promises. He declared, therefore, that He would bring them out from under the yoke of their burdens. And this is what God does for those who follow Him today. We are delivered from the burden of sin from our souls.
2. I will free you from being slaves to them. God was going to do far more than merely relieve the Israelites of their burdens, He would completely set them free. Instead of them toiling in the kilns of Egypt, He would have them out in the wilderness, in communion with Himself. The one who receives Jesus as his or her Savior is no longer a slave to sin, no longer a slave to Satan, or the fear of death. The one who believes in Yeshua is set free.
3. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with mighty acts of judgment (6:6). To redeem means to purchase and set free. This is the mighty arm of God spoken of by Isaiah the prophet. Who had believed our message and to whom has the arm of ADONAI been revealed (Isaiah 53:1)? It turns out that the arm of ADONAI is none other than Jesus Christ (see my commentary on Isaiah Pw – Who Has Believed Our Message). He is the One who redeemed Israel and He is the same One who redeems today. Each of us needs a Savior from sin because we are corrupt in His sight. He loved us enough to die for us in order that we might be saved. If He was willing to do that, we must be willing to come to Him as sinners. If we place our faith in the work that Jesus did for us we will be saved. God has a great plan of salvation but we must come to Him for it before He can redeem you with an outstretched arm.
4. I will take you as My own people. For Israel this meant from that time on, as a nation, they would have a unique relationship with God. They would be His treasure and the objects of His special care and favor. Amazingly, God Himself owned a downtrodden nation of slaves. But He did! On what basis? On the basis of redemption. With the mighty arm of ADONAI, Yeshua Messiah, He had purchased them by the blood of the Passover Lamb. This same truth is set forth in the Renewed Covenant. Just think, God has lifted us out of the muck and mire of sin and made us His sons and daughters by faith in the Christ! Now he tells them: I will be your God. But the LORD does not save us and then run off and leave us. He wants to be your God and He wants us to be His people.
5. I will be your God. Then you will know that I AM ADONAI, your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians (6:7). Who but God could have made a way through the Sea of Reeds so that His redeemed could pass through on dry land? Who but God could have caused that Sea to turn back and drown the chariots of the Egyptians? Who but God could have guided His people through the wilderness wanderings by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night? Who but the LORD could have quenched their thirst from a rock, and fed a hungry nation with manna and quail for forty years? Truly, He was God to Israel. And such is His promise to us today: I will be their God, and they will be My people (Second Corinthians 6:16). Every believer receives this promise daily. Who but God could bring us out from under the yoke of our own sin?
6. I will bring you to the Land that I swore with an uplifted hand, as One taking an oath, to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. Not only did God bring His people out of the land of bondage, but He also brought them into the Land that He had promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. It is true that many died in the wilderness; however, God brought the nation of Israel into Canaan. And He will bring each of us, the ones bought by His blood, safely to Heaven. The world, the flesh and the Devil may be against us, but not a single sheep of Christ will be lost (John 6:45-40).
7. I will give it to you as a possession. This is the goal to which God is working. All was done in order that they might enjoy that which He had promised to their fathers. This has not yet been completely fulfilled. It is in the Messianic Kingdom that Israel will take The Land as their possession. In like manner, the full enjoyment of our heritage is in the future. But we already have the Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13b-14). And notice it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).92
The mention of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob connects the end of the divine speech with the beginning of it in 6:2. In addition, the divine formula of self-identification: I AM ADONAI, concludes the speech as it began (6:8).93
Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him, or believe in what he had said, because of their discouragement and cruel bondage (6:9). Despite everything, however, the people of Israel were discouraged and unimpressed when Moses reported to them what the LORD had promised.94
Are you not listening to God today because of discouragement, or cruel circumstances in your life? I want to encourage you to walk in faith right now, and not to walk by sight. Just as God had deliverance and redemption right around the corner for the Israelites, He has deliverance and redemption right around the corner for you. Do not lose heart, the night has to come before the dawn can shine. I know that’s easy to say, but it’s true.
Nevertheless, even if the Hebrews didn’t want to listen to Moses and Aaron, God again commanded them to go to Pharaoh and demand that he let Israel go into the wilderness to worship Him. Then ADONAI said to Moses His servant: Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country (6:10-11).
But Moses hesitated, his zeal dampened by the people’s response, and said to ADONAI, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me.” He felt if he couldn’t convince his own fellow Jews that they would be delivered, what possible chance would he have with Pharaoh? Again he points out his own inadequate speech, saying: since I speak with faltering lips (6:12). He was looking at the circumstances rather than God. And before we get to critical of Moses, we must remind ourselves that we do exactly the same thing.
Now ADONAI spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and He commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt (6:13). God had a message for both the elders of Israel and Pharaoh king of Egypt, who no longer believed Moses and Aaron. They both needed to understand that ADONAI commanded the Israelites to be set free.
The Israelites would do nothing to deliver themselves from Egypt, nor could they, beyond believing and obeying what ADONAI had told them. God did it all for the Hebrews then, and He continues to do it all for us today. He purchased us and set us free with His blood, whereby we escape death. He breaks Satan’s power, and He leads us up out of the enemy’s sphere of influence into our inheritance in Christ.95
The Teaching Ministry of Jay Mack 2006-2017