“Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD. (Exodus 6: 1 – 8)
We have seen in our study so far how God has prepared this unique person, Moses, to do a very hard and demanding job. God was going to use him to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. Also, God was going to reveal himself to the world as He demonstrated His power to Pharaoh as well as the people of Israel. For our next lesson we will be looking at the sixth chapter of the book of Exodus.
The context of this chapter begins back in chapters three and four. There we read of the commission that God gave to Moses from the burning bush. In chapter three verse ten we read that God said, “Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.” Moses tried his best to get God to get someone else to do the job but eventually he agrees to be obedient even thought he did not understand how God could possibly use him to accomplish this great task. God promised him that, “Certainly, I will be with thee.” Surely, when the Lord goes with us we may be certain that we will be safe and that we will accomplish what God sends us to accomplish. God looks not so much for talent or ability as he does for faithfulness in the one that He chooses to use in His work. God had given Moses great talent and ability. Now He requires obedience and faithfulness of Moses. God gives His promise to go with Moses and accomplish a great work in him. Moses then goes to the leaders of the children of Israel and tells them of his calling and plans. “And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.” The obedience of Moses encouraged faith and repentance in others and this inspired worship. God can use even you to be a force in the life of many today. Will you be willing to live a life of obedience to the Father and thereby demonstrate to others the faithfulness of God and encourage them to a life of greater faith?
Exodus chapter five is the story of Moses’ first audience before Pharaoh. Notice Pharaoh’s answers as he hears Moses boldly declare, “Thus saith the Lord god of Israel, let my people go.” Pharaoh’s response is almost a sneer. “Who is the Lord that I should obey His voice to let the Israel go? I know not the Lord; neither will let I Israel go.” Pharaoh considered himself to be the most powerful person on earth. He could not conceive of a god that was more powerful and important than he was. There was no being to which he would even consider bowing. He would soon learn just who God truly was and how powerful he could be. He would learn the folly of resisting the will of the God of all creation. As arrogant as Pharaoh seems in this passage he reminds me of so many today that have the same attitude toward God. “Who is God, that I should obey His voice?” They go day after day living as if there was no God. They ignore the love of god for them. One day, However, God will reveal Himself to them and there will be no rejection of His authority. I pray that this day will come in this life while there is still time to repent and receive the gift of God’s son. After we leave this life we will bow before Him but then it will be too late to receive His mercy. We will learn who God truly is as He exercises His authority over us in judgment, and we are separated from Him forever in Hell.
Pharaoh’s response was “Who is the Lord … I know not the Lord.” God’s central purpose in this portion of Exodus is to reveal Himself as the one true God. He will teach Pharaoh, Egypt, and Israel, just who He is. God is seeking to reveal Himself to you and me as well. He works in our lives in such a way as to call our attention to Him and show us who He is. God deals with us in ways that will speak to us personally. To some people He merely moves in their hearts and this causes them to respond to His love. With other people He must be more forceful and move in ways that cannot be denied. He will use the testimony of others to move us. He may use sickness or accidents to move us. He may use financial difficulties to get us to turn to Him. A lot of people will run from God until he puts them in a place where they have no choice but to look to Him. No matter what God does to get our attention and no matter how hard or extreme it may seem, it is worth the cost because it results in our repentance and turning to God. Anything is better than being separated from God for all eternity.
The result of Moses’ audience with Pharaoh is an increase in the workload of the people of Israel. The leaders of Israel met with the Pharaoh only to be told that he would not lighten their load. He saw in Moses a leader that could rally this great nation of people against him. He knew that Moses must be discredited. The leaders of the people came to Moses and complained bitterly. “And they said unto them, The LORD look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savoir to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us.” Things were not going the way Moses had planned or even expected. He was to be the leader of Israel but now he was being diminished in their sight. He did what we should do when we find that Satan is discrediting us in the eyes of people. Many times a good pastor is laboring faithfully with his people and there are those who would oppose his leadership. They begin to find fault and turn people away from his leadership. Satan is using the same tactic that Pharaoh tried to use against Moses. We find Moses’ response in verse twenty-two of chapter five. “And Moses returned unto the LORD.” When the world turns from us we must return to the Lord. He is the source of our strength and direction. We must never try to correct the problem ourselves in our own way but return to God for His direction. Moses asks God some very direct questions and this is where we learn more about this man Moses.
The first complaint of Moses is, “Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people?” He says, “Lord, You have made things even worse for these people. Their lives were hard enough before we started this action. Now their lives are almost impossible.” And then Moses also asks, “Why is it that thou hast sent me?” His underlying meaning here, I believe is the accusation, “You have no intention of letting the people go.” He doubted that God would honor His promise to His people. Moses had been obedient to the Lord. Now nothing was happening, as it was suppose to. God was “supposed” to free His people. Moses felt that he had kept his part of the arrangement. So why was the plan not working out as he expected it? We run into this same feeling often in our lives as well. How many times have we thought, “Lord, I tithed this week, so why don’t I have all the money that I think I ought to have?” “Lord, I have prayed and believed yet you have not answered. Why, Lord?” “I have lived righteously, so why do I have such heartache and problems?” “Lord, I have given my life to serve you. Why haven’t you given me the success that I deserve for your glory?” In all these questions we must remember that God’s ultimate goal in our lives is not our comfort and success. His design is to reveal Himself to us and in us. He wants us to know who He is and to fellowship with Him. The problems that He allows to come into our lives are designed to bring us to Him in a special and an intimate way. He builds our lives and encourages our faith by the stresses that we endure.
We have seen Moses’ question, now let us look at God’s answer. He says to Moses, “You will see what will happen to Pharaoh and how he will let the people go.” Next, God begins to tell Moses about Himself. Verse two says, “And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD.” In our English Bibles we have the word “LORD” all in capital letters. When we see it written this way we know that the word “Jehovah” has been translated into English as LORD. God is saying that, “I am Jehovah. I am the self-existent one. He is the I AM of Exodus 3:14. In this name, Jehovah, we find great meaning. Jehovah carries with it the idea of redemption. It was used after Adam and Eve sinned and now it is being used in the redemption of Israel from Egypt. It is the covenant name of God, the God of Promise. It speaks of His physical presence with His people Israel. I have often enjoyed the comment of C.H. Spurgeon on the name of Jehovah. He said in his comment on Psalm chapter six, “Eternity, infinity, immutability, self-existence are all in the name of Jehovah, and all are full of comfort.” This is a name of comfort to the hurting lonely believer. God is the keeper and provider of our souls. Though all else fails us, our Jehovah God will never fail. He loves. He cares. He provides. He defends. Heretofore, the people of God did not think of Him in these terms. He was known as, God Almighty. He was the strengthener, the all sufficient one. He was the one who called Abram out of Ur. He was the El Shaddai that promised to build a nation from the off spring of Abraham. The patriarchs knew the name of Jehovah. They had thought of Him as the strengthener and provider and not so much the redeemer. Now His relationship with His people is changing. God knows the problems that Moses is facing and will keep His word but He will do it in His way and in His time. This then, brings us to our text in chapter six where God promises to deliver His people and be our God. He then tells Moses to go to the people and say, “Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (vs. 6-8) God is saying, “I am Jehovah,” with all that means. “I will bring you from under your burdens. I will rid your of your bondage. I will redeem you with my strength and judgment. I will make you my people. I will be your God. I will keep my promise to you.” God was working on so many levels to accomplish His purposes. He was demonstrating who He was to Moses, Pharaoh, Egypt, Israel, the nations round about you and me. Interestingly, He is doing this all at the same time with each one being unaware of God’s working in the lives of the other. He was showing just who He is. Because His purpose is the same today you and I can claim these same promises. He will be our Jehovah God. He will help us with our burdens. He will redeem us with his arm of power from the power of sin and the law. He will be our God and we His people. He will keep His promises to us.
God had called Moses to do a very difficult task. God’s promise was that he would go with Moses as he accomplished this task. God, however, had told Moses that Pharaoh’s heart would be hard. He told him that Pharaoh would not willingly let the people go. (Exodus. 3:19) When Moses came before Pharaoh he was rebuffed. Pharaoh did not even recognize the God of the Hebrews. He saw in Moses’ actions a plot to over throw his authority and lead the people who were living among them, in a revolt. Pharaoh planned was to keep the Hebrews so busy and burdened down with work that they could not possibly revolt. The people of Israel felt betrayed by Moses and by God. God was going to demonstrate His power to the world. Israel still did not understand God’s purpose. Moses was at a loss to explain what God was doing. God’s answer to Moses is full of love and comfort. This comfort is found in who God is. He said to Moses, “I am the LORD” or I am Jehovah. Later he says, “And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (vs. 7 – 8) As we come to know just who God is and how much He loves us we will begin to see that He deals with us in ways that are for our good. We all labor under a bondage of sorts. We struggle against the sin our own hearts. We labor with rebellious children. Maybe we have prayed for years for an unsaved mate to no seeming result. We all long for God’s release and the evident hand of God in our lives. We do not see the whole situation as God sees, however. He sees from eternity with the values of eternity in view. He is taking what we are and making us into what He knows we should be. It is easy for us to begin to dictate to God. We think that we know just what should happen and just what the result should be. God’s ultimate purpose is not to give us a life of ease. His purpose is to perfect His image in us. God is far more interested in changing us in the midst of our circumstances than He is in changing our circumstances. God did not do what Moses thought He should have done. However, Moses did the right thing. He came back to God and asked Him what he was doing. “And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? Why is it that thou hast sent me?” (Ex. 5:22)Moses was direct with God because he had direct questions. Notice that God in chapter six did not rebuke Moses. God comforted Moses with the knowledge of who He was as God. God realized the burden that Moses and the people were under. He knew that His working in the heart of Pharaoh was causing His people consternation. God knows our burden as well. He knows that some have prayed for a long, long time about a matter and it seems that He has not yet answered. He sees the financial situation that you labor under. He could have eased that situation but He has not. Maybe you are a pastor and are reading this or a missionary who has faithfully labored long on a field with no tangible fruit. Let us keep our minds firmly fixed on the truth of Exodus chapter six and verse eight. There God says, “I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” He is the Lord Jehovah. We rest secure in that knowledge.
Perhaps you have never really given your heart to the LORD, Jehovah. Do you truly have the assurance of the forgiveness of sins and a home in Heaven? Today, if you hear the voice of God in your heart drawing you to him, open yourself to His love. Call on Him and receive His gift of eternal life. John chapter one, verse twelve tell us, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” Call on Him today and trust Him for His salvation. You then need to find a good Bible believing church to attend. May you grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To aid our learning:
- Why is your faith more important than your Talent?
- Describe the folly of resisting the will of God in your own life.
- How did God reveal Himself to you as the true God of heaven?
- When the world turns from us, how should we return to the Lord?
- If we have been obedient to God’s Word and yet it seems that He has not kept His word, what should we conclude?
- According to Spurgeon, how can we find comfort in the “I AM” name of Jehovah?
- How do you claim the promises of Exodus 6:6-8 in your life today?
- What is God making you into? What do you think God’s ultimate plan is for you?
Please leave us a comment if you have any thoughts, ideas, or questions about this post.