In our study of Exodus chapter six, we look at God's promise of deliverance for Israel and for us today. As they say, past behavior is a pretty good predictor of future behavior. Therefore, by studying the deliverance of Israel out of the slavery in Egypt, we can learn about our own deliverance through the power of Jesus Christ.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.'
In chapter 5, Pharaoh refused to let the people go and increased their workload so that they would not have time to even think of leaving. We know that God is in control so we might ask why He would allow this persecution instead of simply making Pharaoh release them. We see the answer in this verse and it is so that the Israelites would see that it is only through the power of God Almighty that they will be delivered. It is the same for us as Christians in that, if we need to be truly delivered from something, it is only the power of God that can accomplish it in our lives. It seems like there is a program for everything that people struggle with in this world today. They are useless and powerless without the Creator of the universe changing our circumstances.
God also said to Moses, 'I am the Lord, I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God almighty but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them.'
We see two different names for God here and there is an important difference. God Almighty (El Shaddai in Hebrew) is a name that confirms that He exists. Lord (YahWeh in Hebrew) is a name that confirms the presence of God with His people. In the days before the deliverance of Israel, their ancestors knew that God existed as they could see it in all of creation. Now, God was going to reveal the fact that he would be with them in a much more personal way. It is still the same with many people today as they know that a "higher power" exists but they do not know of the Lord (it's not personal with them). This is a very big difference especially when the struggles of this life slap you in the face.
'I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.'
Because of God's previous promise (covenant) with Abraham, He not only heard their cry but also was ready to take action on their behalf. God is reminding Moses of the past so that he can be completely sure of the future things that are being revealed to him. This is the biblical principle of building faith through experience. Faith (trust) is built when we see promises fulfilled.
'Therefore, say to the Israelites: "I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment."'
Based on the covenant of the past, God promised complete deliverance for His people. We remember that the number seven refers to completeness and this verse begins seven "I will"s where God gives specific promises concerning the deliverance. The "I will"s are a reminder that it is God that does all of the work of deliverance. The same thing is true for us as Christians. No matter what we are looking to be freed from, it is only the power of God that can accomplish the task.
'I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.'
Moses is to reassure the Israelites that God will be with them every step of the way and that He is not redeeming them just to abandon them later. The same is true for us today as He delivers us from our sins and from our struggles. He does not leave us where we were but leads us on to grow closer to Him and to know that He is with us every step of the way.
Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.
Moses was faithful to tell the people of God about His complete deliverance from their current situation but they did not believe him. We see that two reasons are given and that is their attitude and their busyness. This was what Pharaoh had hoped for when he increased their workload and it is also a tactic that is used today. God still promises us deliverance from the things that hold us in bondage but we have to grab ahold of His promise and power through faith (trust) in Him and His power. Our freedom from that bondage has to be our number one priority.
Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.' But Moses said to the Lord, 'If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?'
Even though the Israelites did not believe God and Moses, God still told him to go to Pharaoh. Moses' reply was to wonder why Pharaoh would listen when his own people would not. He was still looking at his strength instead of trusting in God. That is what the devil tries to get us to do as Christians. When we focus on ourselves and our own abilities, we lose track of the fact that God has already taken care of our infirmities. With our eyes focused on His promised deliverance, we can walk in true freedom.
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
It is always good to know who you are getting a message from and, here, we are reminded that it is God speaking through Moses and Aaron. What follows is a partial family tree so that the Israelites would know who these two men were. It is just as important for us today to know who we are listening to as there are many false prophets in the world today.
These were the heads of their families: The sons of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel were Hanok and Pallu, Hezron and Karmi. These were the clans of Reuben. The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These were the clans of Simeon. These were the names of the sons of Levi according to their records: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived 137 years.
This family tree is given so that we can know who these messengers of God's deliverance were. The sons of Reuben and Simeon are listed just so we get to the third son of Israel which was Levi. The Levites would be the chosen ministers of the people and it began here with the calling of Moses and Aaron.
The sons of Gershon by clans, were Libni and Shimei. The sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Kohath lived 133 years. The sons of Merari were Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of Levi according to their records. Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.
We notice that the age of the men is given when they live longer than 100 years. This is common in the Old Testament. We see that Moses and Aaron were the fourth generation of Levites and are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number four is associated with trials and testing.
The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg and Zikri. The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri. Aaron married Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph. These were the Kohathite clans. Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan.
The list continues down to the children of Aaron who would be the first members of the priesthood of God. We will look at many of these characters more as we progress in our study of the Bible.
It was this Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, 'Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.' They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt - this same Moses and Aaron.
The purpose of the family tree that we saw was to establish who it was that God had selected to carry out this task. We see that they had a very clear cut mission which was to lead God's people out of Egypt. We also notice that they are listed twice and that the order is reversed the second time. This is a reminder that they were equals in the sight of the Lord. We often hear of Moses because God used him in this mighty way but we hear the name of Aaron less even though he was right there with Moses. The same thing can happen in our Christian walk as we may be a part of a larger ministry of God but do not receive the recognition of men. Even so, we can be assured that God takes note of our service to Him.
Now when the Lord spoke to Moses in Egypt, he said to him, 'I am the Lord. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.' But Moses said to the Lord, 'Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?'
When called by the Lord, Moses' answer was that he was not capable. He understood that the mission was huge and he did not feel up to the task. This is common among the people that are used by God in mighty ways. It is very rare that God will use someone that is prominent or especially well trained. Moses lost sight of the fact that God was the Deliverer and that he was only to be the messenger. As Christians, we can fall into the same type of thing when we think of sharing the gospel with those around us. It is one thing to be humbled and honored that God gives us the chance to serve but it is another to think that success depends on our efforts or abilities.