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.
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ADONAI said to Moshe, "Now you will see what I am going to do to Pharaoh. With a mighty hand he will send them off; with force he will drive them from the land!"
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 spoke to Moshe; he said to him, "I am ADONAI. I appeared to Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh.
We see two different names for God here and there is an important difference also we remember that, anytime we see the patriarchs listed in the Torah, it is speaking of the promise. El Shaddai means "God that is enough" and here God says that the patriarchs only knew Him based on their circumstances. Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (Yehovah) speaks of God who was, is, and will always be. 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 and that is only possible through redemption. 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.
Also with them I established my covenant to give them the land of Kena'an, the land where they wandered about and lived as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Isra'el, whom the Egyptians are keeping in slavery; and I have remembered my covenant.
Once again, we see that the promise refers to the land of Canaan being given to the descendants of Avraham. Because of God's previous promise (covenant) with Avraham, He not only heard their cry but also was ready to take action on their behalf. God is reminding Moshe 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 people of Isra'el: 'I am ADONAI. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians, rescue you from their oppression, and redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.
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. The Hebrew word "zeroa" that is used for arm here comes from the same root word as seed (male offspring) and its use refers to Teshua being sent for our redemption.
I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am ADONAI your God, who freed you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Avraham, Yitz'chak and Ya'akov - I will give it to you as your inheritance. I am ADONAI.'"
The Hebrew phrase translated as "to take" is a marriage word and it refers to a marriage covenant as we saw in Genesis 29 with the marriage of Ya'akov. The phrase "you will be my people and I will be your God" is the definition of redemption. Once again, the promise of the land for His people is mentioned. Moshe 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.
Moshe said this to the people of Isra'el. But they wouldn't listen to him, because they were so discouraged, and their slavery was so cruel.
Moshe 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.
ADONAI said to Moshe, "Go in; and tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to let the people of Isra'el leave his land." Moshe said to ADONAI, "Look, the people of Isra'el haven't listened to me; so how will Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?"
Even though the Israelites did not believe God and Moshe, God still told him to go to Pharaoh. God's instruction to Moshe is translated here as "to let" but in the original Hebrew the words are in the past tense which is telling Moshe that it is as good as done. Moshe's 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.
But ADONAI spoke to Moshe and Aharon and gave them orders concerning both the people of Isra'el and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring the people of Isra'el out of the land 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 Moshe and Aharon. They are told to simply command Pharaoh and the people concerning His word. 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 Re'uven the firstborn of Isra'el were Hanokh, Pallu, Hetzron and Karmi. These were the families of Re'uven. The sons of Shim'on were Y'mu'el, Yamin, Ohad, Yakhin, Tzochar and Sha'ul the son of a Kena'ani woman. These were the families of Shim'on. These are the names of the sons of Levi with their descendants: Gershon, K'hat and M'rari. Levi lived to be 137 years old.
This family tree is given so that we can know who these messengers of God's deliverance were. The sons of Re'uven and Shim'on are listed just so we get to the third son of Israel which was Levi. But, we must note that it says Shim'on had married a Canaanite woman and that was a break from his heritage. The Levites would be the chosen ministers of the people and it began here with the calling of Moshe and Aharon. We notice that the passage gives the lifespan of Levi but it did not do so for Reu'ven or Shim'om. We see that it was longer than the number given by God in Genesis 6 which is significant and we see that the number is 137. One hundred refers to completeness while thirty speaks of revealing something and seven speaks of holiness. In this we see that Levi and his descendants would be used to completely reveal God's holiness to His people.
The sons of Gershon were Livni and Shim'i, with their families. The sons of K'hat were'Amram, Yitz'har, Hevron and 'Uzi'el. K'hat lived to be 133 years old. The sons of M'rari were Machli and Mushi. These were the families of Levi with their descendants. 'Amram married Yokheved his father's sister, and she bore him Aharon and Moshe. 'Amram lived to be 137 years old.
We notice that the age of the men is given when they live longer than 100 years. This is common in the Old Testament and is used for emphasis. We see that K'hat is emphasized and then his son 'Amram is and we were first introduced to 'Amram back in In chapter 2 when he went to get his wife. The name 'Amram means "exalted people" and here we see that God wants to lift up (exalt) His people. Moshe and Aharon were the fourth generation of Levites and we are reminded that, throughout the Bible, the number four is associated with the earth and so God wants to exalt His people throughout the earth.
The sons of Yitz'har were Korach, Nefeg and Zikhri. The sons of 'Uzi'el were Misha'el, Eltzafan and Sitri. Aharon married Elisheva daughter of 'Amminadav and sister of Nachshon, and she bore him Nadav, Avihu, El'azar and Itamar. The sons of Korach were Asir, Elkanah and Avi'asaf. These were the Korchi families. El'azar the son of Aharon married one of the daughters of Puti'el, and she bore him Pinchas. These were the heads of the families of Levi, family by family.
The list continues down to the children of Aharon who would be the first members of the priesthood of God. We see that there are 40 unique names of men give and we are reminded that the number is associated with transition or change. This change that God is bringing about is the redemption of His people.
These are the Aharon and Moshe to whom ADONAI said, "Bring the people of Isra'el out of the land of Egypt, division by division," and who told Pharaoh king of Egypt, to let the people of Isra'el leave Egypt. These are the same Moshe and Aharon.
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. The phrase "division by division" that is translated here is "armies" in the original Hebrew and this speaks of the fact that there is an enemy (ha-satan) that stands against this mission. We also notice that they are listed twice and that the order is reversed the second time which emphasizes that Moshe is going to be the leader and that, before the priesthood of Aharon can function, there must be an exit from Egypt.
On the day when ADONAI spoke to Moshe in the land of Egypt, he said, "I am ADONAI. Tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, everything I say to you." Moshe answered ADONAI, "Look, I'm such a poor speaker that Pharaoh won't listen to me."
When called by the Lord, Moshe's 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. Moshe 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.