When God Says “I will…”

Exodus 6:1-9

Human trafficking or slavery a subject hear about regularly, most have little first-hand experience / knowledge of things being described. One form of bondage common in places like India –

“hereditary debt bondage. It could have been in the time of their grandfathers or great-grandfathers …the families had pledged themselves to unpaid labor in return for loans of money. The debt passed down through the generations.” Kevin Bales, Professor of Contemporary Slavery

Might think has easy solution – pay off debt, those in bondage go free… and stay free. Can be freed from debt but not freed from bondage.

A second commonality among different forms of slavery is the psychological manipulation they all involve. The widely held conception of a slave is someone in chains who would escape if given half a chance or who simply does not know better. But [there is evidence to] suggest that this view is naive. …slaves often know that their enslavement is illegal. Force, violence and psychological coercion have convinced them to accept it. When slaves begin to accept their role and identify with their master, constant physical bondage becomes unnecessary. They come to perceive their situation not as a deliberate action taken to harm them in particular but as part of the normal, if regrettable, scheme of things.” Ibid

Obviously many forms of bondage / slavery, not limited to one part of world. In reality, bondage knows no economic, political, social boundaries. Children of Israel were in bondage, were at place where “constant physical bondage [had] become unnecessary”. Weren’t locked up at night, didn’t have border wall with armed guards, on their own made no attempt to escape from their slavery. Is that mindset Moses encountered in Hebrew children, was not well prepared to deal with it. In fact, totally unprepared on his own, needed reassurance from God, instruction from God so as not to give up and go back to Midian when is rejected… again… by his people.

A. God reassures Moses v.1-5

who I am

“Now you shall see what I will do” – “I, the Lord” = “I Yahweh” – making sure Moses understood is same God who met him, conversed with him, commissioned him at the burning bush

name in Hebrew usage far more than simply label to distinguish one person from another – name reveals things about the one who wears it… name change emphasizes change in person

Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:5); Sarai to Sarah (Gen. 17:15-16); Jacob to Israel (Gen. 32:28); Simon to Cephas/Peter John 1:42); Saul to Paul (Acts 13:9)

name especially significant when it’s God’s name – learn details of God’s character, his attributes, his essence from his names when connected with specific actions on God’s part

how I am known – you will know (7)

known to patriarchs as El Shaddai – God Almighty, God the all-powerful one – demonstrated in works of creation, overpowering course of nature (e.g. Sarah’s barrenness, Job’s restoration)

people prior to Moses knew name and character of El Shaddai – how God identified himself connected with particular actions / relationship with his people

probably knew God by name Yahweh but not understanding what that signified about his character and attributes – unchanging, self-existent God-who-is who makes and keeps covenant with his people

Moses and children of Israel not only “shall see what I [Yahweh] will do”, would come to know him as their God, in relationship with them as his people

what I have done

they all knew covenant Yahweh had established with Abraham/Isaac/Jacob; they knew promises Yahweh had made to the fathers about land of Canaan

knew El Shaddai had listened to people in previous generations, marvelously answered cries for help, blessed them in miraculous ways beyond measure

will soon know with certainty that same Yahweh who heard patriarchs also heard their groaning because of slavery – when God acts people will know him in character of Yahweh

B. God instructs Moses v.6-8

seven things God declares he will do for his covenant people, has all bases covered – before God is done, will know more than simply name Yahweh, will know him as their God

I will bring out

deliver them out from underneath their burdens – would no longer be grievously overworked for purpose of keeping week and subjected, perhaps even reducing numbers

important note: God can deliver from burdens without delivering from circumstances – he chose to give Israelites new circumstances, often does not act that way

I will rescue

God not only provided way of escape, he actively helped his people escape from slavery to Egyptians – would be free from both burdens and bondage

I will redeem

as God carries out this promise, will see him as kinsman-redeemer, one who provides all that is necessary to deliver his people

what follows on a large scale what was pictured in Abraham and Isaac – God the one who supplies sacrifice in place of another to redeem them from threat of death

same God who provided ram in thicket would eventually offer himself as real Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God sacrificed for sins of his people

I will take a people

notice carefully what God declares in next two promises – God who is in action here, bringing about his purpose for his people

not another episode of “Egypt’s Got Talent” – Yahweh and gods of Egypt in competition to determine people’s choice

God declares He would take them to himself, they would be his people – totally gracious action, God could have chosen anyone

I will be your God

God doesn’t just put mark of ownership on Israelites, then they fend for themselves – will be his people andhis subjects

Yahweh will be their God, their King, their protector, the one to whom they owe total allegiance… exclusively – they didn’t do so well with that, and btw neither do we

in middle three promises are strong elements of relationship, of family – God himself will be head of their family because he has kinsman / family rights… that he purchased by their redemption

Yahweh not only God over his people, God to his people – will be God with his people, symbolized by pillar of cloud and fire

I will bring to

not only delivers out of bondage, delivers to place of freedom and blessing; will not simply bring them to Egypt’s border, send them off with “happy trails”

continues with them to establish them in land he promised – will remain with his people even after that, in less visible ways

I will give

again, they did not take the land, God gave it to them for an inheritance – would be place where could live as holy people separated to God, dedicated to his use

this the land God lifted his hand and swore oath to Abraham that would belong to his descendants – same God speaking who, “as smoking firepot and flaming torch”, walked between pieces of animals to confirm covenant

C. Israelites reject Moses v.9

did not listen to Moses

Moses obeyed, did as God had told him, probably with enthusiasm – truly good news, great encouragement to Moses first, should have been to the people

God could have said “just watch”, left it at that – instead graciously gave specific details for both immediate and far into future

yet again… people did not heed Moses, paid no attention to words intended to lift up their spirits and give hope for future

did not listen to God

peoples’ failure to heed more serious than before: now Moses acting as prophet – “thus says the Lord”, not his own authority

by rejecting God’s message delivered by Moses, were rejecting God himself – if decision left up to people, would never on their own chosen to follow God and his human instrument

dispirited and enslaved

God tells us why they wouldn’t listen, why he continued patient with them – because of their shortness of breath and harsh slavery

so consumed with next breath, if they even would have one, to think about anything else – being squeezed by bonds of slavery they could barely function at basic survival level

Perhaps thinking “boy, I’m glad I don’t know people like that!” …But you do. Stunning picture of every lost sinner in cruel bondage to their sin, the life being squeezed out of them by Satan. Many too desperate for breath to even listen to good news of Gospel. Must be God who rescues out of slavery, lifts burden, redeems by his great power. Are times and circumstances where is right to be patient with those who reject Gospel, to work at relieving their suffering enough so they can hear the Good News.

Yuri: “Work with the poor – now we have 7 families in Ust-Kut and 3 families in the village of Zvezdny. We help them with food, provide physical assistance, buy clothes, provide transportation in our car, provide legal assistance. …Of course we say that Jesus Christ loves them and wants to change their lives. We say that this assistance is not of men, but the Lord himself through us is doing the work!”

Requires much discernment, wisdom from above to do all that in way that glorifies God without enabling sin. Have no liberty to look down on those still enslaved in sin – without what was achieved at cross of Christ, every last sinner would stay hopelessly lost. Thank God for his grace, his mercy, his love demonstrated to us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. Ask God to show you clearly how you can best communicate Gospel truth to lost sinners, then go do it in strength God provides.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s