Lessons from Israel: No.14 : God of Reassurance
Ex 6:6-8 “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. 7I 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. 8And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ “
In the previous meditation we focused on the fact of Moses’ surprise when Pharaoh refused him, despite the fact that the Lord had warned him exactly what would happen. Clearly Moses had not fully taken in what the Lord had told him and so now he is crying out: “Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? 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.” (Ex 5;22,23) Now if it had been us in God’s place I’m sure we would have rebuked Moses for being so slow witted, but the Lord doesn’t do that. Instead He reassures Moses in a variety of ways.
First of all He simply reiterates what He has said previously and implies that it is going to happen soon: “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.” (Ex 6:1) i.e. my plan has not changed since I first stated it to you. I observe that when the Lord brings an important prophecy to someone He usually brings it to them two or three times. He knows we need this continual reassurance.
But then the Lord identifies Himself again to Moses or, if you like, reassures Moses that He is up to the job! “God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty.” (Ex 6;2,3) i.e. remember what I did for your ancestors and realise what I can do for you. But He goes further: “but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.” (Ex 6:3-5) i.e. I Have revealed more of myself to you. I am the Eternal One, but I’m also the One who intervenes in history and because of what I have promised in the past, I will act now.
It is because of this that our verses above start with a ‘Therefore’. Because of the past I WILL do what I have said! Look at the things He says He WILL do:
- I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. (v.6)
- I will free you from being slaves to them,
- I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
- I will take you as my own people, (v.7)
- I will be your God
- I will bring you to the land I swore… to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob (v.8)
- I will give it to you as a possession.
The first three are about deliverance and the next two are about an ongoing relationship with the Lord. The Lord doesn’t just deliver. Salvation comes through a relationship with Him. We aren’t called to stand on our own. The final two are about the inheritance that was to be their, the new land. Similarly the Lord doesn’t just deliver us out of the old life but He gives us a positive new life to live, to enter into.
But also in these verses three times He declares His authority for doing this: “I am the LORD” (v.6), “you will know that I am the LORD,” (v.7) and “I am the LORD.” (v.8). Each time He is saying, “I am the Eternal One” and (implied) because I am, I can do these things. That is enough for Moses and so he goes back to his leaders to pass on what the Lord has said. Note that the Lord doesn’t argue with Him or try to persuade him in any further way. The Lord has reiterated His plan, He had spelled it out again, and He has declared His authority and that should be sufficient. Moses senses that and argues no more at this point. He has questions further along the way but for the moment that is enough.
When it comes to our own lives we can keep on making excuses but actually God has said sufficient in His word to get us going. We shouldn’t need constant reiterating of what is already there and the fact that we so often do is a reflection on us and not the Lord.