During the week, I go to a study on Exodus with the girls in my life group. I was just rereading my notes from last week, I was just so struck by God’s faithfulness. As of late, it’s been easier for me to see His faithful hand at work, whether in celebrating at my friend’s wedding this weekend, experiencing the Lord responding to the (seemingly) small requests I made this week, or hearing the testimonies of God’s movement in the lives of those around me. I love how by reading the scriptures, the Lord clarifies our vision and speaks of the truth of who He is. He is so very good.
Anyway, here are some of the thoughts I had tonight about this passage. Would love to hear your thoughts too. Enjoy!
At last Wednesday’s study, Mark took us through Exodus 6:1-7:13, the aftermath after Moses and Aaron’s first meeting with Pharaoh goes south. Moses’ “God says, ‘Let My people go.” just got a big “I’m Pharaoh. Who’s this ‘God person’? Heck no!” Now the Hebrew foreman are getting beaten, the people have an impossible workload, and Moses feels like God isn’t holding up His end of the bargain. So what does God do?
God responds to Moses’ disappointment
- God reminds Moses of who He is to comfort Moses. Repeating it four times for emphasis, God reveals Himself as Yahweh, the promise Keeper: “I am the Lord.” (6:1-8)
- God is telling Moses: I remember My covenant. I will make it happen, so you need to trust Me. (6:5)
- God promises to 1) free and redeem them (6:6), 2) make them His people and be their God (6:7), 3) and bring them to the land He’s giving them (6:8). This is a covenant relationship with the same kind of intimate language as a marriage covenant
The people’s disappointing response to Moses
- Moses tells the people what the Lord told him, but they are so discouraged and burdened by their slavery that they didn’t listen.
- God asks Moses not to sit and dwell on the fact that the people aren’t responding. He’s saying, “Moses, move on. Keep on with My task and don’t get hung up on what people do or don’t do.” (6:10)
God still carries out His promise
- God moves Moses and Aaron along to enact His plan. God is snatching the Jews out of the clutches of Pharaoh, and He’s committed to see it through.
- God is ready for a throw down! He sends Moses and Aaron back to Pharaoh, and Aaron throws down his staff and it becomes a snake. In the culture, this is a way of initiating battle, very confrontational. So Pharaoh calls for his magicians, and they are able to replicate that, but God has the last word as Aaron’s staff eats up the other snakes. God is saying, “Oh no, Pharaoh. I AM GOD, and you can’t compete.”
- Pharaoh’s heart is hardened, but this is not an unfair action on God’s part. In the Egyptian culture, in the afterlife, Osiris judges one’s sinfulness by the heaviness of one’s heart. Light heart = innocent & good after life BUT Heavy heart = sin and getting gobbled up by a snake. How fun! =(Remember: Pharaoh in Egypt is looked at as the god, sinless and perfect. But God knows that he is a mere man, an imperfect human being. God is God and will allow no other god before Him (Exodus 20:3). So each time God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, He is effectually evaluating/weighing Pharaoh’s heart, and he is found wanting.
What we can learn
If we’re in the Hebrews’ position, in the midst of a situation that seems like it’s never going to change, it can be difficult to listen to God’s messenger who says God is bringing freedom. However, regardless of whether or not we listen because we are burdened by our current experience, God still faithfully works out His plan of freedom and redemption because He loves us and is committed to us, His children. And He will not let anything or anyone get in the way. The “Pharaohs” in our lives must let us go.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. —2 Timothy 2:13
Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. —1 Thessalonians 5:24
If we’re the messenger, like Moses, knowing we’ve heard from God and being true to Him by delivering the message, it’s natural to get disappointed when the person we’re telling just isn’t getting it. But God says continue working with Him in His plan.
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. —Philippians 1:6
Commit your way to the LORD,Trust also in Him, and He will do it. —Psalm 37:5
No matter which boat we’re in, the messenger or the enslaved Hebrew, God points to Himself to comfort us. He reminds us that what we can see with our limited, human perspective is not the true bounds of reality. He says: I AM the Lord. I AM the Lord. I AM the Lord. I AM the Lord. I AM the Lord. So even when it seems hardest to see or believe, our faith will be stirred if we humbly turn to the Lord and affirm who He is. We can be sure that when we seek Him, He will change us, renew our minds, and strengthen our faith.
Immediately the boy’s father cried out and said, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” —Mark 9:24
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. —Hebrews 11:6
Therefore [because of who God is] I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. —Romans 12:1-2