So, we’re moving on to the next chapter, Exodus 6. The last time we were together we saw the Israelites getting mighty feisty with Moses and mad at God, as well as Moses starting to question what in the world God was doing. I mean, God had promised things, right? BUT things just seemed to be getting worse. Pharaoh was getting mad and making things harder on the Israelites. Where was God in all of this?!? Have you ever felt like that?
The Lord had something to say back to Moses though. Verse 1,
“But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.'”
Take note of the word “now.” No longer is Moses just going to hear God’s game plan. It is now time to see the plan in action. He reminds Moses of who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s going to do. Then, He tells Moses what to do. Verses 6-9,
“Say therefore to the people of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment. I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’ Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.”
Yep, that’s God promising the Israelites deliverance from slavery. He doesn’t just promise freedom, though. He promises redemption and “great acts of judgment” on those who oppressed them. Sounds good, doesn’t it? He promises to bring them into the Promised Land. Notice all of the “I will” statements (7 of them). And there’s another great I Am statement at the end just so that no one questions it. He says, “I AM the Lord.” So of course Moses went to the people of Israel and told them what God had said (no excuses this time!), but those Israelites…well they were hurt and their spirits were broken…they didn’t listen to Moses. Have you ever had your spirit broken? Felt crushed by something or someone? I have. I kinda get where the Israelites were coming from. It doesn’t excuse not listening and hearing what God says, and especially not accepting His Word, but I do understand the why.
It is really hard to hear, and accept, truth when you are deep in the muck, especially when you’re getting the truth from someone who’s not in the muck with you or has never been there. We know Moses had his own muck to deal with, right? He’d had to flee his childhood home and find a new home, but he’d not been a slave like the people of Israel. If anything, I’m sure there were some people who were quick to point this out to him, he’d had kinda the opposite happen to him. He’d been adopted into the Pharaoh’s family!!! How hard would it have been to listen and hear truth from him under the circumstances? Probably…very hard…And yet, God had called him for just such a thing as this.
So after the people dismissed Moses and what he had to say, the Lord told him to go back to Pharaoh. Verses 10-11,
“So the Lord said to Moses, ‘Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.”
Moses didn’t seem to really like the idea though. The people hadn’t listened to him, so why would Pharaoh? But the Lord gave Moses and Aaron a job to do: to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt and out of slavery.
Verses 14-27 gives us the genealogy of Moses and Aaron. Why here…inserted into the middle of the story, right as we’re about to see the game plan put into action? Well, as we saw a few chapters ago, to ignore anything that seems out of place might mean we miss something, so we’re going to definitely take a look. 🙂
Moses and Aaron are descendants of Levi. Levi’s father was Jacob, and his mother was Leah. There is also mention of Reuben and Simeon, two of Jacob’s other sons (with Levi-that is three of the twelve sons). Now, to know why that is significant, we have to go back to Genesis 49, verses 3-7,
“Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the firstfruits of my strength, preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. Unstable as water, you shall not have preeminence, because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it-he went up to my couch! Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. Let my soul come not into their council; O my glory, be not joined to their company. For in their anger they killed men, and in their willfulness they hamstrung oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.”
Oh yeah…I’d forgotten about that…those three brothers had less than stellar reputations. Hmmm…This is who Moses and Aaron came from. What you just read was part of their grandfather’s blessing to his sons and their descendants. Some blessing on those three, huh? Their past sins had obviously not been forgotten by their father. But that being said, I think it’s important to notice the significance of Moses and Aaron being called by God in the light of this new information. Even though the past may not be stellar, the future can be great. There is redemption and grace for all who accept the call of God. We’re seeing that firsthand as we go through Exodus. Does that make you think about your past, or your family’s past? How much do you allow the past to define who you are? Are you, or have you, taken notice of how God has changed those circumstances, or parts of them? He wants to set you free just as we are seeing Him set the Israelites free as we study Exodus. Believe His promises, dear ones.
For those interested, you can learn even more about these 3 brothers and what they did by going back to other areas of scripture.
-Reuben-Genesis 35:16-22, I Chronicles 5:1-3
-Simeon and Levi-Genesis 34 (especially verses 25-31)