Exodus 6



God Promises Deliverance (6:1–12)

1 Moses had just complained to the Lord about His slowness to act: “. . . you have not rescued your people at all” (Exodus 5:23). The Lord answered him: “Now is the time. Now you will see what I will do . . .” The Lord would use His mighty hand (symbol of power) to rescue His people.

2–5 I am the LORD. These words are repeated four times in this passage and many more times elsewhere in the Old Testament. They serve to introduce, to confirm, or to conclude the Lord’s pronouncements. They are meant to get our attention: “I am speaking. Listen!” (1 Samuel3:10).

The Lord then told Moses that in past generations He had been known mainly as God Almighty (El-Shaddai) rather than the LORD (Yahweh): “. . . by my name the LORD (Yahweh) I did not make myself known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” (verse 3). The patriarchs knew the name “Yahweh” (Genesis 15:7; 22:14), but they didn’t really know Yahweh in their own experience; they didn’t know the character of Yahweh as a Father, as a Redeemer, as a personal Presence with them (see Exodus 3:15 and comment). They had only known His power and awesomeness—they had only known “God Almighty.” Now God was about to make Himself truly known to the Israelites as Yahweh, their Redeemer. He remembered the covenant He had made with them (verse 5). He had not forgotten it; He had been waiting for the right time to act. The time was now.

6–8 Then the Lord instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that He was about to bring [them] out, to free them, to redeem them16 (verse 6). Through their redemption, they would know that Yahweh was their God and they were His people (verse 7). He was going to adopt them as His treasured possession (Genesis 17:7; Exodus 19:5–6; 29:45–46) and bring them to the “promised land” (verse 8). This was the land He had sworn to give them with uplifted hand;17 and if God both promised something and then swore by His own name to fulfill it, the people could be absolutely sure that they would receive what had been promised (Genesis 22:16–17; 26:2–3; Hebrews 6:13–18). All these things God would perform for the Israelites with His outstretched arm (symbol of power) and with mighty acts of judgment against the Egyptians (verse 6).

9–12 When Moses delivered to the Israelites these tremendous words of God, they did not listen to him (verse 9); they were too discouraged and disillusioned to believe. Often we deprive ourselves of God’s comfort and encouragement by turning away from Him rather than listening to His word.

On the other hand, people who are terribly crushed down have great difficulty believing, hoping, persevering; this was certainly true of the Israelites. So God didn’t wait for them to believe His words; instead, He began to act on their behalf. He knew their weakness and their suffering. And in mercy He came to their rescue.

God sometimes waits untilwe reach the end of our strength, and then He acts; that way we will know it was God who delivered us, and not we ourselves. “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”

Go tell Pharaoh . . . to let the Israelites go,” God said to Moses (verse 11). But Moses was losing his faith too. If he couldn’t persuade his countrymen, how could he ever persuade Pharaoh? Moses was still giving excuses about his inability to speak (Exodus 4:10).

Family Record of Moses and Aaron (6:13–30)

13–27 Because Moses and Aaron were the ones chosen by God to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, it was important to document their family record, or genealogy. Only the first three sons of Jacob are mentioned; Moses and Aaron were descended from the third son, Levi.

Notice once more that Moses did not have the credentials of a firstborn son. Furthermore, he was descended from Kohath, the second son of Levi (verses 16,18,20). The only credentials Moses had were those God gave him; some were natural endowments and others came from Moses’ life experiences. Then God added the spiritual empowerment that would enable Moses to do God’s work. He will do the same for each of us.

28–30 These verses repeat the thought of verses 10–12. Moses may have had faltering lips (verse 30), but all he really needed were God’s words. Aaron would supply the “lips.”