A. God comforts Moses.
1. (1) God’s promise to Moses: Pharaoh will let you go.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
a. Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Carrying the story from the previous chapter, Moses was discouraged by what he thought was God’s lack of action and help. God’s reply to Moses showed that He wanted him to know that the Lord was in control of it all.
i. Moses was discouraged because he was too impressed by Pharaoh and not impressed enough by God.
b. For with a strong hand he will let you go: God promised that not only would Pharaoh let the children of Israel leave; he would drive them out with a strong hand. This seemed impossible after Pharaoh’s initial reaction to Moses and the message from the LORD.
i. This was a wonderful, grace-filled message to Moses. God said in effect, “Moses, not only will Pharaoh let them go; with a strong hand he will drive them out of Egypt.”
ii. “This was the divine declaration made in answer to the statement of human difficulty… Everything began with a solemn charge to Moses. It is first and answer to the complaint which God’s servant uttered in His presence. It was a message of divine self-assertion and, therefore, necessarily a message of grace.” (Morgan)
2. (2-5) The God of the covenant confirms His promise.
And God spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them. I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant.”
a. I am the LORD: In reminding Moses of the great name of God (Yahweh), He confirmed that he remained the covenant-making and covenant-keeping God, who would absolutely fulfill His promise to Moses.
i. “When all human help has failed, and the soul, exhausted and despairing, has given up hope from man, God draws near, and says, I AM.” (Meyer)
b. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them: The patriarchs were privileged to know the God who made the covenant, but for them the covenant was barely fulfilled. The patriarchs knew God as the Maker of the covenant. Moses and the generation of the Exodus would know God as the One who fulfilled the covenant.
i. The patriarchs knew the name Yahweh (it is used some 160 times in Genesis); but the great application of the name referred to God who kept and fulfilled the covenant: I have also established My covenant with them. “The patriarchs had only the promises, not the things promised.” (Kaiser)
c. As God Almighty: In addition, though the patriarchs knew God Almighty (El Shaddai), they did not know Him as extensively and intimately as He would reveal Himself to Moses and his generation. They knew the power of God but didn’t have the same personal relationship and revelation Moses would come to know.
i. For us, God wants to be more than God Almighty – He wants us also to know Him as a personal, promise making and promise keeping God, whom we can trust in everything. Believers should ask themselves if they really know God by such names.
ii. “The supreme need in every hour of difficulty and depression is a vision of God. To see Him is to see all else in proper proportion and perspective.” (Morgan)
d. I have remembered My covenant: God had remembered His covenant; now Moses was called to remember his God.
3. (6-8) God’s promise of the seven “I wills” to Israel.
“Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the LORD.’”
a. Therefore say to the children of Israel: The previous statement seemed to be more for Moses himself (Exodus 6:2-5). This following word was given for the benefit of Israel as a whole.
b. I am the LORD: God went to the furthest length possible to confirm this covenant with the children of Israel. In seven separate I will promises, God said, “I’m going to do it. You can count on me.”
i. The promises were glorious, and equally so in their spiritual application to believers today:
· I will bring you out.
· I will rescue you from their bondage.
· I will redeem you.
· I will take you as My people.
· I will be your God.
· I will bring you into the land.
· I will give it to you as a heritage.
ii. “Each of these verbs are in the Hebrew past (i.e., perfect) tense instead of the future tense, for so certain was God of their accomplishment that they were viewed as having been completed.” (Kaiser)
iii. There is a strong contrast with the later five I will statements of Satan in Isaiah 14:13-15. The great difference is that Satan was powerless to make any of his “I wills” come to pass. God is more than able to fulfill each of His promises.
c. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: For the first plainly stated time, Moses was to tell Israel what God ultimately promised – to not only deliver them from the bondage of Egypt, but to also give them the land promised to the patriarchs.
i. I will bring you out: “A great deliverance; but nothing to that which Christ hath wrought for us from the tyranny of sin and terror of hell.” (Trapp)
d. I am the LORD: With this God concluded the promise by reminding all of His covenant making and covenant-keeping name.
4. (9) The response of the children of Israel.
So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.
a. But they did not heed Moses: After Moses spoke what God told him the children of Israel were still stuck in miserable unbelief. They probably would have said that they did not doubt God, but they doubted the messenger – Moses.
b. Because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage: This is why Israel doubted both God and His messenger. Their centuries of slavery made them think like slaves instead of people of the covenant. Pharaoh was bigger in their eyes than God was.
i. Anguish of spirit: “The NIV weakly translates ‘their discouragement’; but it was the inward pressure caused by deep anguish that prevented proper breathing – like children sobbing and gasping for their breath.” (Kaiser)
ii. Many Christians find themselves in the same place. They find it hard to trust God and believe that He is for them. This is why Paul says we must not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2). The children of Israel needed their minds renewed, and we do also.
iii. Ezekiel 20:5-9 shows why God was so small and Pharaoh was so big in Israel’s heart during this time. Ezekiel explained that they trusted the gods of their oppressors, worshipping the gods of the Egyptians. This is why they didn’t trust God, and His messenger Moses. The reason why God did not judge Israel at the time was because He didn’t want His name profaned among the Gentiles.
5. (10-13) God tells Moses to stick with His plan.
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the children of Israel go out of his land.” And Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “The children of Israel have not heeded me. How then shall Pharaoh heed me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?” Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
a. How then shall Pharaoh heed me: God told Moses to repeat what he had unsuccessfully done before (Exodus 5:1-2). Moses felt this approach had failed once, so there was no sense in repeating it. This approach failed to persuade even the people of Israel; it seemed that it would never work with Pharaoh.
i. Note the ground for Moses’ discouragement: For I am of uncircumcised lips. Previously, he objected because he believed he was not eloquent (Exodus 4:10). Now he objected because he believed he was not worthy for the task. “That inability was now born of a sense, not as before of his lack of eloquence, but of his uncleanness.” (Morgan)
b. Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them a command: God wanted Moses to be persistent in their obedience; not to look at Pharaoh, not to look at the children of Israel, not to look at even himself – but to look at God and God alone.
i. Moses wanted to quit after the first setback. God had much to do in his heart before Moses would be ready to deal with all the discouragement ahead as he led Israel to the Promised Land.
ii. God was building endurance in Moses, the ability to stick with God’s plan and will even when it didn’t seem to work. This is faith; this is patient endurance in the LORD.
c. A command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh: Moses had to understand that this was God’s will, not merely a few suggestions for Israel and Pharaoh. This was His divine command that would be accomplished, one way or another.
B. The genealogies of Jacob’s first three children: Reuben, Simeon, and Levi.
“Tread gently here! This is a private burying-ground, the last resting place of the founders of a family to which the world is deeply indebted for priceless service.” (F.B. Meyer)
1. (14-15) The immediate descendants of Reuben and Simeon.
These are the heads of their fathers’ houses: The sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. These are the families of Reuben. And the sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman. These are the families of Simeon.
2. (16-19) The main families descended from Levi.
These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. And the years of the life of Levi were one hundred and thirty-seven. The sons of Gershon were Libni and Shimi according to their families. And the sons of Kohath were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. And the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred and thirty-three. The sons of Merari were Mahali and Mushi. These are the families of Levi according to their generations.
a. The sons of Levi according to their generations: In the tribe of Levi, there were three main families – Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Each of these families would be given specific duties in the service of the LORD and His tabernacle.
3. (20-27) How Moses and Aaron descended from Amram, a son of Kohath.
Now Amram took for himself Jochebed, his father’s sister, as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were one hundred and thirty-seven. The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. And the sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Zithri. Aaron took to himself Elisheba, daughter of Amminadab, sister of Nahshon, as wife; and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. And the sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These are the families of the Korahites. Eleazar, Aaron’s son, took for himself one of the daughters of Putiel as wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites according to their families. These are the same Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, “Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.” These are the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are the same Moses and Aaron.
a. She bore him Aaron and Moses: This passage not only tells us the ancestors of Moses and Aaron, but also some of Aaron’s descendants. His sons listed here are Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar; and his grandson through Eleazar, whose name was Phinehas.
i. This portion is important because the priesthood that will eventually come from the family of Aaron will be passed down to his descendants. Therefore, it was important to know exactly who his descendants were.
b. The sons of Korah: These were related to Moses and Aaron; their father Korah was a cousin to Moses. The sons of Korah will also play part in a significant event before Israel reached the land of Canaan (Numbers 16).
4. (28-30) Moses objects again.
And it came to pass, on the day the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, that the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “I am the LORD. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” But Moses said before the LORD, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh heed me?”
a. Speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you: God previously commanded Moses to speak to Pharaoh. After the first disappointing experience, Moses now hesitated in his obedience.
b. I am of uncircumcised lips: This may refer to Moses’ idea that he had a speech problem, or it may be his understanding that he was a sinful man, and therefore unworthy to be used.
i. Moses’ feeling may be similar to that of Isaiah, later recorded in Isaiah 6:1-8. Isaiah knew that he was a sinner in God’s presence and sensed that the center of his sin was in his lips – as in speaking and communicating in a way that didn’t glorify God. God could deal with Isaiah’s unclean lips, and He was more than able to deal with Moses’ uncircumcised lips. God was also perfectly able to deal with the things in our life – real or imagined – that hinder us from being used by Him.
©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission