Exodus – God’s Way Out
I’ve done my share of whining to God when things don’t go as planned…in my mind and in my way. I have noticed something in me when life falls apart, my first thought is how did I go wrong. My second thought is to look for blame beyond myself. Finally, I consider that this is just life and life can be hard. I am reminded of all my weaknesses. It is in this time that I forget God’s strength and power for a little while. Nothing is too hard for God. Absolutely nothing. I am weak when I forget that even for a moment.
What has been so overwhelming for you lately that makes you angry, anxious, fearful and whiny?
Moses had his first run at Pharaoh who swatted him away like a pesky mosquito…(there’s worse in store for Pharaoh when it comes to insects!) Yesterday we listened to what Moses was up against as Pharaoh shouted, ““Why on earth, Moses and Aaron, would you suggest the people be given a holiday? Back to work!” Pharaoh went on, “Look, I’ve got all these people bumming around, and now you want to reward them with time off?” I am assuming and imagining that Pharaoh shouted these words at the thought of losing his workforce, even for a few days. I am also assuming that Moses and Aaron didn’t put a fight. They only said God’s words and left.
Now times are tougher for the Hebrews. They are so beaten down, tired and weak that when Moses tries to reassure them that it wasn’t last forever, that God will bring them out of this present trouble, they don’t believe him. In fact their whining and groaning under the weight of bondage drives them to anger with Moses and ultimately with God.
Now Moses feels he cannot possibly do this work God has invited him to do. So God reassures him, “I AM God. I WILL bring you out…” Moses delivers God’s words of assurance to the Hebrews but they are too angry and weak to hear it. They only see the daily, heavy work load they are enslaved to doing.
Let’s pick up God’s story and see where this leads…
Exodus 6, The Message
God said to Moses, “Now you’ll see what I’ll do to Pharaoh: With a strong hand he’ll send them out free; with a strong hand he’ll drive them out of his land.”
2-6 God continued speaking to Moses, reassuring him, “I am God. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as The Strong God, but by my name God (I-Am-Present) I was not known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the country in which they lived as sojourners. But now I’ve heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I’ve remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the Israelites:
6-8 “I am God. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment. I’ll take you as my own people and I’ll be God to you. You’ll know that I am God, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM God.”
9 But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.
10-11 Then God said to Moses, “Go and speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt so that he will release the Israelites from his land.”
12 Moses answered God, “Look—the Israelites won’t even listen to me. How do you expect Pharaoh to? And besides, I stutter.”
13 But God again laid out the facts to Moses and Aaron regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he again commanded them to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.
The Family Tree of Moses and Aaron
14 These are the heads of the tribes:
The sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi—these are the families of Reuben.
15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Saul, the son of a Canaanite woman—these are the families of Simeon.
16 These are the names of the sons of Levi in the order of their birth: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Levi lived 137 years.
17 The sons of Gershon by family: Libni and Shimei.
18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Kohath lived to be 133.
19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi.
These are the sons of Levi in the order of their birth.
20 Amram married his aunt Jochebed and she had Aaron and Moses. Amram lived to be 137.
21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg, and Zicri.
22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.
23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she had Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These are the families of the Korahites.
25 Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel and she had Phinehas.
These are the heads of the Levite families, family by family.
26-27 This is the Aaron and Moses whom God ordered: “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt clan by clan.” These are the men, Moses and Aaron, who told Pharaoh king of Egypt to release the Israelites from Egypt.
“I’ll Make You as a God to Pharaoh”
28 And that’s how things stood when God next spoke to Moses in Egypt.
29 God addressed Moses, saying, “I am God. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I say to you.”
30 And Moses answered, “Look at me. I stutter. Why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
Why is the family tree of the 12 Tribes of Israel plopped right in the middle of this crises? Because God is reminding Moses and Aaron where they came from and who they are and then tells them where they are going. They needed to be reminded.
God then reiterates the mission. “I am God. Tell Pharaoh…”
Moses, full of fear after his first failure to communicate to Pharaoh, returns to the list of all his weaknesses.
Do we do that?
When we fail do we immediately list all our human weaknesses and inabilities as a way to explain the failure?
We can’t be too hard on Moses then, can we?
In 6:1-12 we see how the crisis, which now existed as a result of Pharaoh’s obstinately uncooperative attitude toward God’s authority speaking through Moses/Aaron dramatically worsened situation, provided a setting for the needed demonstration of God’s character.
“I am God. I will bring you out…I will rescue you…I will redeem you…”
Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was sent down from heaven to do the same for us. He brought us out of sin, rescued us from a life enslaved to evil that leads only to death and redeem us by His blood to pay for our sin for life, life eternal with Him!
Love, mercy, grace is the character of God. Let us not forget that in our own troubles in this imperfect world. God will bring us out, rescue us and has provided The Way to redeem us.
Dear Heavenly Father,
YOU are the WAY out of this current situation that the world is fighting to control. As we quarantine, draw close and reassure us that you are God. Out of the bad, you bring your goodness to the situation but many people coming together. Continue that trend as You will bring us out of this trouble.
I know You will rescue us. You have already redeemed us and for that we are eternally grateful. Help us turn our whining into praise and our groanings into gratitude for Who you are and What you are doing in and through us as we wait for the day when we can leave our homes once again.
I pray for those who are working to heal the sick and for those trying to control the spread of this virus. Give us all wisdom. This, too, will pass. Great is Your Faithfulness, O God, our Father.
In Jesus Name, Amen