Last week we began the study of Shemot, or the Book of Exodus. I want to thank Geoff Dobbin for filling in for me. As always, he did a great job.
Today we pick up with the continuation of Hashem’s call on the life of Moses. He has already tried speaking with Pharaoh on behalf of Israel only to inadvertently increase the harsh burden on their lives. Moses is pretty much defeated at this point. He tried, and in his mind, failed miserably. But God was not the least bit worried about the situation.
Listen again to what He said to Moses.
Exodus 6:2-5 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, “I am Adonai. (3) I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, as El Shaddai. Yet by My Name, Adonai, I made Myself known to them? (4) I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage where they journeyed. (5) Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of Bnei-Yisrael, whom the Egyptians are keeping in bondage. So I have remembered My covenant.
God called to mind His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. How he made an everlasting covenant with His people. And how He now has heard their cries for help and is going to uphold his part of the covenant.
What follows are Seven Promises for the Children of Egypt. Every year we observe the feast of Pesach, or Passover. When we do that, the Sages have told us to observe it as if we personally, were the ones that were brought out of Egypt. We are to identify with our ancestors in their trials and also in their triumphs. So listen to these promises laid out by Hashem and apply them to your own situation.
Exodus 6:6-8 Therefore say to Bnei-Yisrael: I am Adonai, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will deliver you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. (7) I will take you to Myself as a people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Adonai your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. (8) So I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, and (I will) give it to you as an inheritance. I am Adonai.”
1. Separation – I will bring you out. Israel had been in Egypt over 400 years. They had arrived as economic refugees fleeing a famine in Canaan and were now slaves of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Their conditions were miserable. They lived a harsh and cruel existence subject to the whims of the Egyptian leadership. Israel had survived famine, and insufferable bondage, and even the slaughter of their male babies.
And yet, through all of the years of misery, HaShem had kept them intact as a people. Now He was calling them out. He was separating them for their captors, from their labors, from their Misery.
2. Freedom – I will deliver you from your bondage. God was not going to just wave His strong arm and declare that Israel was His Chosen People. Not only did He separate them from the population of Egypt, He declared them free from bondage. This was an emancipation proclamation on the order of and perhaps greater than the one declared by Abraham Lincoln.
3. Redemption – I will redeem you. When someone is redeemed, there is a price to be paid. In the case of slaves, there was a set value in the Bible for redeeming a slave. There was also a price to be paid for the redemption of Israel. Only in this case, instead of paying money to the captors, the captors paid the price of redemption for the Children of Israel. Egypt’s land, economy and population lay in ruins. And yet, there was another installment to be paid by Egypt. The price was the lives of their first born.
4. Selection – I will take you as my own. Out of all the nations of the world, God chose the nation of Israel. Even when it was not yet a nation, but a loose collection of tribes. God chose to make one nation special, that He would call His own.
5. Admission – I will bring you into the land. Israel was going to leave Egypt. God was making sure of that, but then they had to go somewhere. That somewhere was the land that he had promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to long ago. Through His sovereignty, HaShem was opening up the land to Israel. Israel’s job was to follow God’s leading and trust in Him.
6. Clear Title – (I will) give it to you as an inheritance. The land that was promised was in the possession of 7 different nations. They had been there a very long time, even before Abraham first came to the Land. In the eyes of all the world then and strangely, even in today’s world, Israel had no claim to the Land. And yet God said it belonged to Israel. He made the land; it was His to give to whomever He would. The people of Canaan had rejected God’s ways and had fallen into the pits of depravity. They were bereft of a moral code. And now they were under judgement. Their claim to the land was revoked.
7. Relationship – I will be your God. Probably the most important part of the promises of Exodus Chapter 6 was the assurance that the King of the Universe, the Great Creator, was not only claiming Israel for his own, they were going to have a special relationship with Him. The most immediate effect was HaShem’s presence at Sinai and His dwelling in the Mishkan. This relationship was further enhanced by sending a Moshiach and His Ruach, not only for Israel, but that all the nations would be blessed.
Today as we sit here, I dare say there is no one who has been a slave. And probably very few of us have been in a prison. But we have all at one time been a slave of sin and imprisoned by yetzer hara or evil inclinations. Perhaps a slave to addictions. Rav Shaul, the apostle Paul said that there was something inside him that wanted to do bad even when he wanted to do good. Sound familiar?
But just as we were once enslaved in Egypt, Adonai hears our cries today. He remembers our plight.
1. He separates us out of the muck and mire we sometimes find ourselves in.
2. He frees us from the bondage that has so long held us. John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed!
3. Adonai, through the sacrifice of Yeshua on the execution stake, paid the ransom for our souls. We have been redeemed and can have right standing before God. 1 Peter 1:18 You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
4. God has made us his own. He is our heavenly Father. James 2:23 The Scripture was fulfilled that says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness”—and he was called God’s friend. Because of the promises of God we too are a friend of God
5. We have been granted entry into a heavenly kingdom. 2 Peter 1:10-11 Therefore, brothers and sisters, make all the more effort to make your calling and election certain—for if you keep doing these things, you will never stumble. (11) For in this way entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Messiah Yeshua, will be richly provided for you.
6. We have a rich inheritance in Yeshua. Colossians 3:24 For you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as a reward. It is to the Lord Messiah you are giving service.
7. God grants us an intimacy with Him that is described very inadequately as the relationship between a husband and wife. Revelation 21:9 …“Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”