The Lord Your God
Moses accused the Lord of doing evil to the people of Israel. In Exodus 5:22-23, Moses says:
Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, "O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all." ()
Moses is considered a man of God. He was used by God to deliver God’s people out of their slavery in Egypt and to give the law. But, here he is accusing God of doing wrong.
Have you ever accused God? Have you ever asked something like, “Why did you ever send me?”
Moses is not the only one in Scripture who made such accusations against God. For example, Job accused God of turning cruel toward him without cause.
God answered Job by showing Job who God is. God answers Moses by proclaiming to Moses who He is.
God begins His answer to Moses with a statement of His purpose. He says:
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. ()
We see God’s purpose in that He is going to show His strong hand through Pharaoh. God is using Pharaoh to demonstrate His power. Men and Women/mankind tend to think of themselves as mighty and powerful. Kings and queens are at the pinnacle or height of human power. Pharaoh was the leader of the mightiest nation on earth. He was the ruler of one of the greatest cultures in history. And, God is going to use Pharaoh to show His power. In Exodus 9:16, God tells Pharaoh:
But for this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. ()
It does not matter how we think we have risen to power or position. God says He raised Pharaoh up, and this is true of each of us. In the Biblical account of Esther, her relative Mordecai points out that God raised her up “for such a time as this.”
God is not helpless before time and chance. The Psalmist tells us:
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. ()
God knows the days that were formed for me before one of them has passed. God does not explain to us how we can exercise the power of choice, and yet He remains completely sovereign. However, He explains:
As Moses confronts the Sovereignty of God in light of the adverse events of his first encounter with Pharaoh, he is disappointed and angry with God. He says, “Why did you ever send me?” In Exodus 6:2-8, God answers Moses’ questions. He has stated His purpose “to show His power,” and now God explains some about His person.
God acts based on who He is!
Humanity acts based upon who we are, and our history is not pretty. Pharaoh’s mistreatment and oppression of the Hebrews is not an exception in history. It is normal. The same stuff is going on in our world today. Slavery, cruelty, injustice, and the like have not gone away and in some ways have gotten worse. This is because of who we are as human beings.
God acted based on who He was at the time He delivered Israel, at the time of the Cross, and He will act in the same way today. God tells us four things about Himself in today’s passage that assure us of how He will act.
First, He tells us His name (His character).
He tells us:
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 the Lord I did not make myself known to them.” ()
The word or name “Yahweh/Jehovah” was known to Abraham and Isaac, according to Genesis, but God had not “made Myself known.” This indicates a fuller revelation of Himself than had been seen up to this time. We understand the same thing in the New Testament as Hebrews 1:1-3 says:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. ()
As indicated by these verses, the revelation of God to His people is progressive. Revelation builds upon itself so that new revelations add to what is already known. At the time of Jesus, the only Scripture available was the Old Testament. Now we have the New Testament in addition to the Old Testament. The Scriptures are complete and not to be added to, but God will still reveal more when Jesus returns.
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had seen the mighty power of God and were experiencing God as a covenant-making God, but now Moses and the people of Israel were going to experience more of the meaning of God’s covenant name. In the same manner, we now know more fully what it means that God is our Savior because of what Jesus did on the cross.
Along with His name, God reveals His faithfulness.
God is a faithful God. This means He keeps His promises. He does not lie, He does not forget, and He does not change.
In Exodus 6:4-5, God says:
I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. ()
Hundreds of years later, God has not forgotten His covenant. He promised to make Abraham into a great nation, and now He is going to keep that promise. In Genesis 15:13-14, God promised Abraham both that his offspring would be slaves in a foreign land and that God would deliver them from their slavery after 400 years.
God is faithful. He does not change. He keeps His word. Jesus said it best when He said:
For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. ()
The name and the faithfulness of God form a firm foundation for our faith. But, God does not stop with these two things. He next shows us His grace, tender mercies or compassion.
In Exodus 6:6-7, He says:
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.’ ()
Pay special attention to the statement, “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God.” God is stating His intention to adopt these people as His own. We know now that His purpose was to bring salvation to all nations through Jesus Christ, born King of the Jews. We know that God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) We see in the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt the act of a loving God who delivers us even when we do not deserve it.
We also have been made the people of God, His own special possession and partakers in the promises of God.
The name, faithfulness and compassion of God give us solid reasons to trust Him even when it seems that His promises have failed. He has demonstrated over and over that He is a merciful, loving Father to His children. But He takes it one step further in answering Moses’ complaints. He says:
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. ()
The Lord promises to bring them into the land. God’s promise to Abraham had been:
And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. ()
God’s promises include an inheritance, riches and blessings.
Some misunderstand the riches and look for worldly riches, but for us in the Church, the promises are not for money. Jesus told Pilate:
My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. ()
Please consider with me, many translations leave out the word “now” in this verse. The word is there in the Greek text I looked at. The significance of this is whether or not Jesus will set up an earthly kingdom at some point.
Psalms 24 tells us that “the Earth is the Lord’s.” However, if you will recall, God gave dominion over the earth to mankind, and when mankind sinned, he gave up dominion to the one who is called the prince and power of the air. Part of God’s redemption of the earth is the restoration of the natural order. Psalms 2:7-8 tells us:
I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.” ()
This earthly kingdom is for the Son of God to claim and possess. Jesus has left us, His gathering of those He has called out for Himself, a mission. He has given us a job, an assignment. He told us:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. ()
In short, we are to be building a kingdom, not of this realm. The riches and inheritance we seek are not those of the earth. Ephesians 1:3 explains to us:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, ()
The promise for us is found in John 14:1-3.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. ()
In one sense, the Israelites were looking for the same thing. What good would it have been to have the Promised Land, but not have eternal life? Yet, part of the promise of God was the land.
At the time of Moses, we see in Exodus 6:9-14 that neither the children of Israel or Moses and Aaron had the faith to take God at His word. The children of Israel were too defeated to believe and Moses was still stuck worrying about his own ability to speak. But God said, “Just do it!”
There are times when we have run up against things that leave us accusing God like Moses, and we have to take the word of God as truth even though we do not feel it. Sometimes faith requires us to “just do it” even though it seems useless to us.
For example, where is the promise of Jesus’ return? Hasn’t it been two thousand years? Why does He delay? Many have ceased believing He will ever come back. However, we must remember.
1. God’s name. (His character as revealed in history.)
2. God’s faithfulness.
3. God’s compassion.
4. God’s promises.