In Exodus 6, the LORD finally chooses to act in the face of the defiance of Pharaoh and the groaning of His people. The background is that, when Moses and Aaron go to the Egyptian king, Pharaoh has dared to ask the question, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice?” (Exodus 5:2) For this question, Pharaoh will pay a heavy cost, but initially the LORD ignores his impudence and lets him rage and strut and exercise his authority over Israel. The people complain to Moses that their God appears to be doing nothing but causing them trouble. The LORD does not seem to be acting on their behalf or doing anything to rescue His people. (5:22-23)
But that all changes in chapter 6. “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh (6:1).” The LORD has been patient long enough and now it is time for Him to arise and to put into effect His plan to rescue His people and to ruin the entire kingdom of Pharaoh. NOW the time has come for the LORD to act.
BIBLE STUDY OF THREE VERSES
The LORD begins Exodus 6:6 with the declaration, “I am the LORD.” This is significant because this is an answer to Pharaoh’s fateful question in 5:2, “Who is the LORD?” The LORD will make it abundantly clear who He is as He destroys the nation of Egypt and delivers His people from bondage in Egypt. Pharaoh derisively asks, “Who is the LORD? -> “I am the LORD.” Pharaoh will not be confused ever again about who the LORD is.
But also notice that the declaration, “I am the LORD” forms two bookends to this passage-within-a-passage. Here in these three verse the LORD makes eight promises of what He will do personally or what He will cause to happen by His actions and the LORD precedes these promises with the statement “I am the LORD,” and He punctuates the end of His promises with the statement “I am the LORD.” It is the LORD who will do these things, and the LORD will not remain hidden. He is the great God of all the earth, the God who can fulfill any promise He makes, and He will bring His people out of Egypt and He will destroy the people of Egypt. The LORD is the one who can make promises of salvation and deliverance and victory, and the LORD is the one who will bring them to pass.
THE PROMISES THEMSELVES
- 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 hand and with great acts of judgment AND
- 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 AND
- 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 for a possession.
BRIEF COMMENTS ON THE PROMISES
Each promise by itself is almost unbelievable, but to consider that the LORD makes these eight impossible promises in rapid succession is truly impressive. Also note that all of the promises are unconditional. That is, they do not depend on any other event taking place and they do not rely on another person or persons doing anything to allow them. Thus, if these promises do not come to pass and they are not fulfilled, the only one who has failed is the LORD. But the LORD has declared these promises and they will surely come to pass. The LORD needs no help to accomplish His will.
The LORD promises to bring the helpless and weak children of Israel out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, the most powerful nation on earth. In the face of overwhelming opposition, the LORD makes an unconditional promise of relief and deliverance.
The LORD promises to deliver the children of Israel from their slavery to the Egyptians. The only one that they will serve, and, indeed, must serve is YHWH. The LORD is setting them free from slavery to the Egyptians so that they can serve Him and Him only.
The LORD promises to redeem the children of Israel. This redemption is both a buying out of current slavery and a bringing into one’s own possession or into one’s own family. In this redemption, then, by His great power the LORD not only rescued Israel from their misery and slavery, but He also brought them into His own possession. By the way, this is the same “redeem” that is used by Boaz in the book of Ruth. It describes the redemption that comes from the kinsman-redeemer that involves the paying of a price to receive the one redeemed.
The LORD promises to take Israel to be His people. Out of all the nations on the earth the LORD chose Israel and from this point on they are going to be identified as the people of YHWH.
The LORD also promises to be their God. He will be their God not as an idol to be worshiped or as a demon to whom they will offer sacrifice, but He will be their God in the sense that He will be their Savior and their refuge and their hope and the one who will shower them with blessings and who will defend them from their enemies. He will give them His righteous laws and He will expect them to worship Him as the God who is holy and who is worthy of all praise. As their God, He will be the center of their lives.
The LORD promises that the children of Israel will know that it was the LORD who brought them out from the house of Egypt. The implication of this is that, because they have seen the wonders and the power of the LORD, they will be faithful to keep His commandments and they will be His witnesses to the rest of the world about the glory of the LORD.
The LORD promises not only to bring them out of the land of Egypt (see above), but He also promises to bring them into the land that He swore to give to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. At the time of this promise, the children of Israel were an enslaved nation of almost two million people living hundreds of miles away from the Promised Land under the oppression of the most powerful nation on earth. That even a small number of them would manage just to escape from the land of Egypt seemed wildly optimistic, but the LORD promises that the entire nation will certainly enter the land sworn to the patriarchs.
Finally, the LORD promises that the land will be given to His people as a permanent possession. The LORD will see to it that His people do not merely live in the land for a short time, but they will abide in His land with the LORD as their God and they will enjoy His blessings and His presence.
THE GOSPEL IN THE LORD’S PROMISES
As we examine and review these promises, we begin to see that these promises foreshadow the gospel that will be fully revealed in the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. We know that all the promises of the Lord are ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’ in Jesus (2 Cor 1:20). In the gospel, as in these promises, the Lord brings those who are helpless and weak out from their slavery to sin and He brings them into His land of promise. The Lord has redeemed us at the price of the death of His Son to bring us into His family as His adopted children. The Lord paid a huge price to redeem us from our condemnation.
In the gospel, we who were not a people have become the very people of God. We were a scattered mongrel race with shameful fathers and with dead idols, and we had no hope and we were without God in this world. But God chose us to be His people and He cleaned us up and He gave us a robe and a ring and a new name, and He is leading us to an eternal home that will be our permanent possession. Virtually every promise made by the LORD in these three verses in Exodus 6 have a direct parallel in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
APPLICATION AND CONCLUSION
Once again, we can see that the Lord has concealed the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in another Old Testament passage to give us a foretaste of the glory that will come in Christ. By studying these passages, we will begin to comprehend the power of God’s plan of redemption and to easily recognize that Jesus is the Christ and so have life in His name.
SDG rmb 2/16/2019