The Dubious Delegate
Loving Lord, You are generous beyond measure. If I were to spend all day praising You, it would not be enough.
Read EXODUS 5:22—6:12
22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
6 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”
2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”
12 But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Not all his problems were solved, or all his questions answered, but the crucial action was Moses returned to where he belonged. He went to the only source of light and life—the Lord (22)” (Maxie Dunnam). Moses is a great example for us when we face troubles!
Have you ever assigned someone a job and then found that they raised so many objections and excuses that you gave up and got someone else to do it? Today’s section, in many ways a repeat of chapter 3, reminds us that God does not give up easily on those he has chosen, even when they want to give up on him! Moses complains that in spite of God’s words, he has “not rescued [his] people at all” (23); in fact he has made their situation worse. God’s response is not to berate Moses for lacking faith—after all, what Moses says seems to be true! What God does do is reaffirm who he is and what he is going to do. Moses’ first task now is to return to the “Israelites” (6), presumably first to the elders, although the implication is that this must be shared with the whole people. He must assure them that their ancestors’ God has now revealed himself to be the ever-present and ever-active Lord. This God is not only going to free them from Egypt but will also make them his very own people and give them the land promised to Abraham. The reason they should trust him is simply because of who he is. “I am the Lord” (2,6–8)!
Israel is being reassured that the promises made generations before are now given directly to its people. In a similar way, the communion service reminds us that the impact of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, which happened so long ago, is directly applicable to his people today as throughout the ages. This only makes sense if we also remember who God is. The Israelites had not yet grasped that. They saw only the awfulness of their current circumstances and therefore refused to listen to Moses.
In 6:1–6, how does God reaffirm his trustworthiness? Whom do you know who needs an encouraging reminder or promise of God’s power and presence? What will you say to them?
Lord, thank You for not giving up on me, even when I look only at difficulties and forget who You are and the certainty of the hope set before me.
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