Tuesday, January 01, 2013

“Give This Message to the People, Moses” -- Exodus 6:6-9


“Say, therefore, to the sons 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 their bondage.  I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.  Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.  And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.’”  So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.
 
In the passages previous to this one, we read that Moses obeyed God, got frustrated with the outcome, and then God reminded him of Who He is, what He has done, and what He has promised.  But I love the beginning of this short passage, “Therefore, tell your fellow Hebrews . . .”.
As I study this passage, I have come to believe that one of its purposes is to remind us that our relationship with God, our knowledge of Who He is and what He has done and has promised, is to be shared with others, beginning with our own people –family, friends, coworkers, and countrymen/women.  This is all about ‘telling others’.  It is about ‘witnessing’.  And then God, in telling Moses what he is to say, gives us some instructions as to what we are to say.  God would have us tell people that:
1.     Our God is indeed, as we saw from the previous passage, more than just a Creator and Provider – He is our Lord with whom we can have a personal and intimate relationship, as a Father and a child.
2.     Because our God is a God of love, He is fully aware of their circumstances and their needs and that He will deliver them from any bondage they find themselves in.  For many people, life is no longer fun, only bondage.  When the curtain goes down, the patrons have left for after-theatre drinks, and the lights are dimmed, the actor is often left alone, tired, spent, and despondent.
3.     Because He is a God of justice, He will also deal with our enemy, the devil, as well as those that work with him.  Vengeance is indeed His and He will judge the evildoers and repay them accordingly.
4.     He wants us to be His people, His children and to know Him as a Father.  He wants to be our God and lead us and save us.  In short, God will redeem us from being slaves.  If not Him, who or what else?
5.     At the end of our journey, if He is our God and we are His children, we will get our promised land – we will get our reward of eternal life; our struggles will be over; and we will sing of our Redeemer’s praise.
The message could not be any simpler.  All of the above is now made possible for us, who were not originally “children of Israel” and thus were not Jews.  It is now possible for the whole world to participate fully in God’s desire to have us as His children and to save us, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  The New Testament thousands of years after God spoke these words and gave these instructions to Moses, instructs us so.
Now notice the interesting lack or absence of words between the completion of God’s utterance and Moses’ obedience.   The Bible simply says, “So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel.”  Wow.  Here were clear instructions, followed by immediate and complete obedience to them.  Are we as faithful, as trusting, as obedient?  Let us determine this day to be so, or at least to be more so than we have in the past.
Now here is the shocker.  This passage clearly warns us that even though we do all we are instructed to do in sharing with others our relationship with and in God, many, if not all, simply will not listen.  And they won’t listen, the Bible says, because of “their despondency and [their] cruel bondage”.  Despondency is defined as a state of low spirits caused by a loss of hope or courage -- often from years of ‘slavery’ or ‘bondage’ in our lives.  And the loss of hope or courage often comes from being or feeling defeated by the enemy, or believing that because of what they see around them, they cannot win; that life is indeed intended to be hard, and then you die.
You and I, as was Moses and Aaron in our story, are often the only chance these people of low spirits have of ever seeing things differently.  We are the only way that some of them will ever find the hope of having joy and purpose and peace again through Christ Jesus and of finding the courage to live life with Him one day at a time, realizing that each challenge He allows is for their ultimate strengthening and confidence, as well as their own mission in life.
Somehow, Moses was not getting that across to his own people, and as we will see, in the passages that follow, God moves in again.  Did Moses listen and continue with his mission?  We’ll find out.  The more pertinent question is, “Are we listening and continuing in Christ, sharing with others our story of redemption?”  I pray so.
[Are you looking for a speaker at your church, your club, school, or organization? Ken is available to preach, teach, challenge, and/or motivate. Please contact us.]

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