O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? These are the words from Moses in Exodus 5. Perhaps you have spoken or thought similar phrases. Maybe you’ve thought to yourself, “Why is this happening to me?” or, “Why, God, are you allowing me to suffer?” Maybe you’ve spoken words like this, “I am being obedient. Therefore, this shouldn’t be taking place.” Okay, maybe you’ve never said those words exactly, but I think if we were all honest, we have all thought and/or spoken phrases similar to this.
Moses was commissioned by God to go speak to pharaoh on behalf of the Jewish people in Exodus 3 and 4. God told Moses that he would be the one that would lead the Jews out of slavery and out of Egypt. However, if you fast-forward to chapter 5, it seems that Moses’ obedience had only made things worse for the Jews. They had stricter demands placed upon them by Pharaoh. Instead of being delivered, they were now made to work harder. In fact, the luxury of having straw provided for their work was now taken away. Nevertheless, they still had to keep up the same production that they maintained previously.
After the foremen went to plead their case before pharaoh, the wretched tyrant double-downed on his strict demands. This caused frustration and anger to burn within the foremen to the point that, upon seeing Moses and Aaron, they said, “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us (Ex. 5:21).” Essentially the foremen were saying, “This is your fault. You just had to open your big mouth, huh? Thanks a lot guys.”
It’s within this context that Moses cries out to God in desperation (5:22). Moses questions God’s goodness, God’s purpose, and God’s action.
Imagine the despair that Moses must have felt in these moments. He was obedient to God. However, things were not looking up for the Jewish people living in slavery. Their burdens only increased. Frequently, this same despair creeps its way into our hearts and minds as we are faced with the reality of living in a broken world. Too often, in the midst of affliction and trial, we find ourselves questioning the trustworthiness of God. If this is you, I have good news for you: You’re not alone. God is with you. That’s right. God is with you. I know that’s hard to imagine in this moment, but it’s the truth of Scripture. God is with His people, even in the midst of suffering and despair. He has not left us. He is ever-present.
We see in Exodus 6 that God offers Moses six promises that are meant to encourage him in these difficult times. We see that God is sovereign, He is faithful, He saves, He will redeem, He will adopt, and He will grant an inheritance. My prayer is that these 7 truths will encourage you as you seek to follow God in a broken world.
First, God is sovereign. God responds to Moses in the beginning of chapter 6 and 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 this land (6:1).” God did not answer all of Moses’ questions, but He did remind Him of His sovereignty and power. God was reminding Moses that no plan of His could be thwarted. God had promised to deliver His people, and even the stubbornness and power of a pagan ruler could not change that. He would work all things out for the good of His people for the praise of His glory.
The 2nd Baptist London Confession of 1689 says, “God hath decreed in Himself, from all eternity, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably, all things, whatsoever comes to pass (3.1).” We know from Scripture that “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails (Prov. 19:21).” Further, we read, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose (Isaiah 46:10).” What we see in Scripture is that no one can make crooked what God has declared straight and no one can make straight what God has declared crooked. His purposes will be accomplished.
The truth of God’s providence, which means that God is orchestrating all things out for the good of His people and for the praise of His glory, however, does not mean that God will work everything out in our timing. The Jews were enslaved for 400 years at this point. Perhaps you’ve been afflicted for an extended duration. Don’t lose hope. God is still reigning, and He is still ruling. He has a purpose. Perhaps your extended affliction is designed to deepen your trust in the faithfulness of God and to increase your faith (see James 1:2-3).
Second, we see that God is faithful. God is a covenant-keeping God. He tells Moses in verses 2-5 that He is the God of their fathers. He promised to give them a promised land and He has not forgotten that promise. God consistently repeated this truth to His people throughout Scripture. He wanted them to be constantly reminded that He is a faithful God. He would provide for them. Ultimately, we know that God provided for His people in the incarnation. Jesus is the proof that God would provide for His people. If you have placed your faith and trust in the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ, rest assured that no matter what happens to you in this life, you will one day have a peaceful rest. May the doctrine of glorification encourage you in the dark moments of life.
Third, God would save His people. God said, “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them (6:6).” God will liberate His people. God would deliver His people out of bondage through the mediator, Moses. He was promising this unconditionally. There was not anything that the Jews did to deserve this liberation. God liberated them so that they would praise and worship Him as the Almighty God. We see that although the Jews were in fact liberated, the ultimate fulfillment of this is found in Jesus Christ. Paul says, “Jesus gave himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age (Gal. 1:14).” We have been set free from spiritual slavery through our mediator, Jesus Christ. He did for us, what we could not do for ourselves, which was perfect obedience to the Law of God.
Fourth, God redeems. God said, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment (6:6).” God was coming to defend, intervene, avenge, and rescue His people (Merida, Exodus, 43). He was going to redeem them, so that the ultimate family heir (Jesus Christ) would be preserved. This redemption would bring forth the Messiah. When you find yourselves in moments of despair and affliction, remember that you have a redeemer! Jesus Christ has intervened in your misery. God may not remove every temporal affliction, but He has removed an eternal one in Jesus Christ. May that encourage us as we seek to follow Him.
Fifth, God adopts. He says to Moses, “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God (6:7).” God was going to take Israel as His people through His redemption of them. What a wonderful display of God’s uncontested love. He would adopt for himself, a sinful people. Tony Merida recounts a story from MSNBC. There was a man named Benjamin. He was thrown into an 18-foot hole in a Nairobi slum. This was no ordinary hole. This was a public toilet. One day, a passing stranger heard his cry and spent two hours digging down into the muck (gross) to rescue him from death. Benjamin was then taken in by New Life Home Trust and eventually placed into the loving family of Dennis and Allison (Merida, Exodus, 44).
What a beautiful picture of what God did for the Jews in slavery, and what He has done for us. Paul says, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).” God redeemed our life from the pit, and He has placed us into His eternal family. Friend take heart. If you are alone, remember that if you are alone in this world, but you have placed your trust in Jesus Christ, you are a part of His family. The psalmist writes, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in (Ps. 27:10).”
Sixth, God grants an inheritance. He says, “I will bring you to the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession (6:8).” Wow! The New Testament takes this idea of a promised land and applies it to the new heavens and new earth. Because of Jesus Christ, we have an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you (1 Pet. 1:4). The inheritance that we have through Jesus Christ should be the light at the end of the tunnel. This is what gets us through the darkness. There is a day coming when Jesus Christ will return to retrieve His bride.
How amazing is that? Let us be reminded from this text, that we serve a faithful, loving, gracious, and good Father. He has provided for His people. He has saved us, He has redeemed us, He has adopted us, and He has given an inheritance. Friend, may the promises of God and the truth of the Gospel be the anchor of our souls in the darkest of nights. May these precious promises bolster our assurance that this is not the end. Though we live in darkness now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Press on. It’s worth it.
I leave you with the beautiful lyrics from the song, Afflicted Saint, to Christ Draw Near, which read,
Afflicted saint, to Christ draw near,
Your Savior’s gracious promise hear;
His faithful Word you can believe:
That as your days your strength shall be.
Your faith is weak, your foes are strong,
And if the conflict should be long,
The Lord will make the tempter flee
That as your days your strength shall be.
So, sing with joy, afflicted one;
The battle’s fierce, but the victory’s won!
God shall supply all that you need;
Yes, as your days your strength shall be.
Should persecution rage and flame,
Still trust in your Redeemer’s name.
In fiery trials you shall see
That as your days your strength shall be.
When called to bear your weighty cross
Or sore affliction, pain, or loss,
Or deep distress or poverty,
Still as your days your strength shall be.
Soli Deo Gloria
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