God had a message to Moses regarding the Israelites that also reflects His good character and intentions towards us today:
6 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. 7 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. 8 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.’” Exodus 6:6-8 (ESV)
There are seven “I will” promises made by God to His people here, seven things that God said He would do for the Israelites in Egypt. The Lord will also do each of these seven things for us today to free us from our own captivities, if we will seek Him.
First, God says that he will bring us out from under the burdens we are facing. For the Israelites, it was extreme hardship and slavery. For us today, it can be any kind of weight that the Lord will help lift from us. Jesus said that His yoke is easy and burden light (Matthew 11:30), so we can exchange our oppression for the much lighter burden of the Lord. Jesus also expressed His desire that we, His followers, be at peace. It is hard to be at true peace unless the hand of God is present to begin lifting away and lightening the things that are holding us down.
God told the Israelites that he will deliver them from slavery. Many of us are also enslaved, but to an addiction, condition, or an unbreakable habit, rather than a human master. These burdens can greatly degrade the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us, bringing some of us to the point of loneliness, death, or incarceration. The Lord has said that He will free us from our addictions if we surrender to Him and turn our will and our lives over to his care. This is the basis of many successful recovery programs, as God begins to do for us what we have not been able to do for ourselves.
Third, God says that he will redeem the Israelites with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgement. In Moses’ case, the acts of judgment were terrible plagues against the Pharaoh and his supporters, forcing their hand to deliver the Israelites to freedom. In our case, the greatest act of judgment was against Jesus on the cross, where He bore the penalty and curse of our sins for us. This was the ultimate act of love and redemption, sealed once and for all when Jesus arose from the dead, later ascending to be at the Father’s right hand in heaven. Jesus bore ALL of our painful judgment through His loving and sacrificial act, asking only that we place our faith in Him.
Fourth, the Lord told the Israelites that he would take them to be his people. When we express faith in Christ to become his follower, we become one of His people, His bride, the universal church. He is our God, and we know Him. We seek Him daily to allow the Holy Spirit to work within us to improve our character and to replace our sinful nature with a godly one. His divinity within us, the Holy Spirit, becomes the true gold in our lives. The Lord guides us and leads us to do good works for Him and to be part of the hands and feet of Christ on earth.
And one day, when we are ready to pass from this life to the next, He promises to bring us with Him to a good land, to live with and experience His loving wonders forever.
What promises he gave to the Israelites then, and what wonderful promises he gives to us today!
But just as day to day life is not often easy for us, the fulfillment of God’s promises to the Israelites in Egypt did not come easily or without times of crisis and doubt for them. After Moses unveiled God’s plan of freedom to the people, the Pharaoh pushed back harshly, and life became even more difficult for them for a season. The people and even Moses himself began to question whether or not God would actually follow through on His promises.
9 Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. Exodus 6:9 ESV
Like today, things often become darker just before the dawn as fresh light is about to spring forth. Days of breakthrough and progress can be followed by days of setbacks. But God IS faithful. If we stay the course and stick with Him in faith, He will see us through even the most difficult of trials.
Discouragement is not a new phenomenon; it has been with people since the beginning. But God heard the Israelites’ cries, and moved forward in power to bring them out from under the burden of slavery, just as He said He would. This act was a bold proclamation that He exists and has a deep love for them, and us. It took a series of ten plagues before the tenth one, Passover, finally encouraged Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, but let them go he did.
What discourages you today? If you could take one deep struggle, bad habit, or addiction before the Lord, what would it be?
No matter how many times we have failed God in the past, He has promised to show us a new path to success so as to enjoy life to the fullest, with a peace, serenity, and joy that only God can give.
Lord, we come to You to claim Your “I will” promises for our own life. Be our Lord and bring us into Your family with forgiveness for all we have done through the cross of Christ. Deliver us from the burdens that oppress us, both internal and external. Thank You for the peace, love, and joy that Your Holy Spirit brings. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.