Into and Out of Egypt – The Lord’s Promise – Exodus 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. 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. 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 in the passage given above.  Seven things that God said that He would do for the Israelites in Egypt.  God will also do these seven things for us today if we seek Him.

First, God says that he will bring us out from under the burdens we are facing.  For the Israelites, it was a burden of extreme hardship and slavery.  For us today, it can be any kind of burden that the Lord will lift from us.  Jesus said that his yoke is easy and burden light (Matthew 11:30). We can exchange our heavy burdens for the light 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 God is lifting away or lightening our burdens.

God told the Israelites that he will deliver them from slavery.  Many of us are also enslaved, but to an addiction 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, even bringing us to the point of 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 does for us what we cannot 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 judgement were terrible plagues against the Pharaoh and his followers, forcing their hand to bring the Israelites’ freedom.  In our case today, the greatest act of judgement was against Jesus on the cross, bearing the penalty and curse of our sins for us.  This was the ultimate act of redemption, sealed once and for all when Jesus arose from the dead and ascended to the Father’s right hand in heaven.  Jesus bore all of our judgement through this loving and sacrificial act.

Fourth, the Lord told the Israelites that he would take them to be his people.  When we express faith in Jesus and become his follower, we also become one of his people, part of his church.  He is our God, and we know him as the One who delivered us from the burden of our sin.  We seek Him daily and allow his Holy Spirit to work within us to improve our character and replace our sinful nature with a godly one.  He places his divine nature within us through his Holy Spirit, and this becomes true gold in our lives.  Day by day, he works within us to make us more like Him and to also forgive all of our sins and shortcomings, only asking that as we repent, we forgive the sins and shortcomings of those around us.  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 this earth.

Finally, 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 worship Him forever.  

What wonderful promises he gave to the Israelites then, and what wonderful promises he gives to us, today!

But as day to day life is often not easy for us now, the fulfillment of his promises to the Israelites in Egypt did not come easily and without times of crisis and doubt for them.  As Moses unveiled God’s plan of freedom to the people, the Pharaoh pushed back harshly, and life became even more difficult for the Israelites for a season.  The people and even Moses began to doubt whether or not God would come through on his promises.   

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 for us today, things often become darker before the dawn as fresh light breaks forth.  Days of breakthrough often follow days of setbacks.  But God is faithful, and if we stay the course and stick by Him in faith, he will see us through even the most difficult of trials.

The people of Israel were so discouraged by their ongoing hardships that they did not believe the Lord was going to bring them through to freedom and a new life.  Discouragement is not a new phenomenon; it has been with man since the beginning.  Our negative feelings and outlook are often hidden behind a mask that suggests to others that “everything is OK”, but behind the mask is a desperate crying for help.

God heard the Israelites’ cries, and moved forward in power to bring them out from under the burden of slavery.  The very act of doing so was also a bold proclamation the He exists and has a deep love for them.  It took a series of ten plagues before the final one encouraged Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, but let them go he did.

Reflection: 

What discourages you the most today?  If you could reveal one deep struggle to God, what would it be?  Has God put a trusted person in your life that you can share with and pray with about it?

What bad habit or addiction in your life would you love to be freed from?  The Lord can and will make a way for that to happen if you sincerely turn to him.  It makes no difference how many times you may have failed in the past.  Turn to God now, and he will show you a new path, one that will allow you to succeed and to enjoy life to the fullest.  God will bring us a new life that we did not even believe possible if we seek and ask Him. 

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