Scripture: 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. Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. Exodus 6:6, 9 ESV
Observation: In response to Moses’ despairing question of why the Lord sent him to speak to Pharaoh since nothing but trouble has ensued, Yahweh reiterates that he is the God of Moses’ forefathers and is a covenant keeper who will lead the nation to their Promised Land. Moreover, he has heard Israel’s groanings and will respond (6:1-5). So again, Yahweh tells Moses to assemble the people and declare that he is “I Am” and that he will deliver them from slavery with “an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment” (verse 6 above). But broken in spirit under the tyranny of slavery, the people disregard Moses’ words of encouragement (verse 6 above).
Takeaway: This is a tragic moment in the Exodus narrative. Four hundred years of steady decline, only to have their spirits lifted when Moses and Aaron announce that God will deliver them from slavery (verified by a miraculous sign), but now this deflating setback. Indeed, if we imagine how we would feel, we would surely sympathize with their despair. When broken in spirit, it’s hard to hear from the Lord when our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling. But our gracious Savior, who understands our oppression and suffering, has given us his Holy Spirit, who intercedes when words elude us (Romans 8:26).
So what’s our part? Unlike Israel in their moment of despair, listen. Patiently wait for his still, quiet voice in our thoughts, senses, and the assuring words of the community of believers. Listen and believe. Believe if nothing else that we worship a good God who invites us to cast our anxieties on to him because he cares about us and will lift us from our sorrows in due time (1 Peter 5:6-7). And if we continue to doubt, remember the life, death, and resurrection of the Son, all of which shouts to us: “I forgive you; you are delivered from sin’s oppression because I love you for all eternity.”
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for demonstrating your love for us by giving us your Son so that whosoever listens to and believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. So would you please help us to keep on listening? Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling