Saturday, September 10, 2011

Exodus 3:16-17 The Message

"Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them,
'The LORD, the God of your fathers --
the God of your fathers --
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob --
appeared to me and said:
I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.
And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt
into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites,
Hivites and Jebusites --
a land flowing with milk and honey.'
Several things which I noticed about this passage:
  • The 'LORD' is capitalized again and God also identifies Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He makes it abundantly clear who the message is from and also,
  • God wants the message to go to the elders of Israel.  In this way, Moses is not seen as someone coming to the Israelites on his own authority.
  • God has been watching over the Israelites, even during their sufferings.  One might ask why He did not intervene sooner, but this is because He has been working out His plan.  They had suffered greatly, yet imagine how bad it would have been if God had not been watching over them.
  • God has seen everything which had been done to them in Egypt.  Their exhausting physical labors, unfair punishments, every hidden atrocity -- all would one day be avenged. Every unjust act would receive due consideration and judgement.  However, God did not stop there...
  • God is going to keep His promise.  He had told Abraham that his descendants would be enslaved and mistreated for four hundred years, but that afterwards they would come out with great possessions. (Genesis 15:13-14).

    Abraham's son Isaac and his descendants were also promised the land. (Genesis 26:3-5)

    When Isaac's son Jacob had his dream at Bethel, God had said that the land which He had promised to Abraham and Isaac would also be for Jacob and his descendants after him. (Genesis 35:12)

    Later, Jacob assured his son Joseph that God would be with him and take him back to the land of his fathers. (Genesis 48:21) 

    When Joseph was dying, he assured his brothers that God would come to their aid and take them to the land which He had promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. (Genesis 50:24)  [In fact, Joseph repeated this in the next verse and made his brothers swear that they would take his bones with them back to the promised land.]

    Now, after Joseph and his brothers and all that generation had died (Exodus 1:6), God is  reminding the elders of Israel about this promise and finally, after so many years, preparing to fulfill it. 

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