Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Exodus 6:28-30 and Exodus 7:1-6 The LORD Outlines His Plan

"Now when the LORD spoke to Moses in Egypt,
he said to him, 'I am the LORD.
Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.'

But Moses said to the LORD,
'Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?'

Then the LORD said to Moses,
'See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh,
and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.
You are to say everything I command you,
and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.

But I will harden Pharaoh's heart,
and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt,
he will not listen to you.
Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment
I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.

And the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD
when I stretch out my hand against Egypt
and bring the Israelites out of it.'

Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD commanded them.
Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh."

Exodus 6:28-30; 7:1-6

God reminds Moses about who He is -- the LORD.  He directs Moses to tell Pharaoh everything which he will tell Moses.  Moses still seems hesitant about his speaking abilities, so the LORD explains how all this is going to work:  Moses will say everything which God commands him to say, and Aaron will tell the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of Egypt.  I notice that although God says that it will be as though Moses is God (not in actuality, but in the way he will proclaim God's commands) and Aaron is functioning as his prophet (in that he will convey what Moses wants him to say), God does not rule out that Moses may speak directly to Pharaoh at times.

However, God lets Moses know that Pharaoh will not be receptive to his message.  In fact, God says that He will harden Pharaoh's heart.  Before we start thinking that something unfair is going on here -- (how could  Pharaoh respond in a positive way if God has hardened his heart?) -- let me say that this information which God is conveying to Moses is not the full story, but just an outline of what will actually occur.  As we will see in the next few sections/posts, Pharaoh has plenty of opportunity to respond to God with his own free will before his heart becomes hardened.  Right here, though, God is just telling Moses that eventually Pharaoh's heart will be hardened, and he will not respond well to Moses' message.

Miraculous signs and wonders will be displayed, but it will take God's hand and mighty acts of judgment before the Israelites will be able to leave Egypt.  Yet God will bring His people (whom he refers to as 'my divisions', which is a very military image) out of Egypt in the end.

Moses and Aaron obey what the LORD commands them to do.  The text notes that Moses is eighty years old, while his brother Aaron is eighty-three, when this whole adventure begins.  That makes me laugh, to think that God will take these older men and bring them into the most important task of their lifetimes when they are in their eighties.  I think it is wonderful.  It shows that it is the LORD, not our own strength or abilities, which allows us to accomplish anything.  I also note that it is their obedience to the LORD which sets this plan into motion.  However, it is very clear that it is the LORD who will accomplish the task of bring the Israelites out of Egypt, as He had promised.

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