The deliverance didn’t begin the way Moses or the people would have anticipated. They figured since God was involved and had come down to deliver them, Pharaoh would bow down and oblige. But life on earth is much more complex than that. God’s plan is deeper, and man has a free will that God does not violate.
God explains briefly to Moses, that He was about to use Pharaoh’s resistance to punish the nation of Egypt so that both Israel AND Egypt would know who He is – the LORD God almighty!
God reveals His personal name to Moses in Exodus 6:2-3. As you read through the Bible you’ll notice the use of the words Lord and LORD (all caps) for God. Lord is the Hebrew word Adonai and is the equivalent to our English title Lord. But LORD (all caps) is God’s covenant name as revealed here in Exodus 6 (probably Yahweh). Because the Jews were afraid to say His Name fearing that they might take it in vain, they we’re not certain on the exact pronunciation, because of the fact that there were no vowel letters in Hebrew. All that to say, when you read Lord, you’ll know it’s just that, but when you read the word LORD, you’ll know it’s His personal covenant name. For more information on this topic you can check out this article at Got Questions.
The LORD had heard the groaning of His people, He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and He once again promised to redeem them from Egypt with an outstretched arm and bring them into the Promised Land. We read the best part of all in:
Exodus 6:7 (NKJV) “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
God was taking Israel as His people, personally! Moses relayed the message to the people, but they refused to listen any longer, they had become too discouraged by their difficulty.
This section reminds me that God is personal and has personal promises for all of us. We who are Christians have an even better covenant than the Abrahamic, or Mosaiac, or Old Covenant offered back then. We have entered into a Covenant with God through His Son, and the New Covenant is actually filled with better promises (Hebrews 8:6). Be encouraged my friend, God will defeat all of our enemies, work it all out for good, and lead us into the Promised Land.
The genealogy in Exodus 6 moves quickly to that of Moses and Aaron who we come to discover are of the Tribe of Levi. We have the names of their parents, Amram and Jochebed (Exodus 6:20) and we learn that Aaron was 3 years older than Moses (Exodus 7:7). Aaron was 83 and Moses was 80 years old when they began this new adventure. It’s never too late for a new beginning!
When the LORD says He’s made Moses as God to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:1), it’s not that He’s making Moses a member of the Godhead, it’s just that the LORD is about to raise Moses up, “sky-high” in the sight of Pharaoh and make him, in one sense, His representative on earth.
The next round in the battle is Moses and Aaron going into the presence of Pharaoh, issuing God’s command to let His people go. Watching Aaron’s rod transformed into a snake and swallow up their rod spoke volumes to them, but they wouldn’t listen. Yes, the enemy can work his lying wonders (2 Thessalonians 2:9) to a certain extent, but as we’ll see, he has limits and they pale in comparison to the power of God.
Tragically, Pharaoh’s heart GREW hard. We will see as we follow the story on this, that for the first 5 plagues, Pharaoh hardens his own heart – and then, when he crosses the line, GOD will harden Pharaoh’s heart for His own purposes. May we be so very careful never to harden our hearts to God…because it might GROW even harder.
The first plague was turning the water to blood. The Egyptians worshipped gods connected to the Nile River, but the LORD is about to defeat their gods (Exodus 12:12) with the 10 plagues He would bring their way (see chart below). Pharaoh arrogantly proclaimed that he didn’t know the LORD – who He was (Exodus 5:2) but he would eventually learn the hard way, by the time all this is said and done.
The section deals with 2 huge issues in life – Forgiveness and Marriage.
No doubt Peter thought he was being generous with his question and statement:
Matthew 18:21 (NKJV) “Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’”
The Rabbinic teaching of the day said one needed to forgive only up to 3 times. Jesus responds however, with a much higher figure, 7 x 70, in other words, no limits should be set to our forgiveness of others. Isn’t that how the Lord is with us?
Jesus goes on to illustrate with a story of a man who owed his master 10,000 talents (millions of dollars, 375 tons of silver). A talent was the equivalent to 6,000 denarii; a denarii was the sum of a day’s wages. So if we do the math, the debt owed was what a working man would earn in 160 years! But the master forgave him this debt.
The forgiven man then goes out and presses charges against someone who owes him 100 denarii (what a working man would earn in a little over 3 measly months). His fellow servant begged for mercy, but there was none to be found, and he had him thrown into prison.
When the Master found out what happened, he was called to give an account and the formerly forgiven man was unforgiven and delivered to the torturers, until he should pay all that he owed.
Jesus goes on to explain in very plain language:
Matthew 18:35 (NKJV) “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
How I need to remind myself about this principal of forgiveness, deeply and daily. To make sure, to be absolutely certain that I’ve forgiven anyone who has sinned against me! As George Herbert said, “He who cannot forgive, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.”
Sometimes through our unforgiveness we put people in prison, lock them up, and throw away the key. God sees and God sentences; blessed is the person who trembles at His Word (Isaiah 66:2).
Let’s do our utmost to practice the mandate of:
Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV) “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
Moving on to marriage, again, the Rabbinical teaching was unclear. Some said it was insignificant to get a divorce, that one could divorce his wife for burning his food, for talking too loud, if he found someone else – all that was required was to do the paperwork (issue a certificate of divorce).
But Jesus makes God’s will clear and takes this question back to the original (origin of) marriage. All marriages are seen like this in the sight of God, put together by Him, and no one should separate what God has joined together.
The only exception to this binding bond of marriage is adultery and abandonment (Matthew 19:9; 1 Corinthians 7:15).
For some (including the Apostles) this was radical thinking. But that’s only because they had been desensitized by society. God knows best, He knows that families need to stay together for they are the fabric of society. God knows that our children need the presence of both mom and dad daily, and God knows that as husband and wife stay committed to Him and each other, we will survive the storms of life; our love will grow stronger and deeper as we do our best to love our spouse the way God loves us.
The disciples conclude it’s better not to marry (not true). The Bible says it’s better to marry (Matthew 19:10; 1 Corinthians 7:9) unless you have the gift of singleness.
Matthew 19:11-12 mentions those who are born with the gift of singleness, those who were forced to be single (the eunuchs of those days), and those who stay single for God, even though it doesn’t come naturally.
This is a tough chapter to briefly summarize, since every point is epic.
What an absolute blessing to have the LORD as my Shepherd, to be a part of His flock! Other Psalms also mention this Shepherd-Sheep relationship:
Psalm 95:7a (NKJV) “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.”
Psalm 100:3 (NKJV) “Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
As my Shepherd, He takes care of me, supplies all of my needs, gives me rest and peace in plush pastures. He leads me, restores me and He’s with me, even in the dark valleys of life (so I have nothing to fear). He protects me from myself and from my enemies, and that comforts me. The blessings at the table of the LORD are overflowing to the point that His goodness and mercy pursue me all the days of my life. And then one day, on that day, when the race I have to run is done, I will cross that threshold and enter that door and dwell in His house – forever.
What a beautiful Psalm! It’s no wonder that this Psalm is one of the most prominent works of literature in the history of the world!
Some teachers have noted that Psalms 22-24 correlate to the 3 Shepherd titles in the New Testament:
The Good Shepherd – Psalm 22 – John 10:11
The Great Shepherd – Psalm 23 – Hebrews 13:20
The Chief Shepherd – Psalm 24 – 1 Peter 5:4
Proverbs 5:22-23 (NKJV) “His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, and he is caught in the cords of his sin. 23 He shall die for lack of instruction, and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.“
He does it to himself. He can’t blame it on anyone else. Yes, he may have been seduced, but allowed himself to be trapped and caught in the cords of his sin. It leads to death (in every sense of the word). It could haven prevented if only he would have listened to those Bible teachers!
We’ve seen much folly in our society, men like Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein (and an innumerable amount of others) who get caught in their own cords and traps of sexual perversity. Make no mistake about it, such sin only leads to bondage!
If only these men would have heeded the Proverbs!
O Lord, please help us, please Holy Father, keep us pure.
If you have any questions or comments on today’s reading, or you’d like to share something the Lord showed you, feel free to leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you as we grow forward in 2021.