Shall we turn now in our Bibles to the book of Exodus? The first word of the book of Exodus is now. That word can also be translated and. When Moses originally wrote the first five books, there weren’t five books, it was just one book, one continuous book. It’s been divided into five, but it’s just a continuous story. Up until this point Moses had gathered together a collection of the stories in writing Genesis. Now he begins to give the history as he personally experienced it, and related to it. And so: the book of Exodus, written by Moses.
There are some men who would like to challenge the authorship of Moses, but no greater scholar than Jesus affirmed that Moses was the one that wrote the book of Exodus, and I’ll take the word of Jesus over any of these kooks that might come along and think differently. Jesus made reference to Moses in the Book of Moses, and then He quoted from Exodus, calling it “the book of Moses.” That’s good enough for me.
It has been some 300 years since Joseph has died. And so, from the end of the book of Genesis to the beginning of the book of Exodus, you have a period of about 300 years; and during that period of time, the household of Jacob, which is named here:
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad , and Asher, and those who were already there. Joseph and his family were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied, and grew exceedingly mighty.
So, as he describes the growth of the nation of Israel in Egypt, he uses the terms fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied, who grew exceedingly mighty. The seventy who went to Egypt had indeed multiplied to 600,000 men above the age of 20, which means a possible population of as many as 3,000,000 people. So, indeed, they were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied as they were in Egypt.
Now the LORD had prophesied to Abraham that his descendants would go down to Egypt and God would make of them a great nation there, but He would bring them up out of Egypt in 400 years. So, the 400 years of that sojourn in Egypt are about over. When Jacob prayed at Beersheba, God said, “Go down to Egypt,” or, “Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; I will make of thee there a great nation.” And so, God has kept His word; the prophesies that He made to Abraham and Jacob have now been fulfilled, a great nation has formed during this period in Egypt.
Now there arose a new king we are told over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.
It is thought that Joseph reigned during what was called the Hyksos dynasties, but now they have been overthrown. It was that Northern and Southern Egypt which were divided into two kingdoms, but they have been reunified and they no longer are indebted to Joseph, nor are they really caring about Joseph; it’s been almost 300 years since he died. The new Pharaoh, the new king said to his people:
Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mighty than we: Come, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it happen, in the event of war, that they also join our enemies, and fight against us, and so go up out of the land.
Now, the fear of the Pharaoh was that they would go out of the land. They had provided a tremendous slave labor force for Egypt. And so many of the great monuments in Egypt were built by the slave labor of the children of Israel. They were fearful of losing this labor core. They were fearful that when an enemy would invade them that the Israelis would turn against them themselves, and Egypt could be overthrown. Their presence now in Egypt posed a threat. However, he was fearful of their leaving because of the loss of the tremendous labor force.
So therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh supply cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. They began to really fear the children of Israel. So the Egyptians made the children of Israel serve with rigor. Harshness, literally. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, in brick, and in all manner of service in the field: all their service, in which they made them serve, was with harshness, rigor. Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of one was Shiphrah, and the other was Puah: and he said, When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and you see them on the birth stools; if it is a son, then you shall kill him: if it is a daughter, then save her alive. But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the male children alive. So the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said to them, Why have you done this thing, and saved the male children alive? And the midwives said to the Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; they are very active and lively, and they give birth before we can get there. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and grew very mighty. And so it was, because the midwives feared God, that He provided households for them. So Pharaoh commanded all of his people, saying, Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.
So the first chapter of Exodus is setting, now, the scene: as the children of Israel are multiplying, the Egyptians see them as a threat, they begin to afflict them, they make their labor more rigorous.
There are pictures from ancient Egypt of the Egyptians standing over these men who are laying bricks, holding a rod in their hand: the task masters, who, if a fellow started to slow down, would get a stripe across his back. If he wasn’t moving fast enough, a lash across his back with these rods. And so the children of Israel were now being oppressed, they were being pushed beyond measure, and yet, in all of the obstacles, they continued to multiply exceedingly. They continued to grow stronger. They continued to be a real threat to Egypt. Thus, the first chapter lays the picture.
Now, we come to a particular family:
A man of the house of Levi, went and took as wife a daughter of Levi Amram and Jochebed his wife. So the woman conceived, and bore a son: and when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him for three months.
Now, the final order of the Pharaoh was to the people themselves. ‘If you have a male son, you’ve got to throw him in the Nile River, you’ve got to get rid of him. If it’s a girl, then she can live, but the boys were to be put to death.’ However, here is a mother who sees that her little boy is such a beautiful little boy, she can’t bring herself to throw him in the river, and so she hides him. And for three months, she keeps him here.
But when she could no longer hide him, she took a little ark of bulrushes for him, and daubed it with asphalt and pitch, and put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the rivers bank. And his sister, whose name was Miriam, stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.
Now in a sense, she was fulfilling the commandment of the Pharaoh. He said to put the boy babies in the river. So she did. However, she had made a little basket and waterproofed it with the pitch; and so he was there floating in the reeds by the rivers bank. And his sister was standing back to watch the basket to find out what would become of her little brother.
It must have been quite a traumatic experience for both the mother and the sister of Moses. It must have been extremely difficult to live in those conditions: where if you have a baby boy it’s just automatic death, he’s consigned to death. And I can picture little Miriam hiding back, watching to see what would happen to that little basket where her beautiful little brother is there floating on the river.
Then the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along the river’s side; and she saw the ark among the reeds, and she sent her maid to get it. And when she opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the baby wept.
Someone said that an angel pinched it so that it would touch the heart of the Pharaoh’s daughter when this little baby began to cry.
So she had compassion on him, and said, This must be one of the Hebrews’ children. Then his sister came running up and she said to Pharaoh’s daughter, Would you like me to get a nurse from one of the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you? And the Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Go.
And so, Miriam, the bigger sister of Moses went and called Moses’ mother, and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a job for you.’
Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, Take this child, and nurse him for me, and I will pay you wages. So the woman took the child, and nursed it.
Isn’t it interesting how God is able to work even in adverse circumstances; how God is able to work His will, to work His purposes? “All things work together for good to those who love God.” And I can imagine that as Jochebed put that little ark in the river, there was a prayer sent up from her heart that somehow this little child might be found, and may be adopted by someone of the Egyptians, and perhaps his life be spared. She could not bring herself to drown her baby.
But God had other plans. And little Miriam, bold little Miriam, came running up to the Pharaoh’s daughter, and said, “How would you like me to get a nurse for your baby from among the Hebrews?” And she said, “Fine, go get one.” And so Miriam ran home, got her mother, and Jochebed was actually paid for raising her own child by the Pharaoh’s daughter.
And the child grew, and she brought him to the Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son, she adopted him. So she called his name Moses: saying, Because I drew him out of the water. The name Moses means “drawn out.” “I drew him out of the water.” So he picked up the name, Moses. Now it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out to his brethren, and he looked at their burdens: and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian, and buried him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, there were two Hebrew men fighting: and he said to the one who did the wrong, Why are you striking your companion? And he said to him, Who made you a prince and judge over us? Do you intend to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian? So Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
Now Moses, at this point, was forty years old. He had been schooled and trained there in the court of Egypt, possibly being groomed for the throne. And yet, Jochebed must have embedded in his heart during the time of early childhood such a spirit of nationalism that when he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave, he couldn’t stand it; he killed the Egyptian, buried him in the sand.
Now as we turn to the New Testament for a commentary on this particular passage; as Steven is making his defense in the book of Acts, Steven declares that Moses thought that the children of Israel would realize that God had chosen him to deliver them. He had in his heart the concept, the idea that God had divinely ordained him to be the deliverer of His people. How this came to him, we do not know, but it was conviction that he had, and he thought that they would just understand it; whereas they were probably saying, “Ah, that lucky guy living in the Pharaoh’s house, he doesn’t know what it is to live like we do,” and they were probably envious, and jealous, and figuring that he didn’t care about them at all; but in reality, he had it in his heart that God had chosen him to be their deliverer.
Now, Moses is a type of Christ: and herein he becomes a very interesting type of Christ in that he was rejected by them the first time he came. He came to act in their defense, he came thinking that they would know that God had ordained that he should deliver them, but they rejected him. And during the time of his rejection, he married a Gentile bride, but when he came back again with his Gentile bride, they received him, and he became the deliverer of God’s people.
And thus, a very interesting type of Christ, who, when He came the first time to deliver His people, they rejected Him. And so He has taken a Gentile bride: and one of these days, He’s going to come back with His Gentile bride, and they’re going to recognize Him, and receive Him, and He will be their deliverer. As Paul tells us in Romans 11, “For all of Israel shall be saved: for as the Scripture saith, There shall come forth a Deliverer out of Zion, [to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers].” So, a beautiful type of Christ here in Moses.
And as we go through, we will find other places where he becomes a very fitting type of Christ. That’s what makes the Bible so interesting: there are all of these beautiful little types, and shadows, and foreshadowing of future things, prophecies and all; and it all makes for just fascinating, fascinating reading: showing that man could not have been the author, man could not have devised or schemed something this clever – beyond the capacity of man.
Now it is interesting that Moses, at this point, was probably sort of impetuous and hot tempered: the fact that he killed the Egyptian who was beating up the Hebrew slave. It is true that God had ordained that Moses should be the deliverer, that is true. Moses seemed to have this consciousness. But he is premature, he’s acting in his own, he’s doing it in the power of his flesh. And it is interesting to me that Moses in the power of his flesh is not capable of successfully burying one Egyptian. You see, God wanted him to bury the whole army: and later he did in the Red Sea. But that was under the guidance of the Spirit.
Oh, how important that any service we offer to God be offered in the Spirit, and in the power of the Spirit, and through the anointing of the Spirit, and being guided by the Spirit! So much of our effort for God is futile because we’re doing it out of a heart that has a desire for God, true, but we’re doing it in the energy of our flesh, in our own ability, in our own way rather than waiting upon the Lord and being led of the Spirit. And we see how unsuccessful our efforts are, the energy of our flesh; and yet, we see how dynamic it is when God begins to work. And so, Moses was premature.
The next day when he saw the two Hebrews fighting, he said, “Hey, you guys are brothers, you ought not to be fighting.” And one of them said, “Are you going to kill me, like you did the – fellow yesterday, like you did the Egyptian?” And Moses realized that he had been seen. Now it is interesting: we read here before he killed the Egyptian, it says that he looked this way and that way, and he didn’t see anybody. You know, we often make that same mistake, we look this way and that way, and we don’t see anybody, and we figure nobody’s watching. I’m surprised he didn’t look up. But, that’s something that we so often forget to do. We think nobody’s looking, but we forget that God is watching. “All things are open and naked before Him with whom we have to do.” You don’t hide anything from God; and even if a man did not see what he did, God saw what he did. Even though nobody may see what you are doing, God sees what you are doing.
Moses, realizing that his action had been observed, realizing that the word would come to Pharaoh, surely, that he had murdered an Egyptian, buried him, Moses fled.
When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. He was angry with Moses, and so Moses fled from the face of the Pharaoh, and he dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.
So he was on the land, he was running. Pharaoh was going to kill him in retaliation, and so he fled out into the wilderness area.
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. But the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
Now, here the girls were out, and they drew the water out of the well, filled the trough for their father’s flocks; but these mean boys came up and drove them away and watered their flocks with the water that the girls had drawn. And this evidently was a thing that had been going on for some time. These mean boys were just letting the girls draw the water, then push them away and water their own flocks. And so Moses happened to be there by the well, he saw what was going on, he stood up, and helped the girls water their flock.
So when they came to their father Reuel, who is also known as Jethro, he said, How is it that you have come so soon today? How come you’re home so early? And they said, An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of shepherds, and he also drew enough water for us, and he watered the flocks. So, “We had help today. There was a man there who helped us: he drove off the mean boys, and helped us to water the flocks. So he said to his daughters, Well, where is he? why did you leave him out there? call him, that he might come and eat bread. Then Moses was content to live with the man: and he gave Ziporah his daughter to Moses. And she bore him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a foreign land. Gershom means a “stranger,” or a “sojourner.” Now it happened in the process of time, that the king of Egypt died: That is the one that wanted to kill Moses. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
Now, when it says that God remembered the covenant that He made with Abraham, it doesn’t mean that God forgot it. And when all of this groaning came up, God says, “Oh, yes, right, right, right; forgotten something here, you know.” We have a real problem in speaking of God, because all we have is language to do it with. And language is limited to our own experiences.
Now, God is infinite, I am finite; but here I am trying to describe what God is doing. The only words that I have to describe what God is doing are the finite words of our own human language. So I have to describe God in the language that I know and understand, but it is limited and does not truly represent God’s activities or God’s actions. But there aren’t words that we would understand to express such things. So, God is spoken of as repenting, because it appears that God was going to do one thing and God didn’t do it. So you say, “Well, God changed, He changed His mind. He repented of what He was going to do, He changed from what He was going to do.”
Here, God “remembered” as though He had forgotten. No, these are the limitations of trying to describe God or to define the action of God with human words. It falls short; but all we have are human words to do it, and so, we just have to realize that it doesn’t really, truly define or describe the actions of God.
For we do read, “God is not a man, that He should lie; nor the son of man, that He should repent: hath He not spoken, and shall He not do it?” You see, God doesn’t change; but when we describe what would appear from our standpoint a change of action, we have to say, “Well, God repented.” No, God all along had intended to do it.
So much is made over Moses’ intercession at the time of the failure of Israel before the LORD. And so much is made over Moses’ interceding and saying, “LORD, forgive-; and if not, blot, I pray, my name out of your book of remembrances.” Glorious intercession of Moses for the people; as God had said, “Stand back, let me wipe them out.” And Moses hangs in there, intercedes. Now, who inspired Moses’ intercession? It was God. God inspired the intercession of Moses. So, you can’t say, “Well, God changed His mind and decided not to wipe them out.” And yet, if we look at it from our standpoint, this is what it appears; and so I must describe it with the language that I have.
Here, He is describing the activity of God with the language, “And God remembered them.” Well, when we say, “Well, I’ve finally remembered”, it means that I’d forgotten. God didn’t forget them – ever.
God heard their groanings. Their cry came up to God because of the bondage. He remembered His covenant with Abraham, and God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
So, here they are crying to God in Egypt; and several miles away, out in the wilderness in the area of Midian:
Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro his father in law, who was a priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and he came to Horeb.
Or, Mount Sinai; which later became known as the mountain of God because it was upon this Mount that the LORD gave to Moses the Ten Commandments.
And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of a bush:
Now, the angel of the LORD, most times, the reference to the angel of the LORD in the Old Testament is actually a reference to Jesus Christ. He is referred to many times in the Old Testament as “the angel of the LORD.” He appeared to him in a flame of fire in the midst of the bush.
So he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, but the bush was not consumed.
Now, many see the bush as a type of Israel. Through the fires of persecution, but never consumed. When you see that all the things that these people have gone through in their history: all of the persecution, all of the attempts to eradicate them; they have been in the fires for years, but never consumed. They remain.
Then Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.
There’s a flame there, but the bush is not being consumed. So, curiosity draws him over to this phenomenon.
And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here I am. Then He said, Do not draw near this place: take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.
Now, there was always the tradition, coming into a place of worship, to remove your shoes. In the East today, when you go into a person’s home, you remove your shoes. When I spoke in Korea, before you come up to speak, you always take your shoes off, you don’t wear your shoes up to the pulpit. I guess, you know, you’re standing on holy ground or something. But it is a custom in Korea, and so, we always just preached in socks. And it probably traces back to this.
Moreover He said to him, I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.
Now, when the Sadducees came to Jesus, they did not believe in the resurrection, and they tried to catch Jesus in a trick question. And Jesus responded to them after answering their question, “How is it that God said, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’ He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” So, here’s where God declared that; Jesus is quoting it to the Sadducees, and of course, they quit asking questions after that because He had really stumbled them.
And the LORD said, I have surely seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt.
Now, in Psalms 115 and 135, in both of these Psalms, the psalmist speaks of the gods of the heathen: the idols that men had made and were worshipping. These little idols that were carved out of wood, or were made from silver, or gold, with the various shapes, human forms, or grotesque type of forms. The idols that were made would have eyes, they would have ears, they would have a nose, they would have a mouth, they would have hands, they would have feet; but the psalmist said of these idols, “Their gods are of wood, or of silver, or gold. Eyes they have, but they cannot see: ears they have, but they cannot hear: feet they have, but they cannot walk: mouths they have, but they cannot speak: they have noses, but they can’t smell.”
Many people today are worshipping gods that cannot see, that cannot hear, that cannot touch, that cannot feel. Now, every man has a god. You may square off and say, “Oh no, I’m an atheist: I don’t believe in God.” All you’re saying is that you do not believe in the God that is revealed in the Bible, but you have your own god. For a man’s god is that master passion that governs any man’s life: that ideal, that driving force that governs your life. That is your god.
You see, god is not a name; and we make a real mistake when we think that god is a name: “God” is a title. And so they said, “The gods –plural– of the heathen are many.” There are many gods. There is only one true and living God, Eternal Creator. When a person today talks about God, you really don’t know what they’re talking about – many times: the force, the creative force, the energy, an essence, the dynamic. But they’re not talking about a personal, living God who can see, who can hear, who feels, who can touch, who knows; but they’re talking about some abstract kind of cosmic force in the universe that is sending out emanations that sometimes get as far down as this planet earth. Every man has a god.
Now, as we move on in Exodus here, we find that the Egyptians were polytheistic: and they had many god’s. Most of them were represented by various animals: crocodiles, and birds, and so forth; they were their representations of their gods. But again: gods that can’t respond.
Now, here the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen the oppression of my people who are in Egypt.” Again, we so often times feel that we’re all alone in our suffering. Nobody really sees, nobody really knows, nobody really cares. There’s one thing about affliction: it does create a very tremendous sense of loneliness. “No one can really bear my afflictions, and I feel very alone.” But God said, “I have seen, I have surely seen the oppression of my people.” Not only that, “I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters.” They were forced to serve, as we read, with harshness. The taskmasters with their sticks were constantly hitting them, goading them, pushing them on. If they would just fall out of weariness, and try and lie for a moment on the ground, there would be the rod across their back–”up and going.” And they wept, they cried, they cried out in pain: “And I have surely heard their cry. For I know,” God said, “their sorrows.” So, “I have seen, I have heard, and I know.” A personal God.
Now, sometimes as we endeavor to minister to others who are going through heavy trials; and people come, and they begin to pour out their hearts, they begin to tell of their situations – and I’ll tell you, some people are going through some deep, rough water. And as they tell what’s going on, I say, “I see your problem.” And they continue to talk, and I say, “I hear you, I hear you, I know where you’re coming from. I know what you’re going through, I know what you’re feeling.” But many times, that’s all the further I can go; assuring them that I can see, that I understand what they’re saying, I know the problems they’re facing. But so often I don’t know the answer, I don’t have the solution, I can’t do anything. I’m totally helpless to change their situation at all. What can I do? And that’s where God takes it one step further with Moses; for God says in verse 8,
So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.
That’s so great. God can always go one step further. He just doesn’t see, and hear, and know; but He has come to deliver. I love that, because I need more than just your sympathetic understanding many times. “I hear you man, I hear you.” Yeah, great, but, you know, what are you going to do? “Can’t do anything.” I need someone to step in and help me.
I have come, God said, to deliver, to bring them up from that land to a good land and to a large land, a land flowing with milk and honey.
And so, God describes the land that He’s going to bring them to. It’s large in comparison to the land of Goshen where they are, there in Egypt; that’s only 900 square miles. And they have, no doubt, really, the way they’ve multiplied and all, just really packed that land of Goshen. “I’m going to bring them into a large land. A land that’s flowing with milk and honey.”
The place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, and all. Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me: and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
So God is now commissioning Moses. The time has come. Moses is now eighty years old. He was forty when he killed the Egyptian and fled. He’s been forty years now in the wilderness watching sheep. He’s now eighty years old, and in the last forty years, a lot of mellowing has been going on. He’s not so impetuous anymore. He’s not ready to jump in anymore. And it is interesting how that when God now commissions him, he begins to back pedal. “Don’t know if I want to get involved.” And he begins to offer excuses.
So Moses said to God, Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh?
Now, you see, obviously he suffers a poor self-image. And so God says, “You find the nearest psychiatrist, and learn how to love yourself, Moses. And you need to develop a stronger self-image so that you’ll be able to handle the task that you’re going to be asked to fulfill.” You know, the Bible tells us that in the last days perilous times will come. Why? What will be the signs? What are the characteristics? Because “men will be lovers of themselves.” “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute, that’s what they’re teaching me I ought to do. I ought to fall in love with myself.” Well, I’ve been in love with myself ever since I’ve been able to think. The Bible says, “no man really hated himself.” This business of “you don’t love yourself” is a bunch of bologna. You say, “Oh, I hate myself: I’m so ugly; I just hate myself. I look so ugly; I’m ugly, I hate myself, I’m ugly.” Were you ever angry because someone you hated was ugly? You know, if someone that you really hated was ugly, you’d be glad. So if you really hate yourself, you ought to be glad that you’re so ugly. Man, have they got us all screwed up. Moses suffering from poor self’-image. What’s God’s answer? God said, “I’ll go with you. You don’t have confidence, Moses? All right, I’ll go with you.”
I’m going to send you to the Pharaoh, that you may bring my people the children of Israel out of Egypt. And Moses said to God, Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt? So He said, I will certainly be with you; and this shall be a sign to you, that I have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will serve God on this mountain.
‘This will be the sign: when you come back to this place. Here’s Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai; when you get back here, that’ll be the sign to you that I really did send you. You’re going to come back here, and you’re going to worship and serve me here on this mountain.’
Then Moses said to God, Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel, and I say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they say to me, What is His name? what shall I say to them?
Now, you see: God is not His name, it’s the title, “the God of your fathers”. Well, what’s His name?
And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM: and He said, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.
I AM what? ‘I AM all that you will ever need. I AM to you whatever your need may be.’
Now, it is interesting, as God declares, “I AM”, He is actually speaking of that eternal aspect of His character. He is the Eternal One. The cherubim declare of Him, “Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come”, all at once. He’s past, present, and future. Now, with God, there is no past, there is no future, it’s all now. He dwells in the eternal. I can’t really conceive that. My mind blows a fuse, the circuits all pop when I try to conceive of the eternal now, the ‘I AM’. Because the moment I say, “I am,” then that’s past tense. I was. I said that ten seconds ago. But with God, He dwells in the eternal now. “I AM THAT I AM has sent you” – describing the eternal characteristic of God.
And also describing as God would be to you: “I am to you whatever your need.” The name “Jehovah”, or “Yahweh”, whatever the pronunciation may be; the name for the God of Israel literally means, “The Becoming One” – the “I AM.”
Now it is interesting, when Jesus was talking with the Pharisees, and they were going through this little bantering back and forth, and they said to him, “We have Abraham for our father;” and Jesus said, “If Abraham was your father, then you would have believed in me, because Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it.” They said, “What are you talking about? Abraham saw you? You’re not even fifty years old.” And Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” And they took up stones and were going to kill Him, they were going to stone Him: Jesus declared, “I AM.” -“I AM the bread of life; I AM the light of the world; I AM the way, the truth, and the life; and before Abraham was, I AM.” – Heavy duty.
Moreover God said to Moses, Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you: this is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations. ‘This is my name: the I AM, the Yahweh, Jehovah.’ Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen what is done to you in Egypt: And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey. Then they will heed your voice: and you shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall say to him, The LORD God, or Jehovah, of the Hebrews has met with us: and now, please let us go, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Jehovah our God. But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand, and strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in it’s midst: and after that he will let you go. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall be, that, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed: But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing: and you will put them on your sons, and on your daughters; and so you will plunder the Egyptians.
They’ve been serving without wages for a long time; they’ve been slaves, but they’re going to get their pay. ‘Before you leave, they’re going to be ready to let you go; so have them just go ask for some jewelry, gold, and silver; and you’re going to plunder the Egyptians when you leave.’
And so, we get into that very interesting encounter in the next chapters: where Moses goes before the Pharaoh, and where God deals with the Egyptians, and delivers the children of Israel. So next week we’ll take chapters 4-6, and for awhile we’re going to be plaguing the Egyptians with all kinds of interesting and horrible things.
May the LORD be with you, keep you in His love, watch over you, and fill you with His Spirit. May you have a beautiful week. May you just experience God’s power working in your life, as you walk in faith and fellowship with Jesus Christ.