22Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? 23For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”
God Promises Deliverance
1But the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
2God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD. 3I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. 4I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. 5Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. 6Say 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. 7I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.’” 9Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.
10So the LORD said to Moses, 11“Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.” 12But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?” 13But the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. – Exodus 5:22-6:13 ESV
As we saw at the end of chapter 5, Moses brings the issues he is facing to God. Moses shares his sorrow and doubt. He actually asks God why he is punishing the Hebrew slaves. How could he let such a situation unfold.
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt you followed through with God’s plans or direction and the results were just devastating and you just wanted to cry out like Moses?
God reveals his purpose and plan(again): Pharaoh would be forced to submit before the mighty hand of God (verse 1). To reassure Moses, God reminded him of the promises which were part of the covenant previously established with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (verses 2–8). Through their deliverance from Egypt the Israelites will know that ‘the Lord’ is indeed their God and that they are his people ( verse 7). Sometimes we have to come to the end of ourselves before we realize that our only true dependence is on God.
In our lives, we can get so stressed out, angry and depressed as we can’t see how we can do all the things we are supposed to do, and when others don’t cooperate and the results seem so devastating. We can come to the end of our rope. But God’s response to us is no different than he had to Moses.
In verses 1 through 8, God declares that he is Jehovah. He pledges Himself to the threefold promise: (1) to deliver the people from bondage (2) to adopt them as His people (3) to lead them to Canaan, their future possession.
Just as God declared that he had prepared a place for the Israelites, we hear a similar declaration in the new testament by Jesus in John chapter 14.
I go to prepare a place for you – John 14:2
If you’re not a Christian, this world is the best it’s ever going to be for you. But for those who know the Lord, this world is the worst it’s ever going to be because it’s only going to get better and better when we move into eternity.
The repetition of the phrase ‘I am the LORD’ in verses 2, 6 and 8 emphasizes that it is the LORD who will demonstrate to the Hebrew slaves His love for them and commitment to deliver them out of the hands of pharaoh in Egypt, not Moses.
Is there a situation you are facing right now that is overbearing and troublesome, that you need to cry out to God about? That glooming situation that you wake up in the middle of the night thinking about? That situation or area in your life that you just need to go drop it at His feet?
God instructed Moses to tell the people he was going to handle things, but verse 9 tells us that it did not go as simple as it sounded…
Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery. – Exodus 6:9
Pharaoh’s power over them seemed unshakeable. Consequently, even Moses started to believe that it was futile to ask for the release of the Hebrews (that we will now refer to as Israelites).
Connecting us to the Slaves
In the literary context, we need to keep in mind a couple of key things: Egypt is always an illustration of the world system, of the lost condition of man. “I will save you,” God declares. “I will bring you out from there.” And that’s exactly what God did for you and me when He brought us out from under the burden of sin and dependence on ourselves. Under the burning, blistering Egyptian sun, the children of Israel baked bricks that would be used to construct tombs for the Pharaohs. That was us as well—living meaningless lives, burdened by guilt, building our own tombs with our activities. But then God saved us. Great is the mystery, Paul would say, that God became a Man and dwelt among us in order that He might ultimately die for us (1 Timothy 3:16). Man’s greatest need is forgiveness. God’s greatest deed is salvation.
Genealogy of Moses and Aaron
The genealogy serves two functions. First, it provides details, recorded nowhere else in Exodus, about the family of Moses and Aaron. Secondly, by interrupting the plot at a crucial stage, it keeps the reader waiting in suspense to see what will happen next.
28On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29the LORD said to Moses, “I am the LORD; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.” 30But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?” – Exodus 6:28-30
If you have not been counting, this is the seventh time Moses protests about God’s plans. Like Moses, we have a tendency to argue. But, again, God didn’t give up on Moses. And He won’t give up on you.
Has there been a time when your really struggled to surrender to God’s will? Where you might have wrestled with God about matters, or even argued with God? But ended up being faithful and submitting to his will?
In verse 28, the subtle statement of “in the land of Egypt” gives emphasis to the fact that Jehovah represented Himself in the very midst of Egypt as the Lord of the country. Moses did not have to go back to Midian and look for God in the bush for further advice. God had come right into the neighborhood. This gave Moses, for the furtherance of his aim, a sort of divine dominion, namely, a theocratic dominion over Pharaoh, knowing that God was with him and God was for him.
Do you ever struggle with feeling like God is distant? Like he is at church or in a community group, but not in your home? What do you think causes those feelings? How do you overcome these situations?
In the final verse, Moses repeats his declaration that he has “uncircumcised lips”.
But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?” – Exodus 6:12
But Moses said to the LORD, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?” – Exodus 6:30
Moses seems to feel like this is a very important topic. What do you think Moses is trying to get across? What is he trying to convey?
The statement is strongly based on the words of circumcision, which symbolizes the need for cleansing and Moses repeated his belief that he had unskilled speech. We do need to be very clear that Moses might not have had confidence in himself, but as a true prophet, it was God who spoke through him. He had to rely on God for his divine messages.
Uncircumcised lips are further described as of one who has not yet ceased from silly talk, from obscene language, who disparages good people, who slanders his neighbors, who instigates quarrels, who promotes false accusations, who sets brothers against themselves by making false statements, who utters vain words, inept words, profane words, shameless words, filthy words, injurious words, wanton words, blasphemous words, and other words that are unworthy of a Christian.
Each of from time to time might feel like declaring the very same thing Moses did. The wonderful thing about a growing relationship with God and the process of sanctification is the notice of change.
Can you describe how God has dealt with your “uncircumcised lips”? Can you see the difference? Do you think or know that others can tell you have been transformed?
This week as we go out, let us have a clear mind and confidence of the God we follow. When we are challenged and in times of doubt to pause and rest in the truth that God is truthful and God does not oppose his plans. Sometimes the path we travel does not feel or appear to the one we would choose, but be always aware of his insight, direction as we travel. That will take ongoing interaction, a relationship, with God. Not isolating or stuffing our thoughts and feelings. We need to retain close accountable relationships. Each of us with spouses and girl-friends need to understand that we need honest men in our lives. We can love, lead and support the females and family in our life, but we need and are directed to have other men in our life to benefit us. If you don’t have such a person, being praying and have God complete the good work in you that he has started.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society
- Alexander, T. D. (1994). Exodus. In D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer, & G. J. Wenham (Eds.), New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed.). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
- Courson, J. (2005). Jon Courson’s application commentary: Volume one: Genesis–Job. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
- Lange, J. P., Schaff, P., & Mead, C. M. (2008). A commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Exodus (Vol.2). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
- Wesselschmidt, Q. F. (Ed.). (2007). Psalms 51–150. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.