Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments. — Exodus 6:6
An animal caught in a trap fights frantically to free itself. The instinct to get away is so strong that they do themselves injury in the process of trying to obtain freedom. Sometimes animals even pull against the trap so hard that they sever a leg or paw from their body. If release cannot be obtained, eventually the animal will die of dehydration or starvation.
Imagine how trapped the Children of Israel felt as they labored in cruel bondage to Pharaoh and the Egyptians! They had prayed to God for deliverance, and He had sent Moses to bring them out. Moses had gone before Pharaoh and had requested that the people be allowed to go to the desert to worship. However, instead of listening to Moses, Pharaoh had only made life harder for the Israelites.
Consider how Moses must have felt at Pharaoh’s rejection of his request. No doubt he mentally rehearsed what God had said when He called him in the desert. Moses knew God had told him to go and deliver His people, but his initial effort seemingly had only made matters worse for the Israelites. Strongly questioning his mission, Moses asked, “Why is it that thou hast sent me?” (Exodus 5:22). He must have felt like a failure — trapped by the seeming futility of pursuing the course of action God required.
In times of crisis, when we feel we are held captive by circumstances, we should remember the words of the Bible commentator, Matthew Henry, “Man’s extremities are God’s opportunities.” We may easily reach our limits, but God has no boundaries. God told Moses He would bring His people out of bondage. God’s purpose would be accomplished, even though the situation looked hopeless to Moses.
Situations in our lives may seem impossible at times. Perhaps we feel we are being held captive by our circumstances, with no deliverance in sight. If we are trying to do right and follow God, we can take heart. God has given us many promises in His Word. He can and will set us free! Claim these promises and patiently wait for His time of deliverance. Remember, He kept His promises to Moses and the Children of Israel, and He will do the same for us today.
This portion of Exodus relates the complaints of the Hebrews, the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart, and God’s continued instruction to Moses to persist in requesting the release of the Children of Israel. Inserted in chapter 6 is a genealogy detailing the ancestry of Moses and Aaron.
The beginning of today’s text records a dialog between Moses and God. After Pharaoh increased the tasks of the Hebrews, they turned against Moses and Aaron. In Exodus 5:22-23, Moses went to God and asked why he had been sent. Exodus 6:1-9 relates God’s response, which was a strong promise of deliverance. God intended to reveal Himself to the Children of Israel in a different way than He had to their forefathers. He would show them distinctly that He was with them and working for them. However, the Israelites were so oppressed that they were not encouraged by promises. When they would not believe Moses, he told God that he thought Pharaoh would not believe him either.
The genealogy inserted in Exodus 6:14-27 identifies the family ancestry of Moses and Aaron. Because of their leadership roles, their credentials needed to be established among the Israelites. They were to be seen as legitimate leaders of Israel.
In Exodus 6:28-30, the narrative resumes, restating that God directed Moses to go again to Pharaoh. Moses still hesitated, so God gave him direct instructions, and also told him what the results would be (Exodus 7:1-7). The phrase “I have made thee a god to Pharaoh” (Exodus 7:1) meant that God promised to give Moses authority and power that demanded respect. Aaron was to be his “prophet” or spokesperson. Although Pharaoh would not heed their words, God promised to deliver the Children of Israel. The mention of “armies” in Exodus 6:26 and 7:4 referred to a large number of people organized into groups or battalions. God intended His miracles to be a witness to the Egyptians, demonstrating that He was the one true, all-powerful God.
Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three when they confronted Pharaoh.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
I. The oppression of Israel in Egypt
C. The struggles with Pharaoh
2. The confrontation with Jehovah (5:22 — 7:7)
a. The first confrontation (5:22-6:9)
(1) The complaint (5:22-23)
(2) The answer (6:1-8)
(3) The result (6:9)
b. The second confrontation (6:10-27)
(1) The comment (6:10-11)
(2) The complaint (6:12)
(3) The answer (6:13)
(4) The genealogy (6:14-27)
c. The third confrontation (6:28 — 7:7)
(1) The comment (6:28-29)
(2) The complaint (6:30)
(3) The answer (7:1-5)
(4) The result (7:6-7)
When we feel overwhelmed by difficulties that arise because of our purpose to follow God, we must remember that we have a Deliverer! He is waiting to work in our lives, just as He did for the Children of Israel.