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Year 1, Week 8, Day 5

I have a brief observation for today’s reading of Exodus 6-7.

Today’s reading continues the interaction between the LORD and Moses. Exodus 6 notes the lingering hesitancy of Moses concerning his task of confronting Pharaoh and rescuing Israel. The LORD provides increased assurances that involve clarity concerning the LORD’s plans as well as a genealogical sketch showing the qualification of Moses and Aaron to carry out this work. Exodus 7 describes the next round of confrontation between Pharaoh and Moses resulting in the first plague or sign.

What struck me in today’s reading is what it reveals about the LORD’s redeeming work: “So he saved them from the hand of the foe and redeemed them from the power of the enemy.” (Psalm 106:10). As the events surrounding the Exodus unfold, the LORD shows His people some new aspects to who He is: “I am the LORD. I 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. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners.” (Exodus 6:2-4). While the LORD had revealed Himself to the Patriarchs as He entered into covenant with them, something new will be shown in what He was about to do: “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. I 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.” (Exodus 6:6-7). The LORD will show Himself to be the God who keeps His promise of having a people for Himself by redeeming His people. The LORD had been actively at work in the lives of His people up to this point, mostly behind the scenes; but He is about to act on behalf of His people in a very public way.

Through the work of redemption, the LORD not only delivers His people unto Himself, He also defeats the enemy of His people. The notion of redemption involves rescue from the bondage of slavery. Israel’s rescue from their bondage in Egyptian slavery serves as a picture of an even deeper, more debilitating bondage-the bondage of sin. The redemption of the Israelites previews redemption from sin: “O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.” (Psalm 130:7-8). Israel’s bondage in slavery was so profound, they didn’t even grasp what Moses was explaining to them: “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).

The outcome of the LORD’s redeeming work is that those whom He redeems become His: "The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness.” (Exodus 7:16). The Israelites would no longer live in service to Pharaoh; they would live to serve the LORD. Once the Israelites grasp what the LORD had done for them, they will have cause to redirect their focus in worship and service: “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Psalm 107:2). This outcome of redemption is also a preview of the fuller rescue that Christ accomplishes for His people: "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

The process of the LORD’s redeeming work involves a public defeat of those who hold His people in bondage: “But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my hosts, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the people of Israel from among them.”  (Exodus 7:3-5). The LORD caused Pharaoh to remain in the hardened state that he had placed his own heart in, until He systematically shows His superiority over the gods of the Egyptians and then decisively judges Pharaoh for enslaving Israel, His firstborn son. The plaques upon. Egypt will display the LORD’s greatness and judgment to such a profound level that all the world would know that the LORD is God. Similarly, Christ’s public work on the Cross, which appeared to spell defeat for Jesus, actually became the action that secured a victorious redemption: “He himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:14-15).

What struck you in today’s reading? What questions were prompted from today’s reading?

Pastor Joe