“Say, therefore, to the sons 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 their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.’”—Exodus 6:6–8 (NASB)
If you’ve watched a firework display, then you know how it begins and ends. At first, just a few bursts, brilliant and stunning. Maybe the occasional “dud.” But then, the production builds up until it culminates into a grand finale with dozens of fireworks exploding all at once.
Moses’ encounter with God and then with Pharoah is like the beginning of a fireworks display. There was a lot of WOW to be seen. I’m talking serious WOW—a calling from God and His blessed assurance that He would provide all Moses would need. How brilliant and stunning that was! But then Moses was faced with what we might call a “dud” when he stood before Pharaoh holding high expectations of the victory God had promised as he asked him to let the people go.
Pharoah’s response? Well, it certainly wasn’t what Moses had anticipated. More like a proverbial dud in the fireworks he was hoping to ignite. Pharoah mocked the idea of freedom for the Hebrews and heaped on the workload just to prove his point.
The people’s response? Obviously, not too happy. They jeered at Moses for what his words to Pharaoh brought upon them—heavier labor and intense abuse. Another dud, and I’m sure Moses felt shattered.
God’s response? A little shattering of His own.
In today’s Scripture passage, note God’s response to Moses’ shattered expectations. He gives seven “I will” statements. This is God’s grand finale—His way of revealing His character and glory in stunning brilliance.
Incidentally, when God states, “I will,” it doesn’t convey the idea that this is what will happen; it conveys the idea that it’s already happened. According to Walter Kaiser, esteemed author, educator, and expert in the Old Testament, God’s “I will” statements are significant in their tense. He explains that “each of these verbs are in the Hebrew past tense instead of the future tense, for so certain was God of their accomplishment that they were viewed as having been completed.”
As we continue reading, we learn the people didn’t believe Moses. They’d been in hopeless bondage for so long and, if we’re being honest, sometimes we feel that way, too. Jesus promised to return, yet we look around at the depravity of the world . . . waiting and waiting. We hear the scoffers jeer at us, “Where is your Jesus?”
Well, God’s finale isn’t complete. We’ve yet to see the end. In Revelation, we read 17 more of Jesus’ “I will” statements. Through the apostle John, Jesus gives us the blessed assurance of deliverance just as He gave to the people through Moses. So, with that, I pray our response now is, “Not our will, Lord, but Your will be done.”
Pause: Looking back on how God faithfully kept the covenantal promises He made in the Old Testament, does your hope increase and is your faith renewed?
Practice: Even in your own life, consider how God has been faithful to you. Take an account of how (even when you didn’t know Him) He watched over you and kept you from all harm and brought you into a pleasant place (Read Psalms 121 and 16).
Pray: Lord, help me to rest in Your promises and not feel hopeless while I wait for Your promised return. In the pleasant places You have provided, I want to set You before me and honor You with all my being. For Your glory always I pray. Amen.
“So the Lord said to Moses: ‘See, I have made you as God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you. And Aaron your brother shall tell Pharaoh to send the children of Israel out of his land. And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not heed you, so that I may lay My hand on Egypt and bring My armies and My people, the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt and bring out the children of Israel from among them.’ Then Moses and Aaron did so; just as the Lord commanded them, so they did.”—Exodus 7:1–6 (NKJV)
Adversity is a part of life. We’ll all encounter it, and we’ll continue to encounter it for the duration of our stay here on Earth. Try as we might to avoid or insure ourselves against it, adversity always comes. There’s no question as to its presence. What is in question is how we respond to adversity when it arises. We can either submit and succumb to its power and pressure, or we can overcome it by aligning ourselves with something greater than it: the will of God.
That’s the dynamic that unfolds for us in the next several chapters in the Book of Exodus. Moses and Aaron are about to face adversity on a scale that’s difficult for us to imagine. They’re essentially going to issue a divine ultimatum to the most powerful person on the planet in their day—the Pharaoh of Egypt. Understand that in that time, the Pharaoh was capable of exerting his will just about however he wanted. He had power and was used to using it! There were no “checks and balances” to keep him from just eliminating whatever he wanted, especially threats as the Pharaoh’s baker learned in Genesis 40:22! Imagine, then, how slanted the scales of power must have seemed when Moses and Aaron went to the Pharaoh and demanded that he release the children of Israel and all their property.
Adversity was inevitable and would prove to be unprecedented, which is why God says what He says to Moses and Aaron here in this passage. Knowing the full weight of Pharaoh’s will would resist their mission, God tells them that despite this opposition He was going to intervene! Why is that so important? Because in the end, all that truly matters is what God is doing. It doesn’t matter who or what is blocking the way of His will. The Lord will clear the path for His purpose to prevail. On the eve of adversity, Moses and Aaron needed to be reminded that as they locked horns with the most powerful man on the earth, the God of heaven was working through them . . . and that’s all that would matter in the end!
Now what about us? Again, there’s no escaping adversity. But what do we do when it stands as in immovable object of opposition in our way? It depends. If the “way” is merely a trail that we’ve blazed for ourselves, if it’s based on our own agenda, then there’s no guarantee of getting over it. However, if we’re walking in the way the Lord has mapped out for our lives, if it’s His mission that moves us, then we can relate to Moses and Aaron here. We can, and must, take refuge in knowing that God’s plan will prevail in the end. In time, earthborn adversity will bow to heaven’s authority. All that matters in the end is what God is doing, and we can walk victoriously over our adversity in the wake of that!
Pause: Why did God tell Moses and Aaron what He tells them in today’s passage?
Practice: Apply the lessons learned here today to the adversity that you’re dealing with right now.
Pray: Father, please help me to discern and follow Your path of purpose for my life. Enable me to rest in knowing that I can trust in You to prevail in the end over the adversity I face as I walk through the life You’ve mapped out for me. Amen.