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Exodus 6

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Book of Exodus Chapter Six
Commentary by Pastor Ron Beckham

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Unskilled

Moses continued to plead, "I'm the wrong man to deliver Israel from Egypt," but God would use him anyway. This chapter will conclude with Moses' words in Verse 30, "I am unskilled in speech," which is a corollary to the concern of Paul the Apostle, as seen in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, when Paul was told by the Lord, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Are you unable to do the work God has called you to do? Look to the Lord...He can and will do what is impossible for us. He calls the weak, the unskilled, so His strength might be seen in and through us.

In Verse 1, "the Lord said to Moses, 'Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.'" Note that God has His own distinctive ways that make the unlikely come to pass. In prayer, words and actions, we have been inclined to tell the Lord what to do, but instead we should listen to Him. The Lord's words continue in Verses 2-3 with a reminder: "God spoke further to Moses and said to him, 'I am the Lord; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord, I did not make Myself known to them.'" This is very important—Moses was given more information than his predecessors, but just like them, his walk with God had to be based in simple faith. You have much more information at your disposal than Moses did, but just like him you are to trust in the Lord. And always remember, there is much that we do not know. We are unskilled, we don't know everything...which is an opportunity for our faith to grow.

Has God promised you something which has not yet been received? God reminds Moses in Verse 4 that He had not forgotten His centuries-old promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: "I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned." And He continued in Verse 5, "Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant." Can you imagine? Generations had passed since these promises were given, which should help you understand why your needs have not seemed to be met: They may be fulfilled long after you are gone from this life in ways you did not expect, and for you personally, everything and more will be yours in eternity. God gives more than we ever dreamed and in ways we would never even expect.

Every good sports coach is able to come up with encouraging words for his or her players. God, of course, is the greatest Coach of all time. He told Moses in Verse 6, "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." It was very good news, and He continued in Verses 7-8, "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." The sons of Israel should have shouted for joy, but the slavery they experienced was so bad they were unable to listen effectively. Verse 9 reports, "So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage."

Those who are sick, sad, or imprisoned in bad circumstances, tend to draw inside themselves as a defense against reality. Moses and Aaron were in a situation where everybody was against them, including their own people, but they did not withdraw because the Lord wouldn't let them. "Now the Lord spoke to Moses" in Verses 10-11, "saying, 'Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.'" Moses answered in prayer, uttering an objection seen before in Exodus 4:10. His answer in Verse 12 was: "But Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, 'Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?'" The objection didn't work before because the Lord introduced his brother, Aaron, into the mix, and now He did it again in Verse 13: "Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt." If Moses couldn't speak clearly, his brother certainly could.

We looked closely at the names of Jacob's sons (Abraham's grandsons) in the commentary on Genesis 29-30 and in Genesis 46. The Holy Spirit through Moses saw fit to include the names again within this chapter in Exodus. By the time of Moses, the individuals named had passed from the scene, but they lived on in a way, because their names had become designations for clans within the tribes and nation. Verse 14 begins the genealogy with the words, "These are the heads of their fathers' households..." And note as we look at these names that just like these people were remembered, so are you. We might be forgotten by the people of this earth, but God knows everything about us and loves us without limit. The meanings of these Hebrew names are included because God knew their names, ours and what they meant before this universe existed. Verse 14 continues, "...The sons of Reuben ("behold a son"), Israel's firstborn: Hanoch ("dedicated") and Pallu ("distinguished"), Hezron ("enclosure") and Carmi ("vinedresser"). Verse 14 concludes, "these are the families of Reuben."

Verse 15 lists "the sons of Simeon: Jemuel ("day of God") and Jamin ("the right hand") and Ohad ("powerful") and Jachin ("He establishes") and Zohar ("gray") and Shaul ("asked of God") the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon."

An emphasis in the Book of Exodus is the establishment of the Levitical priesthood, the line of Moses and Aaron, and we see the progenitors of the Levites in Verses 16-25: "These are the names of the sons of Levi ("a joining") according to their generations: Gershon ("exile") and Kohath ("assembly") and Merari ("bitter"); and the length of Levi’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years, indicating that the length of people's lives was continuing to diminish. The next verses take us to yet another generation: "The sons of Gershon: Libni ("pure") and Shimi ("renowned"), according to their families. The sons of Kohath: Amram ("a people exalted") and Izhar ("shining") and Hebron ("alliance") and Uzziel ("God is my strength"); and the length of Kohath’s life was one hundred and thirty-three years. The sons of Merari: Mahli ("shrewd") and Mushi ("draw out"). These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron ("bright") and Moses ("drawn out"); and the length of Amram’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. The sons of Izhar: Korah ("baldness") and Nepheg ("sprout") and Zichri ("famous"). The sons of Uzziel: Mishael ("who is like God") and Elzaphan ("God has concealed") and Sithri ("He is my protection"). Aaron married Elisheba ("God is good fortune"), the daughter of Amminadab ("my kinsman is noble"), the sister of Nahshon ("serpent"), and she bore him Nadab ("willing") and Abihu ("my father is He"), Eleazar ("God helps") and Ithamar ("island of palms"). The sons of Korah: Assir ("prisoner") and Elkanah ("God created") and Abiasaph ("the Father gathers"); these are the families of the Korahites. Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel ("God enlightens"), and she bore him Phinehas ("oracle"). These are the heads of the fathers’ households of the Levites. according to their families."

Most of these names are obscure to us, but not to God. He knows your name, He knows what it means in your life, and He knows your heart. Verses 26-27 begin, "It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, 'Bring out the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.' They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the sons of Israel from Egypt; it was the same Moses and Aaron." The context continues directly into Verses 28-29, where God again is speaking: "Now it came about on the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, that the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 'I am the Lord; speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I speak to you.'" The reply of Moses is seen in Verse 30: "But Moses said before the Lord, 'Behold, I am unskilled in speech; how then will Pharaoh listen to me?'" It should be encouraging to us all that Moses was slow to understand that he was not the one to speak to Pharaoh...it was God through Moses and then through Aaron. God's patience also encourages us. He understands we are weak, unskilled and unable to do His will, except He does it in and through us.

Father, You have answers to prayer that are outside of our human understanding. My needs may be met after I am gone, which is amazing, but You are God and You are infinite. I see so little, Lord, please help me. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Ron Beckham, Pastor
Friday Study Ministries

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"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
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