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The Gospel According to Moses
“Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 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: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (Exodus 6:1-8)
The Book of Leviticus is all about redemption, redemption by the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, our sin-atoning Substitute. But, before we can know anything about redemption accomplished for us, we must experience that redemption. The redemption was accomplished before we came to experience it; but it is not known until it is experienced. By the arrangement of divine providence, we come to the Book of Exodus before we get to the Book of Leviticus. The Book of Exodus is all about the experience of grace, the experience of redemption. Leviticus portrays redemption accomplished. Exodus portrays redemption applied. But no one can know that he was redeemed at Calvary until Christ the Redeemer is revealed in him, causing him to believe. In other words, we come to know that Christ obtained eternal redemption for us when God the Holy Spirit makes the gospel effectual to us in the saving operation of his grace. That is precisely what we are taught in Ephesians 1:3-14.
The Lord God had a people in Egypt. They were his own elect people, the people of his choice. Though they had been grievously oppressed, and had been brought into bitter and ignominious slavery, his interest in their welfare had not diminished.
God’s purpose in sending Moses down into Egypt was that he might bring that specific, chosen people out from among the nations and make them a peculiar people unto himself, that he might give them an inheritance and cause them to possess the land of Canaan, that land which flowed with milk and honey, and that they might dwell there as witnesses of his boundless mercy, grace and covenant faithfulness. And that which the Lord God was doing with Israel in the land of Ham is precisely what he is doing with his elect throughout the world.
Object of Preaching
The great object of gospel preaching is to gather out of the nations a people loved, chosen, and predestined by the triune God from old eternity, a people he has redeemed unto himself to be his peculiar heritage. Those people loved and chosen of God and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, his covenant people, must and shall be fetched out of the nations by God the Holy Spirit, just as David fetched Mephibosheth out of Lodebar by his servant, Ziba (2 Samuel 9:4-5). Every chosen, redeemed sinner must and shall be made, by the experience of grace, God’s own. The elect shall obtain their covenant inheritance. They shall be brought into a distinct, covenant relationship with the eternal God as his peculiar people, by the distinct experience of grace. They must be made a separated people. They must be brought into a distinct position and a distinct relationship with the Lord God. — “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9). And, ultimately, they shall be brought to a prepared place, for which they shall be distinctly prepared. — “And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Malachi 3:17).
God’s Work Alone
This great work of grace is the work of the triune God alone. The same right hand of Jehovah, glorious in power, that brought the sons of Jacob out of Egypt, is stretched out to deliver his chosen today. And ransomed sinners in this gospel age, standing with Moses, Miriam, and the children of Israel on the Canaan side of the Red Sea, sing the praises of Christ their Redeemer, saying, “He hath triumphed gloriously, the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea” (Exodus 15:1, 21).
In fact, we are specifically told in Revelation 15:3, that in heaven’s everlasting glory, we shall sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, because the redemption of Israel out of Egypt was always meant to be a delightful, instructive type of our redemption by our Lord Jesus Christ, who loved us and gave himself for us.
This great work of deliverance is the work of God alone. — “Salvation is of the Lord!” None can perform it but God. And, in great, condescending grace and goodness, he has chosen to accomplish it by the instrumentality of men, just as he used Moses for Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. It is written, “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching.” But he only employs instruments like Moses, who know that they are very poorly suited for the work, utterly unworthy to speak in his name and utterly incapable of the work they are sent to perform, “that no flesh should glory in his presence” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
In the first eight verses of Exodus 6 the Lord God tells Moses to tell his people who he is, what he had done for his people, and all that he was about to do for them in the blessed experience of redemption.
A Gracious Answer
In the last two verses of chapter 5 we saw Moses unburdening his heart before the Lord. Here the Lord graciously answers his servant, assuring him of his great grace, assuring him that he would do all that he promised. He does this in two ways. First, the Lord God reminds Moses of his great Name, assuring him that he would perform his word and purpose of grace to deliver his people (vv. 1-3).
“Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the LORD: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.”
Obviously, God’s great redemptive name was made known to his people before this. From the day that he made himself known to Abraham and made his covenant with him, the triune God was known and worshipped by his great, distinguishing name Jehovah (Genesis 15:6-8; 26:2, 24; 28:13). But the triune Jehovah had not revealed himself as fully to the patriarchs as he had revealed himself to Moses in the bush, and would reveal himself in bringing Israel out of Egypt. Jehovah is the name by which the Lord God makes himself known to us distinctly as our eternal, immutable, self-existing, self-sufficient, life-giving, life-sustaining covenant God. He who is El-Shaddai, the Almighty God, is Jehovah our Savior, our covenant God. The revelation of his name is the revelation of his character. His name is who he is.
Do you know him in this character, as your God and Savior? If so, it is because he has made himself known to you. It is by this name, the very Being of God our Savior that we are encouraged to walk before him in confident faith (Isaiah 40:26-31).
Connecting these two names together in the person of our great Savior, Jehovah-Jesus, the Almighty God, we are doubly assured that what God has promised he will perform. How blessed we are to whom the triune God makes himself known in the saving revelation and operation of his grace in Christ (Exodus 14:18; Isaiah 44:6; Jeremiah 9:23-24; John 17:3; Revelation 22:13). Others know about him. We know him, because he has established his covenant with us in the blessed experience of grace.
It is only when we focus on ourselves, look to ourselves, seek satisfaction in ourselves, try to find a reason for hope in ourselves, and trust in ourselves that we meet with disappointment and failure. Job 29 gives a picture of Job in his most pitiful state. Defending himself before Bildad, he gloried in what he had done. In 25 short verses he used the words “I,” “me,” and “my” thirty-nine times. In Ecclesiastes 2, Solomon spoke of all that he had seen and learned. He used those same three words: “I,” “me,” and “my,” thirty-eight times. But it was all vanity, nothing but vanity. Our thoughts are terribly low, when we think about ourselves. And our words are most vulgar, when we begin to talk about ourselves.
None but God can rightly and truly speak much of “I.” And when the Lord God speaks to his chosen in mercy, when he speaks of his salvation, we rejoice to hear him use those blessed words — “I,” “me,” and “my”! He used those words 19 times in these eight verses to quieten Moses’ fearful heart and assure him of his salvation. Our Savior’s “fear nots” are always followed with “I”. He says, “Fear not, It is I.” — “Fear not, I have redeemed thee.” — “Fear not, I am with thee.” — “Fear not, I will help thee.” — “Fear not, I will uphold thee.” — “Fear not, I have loved thee.” — “Fear not, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” — “Fear not, I will keep thee.” — “Fear not, I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins.” — “Fear not, I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.” I love to hear our God and Savior say, “I”! Don’t you?
Second, having reminded Moses of his great and glorious Name, Jehovah, the Almighty God, he reminded his servant of all that he had done for his people in the past (vv. 4-5).
“And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant.”
Put the name of our God to his promise, and add to that all that we have already experienced in his goodness, and all doubt should be driven from our hearts forever! O my fearful heart, remember these things, just these three things, and be still! The Lord God declares…
1. “I have established my covenant with them” (Genesis 17:8; 2 Samuel 23:5).
2. “I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel” (Psalm 106:4).
3. “I have remembered my covenant” (Psalm 106:45; 105:8; 103:10-17).
Seven Sure Promises
After reminding Moses of his great Name and of his great grace performed in the past, the Lord God gives him seven sure promises, seven “I wills”. And God’s “I wills” are as sure as his “I haves”. God’s word to his servant was, “Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh.” As a result of what he was about to do, the strong hand of Pharaoh, which had oppressed, enslaved, and tormented his people, would soon drive them out of his land. Pharaoh and his kingdom would soon be turned upside down; and Israel would soon be free. Read these seven great “I wills” of our God (vv. 6-8), and be assured that “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it” and bring it to its completion, because “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
“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: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.”
1. “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” — Israel had been forced to make bricks without straw. — An impossible task! Rest was what they needed and wanted; and rest is what the Lord God promised to give. So it is with us (Matthew 11:28-30).
2. “I will rid you out of their bondage.” — The Lord did not tell Israel to do anything to accomplish this. He promised to do it. And that is what he has done for us (Colossians 1:12-14; 2:8-17).
3. “I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments.” — Notice that this is a promise of redemption by power and by judgment. Deliverance, salvation, can never be obtained except by judgment accomplished and by the power of omnipotent grace. Our redemption was accomplished by the judgment of our sin in Christ at Calvary. It is applied to us by the omnipotent power of God’s sovereign grace in the effectual call of his Spirit (Galatians 3:13-14).
4. “I will take you to me for a people.” — Our blessed Savior has redeemed us unto himself as his own peculiar people, distinguishing us from all others by blood and by grace. — “Ye are not your own. Ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your bodies and in your spirits, which are God’s.”
5. “I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” — And all who experience the blessed, saving operations of his grace know him, and are assured that he alone is God who is their God; and they know that all the work of their salvation is his work.
6. “I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” — He who has chosen us, redeemed us, and called us will keep us; and he will bring us home to heaven, to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in his Kingdom.
7. “I will give it you for an heritage.” — Not only will he bring us home at last, he will cause us to possess and enjoy all his Kingdom and Glory forever as our rightful heritage, as a people who are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.”
Be sure you do not fail to observe that the Lord’s first words in this string of promises were, “I am the LORD” (v. 6). And his last words are, “I am the LORD” (v. 8). That is because the whole thing is God’s doing, not man’s. He who is our Savior is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. And in the whole business of salvation he is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. And that is the gospel according to Moses.