Exodus Day Eighteen
July 24, 2020, 5:00 AM

Impossible Salvation
Exodus 6:1-2, 5-9, 12, 30

But the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh;
for with a strong hand he will send them out,
and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD.”
…Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves,
and I have remembered my covenant.

Say therefore to the people 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 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.
I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
I will give it to you for a possession. I am the LORD.”

Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel,
but they did not listen to Moses,
because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.

…Moses said to the LORD,
“Behold, the people of Israel have not listened to me.
How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, for I am of uncircumcised lips?”
But Moses said to the LORD,
“Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”

One of the most incisive openings to a commentary: “A creator-god who withdraws from his creation and leaves his creatures entirely to their own devices is a functionless deity, an inactive being, remote and aloof from the world of men and women. He represents no ideal, makes no demands, enjoins no obligations, provides no moral governance of the world, imposes no moral law. Human strivings rest in no assurance of being other than unreality and futility, and the human race is bereft of ultimate destiny. Not so the Creator-God of the Bible.” (Nahum Sarna, Exploring Exodus, p.1) Emphasis mine!

Our God is not a non-god. We do not live in unreality. And life is not futility, no matter how scary or depressing the circumstances. Anyone who has cruised in the cabin of an airliner knows the skies are always bright and clear above the sea of dark clouds. God’s people need window seats. To this point (chapter six) in the Story of Exodus, God has only appeared to Moses – and that, in a small self-contained, but non-consuming fire in “the humblest of thorn bushes” on the slopes of Sinai. To the people, God hasn’t yet made his Name known. Thus far, the Work has been backstage. God never abdicates his Providence.

God finally declares, “Now, you’ll see what I’ll do!” and what follows is a declaration of redemption. How can God do what he says he’s going to do? Because He is the LORD GOD. He says, “I Am” because He Is. The ultimate, Divine action Verb. A passage here of the most awesome declarations in all of Scripture… And yet, the response to this awesomeness is “Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” Moses himself reminds God that he is of “uncircumcised lips” in speech. Perhaps that means not eloquent? Maybe it is a speech impediment? Or possibly an aversion to public speaking? Whatever. Not clear (pun intended). He didn’t think he could do it. He didn’t want to do it. He didn’t think God could do it. God’s people didn’t think God could do it.

Isn’t it extraordinary that God keeps persevering with his disbelieving people? But persevering faithfulness defines the essence of God. His calling card, recurring numerous times throughout the Old Testament is, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” (34:6-7, cf. Ps 86:15, Num. 14:18, Neh. 9:17, Joel 2:13).

If redemption (salvation) depends on Moses and the people, it wouldn’t happen. It would be impossible. We’ve not got it in us, morally or volitionally. Besides that— and that’s a Big That— everything we’ve read thus far about life in Egypt under the power and might of Pharaoh says getting free ain’t going to happen. But God is the God of the Impossible!

The New Testament’s most memorable metaphor to our state before Jesus is “death”— “You were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Eph. 2:1). Dead people don’t do much for themselves. The Hebrews were dead in their bondage. They admitted as much.

We must admit the same. However… Remember…
Oh, “wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
You see, God is still faithful and persevering.

I have a challenge for you this day. You’ve read the passage from chapter six. You’ve seen God’s affirmation of redemption. You’ve heard the unbelieving, discouraged response. I would ask you to keep this in mind as you come to worship on the Lord’s Day. You hear of God’s goodness in Jesus Christ. You confess your sins. You are reassured of his forgiveness and love for you. You profess He’s coming again. You go out encouraged to be the human benchmarks of God’s presence in and designs for the world. Can you take that spirit into the world, and hold fast to it, tenaciously, whatever the week’s ups and downs may bring? Be encouraged this week! God is always faithful.

Post Script: The artwork today displays a couple of interpretations of Mount Sinai, "the Mountain of God."

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