In Exodus 5, we saw Pharaoh increase the labor of the Israelites after they asked permission to go to the wilderness to make offerings to God. Moses had just come off from meeting with God, and had convinced the Israelites that God would deliver them from their Egyptian masters. After making this initial request to Pharaoh, Pharaoh then increased their labor by forcing them to gather straw for their bricks, rather than using straw from the Egyptians’ supply.
After this turn of events, Moses and the people were discouraged. Indeed, Moses’ words in chapter 5 were discouraging to the faithful Bible reader: ““Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
Chapter 6 starts with God speaking to Moses, allaying his fears. In the big picture, Pharaoh’s initial and continual rejection of God is part of the plan. God’s plan to save Israel from the slavery of Egypt will be revealed in many phases and 10 plagues. Moses’ and the peoples’ faith were being tested. God reminds Moses of Hs faithful heritage:
“Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land…I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name Lord I was not known to them. I have also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, in which 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.”
God then asks Moses to tell the Israelites again to reiterate to the people that He will save them. God has heard their prayers and wishes to bring them out of Egyptian bondage. God tells Moses to go in again to Pharaoh to tell him to let the Israelites go. Moses remains dubious, but God commands him and Aaron again to continue to pursue the release of the Israelites through Pharaoh.
Verses 14-27 provide a genealogy of the families of Moses and Aaron. We will notice in some of the ages provided, the age range of humanity continues to decrease.
The end of the chapter reminds us once again of Moses’ lack of confidence as a speaker. We know that Moses’ faith in God was strong, but we also know that Moses needed to increase his faith in himself. This, of course, is an extension of his faith in God when it comes down to it. Because if God has set the goal to remove the Israelites from Egypt and has determined that Moses will be the one to lead the exodus, then it follows that God will bestow Moses the gifts needed to facilitate the effort.
But at the outset, Moses needs help in being convinced that he can do it. And in the end, Moses’ faith will be deepened as he sees that God’s plan was to work through him all along.
A good lesson for us in this chapter is to realize that faith in God has many different facets. It can be easy to believe that God created the heavens and the earth. It can be easy to believe that God can heal the sick and that God can bring the rain and the heat and can provide for all the animals of the earth. But is our faith deep enough to believe that God can remove our fear or apprehension about something we know we need to do? Maybe it is complicated by a character defect or insecurity we have. Moses’ faith was not deep enough in the beginning to believe confidently that God could remove the Israelites from Egypt through him exclusively. But through the providence of God and in the outcome of His plan, Moses’ faith increased.
Let us attempt to learn something from Moses tonight. Even if the right thing to do seems impossible, we should exercise our faith to bridge the gap and act in righteousness. Even if it requires a skill that we know we do not have, we need to believe that we can if God is with us. Sometimes we need help to boost our faith. With prayer and biblical examples like Moses, we can see how God is acting in our lives.