Pastor Rick Duncan
We’re going to explore a verse today that says that the people of God in Old Testament days experienced a “broken spirit.” We’ll see why. But for now, just know that God’s people today still can experience a broken spirit. We long to see God at work in our world. We long to see God rescue and deliver. But often, we wait. Our Hero isn’t always in a hurry.
As we learned last week, God hadn’t closed the door and opened a window. God closed the door AND closed the window, too! So, the Jews said to Moses, “May God see what you’ve done and judge you—you’ve made us stink before Pharaoh and his servants! We work ‘till we drop. Things are worse than ever! You want to help us? Thanks, but no thanks!” So, Moses went to the LORD, “Why are You treating this people so badly? And why did You ever send me? From the moment I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, LORD, things have only gotten worse for the people. And rescue? Does this look like rescue to You?”
Now, it’s the LORD’s turn to talk.
But the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh…Exodus 6:1
In chapters 1-6 God has been setting things up for the display of His power.
After the people became slaves, after the baby boys had been murdered, after Moses was born, after Moses at age 40 tried to take justice into his own hands, after Moses at age 80 had lived in exile as a shepherd, after God called Moses at the burning bush, after Moses traveled 100s of miles back to Egypt, after plead with Pharoah to let the people go worship, after Pharoah made things worse than ever for the people…THEN God said, “Now you shall see what I will do … for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
In the Holman Christian Standard Bible translation, God says about Pharoah…He will let them go because of My strong hand; he will drive them out of his land because of My strong hand.
The NIV says, Because of My mighty hand he will let them go; because of My mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.
God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the LORD.Exodus 6:2
The word LORD, when spelled with capital letters in the Old Testament, stands for the Divine name YHWH (in Hebrew יְהוָה ) which comes from the verb hayah – “to be.”
So, God says, “Let Me remind you who I am! I am YHWH – the LORD.”
I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.Exodus 6:3
God Almighty. The Hebrew phrase is El Shaddai. The forefathers of the Jewish people knew God as “all powerful.” But they didn’t know God by His personal name, LORD.
LORD – I am who I am, I will be who I will be! The name of God means that He is…
To the prophet Isaiah, the LORD said, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me… saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.'” Isaiah 46:9-10
To the prophet Jeremiah, the LORD said, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27
So here in Exodus 6 God is saying, “Moses, I know things look bleak. I know you’re about to throw in the towel. But I am the LORD! I will do what I will do! No one – not even Pharoah, can stop Me.” When God reminds Moses that He is the LORD, He’s letting him know, “Setting the people free from Pharoah is not too hard for Me!”
I also established my covenant with them [the forefathers of the Jewish people] to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners.Exodus 6:4
The eyes of the world are on Israel and the conflict with Hamas. The establishment of Israel in 1948 led to the displacement of Palestinian Arabs from their ancestral homes and resulted in conflict. But the Jewish, even today, people are clinging to ancient promises from God that that land would be theirs.
To Abraham: “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them… So shall your descendants be… To your descendants I have given this land…” (Genesis 15:4-6)
To Isaac: “Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands… And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven… and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed…” (Genesis 26:3-5).
To Jacob: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land” (Genesis 35:11-12).
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.’”Exodus 6:5-8
I am the LORD.
I will bring you out. v. 6
I will deliver you. v. 6
I will redeem you. v. 6
I will take you to be My people. v. 7
I will be your God. v.7
I will bring you into the land. v. 8
I will give it to you. v. 8
I am the LORD.
Seven promises. Seven “I will” statements from the LORD. He gives promises to His people. Why?
To inspire hope in despair. To give joy in suffering. To provide light in darkness. When you have a broken spirit, run to the promises of God.
Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.Exodus 6:9
The Christian columnist David Brooks wrote an opinion piece on “The Moral Revolution We Need” for the NY Times. He wrote, “Some people are broken by pain and grief. They seem to get smaller and more afraid, and never recover. But other people are broken open.”
You can either be broken down or broken open. Be broken open to God! Don’t let your broken spirit keep you from looking up and claiming the promises!
So the LORD said to Moses, “Go in, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the people of Israel go out of his land.” But 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 the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.Exodus 6:10-13
Now we shall see what God will do! Pharoah is not about to let the people go. Pharoah is making things as bad as possible for the people. The people have a broken spirit. Moses sees himself as wholly inadequate for the task. Things are about as dark as they can get. The door is closed. The window is closed. They are out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Now you shall see what I will do!
Starting in verse 14 we have a genealogy. Who are the forefathers of Moses and Aaron?
The genealogy serves as a kind of a pause – a flashback – before the action in this story starts up again. And we are meant to see that these leaders – Moses and Aaron (even though they aren’t being all that effective) – are actually legit leaders from the priestly line of one of their ancestors, Levi. The genealogy grounds this story in history.
Just a few closing observations and applications…
- When the time is right, the Hero, who isn’t always in a hurry, hurries up.
So, if you are waiting – and your spirit is breaking – don’t give up. It may be in this life. It may be in the life to come. But when the time is right, the Hero, who isn’t always in a hurry, hurries up.
- God rescues His people to reveal more of His character.
God longs to be known better and better. If you have a broken spirit, God has not abandoned you. He’s wanting to reveal more of who He is to you in the midst of your pain and suffering. God allows suffering to reveal more of His character.
- Our extremity is God’s opportunity.
Our can’t is His can. Our weakness invites His strength. God takes human weakness, turns it on its head, and uses it as a backdrop where He can display His glory and strength. If this wasn’t His way, what hope would there be for God to use any of us? Our failures are not final. God takes ugliest-looking apples and makes the best-tasting pies. Our extremity is God’s opportunity. God is saying to you, “Now you shall see what I can do.”
- God’s goal is God’s glory.
We dare not attempt to be the heroes of our own stories. The temptation for us is to want God to be there on the stage, but only as a powerful co-star or supporting actor so we can achieve our agendas. But our comforts, our peace, and our affluence must never be our main goal. If God’s goal is God’s glory, then our goal has to be God’s glory. Don’t rush the Hero. Don’t put Him of a time table.
Wait for His “now you shall see what I will do.”
- When you cannot trace His hand, trust His heart.
When you have a broken spirit and you’re waiting and waiting and waiting on a rescue, you’re probably not going to be able to figure out what God is doing. Pastor Joe said it last week. If you are going to get to know God, it’s going to take more patience and greater faith.
The great British pastor C. H. Spurgeon gave a message entitled, “A Happy Christian.” In it, he said, “The Christian blesses [God] when He smites him: [The Christian] believes God to be too wise to err and too good to be unkind; he trusts [God] where he cannot trace Him, looks up to Him in the darkest hour, and believes that all is well.”
So, feed your soul. Receive and believe the promises. And “may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).