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Ecclesiastes Podcast

Exodus 3:7-10

The book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of Genesis concerning the migration of the family of Jacob (the Israelites) to Egypt (Genesis 50). It describes the commissioning of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives on earth to accomplish God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land (the land of Canaan). It also relates the miraculous deliverance from Egypt beginning with the plagues on Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It then describes the journey to Mount Sinai and the establishment of the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites. The last part of the book involves the specifications and building of the tabernacle – the place where the Lord Himself dwelt amongst His people.

In the book of Exodus, the focus shifts to the deliverance of God’s people.


The account of the preparation of Moses to be deliverer starts in Exodus 3. It begins with God confronting him at the burning bush. Moses needs to be impressed by the fact that this is a very holy call at a very holy moment in a very holy place. God is aware of the suffering of His people and He is ready to deliver them. He wants Moses to be his representative before Pharaoh and before His people to make this deliverance happen.

 

Chapter 3 can outlined as follows:

  •      God Calls Moses to be a Deliverer (3:1 – 10)
  •      Moses Responds to God’s Call (3:11 – 22)

God tells Moses that He is aware of the plight of the Israelites and tells Moses that He is sending him to Pharaoh.

 

Now that the LORD has identified Himself as the holy God of the patriarchs of Israel, He then tells Moses that He is aware of their situation in Egypt. The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. Note the three phrases the LORD uses here. First, He has surely seen the affliction of My people. The phrase “surely seen” is emphatic in the Hebrew, signifying that He is fully aware of the plight of His people (the first time the LORD calls Israel His “people”) in Egypt. Second, He says that He has given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters. This could be translated “and have heard their screaming.” There is little doubt that the Israelites wailed at the top of their lungs, longing to be free from the suffering they were experiencing. In the third phrase, He tells Moses that I am aware of their sufferings. The Hebrew reads “I know their pain.” These three phrases show that the God of the Israelites is fully aware (seen) their sufferings, heard their cries of anguish, and knows their pain. There is nothing that the LORD is not aware of. These three verbs (“surely seen”, “given heed”, and “am aware”) imply that His heart has been moved by what’s happening to His people and it is now time to act upon it.

 

In response to this, the LORD says that I have come down. This phrase is probably an idiom that signifies that He is going to be intimately and actively involved in what is about to happen. In Genesis 11:5, the LORD “came down” to see the tower of Babel that men built. This does not mean that the LORD had to “come down” to the earth in order to see what was being done. He already was aware of it, for the LORD to “come down” implies that He will take a “hands-on” approach to deal with the situation. Another use of this phrase is later in Exodus (19:20) when He descends upon Mount Sinai to dictate the Law (including the Ten Commandments) directly to Moses. Other places where the LORD “came down” are Numbers 11:25, 12:5, Nehemiah 9:13, Psalms 18:9, and Isaiah 64:3.

 

The purpose of the LORD’s direct involvement is in verse 8. In essence, it entails two deliverances. First, the LORD has come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians and second, the LORD has come down to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land. In a sense, this tells of two deliverances – deliverance from Egypt and deliverance to the Promised Land. This is a picture of God’s deliverance of believers today. We are delivered from slavery and death to life and freedom.

 

The LORD describes His promised land as a land flowing with milk and honey. It implies that the land has plenty of vegetation to support livestock. It also indicates that Israel’s way of life will change from nomadic wandering to settled agriculture.

 

After the LORD described the quality of the place where the Israelites would go, He now states its location. The Israelites are going to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. All but one of these peoples (the Perizzite) are mentioned in Genesis 10:15-18. The peoples mentioned here are descendants of Canaan, who is the son of Ham, the son of Noah. The term Canaanite is a collective term that refers to the many groups that inhabited the area now known as Israel, parts of Jordan, and parts of Lebanon. The Hittites were a people from what is now north-central Turkey that created an empire that expanded into Palestine. Bathsheba’s first husband was Uriah the Hittite (II Samuel 11:3). Very little is known about the Perizzites, whose name probably means “tent-dwellers”, other than they lived (or roamed) in the land of Canaan alongside the Canaanites (Genesis 13:7, Joshua 11:3). The Amorites originate from northern Mesopotamia. The Hivites occupied the area now known as southern Lebanon and northern Israel. The Jebusites lived in the hill country of Canaan in and around Jebus, which later became known as Jerusalem (Joshua 15:8).

 

Verses 9 and 10 contain the divine call and commission of Moses to be the LORD’s representative to lead Israel out of Egypt and to Canaan. The word Now beginning the phrase in verse 9 Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; shows that the commissioning is based on what the LORD has just said in 3:1-8. He repeats the reason by focusing Moses’ attention on it (behold or “look”), then repeating what is said in verse 7 that the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me and furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. He states again that He has heard their cry of anguish and seen what the Egyptians have done to them.

 

Based on this (Therefore, beginning verse 10), The LORD calls Moses into action (“come now” or “go”). What Moses is called to do is twofold – first, I will send you to Pharaoh. Note that it is the LORD who is telling him to “go.” It is a divine commission and thus the authority to do this comes from God Himself. Moses is to act in faith by going, and the LORD is the One who authorized him to go.

 

The second part of the commission is that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.

Biblical Text

7 The Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings. 8 So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 9 Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.”