Wednesday, August 04, 2021

2021.08.04 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 2:23–3:9

Read Exodus 2:23–3:9

Questions from the Scripture text: What happened after Moses had been in Midian for 40 years (Exodus 2:23, cf. Acts 7:23, Acts 7:30; Exodus 7:7)? What were the children of Israel still doing at that point? Up to where did their cry come? How does Exodus 2:24 indicate that God is about to ask? What does it say about Him that He is affected by their groaning? What does it say about Him that He remembered His covenant? With whom had this covenant been made that He now responds to and acts upon? Upon whom did God look (Exodus 2:25a)? What else did God do (verse 25b)? What was Moses still doing (Exodus 3:1)? Where did he lead the flock? To what did he come? What would this mountain come to be called? Who appears to him in Exodus 3:2? In what did He appear? From the midst of what? What did Moses see happening in the bush? What did he not see? What does Moses say in Exodus 3:3? Who is it that sees Moses turning aside in Exodus 3:4? Who calls to him? From where? How does God call? How does Moses answer? What does God tell Moses not to do in Exodus 3:5? What does He tell him to do? Why? How does God now identify Himself in Exodus 3:6? Now what does Moses do? Why? Who does Exodus 3:7 say is speaking now? What does Yahweh say He has seen? What does He call the children of Israel? What has Yahweh heard? What does Yahweh know? What does Yahweh say He has done (Exodus 3:8)? To do what from where? And to bring them to what kind of land? But who dwells in that land? How does Exodus 3:9a dovetail with Exodus 2:23? How does Exodus 3:9b dovetail with Exodus 2:25?

God hears, sees, and knows His people, but all in accordance with His covenant. And we are to know Him, in accordance with His holiness.

God hears. In Exodus 2:23, they’re groaning and crying, and it doesn’t even say that they are crying out to God. Still, their cry came up to God. He heard (Exodus 2:24) their groaning. In Exodus 3:7, Yahweh tells Moses that He has heard their cry. In Exodus 3:9, He says “the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me.” The Lord pays attention to us. He hears our groans and cries. 

God sees. Exodus 2:25 tells us that God looked upon the children of Israel, and again in Exodus 3:7, Yahweh says, “I have surely seen the oppression.” Then in Exodus 3:9, He says, “I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.” In Exodus 2:12, Moses had “looked this way and that way, and when he saw no one, he killed the Egyptian.” The fact that he hid him in the sand may mean that Moses was looking to know if anyone would find him out. But it is also possible that Moses’s looking was in the sense of Isaiah 63:5—looking to see if there was anyone else to save, and when he saw none, he intervened. In either of these cases, Moses would have been wrong. There is someone who saw him: the Lord. There is someone who could save Israel: the Lord. We may feel that we, or someone else, is unnoticed. But this would be a great mistake: the Lord sees.

God knows. (and remembers!). The end of Exodus 2:25 literally says, “and God knew.” In the original, the verb has no object. The end of Exodus 3:7 may supply it, “for I know their pain.” But it seems more likely that the “knowing” in Exodus 2:25 is broader. For, He is remembering His covenant. He is as much their God as He has been the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:24). He calls them the children of Israel in Exodus 3:9 (cf. Exodus 2:23), but even more personally, “My people” in Exodus 3:7.

This explains the way He uses Moses’s name in Exodus 3:4. It’s like if a stranger (or so you thought) calls you out by name, and then reveals how close he had been with your daddy (Exodus 3:6). Except in this case, it is the living God Himself who is expressing this near familiarity with Moses. He calls to him, “Moses, Moses” (Exodus 3:4) because “I am the God of your father” (Exodus 3:6). With confidence in Christ’s blood, we have good hope that He is remembering not our sins but His covenant.

What we must know: God’s holiness. Moses was going to have to stand up against Pharaoh and all of the power of Egypt, and then later against the entire nation of Israel. It was of utmost importance that he learn the fear of the Lord from the holiness of the Lord. And this was the first lesson. 

The angel of Yahweh appears in the flame from the midst of the bush. This is another situation where a messenger of Yahweh (Exodus 3:2) is actually Yahweh Himself (Exodus 3:4). His presence makes the bush holy, so the very first thing he says is to remove his sandals. Even for shepherds in the wilderness, awareness of God’s holiness is more necessary preparation than proper footwear.

Now, this can be a dreadful thing: the burningly holy God hears and sees and knows us! But, the word of Exodus 3:8 stands upon the righteousness and sacrifice of Christ: “I have come down to deliver.” Indeed, His salvation is all the more marvelous precisely because of the greatness of His holiness. The “I have come down to deliver” from verse 8 has the same ring to it as “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17). 

This holy God remembers not our sin but His covenant, as He hears us and sees us and knows us!

What difference does the holiness of God make in how you approach Him? How does it help you to relate to others and to difficulties, when you remember that He hears and sees and knows you?

Suggested songs: ARP25A “To You I Lift My Soul” or TPH230 “Holy, Holy Holy”

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