Wednesday, September 22, 2021

2021.09.22 Hopewell @Home ▫ Exodus 6:9–27

Read Exodus 6:9–27

Questions from the Scripture text: To whom did Moses speak Yahweh’s words (Exodus 6:9)? How did they respond? Why? Who spoke now (Exodus 6:10)? What did He command (Exodus 6:11)? How does Moses respond—what does he argue against this (Exodus 6:12)? For whom does Yahweh now restate commands to Moses and Aaron (Exodus 6:13)? What does the Scripture proceed to describe about the children of Israel (Exodus 6:14)? Whose sons first, and who were his firstborn? Whose sons second (Exodus 6:15)? Which son is singled out and for what? Whose sons does the rest of the passage cover (Exodus 6:16)? What info does verse 16 add about him? Which clan does Exodus 6:17 cover? Which clan in Exodus 6:18? What info does verse 18 add? Which clan in Exodus 6:19? What man, from which clan, does Exodus 6:20 zero in upon? Whom did he marry? Whom did she bear him? What other relations of theirs are described in Exodus 6:21-22? Whose wife and sons does Exodus 6:23 list? Who are they? Upon which of his nephews does Exodus 6:24 focus? Upon which of his sons does Exodus 6:25 focus? What do Exodus 6:26-27 give as the reason for this focus in this genealogy—what had Yahweh said to them? To whom did they speak (Exodus 6:27)?

The Lord had given Moses a command in Exodus 6:6, “Say to the children of Israel…” Now in Exodus 6:9, Moses obeys, but with bad results literally “because of shortness of breath and cruel bondage.” With their new working conditions, no one had the breath to listen or believe.

So when in Exodus 6:11 the Lord gives Moses a similar command, “Go in tell Pharaoh…,” Moses states what he thinks is obvious: the “telling people stuff” campaign doesn’t work with “uncircumcised lips” like his. Moses doesn’t understand the point of circumcision: that we need our fleshliness cut away by God’s almighty power and atoned for by God’s infinitely worthy sacrifice. (Baptism is even better: it announces that God pours out His Spirit to give us new birth and washes us clean by the blood of Jesus!)

This time, the Lord doesn’t stoop down to argue with Moses. He just renews the commands (Exodus 6:13). There’s a good lesson in that. Sometimes, the Lord gives us reasons so that we can understand how His commands are good or will work. But even without them, He is the Lord, and we should obey.

The Holy Spirit, however, gives us an answer to Moses’s question in the genealogy that follows. The conclusion to the genealogy in Exodus 6:26-27, restating the commands, and emphasizing twice that it was these very same Moses and Aaron “who spoke to Pharaoh.” The lesson is pretty plain: Moses is from the covenant line, as his circumcision attests. When Pharaoh listens to him, it will not be because his lips did such a good job, but because God has exerted His almighty power. He doesn’t need “circumcised lips.” He is as he needs to be, because God has set him apart to Himself by covenant.

So the genealogy places Moses and Aaron among the covenant people generally at first. Eldest son (Exodus 6:14). Second son (Exodus 6:15). Third son (Exodus 6:16). By giving the ages at death of Levi and Kohath (Exodus 6:18), the text may even be implying that the Lord granted unusually long (for that time) lifespans so that Moses’s and Aaron’s parents would be a grandson of Levi and a daughter of Levi—Moses is much more immediately connected to the patriarchs than many of us imagine!

And that’s the point. Moses isn’t just a covenanted servant. Israel is a people whom the Lord has covenanted to save. This promise has been His declaration over each of their households, throughout their generations, despite their unworthiness (or anti-worthiness, cf. the Canaanite mother of Shaul in Exodus 6:15, and the infamous names of Nadab and Abihu in Exodus 6:23). 

And your baptism testifies the same to you. The Lord has put you among His covenant people. The Lord summons you to believe in the cleansing blood of Christ and depend upon the regenerating power of His Spirit. More than that, the Lord promises unto your faith that you are useful despite your deficiencies and shall be finally and fully saved, despite your anti-worthiness! He traces His work across generations, makes promises to grandparents and great-grandparents, and then keeps them to their offspring. 

He is the Lord. That is enough to obey Him. And He is the covenant Lord. That is enough to be confident that His commands will bring blessing!

What have you been called to that you feel inadequate for? Why can you be confident of its ultimate effectiveness? Of what else can you be sure by God’s covenant?

Sample prayer:  O Lord, You are the faithful, powerful, wise, covenant-keeping God! Blessed be Your Name forever and ever! But we so fail to glorify You that we often doubt the goodness of Your commands, or even resist obeying until we approve of their prospects of doing good. Forgive us, O God! And use us, according to Your power and perfect purpose in Christ, in Whose Name we ask it, Amen!  

Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

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