The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), February 1
The Exodus Era covers approximately 470 years of Israel’s history: 430 years in Egypt and 40 years in the wilderness. Israel has multiplied to a people group of more than three million people—just as God had promised their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The conditions in Egypt have turned adversarial, and Abraham’s promise has been fulfilled partially: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation w
hom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions” (Gen. 15:13-14). The people of Israel, strangers and slaves in a land that is not theirs, cry out to God. Quietly and off the radar of man’s perception, God works. He grants a family of Levi a baby boy and gives him a princely education. Israel is unaware that God is answering their prayers right under their noses.
Then God speaks. Eighty years later. More than three hundred years have passed since God last spoke to Jacob. He now introduces Himself to Moses.
He is God of the Ancients—“I am the God of your father—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:6). God’s promise to Abraham had obligated Him to give Abraham a son, a land, a nation, and a blessing to all the families of the earth. This promise was partially fulfilled when Abraham and Sarah gave birth to Isaac, when Isaac and Rebekah gave birth to Jacob, and when Jacob had twelve sons. Israel hadn’t left God in the land of Canaan when they moved to Egypt. God is not bound by geography. Neither is He stuck in time. He appears to Moses in the desert at Mount Horeb and informs Moses that it is time to fulfill the second part of His promise. He who lives outside of time enters time right on time!
He is God with an Agenda—“So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey . . .” (3:8). God enters time to deliver His people from bondage and into the land of promise.
He is God with an Assignment—“Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt” (3:10). God incorporates individuals into His story!
He is God with an Appellation—“Then Moses said to God, ‘Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they say to me, “What is His name?” what shall I say to them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’” (3:13-14), He who has no beginning or end. The Ever-existing One. That is His name.
He is God of Ability—Moses asks, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The LORD has not appeared to you’” (4:1). Further, he hides behind his lack of eloquence in speech. The Lord proceeds to grant Moses special abilities that he did not have before and promises His presence. God is on a mission to redeem His people. He chooses an unlikely candidate, just like His choice of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to lead His people. Why does He do it this way? So that Moses, Israel, and all of Egypt will know that HE IS.
Questions from today’s reading (Exodus 1:1-4:17):
What does the scene in Egypt reveal about those who govern without the knowledge of the Holy One of Israel?
What role does suffering play in preparing God’s people and His servant Moses to embrace the promise given hundreds of years earlier to Abraham in Genesis 15:13-14?