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Redeemer Bible Church


Unreserved Accountability to Christ. Undeserved Acceptance from Christ.
Israel’s God Is Greater
Exodus 5:22-6:9

Introduction
God is faithful! Amen? Amen.

I’m sure we would all heartily agree with the statement that God is faithful. We even
sing songs about his faithfulness. None more popular than “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”:

Great is thy faithfulness, O God my Father;


There is no shadow of turning with thee;
Thou changest not, thy compassions they fail not;
As thou has been thou forever wilt be.

Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!


Morning by morning new mercies I see:
All I have needed thy hand hath provided—
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Thomas O Chisholm (b. 1866)

God is faithful. And his faithfulness is attested throughout the Bible. Paul reminds
Timothy through the use of an early Christian hymn that “if we are faithless, He remains
faithful; for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim 2:13). The Corinthians, too, are reminded of
God’s faithfulness in the first chapter of Paul’s letter to them. He says, “God is faithful, through
whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor 1:9). The
writer of Hebrews encourages his audience to persevere, to “hold fast the confession of our
hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb 10:23). And John, speaking of
the necessity of confession in the Christian life, says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and
righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

God is faithful! Yet in saying that, it seems to me that we do not quite have a grasp on
what Scripture means when it affirms the faithfulness of God. In his hymn, Thomas O Chisholm
nearly equates God’s faithfulness with his unchangeableness, his immutability, when he presses
into service the words of James 1 for the second line of the first stanza: “There is no shadow of
turning with thee.” “Thou changest not,” he says. “As though has been thou forever wilt be.”

And there is a sense in which God’s faithfulness is an expression of his immutability, or


unchanging nature. But that is not properly what an expression of God’s faithfulness meant to
convey. God’s faithfulness in Scripture is most commonly associated with the keeping of his
covenant promises. Moses summarizes for Israel in Deut 7:9: “Know therefore that the LORD

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your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a
thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”

Psalm 89 is a song about God’s faithfulness—and the covenant language predominates:

I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever; To all generations I will
make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be
built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness. I have made a
covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, I will establish your seed
forever And build up your throne to all generations….I have found David My servant;
With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand will be established; My arm
also will strengthen him. The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness
afflict him. But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him.
My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be
exalted….I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. My
lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.
So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven….But I
will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness. My
covenant I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips. Once I have sworn
by My holiness; I will not lie to David. His descendants shall endure forever And his
throne as the sun before Me. It shall be established forever like the moon, And the
witness in the sky is faithful” (Ps 89:1-4, 20-24, 27-29, 33-37).

The faithfulness of the heavenly bodies (their continuation in the sky) testifies that God will
make good on his promise. He will keep his covenant.

And it is God’s faithfulness—his commitment to his promises for redemption—that is


consistently set before God’s people throughout the Bible. This is the truth that we need to
remember—especially when our circumstances seem grim. And this is precisely what the Lord
sets before Moses in the text for this morning’s meditation.

Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, "O Lord, why have You brought
harm to this people? Why did You ever send me? 23 "Ever since I came to Pharaoh to
speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your
people at all." 6:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to
Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive
them out of his land." 2 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the LORD; 3
and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD,
I did not make Myself known to them. 4 "I also established My covenant with them, to
give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. 5 "Furthermore I have
heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in
bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. 6 "Say, therefore, to the sons 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 their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm
and with great judgments. 7 'Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God;
and you shall know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under
the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 'I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the LORD.'" 9

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So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account
of their despondency and cruel bondage.

A Bad Situation Gone Worse


The grimness of Israel’s circumstances is expressed in Moses’ complaint in vv 22-23:
Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm
to this people? Why did You ever send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak
in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your
people at all.” Moses’ return to the Lord in prayer represents his response to the people’s
accusation in v 21, when the people said to him and Aaron, “May the LORD look upon you and
judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh's sight and in the sight of his servants, to put
a sword in their hand to kill us.”

Rather than giving a rejoinder to the people, Moses apparently agrees with their
assessment. He and his brother should never have gone to Pharaoh. Since the idea did not
originate with Moses, Moses complains to the source. In v 22 he asks, “Why have you
brought harm to this people? You said that if I went to Pharaoh, though he would express
some resistance, you would nevertheless deliver your people. Instead, their condition has
gotten worse. This doesn’t make any sense!”

The blame continues with the second question: “Why did you ever send me?” This
reads an awful lot like an “I-told-you-so.” “I told you that sending me to Pharaoh was a bad
idea. Now look what’s happened! Rather than liberation, the people know severe bondage;
rather than good, they know harm. And it’s your fault; for (as v 23 reports) ever since I
came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You
have not delivered Your people at all.

Now the significance of Moses complaint can only be appreciated in light of miraculous
events that God is about to unleash against Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The narrator wants his
audience to appreciate that Pharaoh’s power is unparalleled. He is impervious to any human
challenge or plea and immovable to any force outside himself. It is impossible that Pharaoh will
let God’s people go. No man or group of men can sway him. Not even Aaron and Moses,
God’s chosen instruments are any match for him. This is the kind of king Pharaoh is.

But the point here is that Israel’s God is greater than men—greater than any man and
able to rescue fully those who trust in him. Moses’ complaint functions as the climax of the
intensification of Israel’s misery. Israel’s condition is impossible. But Israel is not about to
deliver herself; neither are Moses and Aaron anything more than instruments in the redeemer’s
hand. Yahweh is the one who will deliver his people. Israel’s God is greater than Pharaoh.

Notice the Lord’s response in 6:1: “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh;
for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them
out of his land.” Now is the time for Israel’s liberation. Now, at the time when Israel (and
Moses, her deliverer) has reached rock-bottom, God will reveal what he will do to Pharaoh.
Twice in this verse the Lord says that Pharaoh will release Israel under compulsion; literally,

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by a mighty hand.1 What God had promised in 3:19, he now tells Moses that the time has
finally come to exercise his mighty hand against the king of Egypt.

And more than that, the Lord adds that Pharaoh will be under such pressure from the
weight of his hand that he will not only let the people go, but he will positively drive them
out of his land; he’ll be begging them to leave. This, says the Lord, is what he will now bring
about.

Nevertheless, before he begins to unleash his wonders against Pharaoh, there is more
he needs to say to Moses and through Moses to his people. The Lord wants to assure the
people that his words are not vain ramblings of an impotent and untrustworthy deity. He will
redeem his people in spite of such fearsome opposition. And the people can be assured that
God will accomplish all that he’s promised because he is faithful.

Visiting the Patriarchs


The Lord reassures Moses with a chronological rehearsal of Israel’s experience with
Yahweh beginning with the patriarchs. Notice vv 2-4: God spoke further to Moses and
said to him, “I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God
Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them. I also
established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in
which they sojourned.”

With divine authority (I am the Lord), Yahweh begins with a reminder of the covenantal
bond he established with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, promising to give them the land of
Canaan. God is saying that his relationship with the sons of Israel began with his appearances
to their forefathers at which time he swore to Abraham and his offspring that he would
abundantly bless them:

“I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will multiply you
exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me,
behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations.
No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will
make you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I
will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you” (Gen 17:2-6).

Included in that promise for a regal progeny, is a promise for royal property. Listen to
Gen 48:3-4: “Then Jacob said to Joseph, ‘God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of
Canaan and blessed me, and He said to me, “Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and
I will make you a company of peoples, and will give [the land of Canaan] to your descendants
after you for an everlasting possession.”’”

Israel’s deliverance is based upon a promise that the Lord made to Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob, a covenant into which God entered unilaterally.

1
hq")z"x] dy"ïB.

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Now it may seem strange to talk about a unilateral covenant, especially if you are
thinking of a covenant as a contract. In most circumstances, including biblical ones, covenants
are established between two parties, each making promises to the other. And God does enter
into covenants like these, contracts that may become null and void if one party fails to make
good on the promises made. But in the case of the Abrahamic or Patriarchal covenant, God
swears by himself to bless Abraham with progeny and property. The writer of Hebrews puts it
this way: “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one
greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I WILL SURELY BLESS YOU AND I WILL SURELY
MULTIPLY YOU’” (Heb 6:13-14).2

This, as you know, represents an important theme that the narrator of Exodus has
already explored in some depth. The language of 1:7, for example, deliberately echoes the
language of the Patriarchal promise: But the sons of Israel were fruitful and increased
greatly, and multiplied, and became exceedingly mighty, so that the land was filled
with them. Israel’s astonishing multiplication is in exact accord with the words of his promise
to Abraham: “I will multiply you exceedingly….I will make you exceedingly fruitful.”

The allusions to the promise continue throughout the narrative of Moses’ call, with no
less than four references to the Lord as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob (3:6, 15, 16; 4:5).

Chapter 3, v 8 and v 17 provide allusions to the Abrahamic Covenant as well. You


can see that in both verses God refers to the Promised Land as the place (or land) of the
Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and
the Jebusite. Even though it is unclear precisely what these people were like, their
identification does not obscure the unambiguous reference to God’s promise:

On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your
descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the
river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the
Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and
the Jebusite” (Gen 15:18-21).

When God tells Moses in 3:21-22 that he will grant the people favor in the sight
of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed.
But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house,
articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your
sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians, yet another echo of divine
promise can be heard. “God said to Abram, ‘Know for certain that your descendants will be
strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred
years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out
with many possessions’” (Gen 15:13-14).

And finally, the very strange passage at 4:24-26 contains another reminder of the
patriarchal promise. You will remember that even after the Lord called Moses he met him and

2
See also Gen 15:12-21.

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sought to put him to death because he had failed to circumcise his son. God’s zeal for
circumcision reminds us of his unconditional promise to bless Abraham and his offspring.
Listen:

This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your
descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be
circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant
between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be
circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is
bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants….But an
uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall
be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant (Gen 17:10-14).

So what God is doing here in 6:2-4 is reminding us that Israel’s deliverance is sure
because it is based upon a covenant that he made unilaterally, and is thus obligated by his very
nature to keep it.

In addition to that reminder, the Lord tells Moses that his appearance to Moses at the
burning bush was different than the appearance to the patriarchs. Look again at v 3: and I
appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD,
I did not make Myself known to them. This is not to say that the Lord did not truly reveal
himself to the patriarchs. On the contrary, a true revelation of Yahweh is what made the
promise binding and valid.

Instead, there is a temporal difference—one that puts Moses and Israel at a decidedly
greater advantage than Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. There is something temporally and
situationally different about God’s revelation as Yahweh. At this time, he has deliberately
connected this name with the deliverance of his people. Therefore this name is permanently
associated with the fulfillment of the promise he made to the patriarchs.

So when the Lord says that then he was God Almighty and now he is Yahweh, he is
saying that then he promised and now he fulfills. And since the revelation of his name is now
tied up with Israel’s deliverance, the people of God are actually in a better position than the
patriarchs, for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not live to experience God’s deliverance from
Egypt.

So the hope that the Lord is seeking to engender is based upon his promise made to the
patriarchs and the beginning of its fulfillment during the time of Moses. God is taking action
because of his promise of the past.

Responding to Israel’s Oppression


As we move to vv 5-6, God’s past promise is connected more explicitly to present time:
Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians
are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. Say,
therefore, to the sons 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 their bondage. I will also
redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.’

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In this portion of the Lord’s speech there are three (3) remarks that again pick up on
themes previously introduced in the narrative.

First is the comment that the Lord heard the groaning of the sons of Israel,
because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage. Nearly identical language is used
by the narrator in 2:23b-24a: And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage,
and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God.
So God heard their groaning. To say that God heard Israel’s groaning is not to say that he
hadn’t heard in the past; it means that he is about to act. God is involved in their suffering; he
has taken heed to their cries.

This response is expounded and reiterated in 3:7-9: 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. 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. 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.

Second, God adds that not only has he heard the groaning of the sons of Israel,
but that he has remembered his covenant, the covenant mentioned in v 4. This, too, is not
something new to the Exodus narrative. The same language also appears in 2:24: So God
heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac,
and Jacob.

I love what how one commentator explains what is meant by God remembering his
covenant: “This does not refer to a jogging of the divine memory, as if God had forgotten
promises made. To remember is to be actively attentive to that which is remembered…; it is a
divine sense of obligation to a prior commitment.”3 Thus the word remembered “typically
means that God has determined to initiate action.”4

So God has determined to initiate action on Israel’s behalf because of the patriarchal
covenant made with the patriarchs. This is what makes God’s action on behalf of his people a
certainty; for God cannot lie. For him to fail to act in response to the promise made, a promise
to which he swore by himself would be for him to fail to be God. What is at stake is his very
character. It is definitely good news that God remembered his promise.

Third, here in 6:6 God reminds Moses of his promise to redeem Israel with an
outstretched arm and great judgments. We have already read 3:7-9 in which God tells Moses
that he has come down to deliver his people from Egyptian oppression. A little further in Ch 3,

3
Fretheim, Exodus, 48.
4
Gowan, Theology, 5.

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the Lord again communicates that he is about to bring Israel up out of the affliction of Egypt
(3:17). And although God has appointed Moses for the deliverance of his people, Pharaoh will
only capitulate in the face of the miraculous, with God’s arm outstretched throwing down
mighty judgments. He already said this in 3:20: So I will stretch out My hand and strike
Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will
let you go.

Taken together, these three truths—that the Lord has heard the groaning of the sons of
Israel, that the Lord has remembered his covenant, and that the Lord will miraculously deliver
them—these three truths are meant to bring courage to Israel in the face of Pharaoh’s
recalcitrance, in the face of his stubborn disobedience to the divine mandate.

So God stirs them up by way of reminder. God is still God and he will bring about what
he promised; namely, the content of v 8: I will bring you to the land which I swore to
give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the
LORD.

“I Will Be Your God”


The power of this divine reminder is not simply experienced by the people to whom
God originally spoke in the events recorded in the passage, but it is experienced by the readers
as well; for as we have seen, every item has been touched on to some degree in the narrative
portions leading up to 6:2-8, except for one. And it’s found in v 7: Then I will take you for
My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the LORD your
God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

This is the only new piece of information: You will be my people, and I will be your
God. And I say “new” only very hesitantly. Certainly we have seen Israel referred to as the
Lord’s people earlier in Exodus (3:7). And in 3:12 God says that Moses’ calling as his
representative will be authenticated by the people returning to Sinai to worship the Lord. Both
of these comments are vague allusions to Israel’s constitution or adoption as a people, which is
why I use the word “new” only hesitantly.

But I haven’t abandoned the word “new” altogether; for this is the first time in the
Exodus narrative that the formula “I will be your God and you will be my people” is introduced.
And it is extremely significant. It is what makes the Exodus a formative event in Israel’s history.
God is brining Israel out of Egypt to constitute them as a special nation. Listen to Exod 19:5-6:
“Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own
possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of
priests and a holy nation.” Once delivered, God would enter into a different covenant with his
people, one with Moses as its mediator.

The promise of their adoption as the special nation of God should have engendered
courage in the people. Apparently, it at least gave Moses the fortitude to obey the Lord and
communicate to Israel what he had been commanded. Notice v 9: So Moses spoke thus to
the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency
and cruel bondage. Too taken up with themselves and their misery, the Israelites failed to

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embrace the promises of God and thereby enjoy the hope of deliverance. In spite of all that
God had promised, in spite of all of which they had been reminded, they chose to wallow in the
mire of their own despondency and difficult circumstances.

At this point we can see the foolishness of their behavior—God would indeed deliver
them. After the fact Israel is reminded beautifully of God’s activity on their behalf:

Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our
voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression; and the LORD brought us
out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with
signs and wonders; and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, a land
flowing with milk and honey (Deut 26:7-9).

Yet their status as a privileged nation would not last indefinitely. The people failed to
keep the Mosaic covenant. And a failure to keep this covenant meant a nullification of the
covenant itself. This is because the Mosaic covenant was a bilateral covenant. Each party,
Yahweh and the people entered into a contract. If the people would fail to live up to the
stipulations of the contract, it would be null and void, it would be broken. And God’s
bestowment of “favored nation status” upon Israel would be withdrawn.

Through the prophet Jeremiah, the Lord laments Israel’s faithless condition cf. Jer 7:22-
24; 11:3-5; 31:32.

Jeremiah 7:22 "For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them in the
day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and
sacrifices. 23 "But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be
your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command
you, that it may be well with you.' 24 "Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but
walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went
backward and not forward.
Jeremiah 11:3 and say to them, 'Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
"Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant 4 which I commanded
your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron
furnace, saying, 'Listen to My voice, and do according to all which I command you; so
you shall be My people, and I will be your God,' 5 in order to confirm the oath which I
swore to your forefathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this
day."'" Then I said, "Amen, O LORD."
Jeremiah 31:32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the
day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which
they broke, although I was a husband to them," declares the LORD.

Nevertheless, there is hope for the offspring of Abraham. God promised by himself that
he would bless Abraham and his offspring. Nothing can prevent it from happening. This
blessing, however, would not come through the Mosaic covenant, a new covenant would be
established, a better covenant, one enacted on better promises cf. 32:37-40; 31:31-34; Ezek
36:25-28; 37:21-28.

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Jeremiah 32:37 "Behold, I will gather them out of all the lands to which I have
driven them in My anger, in My wrath and in great indignation; and I will bring them back
to this place and make them dwell in safety. 38 "They shall be My people, and I will be
their God; 39 and I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me always,
for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 "I will make an
everlasting covenant with them that I will not turn away from them, to do them good;
and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts so that they will not turn away from Me.
Jeremiah 31:31 "Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like
the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to
bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a
husband to them," declares the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with
the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them
and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34
"They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying,
'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of
them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember
no more.”
Ezekiel 36:25 "Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I
will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 "Moreover, I will give
you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone
from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 "I will put My Spirit within you and cause
you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. 28 "You
will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will
be your God.
Ezekiel 37:21 "Say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I will take the
sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them
from every side and bring them into their own land; 22 and I will make them one nation
in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king will be king for all of them; and they
will no longer be two nations and no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23 "They will
no longer defile themselves with their idols, or with their detestable things, or with any
of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which
they have sinned, and will cleanse them. And they will be My people, and I will be their
God. 24 "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd;
and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. 25 "They
will live on the land that I gave to Jacob My servant, in which your fathers lived; and they
will live on it, they, and their sons and their sons' sons, forever; and David My servant
will be their prince forever. 26 "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an
everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My
sanctuary in their midst forever. 27 "My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will
be their God, and they will be My people. 28 "And the nations will know that I am the
LORD who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever."'"

This is how God would make good on his promise to Abraham—a new covenant to
replace the old (Mosaic) covenant would be established by the Lord, taking the blessing of being
the people of God to a whole new level. Their position as uniquely God’s chosen nation, God’s
royal priesthood, would be permanently enjoyed by the offspring of Abraham.

Of course, all of this is very good news if you’re one of the sons of Israel. But what if
you’re not? What if you’re a Gentile? What if you are in the words of Paul, “strangers to the

Manuscript for Exod 5:22-6:9: Israel’s God Is Greater © 2004 by R W Glenn


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covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world”? Then what? Then you
would somehow have to become the offspring of Abraham, which naturally, you couldn’t do.

Enter Jesus of Nazareth. The promised new covenant, the one in which God’s people
would be permanently his, was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus Christ. On the night in which he
was betrayed, he took the cup of the Passover and said, “This cup which is poured out for you
is the new covenant in My blood” (Luke 22:20). This is the new covenant. This is the one
promised in Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

Yet this still doesn’t seem to pertain to me—especially since I’m a Gentile. The new
covenant was promised to be made with Israel and the house of Judah. The new covenant
belongs to those who belong to the patriarchs, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When God says,
“I will be their God and they will be my people,” it ostensibly has no immediate relevance for
Gentiles.

Oh, but it does.

And this is the great surprise of the new covenant. Jesus is the one who makes it
relevant. What is revealed by God through the Apostle Paul is that Jesus is the seed of
Abraham referred to in the patriarchal promise: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham
and to his seed. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as referring to many, but rather to one, ‘And
to your seed,’ that is, Christ” (Gal 3:16). Therefore what is necessary is not to be physically
descendent from Abraham, but to be spiritually related to Jesus Christ by faith in him. Paul
goes on to say that “if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs
according to promise” (Gal 3:29).

And because of this relation to Abraham through Christ the promises of the new
covenant are ours as well. “You will be my people and I will be your God” belongs to all those
who know Jesus Christ cf. 2 Cor 6:16 w/ Jer 31:1.

2 Corinthians 6:16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For
we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND
WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY
PEOPLE.
Jeremiah 31:1 "At that time," declares the LORD, "I will be the God of all the
families of Israel, and they shall be My people."

We began by speaking of the faithfulness of God. And he is faithful. He is faithful to


keep his covenant promises. His faithfulness to his covenant meant the deliverance of Israel
from Egyptian chains. And yet his faithfulness to his people is manifested preeminently and
supremely in his faithfulness to the promises of the new covenant, which has been ratified by
the blood of Christ. If God were not the faithful, covenant-keeping God, we would all be
hopelessly lost, dead in our sins, but thanks be to God for his matchless faithfulness!

Redeemer Bible Church


16205 Highway 7

Manuscript for Exod 5:22-6:9: Israel’s God Is Greater © 2004 by R W Glenn


12

Minnetonka, MN 55345
Office: 952.935.2425
Fax: 952.938.8299
info@redeemerbiblechurch.com
www.redeemerbiblechurch.com
www.solidfood.net

Manuscript for Exod 5:22-6:9: Israel’s God Is Greater © 2004 by R W Glenn