Just as the first plague set the tone for the first three plagues, the fourth plague gives the theme of the second set of plagues. Back in 7:17, God said, By this you shall know that I am Yahweh. Now, in the 4th plague, But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, … that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth. When Egypt is affected and Goshen isn’t, God will show convincingly that he, Yahweh, Israel’s God, is the one in the midst of the land of Egypt, performing these wonders of judgment. Thereby the 4th – 6thplagues take God’s purpose in the first three plagues and amplify it. Still, the foundational purpose of the plagues is that men know that Yahweh is God. Since he is God, we ought to love and obey him. Let’s look more closely at these plagues and see how God glorifies himself in them.
Last week we saw how the plagues are for the glory of God. The purpose of the first set of plagues is grounded in the purpose of the first, the turning of the Nile to blood. The Lord’s purpose in this plague is plain: by this you shall know that I am the LORD. In the first three plagues, God shows Pharaoh and the Egyptians that he, the God of the Hebrews, is truly God. As the plagues develop, he’ll amplify this message. Any man who takes up his Scripture and reads the Exodus account of the plagues ought to confess that Yahweh is God. There are several ways God glorifies himself in our passage.
After the response of Israel to the Lord’s message through Moses in v 9, the passage has a chiastic or x-like pattern in vv 10-30. Moses is the focus in vv 10-12. Then Moses and Aaron in v 13. Next the genealogy of Moses and Aaron in vv 14-25, followed by a return to Aaron and Moses in vv 26-27, and finally, Moses again in vv 28-30. The passage confirms the truths of vv 1-8, and shows that the Exodus is ultimately the Lord’s work. The Lord is the one who delivers his people. Yes, God uses servants, but he is the one who gets the glory. The primary point of this sermon this morning is that the Lord accomplishes his purposes no matter what.
The first part of Exodus 6 is the Lord’s answer to Moses’s prayer at the end of ch 5. The Scripture before us lifts up God’s purpose to bring glory to himself through the redemption of Israel from Egypt. The passage has five ways God glorifies himself. We looked at two last week.
It is instructive to frame verses 5:22 – 6:9 in terms of the great despondency of the Israelites in Egypt described in ch. 5. We see Moses’s response, and then we hear from God. In all this, the passage emphasizes God’s purpose to bring glory to himself through the redemption of his people. The Holy Spirit wants to draw us in to this great agenda, that we would glorify God ourselves.
As we consider ch 5 in light of the whole book of Exodus, we are taught not to be deceived by our circumstances, but to look up and hope in God. As we look around us at the world, it seems to be spinning out of control. The darkness around us gets blacker and blacker. We too, like the Israelites, may be tempted to lose hope in our trials. But we must not. Amidst a very dark age, we must keep the flickering candle of our hope in Christ aflame. In light of this, I want you to get this central message from this sermon: believers hope in God, no matter how black the world’s darkness becomes.
I have organized this morning’s message around the two responses to Moses that we see in this passage. The first is the response of the Israelites in 4:31: And the people believed. The second response is that of Pharaoh in 5:2, Who is the LORD? Here we have illustrated the two ways to live.As we look at our text this morning, I want you to ask yourself, how do I respond to God? Does my life bear the marks of a response of faith, or of unbelief?
The return to Egypt is now before us. The ESV breaks the text into three paragraphs, and in each of them we see how God prepares Moses for his great return to Egypt. These lessons are instructive for us, for they both unfold important parts of the Exodus narrative and illustrate timeless principles for God works with his servants. This morning, I want you to see that God graciously fits his servants for the work he wants them to do. We already know that God will be with Moses. As Moses returns to Egypt, we see something of what that looks like.
Moses’s three questions in chapter 4 expose Moses’s fear and unbelief. Yet for each of Moses’s three objections, God patiently brings himself back into Moses’s thoughts. Moses was very hesitant to obey God’s call. All of us can be the same way. The point is this, we must submit to God’s will. In big things, in little things, in hard things, and in difficult things, we must lovingly submit to the will of God. In this passage, there are three reasons why we should submit to God.