Exodus 6:6-7 says, “Therefore say to the children of Israel: “I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”
“I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
The text says, “I will take you as my people.” In our attempt to understand the birth of Israel, let’s consider the creation story as background.
God created Adam and Eve, and they disobeyed God by eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. They were cast out of Eden and made to fend for themselves.
Genesis 3:22 says, “Then the Lord God said, Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever — therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”
The Garden of Eden account , found in Gen. 2:8-14, indicates that the first two rivers of Eden were in ancient Cush, who the Greeks would later transpose as Aithiops, or Ethiopia, meaning literally “burnt-face people.” Gen. 2:11-12 connects the Pishon River with Havilah, a direct descendant of Cush (Gen. 10:7). The Gihon River is cited in Gen. 2:13, as the second river in Eden surrounding the whole land of Cush/Ethiopia. (African Heritage Bible)
Removed from their original home, Eden; human beings began to multiply on the earth, they had to work to feed and care for their families; and they increasingly evil, and sinful.
Gensis 6:5-7 says, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”
Noah, comes into the picture as he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Genesis 6:8). God instructed Noah to build an ark, wherein Noah and his household would live out the days of the flood, which destroyed life on earth (Genesis 6, 7).
After the flood, Noah, his three sons; Shem, Ham, and Japheth and their families increased and repopulated the earth.
Abram and Jacob were descendants of Shem (Semites), and it was the descendants of Shem who became know in biblical history as the Israelites.
And so, amid human chaos and rebellion; God’s purpose for creating human beings is reaffirmed as He declares that Israel will be His chosen people.
Our text says, “Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”
We only know God, is as much as He reveals Himself. In theological terms, to know God is to study the revelation of God; and, revelation in simple terms has to do with God’s desire to reveal Himself to human beings. In scripture we are presented with God’s Revelation of Himself.
Colossians 1:16 says, For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.”
God is not, nor was He ever dependent for being or essence upon any source outside Himself, thus He is Self-existent.
Jeremiah 23:23-24 says, “Am I a God near at hand says the Lord, And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him? says the Lord; Do I not fill heaven and earth? Says the Lord.”
God is omnipresence; meaning He is everywhere present. He is in His temple, yet it cannot hold him. He is in Heaven, yet He fills heaven and earth.
Jeremiah 32:17 says ,“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.”
God is omnipotent; The greatness of God’s Power is seen in His creation. The vastness of the universe; as well as the microscopic and sub-microscopic realms and their complexity, staggers our imagination. God Power is evident in His Sovereign rule over all creation.
Psalms 139:1-4 says, ” Lord, you have searched me and know me. You know my sitting down and my raising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a world on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether.”
God is Omniscience; meaning God is All-knowledge. There is nothing anywhere in existence which God does not know. So much so, human beings cannot hide either their actions or thoughts for God.
The Bible contains inspired scriptures that communicate attributes that we can ascribe to God who is infinite, and beyond knowing outside of what He reveals to us about Himself.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive study of God’s attributes; it is a reflection of the biblical attributes ascribed to God; attributes also include Holiness, Righteousness, Justice, Love, Mercy, Goodness, and Truth.
I Will Be Your God
Exodus 2:24-25 says, “So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.”
God is active, He speaks to Moses informing him that He has heard the groaning of the Israelites, which caused Him to remember and act on the relationship He established with Abraham, Issac and Jacob.
The Israelites have been enslaved and oppressed for 430 years; they were weak, helpless and at the mercy of Egypt and it’s secession of Pharaohs.
God does not take the side of the Pharaoh, no, God sides with people who are lowly denied human rights, exploited and marginalized. He enters the day to day lives of the Israelites, and liberates them from the manacles of bondage.
Freedom for the Israelite people was an act of God’s grace, reconciliation and faithfulness to His promise to Abraham; His covenant with Abraham.
God honored the ancestors of the Hebrews (Abraham, Issac, Jacob); i.e., the Israelites (Semites).
- Note: African traditional religions, included veneration of ancestral spirits.
In the Israelite people we see the solidifying of a permanent relationship between God and human beings; it was a relationship initiated by God.
- God will always be present reconciling them to Himself.
God entered Israel’s history and imbued them with a divine future, wherein we see God doing for a nation of people what they could not do for themselves.
God is revealed as Israel’s Savior. He is the Savior of people who lived in bondage; people who were oppressed, tortured and made to survive in an environment of social, political and economic exploitation and exclusion.
It was not the work of Moses that led to Israel’s freedom; it was the work of God. Moses is not portrayed as the worker of miracles; no, he is God’s servant, called to serve God and God’s chosen people.
Exodus 6:1 says, ” The Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh. For with a strong hand he will let them go, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
It was God, not Moses who broke the hold of Pharaoh, and set Israel free.
God knows us intimately. He knows that we are far from perfect, and that in our imperfection we can get bogged down. The weight of the world bears down on us, creating situations and circumstances that are seemly unbearable and difficult to overcome. So many of us are worried, powerless, frustrated, disillusioned and tired.
It’s easy to become depressed; depression puts on a mask to cover up the alcohol, and drug abuse, which can lead to physical and mental illness. Depression can cover itself with pride, arrogance, ego, and narcissism, which can foster isolation. Likewise, depression can result in a kind of blind powerlessness that destroys solidarity and unity among families, friends, neighbors and communities.
People suffer because the world is busy putting it’s foot their necks, squeezing the life out of them. There are people who need a clean drink of water, or healthy food to eat. There are men and women with children, who have rent and utility bills, and no money to pay those bills. And, there are people who are alone and sick, who think no body cares.
White supremacy, slavery colonialism and racism have taken their told on Black people. And though the slave component of white supremacy has ended, racism is alive affecting the lives of Black people the world over. It is the root cause of much of the malaise mentioned above.
Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” We have been given the opportunity to ensure that future generations, beginning with the current generation would not have to endure the pain, humiliation and degradation of helplessness, and hopelessness.
When Christ set us free, like when Yahweh set the Israelites free; freedom was granted with the understanding that God would be with us to ensure we could share our freedom with others; it is a freedom that has been endowed with the knowledge and power of God.
When we make a commitment to share freedom with others, there is the sense that we share the knowledge and power of God with others. And, as sharing becomes a way of life, we will be blessed to watch as our families, and communities light up with blessings that heal our souls, mend our broken bodies and renew our minds.
Lord we thank you with all our hearts and souls for your compassion and empathy. Thank you for not only creating us, but for not abandoning us. Thank you for Moses, all the patriots, prophets and disciples who You anointed to serve, and help us know You and Your will for our lives.
You are Alpha and Omega, You are our Lord, our Savior, our Redeemer, our God. You revealed Yourself to us in Your Word; You revealed Yourself to us in the special revelation of Jesus; and you sent to us Your Holy Spirit to dwell among us, leading, comforting and grounding us in the truth.
Thank you Lord. In Jesus name. Amen