The 7 “I Wills” of God

Exodus 6:1-8

Moses the Deliverer, that towering man of faith, had spoken to God face-to-face.  God had made some stunning promises to Moses, promises that he would lead all Israel out of their bondage in Egypt to the promised land.  Moses questioned God, doubted God and God was patient with him and encouraged Moses and finally Moses went back to Egypt to begin the deliverance.

Despite all that God had told him, we read this verse at the close of chapter 5–

“O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

What drove Moses to accuse God of slighting him like that?   Moses sounded off at God like that after the people sounded off at Moses, like this–

When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, “May the LORD look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (5:20-21)

Poor Moses; more concerned with what man thought than with what God could do.  Chapter 6 picks up with God’s response to Moses’ latest dalliance .   But this must be something God used to, though.  Do you recall this exchange in John 20:24-27–

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Just as Jesus condescended to doubting Thomas, so Jehovah told Moses that if he couldn’t walk by faith, then God would show him something.  God is nothing if not patient and understanding of the human condition.  He knows we are liable to distrust Him from time to time.  Thank God He doesn’t out because when we are like that; that He will not “break the bruised reed or snuff out the smoldering wick” (Isa. 42:2).

1.  The heart of God’s response, verses 2-5

In verse one, God has told Moses that “now” he “will see” all that was promised.  As exciting as that seems, the most exciting part of what God told Moses was this singular phrase: I am the Lord. Once again, God reminded Moses that He was the One who had promised the land of Canaan to the patriarchs and that He had seen the burdens of the Israelites.  But what is significant here is this:  In the past, the patriarchs had known God as El Shaddai.  That name pointed to certain aspects of God’s character; it revealed His power to impart life, to bestow the material blessing of life and to deal with unrighteousness.  However, from now on, He would be known to the people as Yahweh.  Very shortly, all Israel (and the Egyptians, for that matter) would know exactly what the name Yahweh really means.

Yahweh would be the God whom the people of Israel could know personally.  He would be more than merely the God who, from a distance, would, on occasion, fight for them or give them blessings.  From now on, God would be the God who would dwell with them to fulfill all the promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  Indeed, the patriarchs had only the promises, not the things promised.  This was all about to change.  The fullness of time had come and was to be known as Yahweh, the God would make all the promises come to pass.

2.  The Seven Promises, verses 6-8

In these three verses, all the ancient promises of God are brought together, distilled and arranged so as to explain exactly what I am the Lord means.

  • The three-fold promise of redemption.  These include–

I will bring you out
I will free you
I will redeem you

In the Hebrew, each of these verbs is in the “perfect tense,” which we would call the “past tense.”  This is significant, because it signifies that, even though none of these things had happened yet, God was so certain of their accomplishment that He viewed them as having taken place.

  • I will bring you out.  This promise directly relates to their bondage.  God is promising to take them out that hard bondage.  What the people needed was physical rest; they needed a break from all the work.  There is no relief in the service of sin and Satan.  Living in sin wears you down and wears you out.  Being in bondage to sin uses up all your resources.  But the promise of the Word of God to all believers can be found in the words of our Savior:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28).

Real rest is being free from tension, despair, hopelessness and depression.

  • I will free you. This is slightly different from the previous promise.  Not only will God free them from that hard bondage, but now He promises to free them forever from the Egyptians. There is no other escape from the prison of sin and Satan but through the intervention of the Lord.  Consider the words of Colossians 1:13–

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

It’s not enough to just have momentary and temporary relief from the torment of sin, what all people need is complete removal from sin; that is, not the sin being removed from people, but people being removed from sin!  That is what God promises.  The Christian has been the recipient of a marvelous blessing: we have been taken out of sin and placed in the Kingdom of God.

  • I will redeem you.  This redemption will happen through the strength of the Lord (“outstretched arm”) and also through great and terrible judgments of God.  The redemption of Israel will be accomplished with “special and vigorous action” (Amplified).   Judgment and redemption are linked in the purpose and plan of God for man.  Israel couldn’t leave Egypt until Egypt experienced God’s judgment.  Before Christ could redeem sinners, He had to face the full force of God’s wrath:

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, Gal. 3:13.

  • The two-fold promise of adoption.  These two promises detail God’s promise to adopt Israel as His own people:

I will take you as my own people
I will be your God.

These promises form two parts of the tripartite formula that is repeated some 50 times throughout the Old Testament:  I will be your God, you shall be  my people, and I will dwell in the midst of you.

  • I will take you as my own people.  The beauty of this promise is that it is one of mutual surrender.  God opens Himself up to us, and in turn we are to open ourselves up to Him.  Possess is the end result of redemption.  1 Corinthians 6:19b-20 tells us–

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

God’s adoption of us was accomplished that we might be used for His glory, that we might live with Him forever and that we might be kept by the Holy spirit.

He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.  (Galatians 3:14).

  • I will be your God.  This is more than mere statement of fact.  It is a statement of purpose and promise.  The reason why this is so significant is that never would God cease to be their their God, even when they wandered into sin.  We can read of Israel’s backsliding all through the Old Testament, but God let them God.  God never lets anybody go.  There is nothing that can separate a child of God from the love of God.
  • The two-fold promise of the land.  The importance of this group of promises is that they served as a reminder to Israel that they could have complete confidence in the future.

I will bring you to the land
I will give it to you

I will bring you to the land.  This is far more than just the promise of a place to live, although that was certainly part of the promise.  This is the promise of God’s guidance.  God would not just yank them out of Egypt and drop them into the desert with no direction.  God not only saves completely, but He is willing to guide us to end.  God knows exactly to lead us–

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. (Prov. 16:9)
A man’s steps are directed by the LORD. (Prov. 20:24)
If the LORD delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm. (Psalm 37:23).

In Bunyan’s work, Pilgrim’s Progress, the soft and easy steps led into darkness and gloom and into the castle of Giant Despair.  The way to led of the Lord is to be committed to His way.

I will give it to you.  Their’s was a tremendous inheritance: the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey.  For generations upon generations, hundreds and hundreds of year, the people had the promise, but nothing had been forthcoming.  Finally, they were on the cusp of seeing fulfillment of their heart’s desire.  All of God’s people have a grand inheritance in front of them:

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:2-3).

And so we come full circle.  Yahweh, the God who dwells personally with His people, can promise great things because He can deliver them.

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