“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (Exodus 6:6-8)
The word exodus for most people brings to mind a mass migration, a movement of people out of one area into another, particularly in order to escape a place that has become dangerous or volatile. With regards to the Bible Book of Exodus, we tend to think of it as being about mighty and wondrous miracles, devastating plagues, a heroic Moses, and a stubborn Pharaoh. While those things certainly comprise the settings and “characters” of the Book of Exodus, this is not what Exodus is really all about. Like everything else in the Bible, the main “Character” is God; it is about what God has done. And the theme is not the”Judgment of God” (though this plays a pivotal role in the background), the theme is the “Deliverance of God.” The focus of Exodus is not really the judgments of God at all, but the Redemption of God.
Like so many other portions of the Old Testament, the redemption described and demonstrated in Exodus is a portrait, a foreshadowing of the redemption revealed in the New Testament. What is spelled out in the New Testament is often alluded to in the Old; what is represented in the Old Testament is clearly seen in the New. There are many principles and properties related to God’s redemption of His people from the land of Egypt that are continued in and applicable to Christ’s redemption of His people in the New Testament. The Old Covenant begun in Exodus comes to fulfillment in Christ under the New Covenant. Yet the way that God saves a person has not really changed all that much. Salvation has always been the work of God, secured by faith. With that in mind, let us look at some of the aspects of God’s redemption of Israel out of Egypt and compare them with the Christian’s redemption from sin:
I Am The Lord
“Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord…” (Exodus 6:6a)
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12, emphasis added)
We live in a day when faith is an exalted virtue, but the object of faith seems to be becoming less and less important. It doesn’t matter what you believe, it is said, as long as you believe it sincerely. In other words, faith is what’s important, not what that faith is invested in. Even certain groups which call themselves Evangelical, Protestant Christians have turned faith into an idol; their faith is in faith itself, not God. But the object of our faith is important, not just the sincerity or “strength” of that faith. Without a doubt, there were many in Egypt whose faith in their own gods was very strong; they trusted their own deities to deliver them. Yet the plagues continued and the devastation did not end until the children of Israel were released. God’s redemption begins and ends with Him. It is all based on Who He is and His ability to save. Therefore, we see the Lord’s instructions to Moses in this passage begin with the words “I am the Lord” and end with those same words (Ex. 6:8).
Jesus Christ declared that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and that no man comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6). There is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12). He is the Lord Who saves, there is none other who can. Any faith not invested in Him is not a saving faith at all.
Out From Under Our Burdens
“…I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians…” (Exodus 6:6b)
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” (Hebrews 9:28)
Deliverance from the burdens set on the Children of Israel speaks of the Christian’s deliverance from the burden, or penalty, of sin. Man is under a burden today, the burden of the penalty for his sin-guilt. God’s redemption from our own burden is our deliverance from an eternity separated from Him. The Lord Jesus paid the price that this burden might be removed from us.
Rid Out Of Bondage
“… I will rid you out of their bondage” (Exodus 6:6c)
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace…Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:14, 16)
As the children of Israel were enslaved to do the bidding of their Egyptian masters, so are all men enslaved to do the will of their overlord: Sin. Christ has redeemed the Christian from bondage to sin and has freed those who trust in Him from being a servant of sin any more. The bands of our own bondage have been broken by the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus; God has “rid us from its bondage!” Not only have we been freed from the burden of our sin, we have been made free from the bondage of sin itself.
A Stretched Out Arm
“…I will redeem you with a stretched out arm…” (Exodus 6:6d)
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save…” (Isaiah 59:1a)
The “stretched out” arm of God speaks of the Lord’s power to save. It is with great power and with judgments upon the Egyptian people that God will redeem the children of Israel. Our faith is in the Lord Who alone can save, and He is able to save. When a person comes to genuine faith in Christ, when they are born again, it is not just a decision to live another way that the person makes. Something very real and powerful happens on the inside of the person. Ephesians 1:19-20 tells us that the same power that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead is at work in the life of a believer. God redeems with power; He mightily saves us! Yet redemption never occurs apart from judgment. The sins of a believer are never “swept under the rug” or brushed aside; they are judged. In fact, every sin ever committed will be judged! The difference for the child of God is that the Lord Jesus bore the penalty that we rightfully deserved. Our sins have come under judgment, but Christ has paid the penalty for that judgment.
The People Of God
“And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.” (Exodus 6:7)
“[Jesus Christ] gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
God didn’t deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt only to turn them loose on their own once they left. He didn’t just open the door for them to step out of bondage and then tell them the rest was up to them. God lead them every step of the way (Ex. 13:21-22). They became God’s people and He became their God. He does the same for the Christian. God does not save us and then wish us the best of luck as we flounder along, lost in this world. His Spirit goes before each of us, as well, leading every step of the way. God doesn’t just save people because He pities them, He saves people because He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them. John 1:12 and Galatians 3:26 tell us that those who believe on the name of Jesus Christ have been made children of God. God saved us because He wants us to be a part of His family.
The “Land” God Has Provided
“And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.” (Exodus 6:8)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:…In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:” (Ephesians 1:3,11)
For the Jew, the land of Palestine was given as a heritage; the land was their inheritance. The Christian’s “heritage” is the spiritual blessings in Christ, not physical blessings tied to a specific land. Really, the believer’s inheritance is Christ. God has not called us to indwell a certain place, He indwells us (1 Cor. 3:16). But we see both in Exodus and Ephesians that God redeems His people that they might fulfill a specific purpose — His purpose. Not only did God deliver the Israelites, not only did He guide them, He had a definite destination in mind for them. So it is with the one redeemed in Christ.
Redeemed By Blood
“And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:13)
“For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
Although this reference is not found in Exodus 6 (where we are looking at now), I just wanted to briefly mention the relationship of blood to God’s redemption. The Book of Hebrews tells us that apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Heb. 9:22). I hope to look more closely at this aspect when we reach the Passover later in Exodus.
Redemption Is The Work Of God
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to something very interesting in the passage we are examining (Exodus 6:6-8). The word “I” appears eleven times in these three verses. Repeatedly, we are told what God will do. Not once do we see the Israelites being commanded to do anything. Redemption is entirely the work of God from start to finish. Oh, it goes without saying that they needed to believe God, or else they never would have left Egypt at all. But that was their only role in this entire process: to believe God and trust Him. That’s it. There is absolutely no command given whatsoever for the people to fulfill in order for God to save them. Not one.
Redemption is still the work of God, man has no part in it — save to trust in what God has done. The Lord Jesus is not calling men to Himself saying, “Do this.” He is calling men to Himself saying, “Believe what I have done.” Some ask whether or not Salvation comes through Grace or works, well, there sure aren’t any works going on here; it’s all Grace. God saved the children of Israel by Grace through faith…He saves us in the same manner.