Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, ‘The Lord , the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt, and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ (Exodus 3:16-17 ESV)
The encounter between God and Moses is still an epic read.
In this first part of the conversation it’s interesting how God records His personal engagement with a people through a lineage. It’s fascinating how God in time refers to past, present and future. How God fulfils His promises by turning that encounter with a father, his son and grandson and establishes them as a great people through trials and challenges.
What impacted me particularly was the simple phrase of promise: I will.
As time will indicate both in this episode and in many later, there’s God saying ‘I will’ and despite that observers and followers get concerned that He won’t when adverse circumstances suggest otherwise. What’s really interesting about that is God usually outlines those same adverse circumstances to reinforce the fact that the ‘I will’ promise will come through.
This encounter highlights the centrality of God in the story – the God who keeps His promises and whose promises are about His desire to be with His people and establish them in a place of fruitfulness even as He placed man in such a position in the beginning. It’s a promise He keeps by the power of the phrase ‘I will’.
Not that we can always accept that …
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden