Exodus 4 and 5 Recap

God prepares Moses by giving him a number of signs that he would later perform before Pharaoh. These signs would serve as precursors to the 10 plagues that would come upon Egypt.

Moses tries to persuade God to send someone other than himself. Moses, given his prior failed rescue attempt, is more than a little hesitant to go back to Egypt, especially since he is being instructed to walk right up to Pharaoh and demand that Pharaoh let the Israelites go. The question is, will Moses trust in the Lord who sent him and has promised to go with him.

Exodus 4:12
Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.

Something interesting happens between the end of chapter four and chapter five. Chapter four ends, “And the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped (Exodus 4:31).” But in chapter five Pharaoh brutally increases their burdens due to the demand of Moses to release the Israelites. This leads to a far less faith-filled response on the part of the Israelites. “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us (Exodus 5:21).”

It seems that both Moses and the Israelites were expecting immediate rescue from Egypt. They expected God to cause Pharaoh to quickly allow them to be freed from their bondage rather than have their afflictions increase. I wonder how often it is that we too presume to know how God should save us rather than trusting in His sovereign plan even though it may involve suffering.


Just a quick note about the word “LORD” in your Bibles: When you see the word LORD in all caps in your Bible it stands in place of God’s covenant name that He revealed in Exodus 3:14. In Hebrew it is Yahweh and it means “I am who I am.” Each time you see the word “LORD” remember that this is God’s personal name that He has revealed to His people and it should remind us each time that God has made a promise to redeem His people.

God Again Promises

At the heart of the promise that God makes to Moses is a promise to take the Israelites as His people and be their God. God wants them to know Him and be His. Again we see God’s plan to make a people for Himself and to provide for them a land.

What is the foundation of His promise? It is His Name! God has chosen to stake His entire reputation on His promise to save this people to Himself.

This is SO important for understanding the biblical story. God’s very reputation stands on whether or not He will save. How sure is the salvation of those who trust in the Lord? It is a sure as God is God.

Shortness of Breath

I want to close with in interesting observation from the end of our reading.

When it says that the Israelites did not listen to Moses this time, it says that they had a “broken spirit.” Literally, it says that they were “short of breath.” Why did they choose not to trust in the salvation of the Lord? They chose not to believe because their circumstances spoke louder than the Word of His promise. Their circumstances drowned out the promise of God. But as we will see, God hears only His promise. In the end, His promise to save will carry the day.