Now that Moses had put off his shoes (for, no doubt, he observed the orders given him, Exod. 3:5), and covered his face, God enters upon the particular business that was now to be concerted, which was the bringing of Israel out of Egypt. Now, after forty years of Israel’s bondage and Moses’s banishment, when we may suppose both he and they began to despair, they of being delivered and he of delivering them, at length, the time has come, even the year of the redeemed. Note, God often comes for the salvation of his people when they have done looking for him. Shall he find faith? Luke 18:8.
Here is, I. The notice God takes of the afflictions of Israel (Exod. 3:7, 9): Seeing I have seen, not only, I have surely seen, but I have strictly observed and considered the matter. Three things God took cognizance of:—1. Their sorrows, Exod. 3:7. It is likely they were not permitted to make a remonstrance of their grievances to Pharaoh, nor to seek relief against their task-masters in any of his courts, nor scarcely durst complain to one another; but God observed their tears. Note, Even the secret sorrows of God’s people are known to him. 2. Their cry: I have heard their cry (Exod. 3:7), it has come unto me, Exod. 3:9. Note, God is not deaf to the cries of his afflicted people. 3. The tyranny of their persecutors: I have seen the oppression, Exod. 3:9. Note, As the poorest of the oppressed are not below God’s cognizance, so the highest and greatest of their oppressors are not above his check, but he will surely visit for these things.
II. The promise God makes of their speedy deliverance and enlargement: I have come down to deliver them, Exod. 3:8. 1. It denotes his resolution to deliver them, and that his heart was upon it, so that it should be done speedily and effectually, and by methods out of the common road of providence: when God does something very extraordinary he is said to come down to do it, as Isa. 64:1. 2. This deliverance was typical of our redemption by Christ, in which the eternal Word did indeed come down from heaven to deliver us: it was his errand into the world. He promises also their happy settlement in the land of Canaan, that they should exchange bondage for liberty, poverty for plenty, labour for rest, and the precarious condition of tenants at will for the ease and honour of lords proprietors. Note, Whom God by his grace delivers out of a spiritual Egypt he will bring to a heavenly Canaan.
III. The commission he gives to Moses in order hereunto, Exod. 3:10. He is not only sent as a prophet to Israel, to assure them that they should speedily be delivered (even that would have been a great favour), but he is sent as an ambassador to Pharaoh, to treat with him, or rather as a herald at arms, to demand their discharge, and to denounce war in case of refusal; and he is sent as a prince to Israel, to conduct and command them. Thus is he taken from following the ewes great with young, to a pastoral office much more noble, as David, Ps. 78:71. Note, God is the fountain of power, and the powers that be are ordained of him as he pleases. The same hand that now fetched a shepherd out of a desert, to be the planter of a Jewish church, afterwards fetched fishermen from their ships, to be the planters of the Christian church, That the excellency of the power might be of God.