Here, I. God silences Moses’s complaints with the assurance of success in this negotiation, repeating the promise made him in Exod. 3:20; After that, he will let you go. When Moses was at his wit’s end, wishing he had staid in Midian, rather than have come to Egypt to make bad worse—when he was quite at a loss what to do—Then the Lord said unto Moses, for the quieting of his mind, “Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh (Exod. 6:1); now that the affair has come to a crisis, things are as bad as they can be, Pharaoh is in the height of pride and Israel in the depth of misery, now is my time to appear.” See Ps. 12:5; Now will I arise. Note, Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity of helping and saving. Moses had been expecting what God would do; but now he shall see what he will do, shall see his day at length, Job 24:1. Moses had been trying what he could do, and could effect nothing. “Well,” says God, “now thou shalt see what I will do; let me alone to deal with this proud man,” Job 40:12, 13. Note, Then the deliverance of God’s church will be accomplished, when God takes the work into his own hands. With a strong hand, that is, being forced to it by a strong hand, he shall let them go. Note, As some are brought to their duty by the strong hand of God’s grace, who are made willing in the day of his power, so others by the strong hand of his justice, breaking those that would not bend.
II. He gives him further instructions, that both he and the people of Israel might be encouraged to hope for a glorious issue of this affair. Take comfort,
1. From God’s name, Jehovah, Exod. 6:2, 3. He begins with this, I am Jehovah, the same with, I am that I am, the fountain of being, and blessedness, and infinite perfection. The patriarchs knew this name, but they did not know him in this matter by that which this name signifies. God would now be known by his name Jehovah, that is, (1.) A God performing what he had promised, and so inspiring confidence in his promises. (2.) A God perfecting what he had begun, and finishing his own work. In the history of the creation, God is never called Jehovah till the heavens and the earth were finished, Gen. 2:4. When the salvation of the saints is completed in eternal life, then he will be known by his name Jehovah (Rev. 22:13); in the mean time they shall find him, for their strength and support, El-shaddai, a God all-sufficient, a God that is enough and will be so, Mic. 7:20.
2. From his covenant: I have established my covenant, Exod. 6:4. Note, The covenants God makes he establishes; they are made as firm as the power and truth of God can make them. We may venture our all upon this bottom.
3. From his compassions (Exod. 6:5): I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel; he means their groaning on occasion of the late hardships put upon them. Note, God take notice of the increase of his people’s calamities, and observes how their enemies grow upon them.
4. From his present resolutions, Exod. 6:6-8. Here is line upon line, to assure them that they should be brought triumphantly out of Egypt (Exod. 6:6), and should be put in possession of the land of Canaan (Exod. 6:8): I will bring you out. I will rid you. I will redeem you. I will bring you into the land of Canaan, and I will give it to you. Let man take the shame of his unbelief, which needs such repetitions; and let God have the glory of his condescending grace, which gives us such repeated assurances for our satisfaction.
5. From his gracious intentions in all these, which were great, and worthy of him, Exod. 6:7. (1.) He intended their happiness: I will take you to me for a people, a peculiar people, and I will be to you a God; more than this we need not ask, we cannot have, to make us happy. (2.) He intended his own glory: You shall know that I am the Lord. God will attain his own ends, nor shall we come short of them if we make them our chief end too. Now, one would think, these good words, and comfortable words, should have revived the drooping Israelites, and cause them to forget their misery; but, on the contrary, their miseries made them regardless of God’s promises (Exod. 6:9): They harkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit. That is, [1.] They were so taken up with their troubles that they did not heed him. [2.] They were so cast down with their late disappointment that they did not believe him. [3.] They had such a dread of Pharaoh’s power and wrath that they durst not themselves move in the least towards their deliverance. Note, First, Disconsolate spirits often put from them the comforts they are entitled to, and stand in their own light. See Isa. 28:12. Secondly, Strong passions oppose strong consolations. By indulging ourselves in discontent and fretfulness, we deprive ourselves of the comfort we might have both from God’s word and from his providence, and must thank ourselves if we go comfortless.