As the Lord finishes speaking with Moses from the Burning Bush, he tells Moses that his brother Aaron will be the voice, but Moses will still be the one through whom the Lord delivers Israel from Pharaoh. Toward the end of chapter four, we see that the Lord commands Aaron to go meet Moses in the wilderness to hear what the Lord had instructed Moses. After this reunion, they go together to the elders of Israel to give them the good news, at which they believe and worship the Lord (Exodus 4:27–31).
However, it does not seem that the elders grasped the difficulty that they would go through before being liberated from Israel. We skipped over chapter 5 for the sake of time, but in that chapter we see that when Moses and Aaron first approached Pharaoh, he hardened his heart (as the Lord said he would), and increased the workload of the Israelite slaves rather than freeing them. Naturally, this makes the Israelites cry out more to the Lord, perhaps unsure if Moses’ promise of deliverance was legitimate or not.
When Moses approaches the Lord about this, the Lord responds that he is still in control, and he will indeed deliver Israel. First, though, he has to bring Pharaoh to the point at which he will drive Israel out of his land with a “strong hand” (Exodus 6:1) This is an image that shows that Pharaoh will not just release Israel under good circumstances, but will rather have to be so broken by the Lord’s power that he will expel them from the land.
In all of this, though, the Lord reminds Moses that he is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he will indeed be faithful to his covenant (Exodus 6:1–4). He continues to say that he has indeed heard the groaning of his people, and he makes a beautiful promise to them that he will bring them out “with an outstretched arm” and that they will be his people and he will be there God (vv. 5–8). Both of these statements and promises are important images throughout the rest of Scripture, picked up on especially by the Prophets to speak of the Lord’s power, his faithfulness to his people, and the promise to deliver them from sin once and for all. The Lord is faithful, and they (and we) can trust him!
However, we see the people doubt. After the Lord reassures Moses of all of this, he passes the word on to the people, yet they did not listen because their spirits were broken (v. 9). The Lord is about to do many mighty works, though, with the purpose of bringing Egypt to see that he is Lord and he alone is God (Ex 7:1-7). But this is also intended to bring the people of Israel to trust him. Right now, all they see is their hardship and affliction, but as the plagues begin to unfold (which we’ll see next week), the people of Israel too will be confronted with God’s power, and his care for his people. God is faithful—will they trust him?