Richard Agee

Exodus 6: Moshe of ‘uncircumcised lips’ learns The Name

Richard AgeeMoshe (Moses) in Exodus 6 said his lips were “uncircumcised” and insisted that prevented him from sharing The Name of God to Yisra’el (Israel). We know about circumcision of a man’s privates and metaphorically of the “heart,” but what is this, and how is it connected to sharing knowledge of The Name?

In this chapter there are several times when the phrase “the LORD said to Moses…” this was not one continuous conversation between Moses and God. When God spoke to Moses in Ex. 6:1 and Ex. 6:2, these were not in the same conversation but different conversations.

In Ex. 6:2, God tells Moses, “I am the LORD;  and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.” Abraham Isaac and Jacob knew God as “El-Shaddai” the Almighty, the one who destroyed the world in the Flood.

Moses wanted to know God’s name and God replied to Moses and revealed his name was Aleph-Hey-Yod-Hey, not Yod-Hey-Vay-Hey. Hebrew grammar is different when one is speaking about one’s self rather than when one is introducing another person. In Hebrew, there is no such thing as “is” or “was” but they do have a concept of “to become.” The verb base of God’s name is “to come” or “to become.” Translating His name as “I am” is a little confusing.

God was not caught off guard when Moses asked His name. God is coming and He is going to send Moses. We see in Yeshua that he had a “first coming” and He will have a “second coming.”

God is dealing with the House of Israel here, not the Greeks, Chinese, etc. God is fulfilling the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This is in God’s time, not in ours.

God’s strong arm destroyed the world once before and He did inflict lots of pain and destruction on Egypt. God had told Abraham that He would send the children of Israel into hard bondage. I’m sure Abraham didn’t like that but God is in control of all of this, not Abraham.

God is establishing the covenant with Abraham here. The Exodus is not about leaving Egypt but fulfilling the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by bringing their descendants into the land of Canaan once and for all. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were strangers in that land but their heirs will own that land, and will no longer be strangers in the land God gave them.

God “heard the groaning of the children of Israel.” God put them into Egypt and He will be the one to bring them out.

God has more than one goal in mind. It’s not just about Exodus. He says in Ex. 6:6, “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”

First Moses says that God will bring them out, so then can exit. The Israelites didn’t want to leave Egypt, they just wanted the Egyptians to stop making them work 7 days a week  and treating them life slaves. They wanted God to make the Egyptians treat them like equals and live in Goshen in comfort. That is not what God gave them. He was not interested in what they wanted but He was interested in establishing the covenant He made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

When the people left Egypt after the plagues, Pharaoh was surprised they did not return after a few days. When God talks about redeeming, it means that a person purchases something for the expressed purpose of returning the property to the rightful owner.

Once God redeems them, He will be their God and they will be His people because He “brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.”

God begins working on us before we even ask Him. He puts into a place where we come to an understanding of sin, transgression and iniquity. He shows us our problem but He also shows us His solution: Yeshua. God knows us before we know Him.

When God used Yeshua to redeem us, it was a great judgement that was inflicted on Yeshua to accomplish that, even greater than God inflicted on the Egyptians. Messiah overcame the world so we don’t have to be afraid. He overcame the Devil. Yeshua has more power than the Devil. With Yeshua on our side, no one can stand against us.

But the children of Israel didn’t yet understand that this freedom really meant or how difficult it was going to be to obtain. Even though God says right at the beginning that His plan was to move them from Egypt back to the Promised Land, they didn’t understand because that isn’t what they were praying for.

We are told in Ex. 6:9 that, “Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.” The Hebrew word this translated as “despondency” or “anguish” literally means “short of spirit.” The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

They were already being oppressed by their Egyptian overlords when when Moses and Aaron came in and started stirring up attention, it became even worse and the children of Israel blamed Moses and Aaron for their oppression instead of the Egyptians.

You can be critical against the children of Israel for their closed ears, it’s easy to judge them, isn’t it? But generations of oppression can quench a hopeful spirit.

God tells Moses to go back to Pharaoh again and command him to let the children of Israel leave Egypt. Moses replies to God and says, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?” (Ex 6:12 NAS95)

In the King James the phrase is “uncircumcised lips” and this chapter is the only chapter in the entire book of Exodus this phrase is used and it’s used twice. Moses felt that his speech was covered up, mumbling and unclear. God had told Moses on the mountain that the Pharaoh would hear him and obey him, but God did not tell Moses how long that would take. We have examples from other prophets such as Zechariah and Jeremiah. God can seal and unseal the lips of a righteous man for His reasons.

God gave Moses and Aaron charge over the children of Israel, but they only list the elders of Reuben, Simeon and Levi, not Ephraim or Manasseh.  God says in Ex. 6:26, “It was the same Aaron and Moses to whom the LORD said, ‘Bring out the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their hosts.'”  The meaning of the son’s names is a message in and of itself. Reuben means “behold a son”, Simeon means “God hears.” They weren’t named by accident and their order here isn’t by accident either.

In Ex. 6:27, it says, “They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing out the sons of Israel from Egypt; it was the same Moses and Aaron.” The “they” means that Moses and Aaron did not go to Pharaoh alone. They were accompanied by the elders of the Reuben, Simeon and Levi as well.

But when God again tells Moses to go to Pharaoh to speak to him, Moses uses the same “excuse” that he has “uncircumcised lips.” We’ll see how God responds to this in chapter 7 next time.

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