In this passage, the Lord is repeating promises he has made to Moses to relay to the Israelites. There has been a delay in the fulfilment of the promise since Moses first delivered the promise of deliverance to the Israelites, and in the delay things have gotten much worse. Pharaoh has severely punished Israel for requesting to go and worship the Lord.

The promises God makes are great; deliverance from bondage and possession of the land he promised to the patriarchs of Israel many years ago. The problem is that when you are getting beaten and are in misery, you are not inclined to believe promises. God allows this hardship upon Israel so that they may know he is the Lord. They will see his power and veracity with respect to his promises in due time, his time.

Christians are those who embrace promises from God. They are incredible promises: free forgiveness of sins by the sacrifice of the Son of God, eternal life with God, resurrection of the body, the future inheritance of a new heaven and earth completely devoid of sin, death, pain and all that characterizes this fallen world.

As surely as God kept his promise to Israel to deliver them from Egypt, however unlikely it appeared at times, we believe all the promises of God are certain in Christ.  Yet God makes temporal things uncertain.  Things such as our health, jobs, comforts, relationships, money, safety and many others can change overnight. Israel had the light of the promise but was made to walk through the desert.

God says his purpose in redeeming people is that they might truly be his people and worship him in spirit and truth. The truth is that he redeems them from ungodliness. Egypt and all the nations were ungodly when Israel was in bondage, as was Israel. From the time of Adam to Noah, men were ungodly except for a remnant that turned to God. Peter says plainly that the flood wiped away all the ungodly (2nd Peter 2:5).

This ungodliness reigns in men to the present day. Paul says that Christ died for the ungodly. Ungodliness doesn’t mean men are as evil and brutal as they can be. It means that men have an enmity against God’s sovereignty and goodness. Paul says the carnal mind is enmity against God. Man strives for self-exaltation, self-sufficiency, and self-actualization apart from God. The fruit of this ambition, apart from God, is strewn throughout the history of men, and it is an ugly picture.

A denial of God’s existence is ungodly of course, but a refusal to submit to God in anything is ungodliness. God is entirely good and holy. Anything contrary to His nature is ungodly. Christ saves the ungodly by redeeming them, or taking care of the debt of their ungodliness. God’s Spirit convinces a man of not only his sin, but God’s goodness in light of that sin.  If a man becomes convinced of this contrast and fearful of it, he seeks mercy. And finds God is merciful.

The gospel is hated by men because of the offense of its truth that men are ungodly. But those who see their need of Christ see not only a great salvation, but also a great Savior. He becomes their focus and delight. Paul says Christ loved me and gave himself for me. Paul considered himself the worst of sinners. He who is forgiven much, loves much.

All those who truly embrace Christ are pure in heart. To be pure in heart doesn’t mean sinless; it means the opposite of double-minded. Those who rest in Christ, boast in Christ, not their own merits; those who see the sufficiency of Christ for their case long to see Christ. He becomes their portion, a word used in Scripture to describe what one considers the best inheritance.

Charles Spurgeon once questioned a young girl who told him she wanted to go to heaven. “Why do you want to go to heaven?” Spurgeon asked. “To be with the Lord Jesus Christ, the girl replied.” “Well, what if Christ left heaven?”  The girl hesitated but an instance before saying, “Then I would go with him.” Such are those who have found life in Christ. If we taste of heaven now, it is the truth of Christ that gives us that bliss.