16 Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt: 17 And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. 18 And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. 19 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favour in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty: 22 But every woman shall borrow of her neighbour, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
God expanded dramatically on His instructions to Moses. He reiterated that Moses must go to the elders of Israel and deliver a message from the Lord. Moses was to explain to them God’s awareness of the people’s suffering, and to promise them that they would soon be freed. Moses was to tell the people that God would bring them to the land of Canaan, fulfilling a promise that had been made many years ago to Abraham. God also reassured to Moses that the people would believe him: “they shall hearken to thy voice.”
God then informed Moses of the next step, which was to approach the Pharaoh and lay down the Lord’s demands. God even forewarned Moses that Pharaoh would not agree to this, but God would work wonders until eventually Pharaoh would relent. Then, God assured Moses, all the Israelites would leave, and they would go with treasure and spoil taken from the Egyptians.
In short, God related everything to Moses exactly as it would occur before it even happened. Many times God only illuminates the very next step of our personal journeys, but here he laid down the entire dance. Every setback and every surmounting was detailed so that Moses would know that he followed a predetermined path which God had already seen, and nothing would catch them by surprise. This is an incredibly reassuring gift of knowledge from the Lord, but as we will see in the next chapter, even after all this Moses still had his doubts.