God worked hard to be able to influence Jacob. They had serious struggles together. God gave Jacob (Israel) twelve sons and then God used one of those sons to move Jacob physically even farther away from the land He had promised to Abraham. Through Joseph, God took Israel to Egypt.
What was God doing? Where was He - so to speak - going with all of this? After some generations, a Pharaoh enslaved Jacob's descendants. But God was waiting until the right time. And as God kept still, his people were crying out, Move us! Deliver us! And God had said he would lead them back out, but for now God was watching and searching His people. His difficult, beloved children of Israel. In time, God would begin calling ALL of them Jacob. They were as tough to motivate as he had been.
At any rate, for those next few centuries, there was one pressing question on Earth: When was God going to Move?
For the same span of time, "up in Heaven", God Himself might(*) have been asking a related question: When I Move, how much will it take to get all of Jacob to Move with Me?
So God came to Moses, Moses came to Pharaoh, and God moved dramatically! Then the Israelites followed God as his Pillar of Fire moved beyond the Red Sea and into the desert. God finally had a people who would move where He moved, at least physically. But. Would God be able to move them, in their hearts? Could he move them, as a People, in all the ways that most mattered?
Whether God Himself foreknew the answer or not - that was THE question.
To be continued...
(*) Believe, if you prefer, that God knew precisely what would and would not be effective. Explain, if you like, why that's not how things appear when you actually read Exodus. Philosophize, with the Classical Theists, that God's foreknowledge must be exhaustive. That He knows all the future. I'm not so sure about that, but okay, fine. Believe that. However, I'm going to write about God like the Pentateuch does, and it seems in the Exodus that God was interacting with honesty, anticipation, and uncertainty... just like a new lover. And that sounds like the God that I know. Of course, if your theology demands that you explain this away, have your way. But my way is how it appears in the Story. So there. ;-p