So we have made it to Exodus 5, and we’re back with Moses, Aaron, and Pharaoh…poor clueless Pharaoh. Moses and Aaron go to him and tell him what the Lord said. They ask him to let God’s people go to hold a feast out in the wilderness, sacrifice to the Lord, etc. You know, your everyday Israelite barbecue, right? 🙂 Pharaoh answers them saying, in verse 2,
“But Pharaoh said, ‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.'”
So, here’s where Pharaoh says he doesn’t know God and doesn’t have to obey Him. You know, the whole “He’s not my father and I don’t have to listen to Him” bit. Moses and Aaron ask him again. This time they try to convince him with a new tactic.
Listen, Pharaoh, please let them go for the feast or God is going to get angry and kill us. You don’t want that, right?
Why did they try this angle? Well, these were Pharaoh’s slaves, his workers. Surely he wouldn’t want them to die…Who would work for him then?!? But Pharaoh pretty much scoffed at them. He might as well have said,
Mind your own business guys. And, Pharaoh adds the Israelites are more numerous than the Egyptians now. Really? You think I need to worry about them all be decimated? Ha! Hardly! At least that’s how I imagine it. 🙂
Now Pharaoh is not happy. He’s the king and he does not like being told what to do, or asked apparently, so he turns around and increases the workload. You see, they use to get the straw given to them in order to make bricks, but now they have to get their own straw wherever they can get it from. Straw was very important to making bricks. It was used to bind the clay together so that the bricks wouldn’t fall apart. It was a necessary component you see. Also, they were expected to keep up the same production rate too. Pharaoh didn’t put a lot of stock in God’s words either. Verse 9,
“Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.” Lying words… hmmm….
The people couldn’t keep up with the task they were given and were beaten. There was a heirarchy in the leadership system you should know about.:- 1. Pharaoh (of course) 2. Egyptian Leaders 3. Egyptian Labor Leaders 4. Israelite Foreman (part of the slaves but oversaw the “regular” slaves 5. Slaves – The Israelite Foreman went to Pharaoh upset. They’re mad (of course!) and they blame Pharaoh’s people for them not being able to get the job done. I mean, they’re the ones who took away the straw, right??? But Pharaoh won’t hear any of it. He accuses them of being lazy. They obviously have too much time on their hands if they want to go sacrifice to the Lord…Ha! Hardly!
But the Foreman and Israelites were definitely disheartened and angry, especially at Moses and Aaron. Verse 20-21,
“They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; and they said to them, ‘The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.'”
It’s so hard, isn’t it, to trust that God has your best in mind when it just feels like you are being beaten down at every turn and the world is stacked against you? The Israelites didn’t have God’s point of view, the plan, the big picture. They could only see as far as the muck they were still sitting in, AND it seemed to have gotten much thicker around them.
But Wait! Weren’t these the same people who had just bowed their heads and worshiped not too long ago??? What? You’ve never done that? Trusted and worshiped one day and then panicked the next? Unfortunately, I’ve done it too many times. How I wish all the time I could see God’s big picture plan. But, then I wouldn’t need faith or trust, would I?
Even Moses, who had been given the game plan, began to doubt. Verse 22-23,
“Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.'”
Wow…Not only does Moses hate what he is seeing being done to the Israelites. He obviously wasn’t ready for what the consequences of his actions might be, but he’s not happy the deliverance didn’t happen right away, is he?
What are you struggling to understand today? Are you letting fear, mistrust, doubt, or anything else like that rule you? Are you being like the Israelites in chapter 4 who bowed their heads and worshiped while still in the muck or like the same Israelites in chapter 5 who were responding in anger and doubt? Trust His plan, friends. You only see a snippet of the big picture.