Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday - Exodus 5 - Sometimes Obedience SEEMS to Backfire

The Jews were convinced easily enough... for the time being. But, Pharaoh wouldn't break so easily. Actually, he was never to be broken. He would die unconvinced ... trying to drive a wheel less chariot in pursuit of the Hebrews that he hated (Exodus 14:25).

Just as God had said it would be, Pharaoh didn't know, fear or respect the God of Israel and therefore he refused to submit to Him (Exodus 3:19). His only concern was the work that "his slaves" were supposed to be doing.

Hypothetically, can you imagine how much God would have blessed Pharaoh and Egypt if they had readily obeyed the Word of the Lord and sent the Hebrews on their way? But, it wasn't to be. The Egyptian Pharaoh thought he was a god, so he had no intentions of allowing anyone else to control him. He was a man of amazing ambition and stubborn foolishness.

In response to the request of the Levite brothers to let his workforce go worship, Pharaoh actually made the tasks of the Hebrews even more difficult. His perspective was that they had too much time on their hands if they had space and energy to imagine and organize a trip. He cut off their supply of brick-straw while demanding that they not only maintain their quota, but produce even more. He figured they had time to find their own straw-substitute for their brick making responsibilities. What a jerk, eh? Yet, the revelation of his arrogance had only just begun.

When Moses and Aaron came out from Pharaoh, instead of gathering the nation for a grand exit... they had to see their people scattering frantically in search of whatever stubble they could glean. It was not the product they had hoped for from their meeting with the king.

The people were understandably distraught. Except for the land right next to the Nile River, Egypt was a desert. It's hard to imagine that the properties which were devoted to agricultural endeavors would have been freely available for the Jews to peruse through in their efforts at picking up stubble.  Clearly they struggled. They didn't meet the demands of their master and they were beaten because of their failure   (Exodus 5:14-16).

"Thanks for nothing, guys!  Look what you got us into!"  That was the response of the Israelite leaders when   they saw Moses and Aaron next. To say the least, Moses was discouraged. Even though God had told him that it would be this way (Exodus 4:21), Moses was at his wits' end. His heart's cry was evident in his prayer to God: "Why is it that You have sent me? You haven't delivered Your people at all. Their condition is worse now than it was before I came. What's going on?!"  (Exodus 5:22-23).

Q: What do you do when your obedience seems to make your state worse instead of better? A: Obey God anyway.

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