How can slavery possibly get worse? Think supply chain. In 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic literally shut down the world, it cut off the supply chain that delivers raw materials to manufactures who then turn them into the products that we consume. Take toilet paper. All of a sudden there was a high demand. The wholesalers and distributors emptied their warehouses to send what they had to retailers. Then they placed more orders to the manufacturers. However, the manufacturers only had so much raw materials in stock. Once that was used up, how could they get more? The supply chain was broken.
In this next chapter on our story of the Israelites in captivity, Moses, with all good intentions, makes things worse. Let’s dig in…
After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.”
2 “Is that so?” retorted Pharaoh. “And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go.”
3 But Aaron and Moses persisted. “The God of the Hebrews has met with us,” they declared. “So let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can offer sacrifices to the Lord our God. If we don’t, he will kill us with a plague or with the sword.”
4 Pharaoh replied, “Moses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work! 5 Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.”
Making Bricks without Straw
6 That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: 7 “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! 8 But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ 9 Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!”
10 So the slave drivers and foremen went out and told the people: “This is what Pharaoh says: I will not provide any more straw for you. 11 Go and get it yourselves. Find it wherever you can. But you must produce just as many bricks as before!” 12 So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt in search of stubble to use as straw.
13 Meanwhile, the Egyptian slave drivers continued to push hard. “Meet your daily quota of bricks, just as you did when we provided you with straw!” they demanded. 14 Then they whipped the Israelite foremen they had put in charge of the work crews. “Why haven’t you met your quotas either yesterday or today?” they demanded.
15 So the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him. “Please don’t treat your servants like this,” they begged. 16 “We are given no straw, but the slave drivers still demand, ‘Make bricks!’ We are being beaten, but it isn’t our fault! Your own people are to blame!”
17 But Pharaoh shouted, “You’re just lazy! Lazy! That’s why you’re saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ 18 Now get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you must still produce the full quota of bricks.”
19 The Israelite foremen could see that they were in serious trouble when they were told, “You must not reduce the number of bricks you make each day.” 20 As they left Pharaoh’s court, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who were waiting outside for them. 21 The foremen said to them, “May the Lord judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!”
22 Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!”Exodus 5 NLT
Then the Lord told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!”
2 And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh—‘the Lord.’ 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. 4 And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. 5 You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.
6 “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. 7 I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. 8 I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”
9 So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.”
12 “But Lord!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!”
13 But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them orders for the Israelites and for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.Exodus 6:1-13 NLT
Moses & Aaron’s Lineage
Moses and Aaron come from the line of Levi — their descendants will become the priests of the Promised Land. Levi -> Kohath -> Amram -> Moses and Aaron.
Points to Ponder
- Why does God allow the situation to get worse? It’s not like God didn’t know what was going on. He’s sees everything — the good and the bad.
- God hears our groans, too. (Related: Hard Times)
- God had a plan — all suffering would be avenged. Moses protested as we all do. How many times have you said, “Why, God, why?” We are impatient. We want our problems fixed right away. We also don’t see how actions have consequences. Moses approaching Pharaoh only made him mad and he took it out on the poor Israelites. He cut off their supply of straw needed to make bricks, yet they still had to meet a certain daily quota. They had to go find straw, bring it back and make bricks.
- We need to focus on God’s promises and NOT our troubles.
- God essentially told Moses — “Trust Me.”
We read in Proverbs…
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
God’s “I Will” Promises
God had to remind Moses who HE was. He also reaffirmed His Covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob for the Promised Land, the Land of Canaan — Israel. He also promised…
- “I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt.”(v.6) Jesus frees us from the yoke of sin and our slavery to idolatry, religion and pride.
- “I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment.”(v.6) Jesus redeemed us with His powerful arms stretched on the cross and He will judge everyone.
- “I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God.”(v.7) When we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, He claims us as His children, His heirs. We become Children of God.
- “I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession.” AND that happened on May 14, 1948, 73 years ago today!
Do you have that Confident Hope?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180 degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him.
- Be Baptized — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the Holy Spirit in your heart.
Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!
Top image by Sweet Publishing from FreeBibleImages.org, (CC BY-SA 3.0).