So far everything is going great. God said Aaron would help and there he is ready to help. The Elders, that Moses said wouldn’t believe him actually believe and a worship service begins. Everything seems to be going according to plan.
Now, Moses and Aaron are off to tell Pharoah what God said to tell him…let My people go so they can worship Me.
Pharoah says sure, sounds like a good idea…No, he says He does not know God nor will he let the people go…
1. I Do Not Know the Lord… a Delusion of Deity
5 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’ ” 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.” 3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work? Get back to your burdens.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens!” 6 The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”
Here, we are shown the central focus of Exodus again, who is the Lord? Pharoah thinks he is the Lord. The Egyptians think Pharoah is the Lord. In their worship of many gods including Pharoah, they think they are all gods to be worshipped.
Yet, God has already told Moses at the burning bush that He is the Lord. Who is the Lord? He’s the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob. He is the Great I Am. He is Yahweh, the God of the covenant. He is the self-existent, eternal God. He is the Father of Israel. That’s who God is, not Pharoah.
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.”
Through the events of the Exodus, Pharoah and the Egyptians will be shown who the real God is and the power He possesses. They will come to experience the wrath of God.
Exodus 14:25 (ESV)
25 clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
The Exodus was God giving Pharoah an education in theology.
Pharoah viewed Israel’s work for him as serving him in a form of actual worship.
4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people away from their work?
This is the same Hebrew word that in other places is translated as service. Pharoah actually has the delusion of deity and his view is that the Hebrews are serving him and that it’s a form of worship.
Pharoah claimed not to know God and yet he would prove to be vindictive toward God’s people.
Pharoah so needy for worship and god status that he begins to punish God’s people. Keep making bricks but now you’re going to have to find the resources yourself. Pharoah was a tyrant.
What’s interesting here is we see the connection between God and His people. Pharoah hates God so he persecutes God’s people.
Matthew 10:22 (ESV)
22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
2. Sin is a Harsh Taskmaster
10 So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’ ” 12 So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” 14 And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?”
15 Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” 17 But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks.” 19 The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 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.”
As we study the Book of Exodus, its important to remember that it is history but it is history with an agenda. The agenda is to show us God’s glory and power. It shows us what slavery really is and it serves also as a shadow of Christ and our salvation as freedom from bondage.
The Israelites could not depend on Pharoah for any mercy. In fact, when he was challenged, he made their lives worse. Sin is like that. Sin is always evil. It always is out to destroy us. We might compare sin with Satan. Like Pharoah, Satan had enslaved us through sin. He views himself as a god or at least wants to be like God. When we sin, we serve the devil. Sin will never make you happy it is a very harsh taskmaster.
Much like Pharoah, Satan and sin will not let us go without a fight.
Notice that Pharoah had such a stranglehold on the Israelites that when their burdens were made worse, they went to Pharoah and pleaded that he would make their burdens lighter but it was Pharoah that actually made them worse to start with. Pharoah save us, was their cry. Rather than praying to God to deliver them, they went to Pharoah. The Israelites said it isn’t fair. Sin has the tendency to go from bad to worse. Go from making bricks to now making the same amount only you have to get your own straw. When you don’t serve Satan and sin correctly you are beaten.
In the Exodus account, Pharoah demanded to be served and when any suggestion at all was made that the true God be served Pharoah came down hard on the Hebrews.
Sin will never make you happy it is a very harsh and unforgiving taskmaster. We learn here that our taskmaster will never be our liberator.
Adam and Eve were tempted to sin by Satan. He convinced them that sin would be their liberator. Eat the forbidden fruit and you will be free. God is the one holding you back. He is stingy and doesn’t want you to be free. The reality, obeying God meant freedom and disobeying God meant bondage.
” 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 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.”
The foremen of Israel were fighting mad. According to them all of this is Moses’ fault. It wasn’t Moses’ fault it was Pharoah’s fault.
Here’s where they went wrong…they went to Pharoah and asked for relief. They should have went to God. They should have prayed that God would rescue them.
Exodus 2:23–25 (ESV)
23 During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
Do not ever expect sin to release you from its bondage. But if you want to be free, pray to God in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and He will save you and release you from bondage.
3. God’s Ways Are Not Our Ways
22 Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? 23 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.”
6 But the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.”
2 God spoke to Moses and said to him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.
How do you respond when things don’t go the way you think they should go? Moses was careful to do all God had told him to do and yet the whole rescue mission now seems to be failing in a great way. Moses is obedient and what God said would happen isn’t happening.
Here’s something you may have heard before…Moses was at the center of God’s will and was living the victorious spiritual life…right? Yet, things are now worse for the Israelites than before. It seems the more Moses obeyed the worse things got. Now both the Egyptians and the Hebrews are against him.
How should we respond if something like this happens to us?
It could be that someone becomes a Christian and discovers their troubles get even worse after their conversion. How do we handle these things?
What about when you’re living as obedient as you can and things start falling apart? These are real practical issues that we must realize will happen.
Or even the flip side of this, why does it seem at times the evil prosper and the righteous don’t?
Psalm 37:title–7 (ESV)
37 Of David.
1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.
3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.
7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Moses is asking God some real questions from his heart. He is greatly troubled and concerned. Why have you done this evil to your people? Why am I here? (See I told you). Every time I speak to Pharoah it gets worse…
Moses had forgotten what God told him. You go to Pharoah but I will harden his heart so that he will not let My people go.
This is what not letting My people go looks like…
God then reassures Moses when he even began to doubt his calling…
5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.
Hang in there Moses, I’m just getting started.
Hang in there struggling Christian God is just getting started.
Remember finally that God’s ways are not our ways.
Isaiah 55:8–9 (ESV)
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Hang in there Christian. Keep being obedient. Keep loving Christ and keep praying because God’s not done yet.
When we follow Jesus and serve Him, we too will face difficulties through opposition.
How do you keep serving through struggles?
William Carey had grossly underestimated what it would cost to live in India, and Carey’s early years there were miserable. When Thomas deserted the enterprise, Carey was forced to move his family repeatedly as he sought employment that could sustain them. Illness racked the family, and loneliness and regret set it: “I am in a strange land,” he wrote, “no Christian friend, a large family, and nothing to supply their wants.” But he also retained hope: “Well, I have God, and his word is sure.”
He learned Bengali with the help of a pundit, and in a few weeks began translating the Bible into Bengali and preaching to small gatherings.
When Carey himself contracted malaria, and then his 5-year-old Peter died of dysentery, it became too much for his wife, Dorothy, whose mental health deteriorated rapidly. She suffered delusions, accusing Carey of adultery and threatening him with a knife. She eventually had to be confined to a room and physically restrained.
“This is indeed the valley of the shadow of death to me,” Carey wrote, though characteristically added, “But I rejoice that I am here notwithstanding; and God is here.”
In December 1800, after seven years of missionary labor, Carey baptized his first convert, Krishna Pal, and two months later, he published his first Bengali New Testament. With this and subsequent editions, Carey and his colleagues laid the foundation for the study of modern Bengali, which up to this time had been an “unsettled dialect.”
Carey continued to expect great things; over the next 28 years, he and his pundits translated the entire Bible into India’s major languages: Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Hindi, Assamese, and Sanskrit and parts of 209 other languages and dialects.
He also sought social reform in India, including the abolition of infanticide, widow burning (sati), and assisted suicide. He and the Marshmans founded Serampore College in 1818, a divinity school for Indians, which today offers theological and liberal arts education for some 2,500 students.
By the time Carey died, he had spent 41 years in India without a furlough. His mission could count only some 700 converts in a nation of millions, but he had laid an impressive foundation of Bible translations, education, and social reform.