Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”
4 But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” 5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”
6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
10 Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”
15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”
17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”
19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.”
So like the enemy, when we make the choice to trust and obey, he turns up the heat! Pharaoh proves out what we already know, he believes he is god. His concern is only for himself. His hard heart is showing: 1) no respect or fear for the Lord, 2) he gave not one second of thought to the Israelites and their relationship with God, 3) he maintains his focus on labor and productivity, 4) his mouth and actions prove that his heart continues to harden.
Pharaoh represents the enemy who will turn up the heat to try to oppress the believer and keep us downtrodden. He wants our eyes and hearts anywhere but on Jesus! He says, you think that is something, how about this?
Pharaoh thinks that working the Israelites even harder will keep them from believing what he calls ‘lies’. How ironic for he is the one perpetuating the lie and represents the one who is not only a liar but the Father of Lies. He wants these people to see him as their god and with no way out of their slavery. He is working hard to prove to them that they have no way out, no hope and no future. He is even foolish enough try and convince the One, True and Living God of the same. As we know, he is resistant to truth but the Lord will help him get there.
We are back to the saying, ‘don’t get it confused.’ Right now, the Israelites are just a little confused. I think the image above speaks volume. It says, “Don’t lose faith. I didn’t promise it would be easy. I promised it would be worth it.”
I didn’t promise you wouldn’t need to walk in faith and not by sight (2 Cor 5:7). I didn’t promise that there would be no trouble (John 16:33). I didn’t promise that there would be no pain, no sickness, no disappointment, no pressure (Job 5:7).
I did declare my name to be I Am That I AM, everything you need. I did promise to be with you and bring you out. I did promise a land flowing with milk and honey…I need promise that your future would be greater than your past. I did promise…, I did promise…, I did promise…!!!
The Israelites will learn through this journey what every believer must know. The economy of the Kingdom is faith. It is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6). We spend faith to get faith. Right now, the Israelites’ faith account is a little lacking but our faithful God will help them grow their account as He proves Himself strong. Sometimes He has to do that with me as well.
Isaiah 43 is one of my life verses, it helps me not to “get it confused” and to keep my eyes on my God and His promises. A portion of it is below and since God’s Word is a very personal letter, I place my name it.
But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob [Pat],
he who formed you, Israel [Pat]:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you [Pat] are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior!
Thank you, Lord, for your sure and certain promises!