Day 3 - Exodus 5:6-9, 22; 6:1-5
Darkest Before the Dawn
Detours can be hard when it seems like circumstances get worse before they get any better. It can be even harder to trust God’s plan when life only seems to be adding more testing and difficult trials. Before the people of God are freed from slavery in Egypt, they are deeply oppressed under Pharaoh’s authority. Moses asks the Pharaoh to let his people go and receives this response:
5:6 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.”
The Pharaoh isn’t listening to any of Moses’ requests. In fact, just for asking, he made life more strenuous for the Hebrew people! Now the children of Israel are in a worse place than before. Up to this point, Moses' leadership hasn't made anything better at all. This had to be extremely disheartening for those under Moses’ guidance who felt that there may finally have been light at the end of the tunnel.
Many of us can relate with life’s disappointments. It’s hard to believe a situation can hold good at its end when all we are experiencing are darker and disheartening days.
Have there ever been challenges in life that seem to accumulate for you? How has God shown that He walks through trials with you in the past?
Later in the chapter, even Moses speaks out to God asking where he is in the situation stating:
5:22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on these people? Is this why you sent me?
God is quick to respond in chapter 6:
6:1 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.” 2 God also said to Moses, “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 fully known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
God will always take care of his children. Even when they are destitute, despised, and downtrodden, he finds the proper time to plead their cause. The issue is not with God, but rather his people. In their trouble, the children of Israel did not turn to God or Moses. Instead, they looked to Pharaoh to solve their problems, which led to disappointment. There was no relief to be found in him.
Some of us can place ourselves in the same situation. When we walk through a difficult trial we respond to the problem giver hoping for relief when we should be running to God the problem solver, as well as those he has appointed over us.
Looking at this part of Moses’ story, we shouldn't be surprised when the greatest challenges come before the greatest victory. At this point the victory of God for Israel over Egypt seems a long way away, but the known ending to this story should give us confidence that God is able to handle our personal trials!
How can you confidently remind yourself of God’s goodness today and His best plans for your future in the middle of whatever challenges you face now?