As kids, the four of us would sit in the back seat of mom’s car with imaginary lines drawn between us. Invariably, someone would cross theirs, leading to a chain reaction of pushing, pinching, and elbowing. As the eldest, I knew where this was going, so in my defense I would quickly complain, “Mom, he touched me!” She would snap her head around, give us that look, and let us know that we were all in trouble when we got home.
- Have you ever gotten in trouble while you were just minding your own business?
READ THE WORD: EXODUS 5:10-23 (ESV)
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.”
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.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Who suffered when Pharaoh’s new quota could not be met?
- Who did the foremen blame in verses 15 and 20-21? Who did Pharaoh, in turn, blame (vs. 17)? And lastly, who did Moses blame (vs. 22)?
- Why would God allow this situation to deteriorate as it did?
- How do you respond when following God doesn’t go as you expected?
RESPOND TO GOD
God told Moses he would rescue the Israelites and gave him the very words to speak to Pharaoh. Yet, the plan seemed to back fire. Moses anticipated resistance, but he never expected Pharaoh to counter with a demand that would lead to such suffering. Anger ignited through the ranks down to the slaves, who cursed Moses. Moses reacted with anger and accused God of doing evil. Aren’t we sometimes like Moses? We begin to follow God in a particular direction, assuming he will just pave the way. But when things don’t go as we anticipate, we wonder if we have misunderstood God, or worse, if he is not really in control. The truth is that he is never out of control, and no one ever thwarts his plans.
- Ask God to increase your faith to walk with him even when the path becomes hard and painful.