GOD IS REJECTED
Lord, prepare my heart to receive a clear word from You for these times. May I respond aright.
Read Exodus 5:1-21
Bricks Without Straw
5 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.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectConsider the words of this song: ‘How long before your glory lights the skies? / … your radiance lifts our eyes? / … your fragrance fills the air? / … the earth resounds with songs of joy?’ (Stuart Townend, 2007).
Did you sense the pain and frustration of God’s people seeping through the words you read today? I certainly did. Such hard labor, unfairness, physical suffering, weariness, and toil! And the Israelites’ faith is dwindling as they experience this onslaught from Pharaoh: while they worshipped God at the end of chapter 4 (4:31), they are bitter by the end of chapter 5 (v 21).
Despite all the evidence of God at work, their faith turns quickly against God’s plan. How easy do you find it to hold fast to God’s promises when you suffer?
Pharaoh was a nasty man, lacking in faith (v 2) and full of ven- geance (vs 7–11). You may be able to identify such godless lead- ers in your immediate surroundings, and in our world. But God remains in control, and there will come a time when he will make all things new (see, for example, Revelation 21:1–8).
Take a look at today’s news headlines and allow your heart to pray prayers of deliverance for the suffering and afflicted. Pray that our world would stop rejecting God and would turn to see him as Savior!
Heavenly Father, sometimes trouble upon trouble comes against me. I need Your overcoming power to be victorious. Thank You for hearing my cry.