Exodus 5: Who is the Lord?

1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”

2 And Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”

3 So they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”

4 Then the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!”

6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words.”

10 And the taskmasters of the people and their officers went out and spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go, get yourselves straw where you can find it; yet none of your work will be reduced.’” 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 13 And the taskmasters forced them to hurry, saying, “Fulfill your work, your daily quota, as when there was straw.” 14 Also the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as before?”

15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why are you dealing thus with your servants? 16 There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, ‘Make brick!’ And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people.”

17 But he said, “You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks.” 19 And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, “You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota.”

20 Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. 21 And they said to them, “Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

22 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”

 

Moses and Aaron took the words of God to the people, who were more than happy with the idea of deliverance.  Now these two brothers are taking the same words to the King of Egypt but their message wasn’t so readily accepted this time.

Moses and Aaron tell Pharaoh the words of the Lord.

 

“Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”

 

and when he tells them “no,” they take their request up a notch,

 

“The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”

 

Pharaoh not only told them no twice, he takes things one step further, he makes the labor of the Israelite people worse by not bringing them straw in order for them to make bricks for building.  He also tells the taskmasters over them to demand that they also require them to fill their daily quota of bricks.  The straw had some kind of acidic effect on the mud, causing it to harden like cement and it was a very widely used building material.

In 1883 and in 1908 Egyptologists discovered some mud brick structures in one of the store-cities in Egypt, called Pithom, where the bottom row of bricks were made with the normal content of cut straw. The interesting thing about this find was what they found in the other layers:

The middle sections were made with straw that had been pulled up by the roots while the final sections contained little to no straw at all.

 

Moses and Aaron had already told the people that this would happen and he had informed them that God would deliver them, but as it always seems to be true, the people of Israel forgot this information when things got rough on them.

 

At first glance this chapter seems to be one of those in-between stories.  One that simply ties one chapter to another but has no real story of it’s own, but we can learn a few things from the reactions and words from the major player involved.

 

  1. God considers Israel His “First-born.” – The first-born had the prominence and preeminence in the family roles in most cultures of the time.  It also seems that God feels the same way, but it also point to what God will do before He delivers His people.  His words state that He loves these people and cares for them as much as a Father would.  In other words He would do whatever it takes to protect and take care of Israel.
  2. “Who is God?” – Most cultures, even the Hebrews, believed that there were many gods that existed in those days.  These gods were territorial and could be manipulated by their followers.  It is not very surprising that Pharaoh didn’t take this God of the Hebrews very seriously.  He also believed in many deities and he had up until now, never heard of their God.  Besides, they were now in Egypt, so in his eyes, their God had no power.  Who was this God of the Hebrew slaves?  Nothing to Pharaoh compared to his many powerful gods.
  3. Pharaoh is a picture of Satan – While the King of Egypt will show many similarities to the “Adversary,” we will look at only the first here:  Pride – Pharaoh was considered a deity by his people.  He was worshipped and honored as one of many gods in the region and much like Satan, who is also called “the god of this world,” he will do whatever it takes to keep those who are under his rule by turning up the heat, so to speak.  When we give our lives to Christ and we begin our walk with Him, Satan will bring  trouble into our lives, in order to keep us in line and take our minds away from the Lord in order to focus on our issues.  This trouble doesn’t always feel like it but it is superficial at best and if we have the peace of God, we can rest assured that we will make it through the storm.  That is an easy thing to write and say, especially when you are not in the throes of trouble.  We seem to forget the promises of God when these things occur; Both Satan and the Lord know this, so we learn a valuable lesson from Moses as to what to do when trouble comes:

22 So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”

He came to the Lord in prayer while repeating His Word back to Him.

We should come to the Lord in prayer and with His Word in our lives.  We could be like Joseph, and flee the temptation, or we can be like Jesus and resist the devil through prayer and the Word.

 

Matthew 4:

 

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

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About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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