We are all tired of staying home. Days have turned to weeks and it looks like it could be months. Let me remind you of a group of people who had been enslaved for 400 years.
The children of Israel were in Egypt because of a famine. God had put Joseph in place there through a chain of extraordinary circumstances. They came to find food, found their brother and prospered until a change of leadership brought a change of mind.
God had a plan. It started with the obedience of a mother who couldn’t put her son, Moses, to death. It continued with him being protected and raised by the daughter of Pharaoh himself. Moses, who had the benefit of a topnotch education, was intimately involved with the culture of the Egyptians and the Israelites. Who better to bring about a change to the sorely oppressed. But it wasn’t the right time and his initial efforts were an utter failure.
Spending 40 years herding sheep had quite an effect on his character. He had been proud and hot headed, now he appears humble and reluctant to act.
God sends him back to Egypt with careful instructions, a staff in his hand and a brother, Aaron, who will do the speaking that he is now afraid to do.
You see God had heard, God remembered, God saw and God took notice. (Exodus 2:24-25)
When they meet with Pharaoh they get right to the point.
“ Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go…’.” (Exodus 5:1)
Pharaoh’s response – “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice…? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” vs. 2
Because of Moses interaction with Pharaoh he decided to withhold the straw they needed to make their quota of bricks. Now they were forced to gather it themselves without a reduction in the number of bricks required.
Look at Moses conversation with God in Exodus 5:22-23. To say he was unsure of his usefulness is an understatement.
Look at how God responds to Moses in Exodus 6:1-8. God’s plan was still in place.
Moses tries to comfort the people after his assurances from God. How did they respond and why? (Exodus 6:9)
God gave Moses 10 signs to give Pharaoh. Here is a quick list. (Exodus 7:10 – 10:29)
- Moses staff becomes a serpent
- Changes all the water to blood
- Swarms of frogs
- Dust becomes gnats (Magicians warn Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”)
- Swarms of insects (Goshen excluded, where sons of Israel lived.)
- Livestock killed (Goshen excluded)
- Soot becomes boils on man and beast. (Magicians unable to stand on their feet.)
- Heavy hail, warned to bring in man and beasts. Those left out were killed and early crops were ruined.
- Locusts to cover the surface of the land. Will eat the rest of the crops, fruit, everything green.
- Three days of darkness that could be felt.
These were difficult days. They had lived through difficult years, but those difficult years and days would have their purpose. They have one more plague to live through and a long journey through the wilderness. These difficulties were a preparation.
How does what they lived through give me courage to face another day of whatever I am going through? How can I learn to trust God more in the midst? How have I seen God work in the past? What could God be preparing me for?