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This Chapter 5:1 - 21

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Bricks Without Straw (ch. 5:1 - 21)                                       


In verse 1 we see that Moses and Aaron obey God.  They go to Pharaoh and tell him to let Israel go in order to hold a festival in the desert.  This would be a time of worship to God.   As I noted earlier, simply going on a short trip out of the country to worship sounds like they would return.  Aaron and Moses weren't asking to leave permanently.  So were they not telling the truth?  Was God not telling the truth?  Well we know that God always tells the truth.  He cannot tell a lie.  What some conservative Bible teachers suggest is that what is about to happen concerning the requests that Moses and Aaron make to Pharaoh is that they are progressive.  God knows that Pharaoh will turn the easy one down.  Then God turns the screws, so to speak,  and makes the next request stronger. 


I personally don't see a conflict here as some do.  God wanted Israel to be completely free and leave Egypt for good, but on the other hand, He has already told Moses that He wants them to go and worship at Mount Sinai where He had met with him.  So telling Pharaoh that God wants Israel to worship in the desert is not a lie.  


Pharaoh's response in verse 2 is as predicted by God.  He refused on the basis that he did not know the Lord of Israel, and that was certainly true.  Of course, why would he allow his slaves to have a vacation anyway?  That would make no sense. 


In verse 3 Moses and Aaron put a little extra pressure on Pharaoh.  They told him that they had met with God and if they don't get out into the desert to sacrifice to him, He might strike them with the sword or with some plagues.  I'm not convinced that Moses and Aaron really believed the Lord would strike them with plagues or a sword.  That would actually come upon the Egyptians.  Whatever the case, this was meant to make Pharaoh have pity on the Jews. 


In verses 4 and 5 Pharaoh responds by telling Aaron and Moses to make the people get back to work.  The talk of leaving Egypt had made the Jews slow down in their work and they were getting behind.   This did not impress the Pharaoh. 


Things get worse for the Jews as seen in verses 6 through 13.  They had been making bricks, and part of the material used in the process was straw that they had supplied to them.  Pharaoh told the masters of the slaves to make the Jews find their own straw. That would take more time to make brick because the straw would not be supplied.  Pharaoh also told the masters of the slaves not to reduce the number of bricks they were to make.  So, in the long run, the Jews had to work harder and longer to keep their quota of bricks.  Pharaoh simply said they were a lazy lot of people. 


So the attempt to go free back fired, at least for the moment.  God had told Moses that he would lead the people out of Egypt , but God was not making this task a very easy task.  Christians more often than not think that because they are Christians, God's work should be easy for them, but that's not so.  Jesus never promised the easy life.  He actually promised the opposite.  He told His followers that they would suffer for His name sake.  He told them that sense He was being persecuted, they would be persecuted too.   God had a job for Moses to do, and that job was not easy.  As a matter of fact, God made it purposely hard. 


 In  verse 14 we see that those Jews that had been put in charge by Pharaoh's slave drivers were beaten because they Jews could not keep up with the quota of bricks.  It was probably an impossibility.  Things just kept getting worse for the Jews.  God's people were gong through the ringer, so to speak.  God is not afraid to test His people, and that includes Christians today.


In verses 15 and 16 the Jewish foremen go and tell Pharaoh that his order for them to collect the straw as well as make the bricks is impossible.  They can't keep up with the quota.  It's not their fault.  It's actually the fault of the Egyptians, where they have to find the straw.


In verses 16 and 17 Pharaoh refuses the Jews.  He says they are lazy.  That's why they want to leave and go to worship.  The quota remained the same. Pharaoh's heart was hard towards the Jews, and getting harder by the day.  Of course, by now, it was God who was intervening in the situation.  He was making Pharaoh's heart hard.  God is sovereign.  If He so chooses to make someone's heart hard, He can do that.  Just remember, that Pharaoh's heart was already hard in the first place.  God did not make a soft heart hard.  He made a hard heart harder.  Again, God made Pharaoh's heart harder because of the miracles He performed through Moses. So in one sense of the word, Pharaoh made his own heart hard.  God did not take away Pharaoh's free will here.  Pharaoh's heart becomes harder because of His response to God.


In verses 19 to 21 the Jewish foremen seek Aaron and Moses out because they are really upset.  They are blaming Moses and Aaron for all the trouble they now are going through, and from their perspective, you can't blame them.  Moses comes in from no where, tells everyone that God wants him to lead Israel to freedom and just the opposite happens.


We are in the middle of an event that took some time to be carried out.  God was judging Egypt for the way Egypt treated Israel.  God was also judging Israel at the same time for their rebellion.  This is exactly the way it will be at the end of this age in the Great Tribulation.  God will judge the nations of the world for their treatment of Israel.  That same judgment is for Israel as well, for their refusal to obey God, but for Israel, ts judgment will end in their salvation because they repent of their sin.  Throughout the Bible you will see that salvation rises out of judgment.  There are many examples of this.  The best example is the cross of Christ.  Jesus was judged for our sin, but salvation to us came out of this judgment. 

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