Preparing For Your Exodus #4

Part 4 – God’s Last Straw

Although my head tells me this should be a Christmas blog, (I am writing this Dec. 20 after all), my heart knows we need this very important part 4, and next week’s conclusion, before the new year is upon us. All of this, is a very firm Word in my Spirit for this next year.

So, where are we?

We’ve been looking at the setting for the great Exodus from Egypt led by Moses, as found in the book of Exodus chapters 1-6 and understanding the many similiarities between what happened to them then, and what is happening and about to happen to us in these days. Please catch up, as you wish by reading the previous 3 blogs:

  1. #1 – God Sees
  2. #2 – God Shows Up
  3. #3 – God’s Signs

As we pick up today’s portion we find Moses and Aaron going before the Pharaoh of Egypt-

Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.”” But Pharaoh said, ” Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, I will not let Israel go.”

Exodus 5:1-2 ESV

Notice, God wanted freedom for His people. That is His desire for all of us, to be free from slavery. But Pharaoh didn’t know God, so he refused. In fact, in Egypt, it was he who was considered a god, a child of the Sun and friend of the gods.

Moses and Aaron came before Pharaoh in the authority they had been given by the Lord God of Israel. They spoke those words as a reminder to themselves and all listeners that their words would be acted on by that very God.

Pharaoh’s refusal was an attempt at exerting his own authority over God’s. But God’s response was, these things will happen so that you will know me, the God of Israel and you, too, will obey my word. You don’t know me now, Pharaoh, but you soon will, because I will set my people free.

With this dueling authority, the gauntlet is laid.

I must insert here, there is no authority greater in your life than the Lord’s. Whether you know Him or not, His desire is to see you freed from sin’s slavery and make His power and name fully known to you and the world. He will be known as the Omnipotent Creator.

Things from here on out get worse for the Israelites. In fact, things got much worse before they got better. They were expected to keep making their daily quota of bricks but now, because of Pharaoh’s fury, they were to do it without being given straw. If they wanted straw, they had to get it themselves.

Finding straw of course, took more time, which prohibited them from producing the same amount of bricks. And so, because straw makes for stronger bricks and because of it’s acid content helps the mortar stick together better, they went off to find straw, roots, and other things to mix in for their bricks.

Archaeology confirms that bricks of all kinds have been found in Egypt. Some have chopped straw, rough roots and other odd things. Some have been found that have no straw at all.

The results of Moses first visit were defiance and further hardship. The trouble that came upon the Israelites seemed like evil. The immediate effect was to make it worse. What God allowed made it seem even worse. The Israelites couldn’t believe making things worse could be part of God’s plan.

There are times in our life and in the life of our society that is seems things are getting worse and not better. Trouble increases. Authority duels are obvious in many areas of life. Our workload is unfairly increased and our God seems absent.

Things commonly go backward with the saints before they come forward, so the corn groweth downward ere it grow upward.”

John Trapp

“It is the darkest before the dawn.”

The Israelite leaders blamed Moses.”You’ve put a sword in their hand to kill us”. The people, in their trouble called out to Pharaoh for help- not God, or even Moses. Pharaoh seemed like a friend when they were his slaves. In the previous chapter, they believed God was with them, but now their excitement was gone.

But Pharaoh was cruel and did not care about them. He called them names, insulted them, commanded more work and allowed no time for religious duty to God. He punished them for it and for even wanting it.

Even Moses, with his insecurities ressurfacing, asked God,

O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?… You have not delivered your people at all.”

Exodus 5:22-23 ESV

From their perspective, their world was topsy-turvy.

God, however, does not see as man, nor are His ways like man’s.

God is interested in way more than just freeing Israel. He knows they need transformation to become His people, fit for the Promised land. He knew they needed to learn endurance, patience, and complete trust in Him. He knew defeating Egypt’s evil would not come quickly or easily. And He knew their faith & trust would come with countless opportunities for surrender and obedience.

What He was interested in was them trusting Him in their trouble so He could use it for their good and His glory.

No Israelite was exempt from this. Not Aaron, and not Moses. Moses’ fears of inferiority came rushing back when things got worse not better. He still doubted that he was the right guy – Why did you ever send me? He hoped the liberation would be easy and now that is wasn’t he doubted who he was and whether God could really use him. (he’s not anything like us, right? ha ha )

God was working through the trouble, hardship, and worsening conditions to produce a people who would trust Him and His ability to use them for good and His glory. 2 Peter 4:12-14, 19; 3:8-9, 14-15

There was blame enough to go around, but God deserved none of it.

He was seeing beyond the immediate, to the long term victory. To the wandering and complaining years, To the warring and possessing years. To the reigning and prosperous years. To the years it would take for these people to be His people. To you and I. To our struggles. To this day. To our times. And to eternity, when His son would have for Himself a spotless Bride, fully devoted to Jesus.

The the Israelites and their leaders believed that God had done evil to His people by allowing such trouble. They believed because it was getting worse and not better, it could not possibly be God’s will.

But these events in Egypt were demonstrating God’s last straw. The straw that would set in motion a massive exodus. For them, then and I believe for you now.

God is at work in our nation, and although it appears things are getting worse and not better, let’s let Israel remind us that He is at work in the now and for the long term. He is preparing us, transforming us and equipping us.

We are facing the days of God’s last straw in our lifetime. The days of His preparation for our exodus from slavery into complete liberty. But first, we must learn to trust Him and be wholly confident in Him and obedient to His voice.

Don’t lose heart as things get worse. He’s working on us in the midst of things getting worse, preparing us for our exodus.

Submitting to His fashioning,

Debbie

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