Moses’ First Encounter With Pharaoh

As Exodus 5 begins, Moses and Aaron have finally come to Pharaoh to inform him that the Lord, the God of Israel says to let His people go so they can celebrate a festival in the desert to honor Him.  Pharaoh knew of the vast number of gods of Egypt but Pharaoh didn’t know the Lord, the God of Israel.  Since he didn’t know the Lord, he wouldn’t let Israel go. 

Moses and Aaron explained that the God of the Hebrews had met with them.  They asked permission for the Hebrews to go three days’ journey into the desert in order to make sacrifices to the Lord their God.  They warned that if they didn’t go, the Lord might strike them with a plague or with the sword.  It is here that Pharaoh is first warned of what will eventually happen if he refuses to cooperate.  Unfortunately, he didn’t know who the Lord was.

Pharaoh could only see that Moses and Aaron desired to take the people away from their work.  Pharaoh punished the people for Moses’ and Aaron’s request by making the Hebrews find their own straw which was needed to make bricks and by requiring them to meet the same quota of bricks as before.  The people suffered greatly under this shift in work policy and placed the blame on Moses and Aaron.

I’m sure Moses and Aaron felt terrible about the turn of events and certainly felt responsible for the increased misery experienced by their brothers.  Exodus 5:22-23 says, “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.”

Consider your circumstances.  Do you feel God has called you to a task but the people you are ministering to resent your presence and work?  Are you questioning your call?  Are you seeking the Lord?  Are you doing exactly what He wants you to do and not what your flesh thinks you should do?

Didn’t the Lord warn Moses ahead of time what was going to happen before His people would experience deliverance?  Don’t expect things to always go according to your expectations.  Sometimes things get worse before they get better.

Doesn’t the Lord always keep His promises?  We must remember He always does so according to His timetable and not ours.  In addition, He carries out His plans His way and not ours.

Exodus 6:6-8 told Moses:  “Therefore say to the children of Israel: ‘I am the Lord; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord.'”

Even though Moses passed this message on to the children of Israel, they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.  They simply could not hear or receive these incredible promises.

Could it be that in your given situation you can’t hear or receive the Lord’s promises or answers to your prayers because of anguish of spirit that is being experienced by yourself or those around you?  Could it be a result of spiritual or physical bondage in your life?

The Lord told Moses to go again to Pharaoh and demand that he let His people go.  Moses thought that if his own people wouldn’t heed him, Pharaoh wouldn’t either since he was a man of uncircumcised lips.  Moses didn’t consider himself worthy of his calling yet the Lord still gave him and Aaron a command for the children of Israel and for Pharaoh, to bring His people out of Egypt.

Do you feel like a failure sometimes and think you are so unworthy that God can’t use you to fulfill His will?

We need to understand that no one is really worthy to do anything for God.  Strange as it may seem, God chooses to use ordinary jars of clay to accomplish His purposes.  This is so the glory will go to the Lord and not His servants.  When we feel like failures, we need to stop groveling over our circumstances, stand up, resist the thoughts that hinder us, and be cleansed vessels of honor that God can use for His glory.  Believe me, I’m speaking to myself just as much as to whoever is willing to listen to me.

We must accept the fact that we will not always be respected or believed by those we associate with, serve, or lead.  We may not always behave appropriately either.  We are human and we are prone to making serious errors in judgment.  We can’t let these things be an excuse to give up.  That would give Satan a victory.  Instead, we must keep our eyes focused on the Lord and obey Him with the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  We must remember that it is not us but it is God who makes everything work out according to His plans.

God fully intended for Moses to lead a mixed multitude that consisted primarily of the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel out of Egypt.  A lot still needed to happen before that particular day came.  Even so, it would only be the beginning of learning to depend and trust the Lord.

Remember, no matter what God calls you to do, it won’t always be easy.  We must continually depend on and trust in the Lord.  We must seek Him in all things, be obedient, and keep taking steps of faith each day of our lives.

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