Exodus 5

Exodus 5: When Truth Walks In

Moses, now convinced that God is Who He says He is and is able to accomplish what needs to be done is ready to return to Egypt.  God begins to encourage Moses once Moses determines to obey God and follow His commandments.  Remember –“ Faithful is the One who calls you, who will also perform it.” ( I Thess. 5:24)

As we end the fourth chapter we see how God encourages Moses in the following developments:

*Receives blessing of his father-in-law, Jethro to return.

*Receives the promises and reassurances of God

*Zipporah’s obedience and acceptance of circumcision. Evidently she objected to this after witnessing the circumcision of their first son and would not allow the circumcision of their second son. Moses’  life is in grave danger as God cannot entrust Moses to lead the people if Moses cannot obey one of the oldest and most fundamental commandments. Also a married man must have the support of his wife in decisions to follow God.

*Aaron, Moses’ brother arrives. He encourages Moses and now they are a team, as Paul and Barnabus were, as Jesus sent out the disciples in pairs.

*The elders of Israel believed Moses when he performed the miraculous signs and told them what the Lord had said.

So now as we start chapter 5- the battle is ready to begin as Moses and Aaron have their first encounter with the Pharaoh.

Let’s think for a minute about our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus. When He was born a babe in Bethlehem, King Herod wanted to destroy Him. Why? Because this Messiah was a threat to his throne, his way of life, his power base. The chief priests and the Pharisees called at meeting of the Sanhedrin after Jesus had restored Lazarus to life after he was dead and buried for four days. Listen to what they said: “ Here is this man performing many miraculous signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in Him, and then the Romans will come and take away  BOTH OUR PLACE AND OUR NATION. “ (John 11)

We will see the Pharaoh will view these requests of Moses to let the people go in the same way. This slave labor force is critical to his wealth, his nation and his power base.  The Sanhedrin realized the same was true if Jesus’ rising popularity was not stopped. Notice: God calls Israel his nation and the Israelites- His People.   The Pharisees considered the nation of Israel their nation and the people their people; just like the Pharaoh considered the Israelites, his possession- his slaves.  What we see are an age old battle for the very souls of men, women, boys and girls. What we are about to study is a battle of epic proportions- a spiritual battle between God and satan – as played out between Moses and the Pharaoh.

Three questions will arise as this drama unfolds as we are about the see an electrically charged atmosphere as God Almighty and the enemy of our soul, the devil prepare to do battle.

Moses makes his request known to the Pharaoh as God had instructed him to do:  “ This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: ‘ Let MY  PEOPLE GO, SO THEY MAY HOLD A FESTIVAL TO ME IN THE DESERT.”   (Exodus 5: 1)

You can hear the contempt in the Pharaoh’s reply which is in the form of a question:  “ Who is this Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”

Realize the Pharaoh of Egypt was considered and worshipped as a god. Pharaoh says he does not know this God and why should he obey this God. We can imagine, the Pharaoh was incensed that he- the Pharaoh of Egypt was a god himself and worshipped by his people; furthermore, these Israelites were his property, slaves of Egypt. The Pharaoh  also knew he could not give into this request of Moses for then it would appear he had acknowledged there was a God greater than he was. In his pride, intellect and false security, the Pharaoh would not listen to the words of the Living God. Like a dog about to enter a fight, the Pharaoh’s hackles rise at the mention of a greater deity.

Moses’ request becomes more detailed and he adds an interesting warning:  “ The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God , or He may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”

Request is for three-day journey into desert to hold a festival. Do the math: Three days out- one day of celebration and three days back- seven days total with no work being done.  Plus Moses did not say when they were coming back. Moses also adds the warning- if they do  not offer these sacrifices, God may strike them with plagues or the sword, meaning Egypt could lose more than a few days of work, they could lose their work force.

But do not miss the subtle message here:  Moses is saying our God is a powerful God who can strike either the Hebrews or Egyptians with plagues or the sword.  Moses is telling the Pharaoh, this decision is a matter of life and death. You are being warned, Moses is saying.

Here is the second of the three questions that arise out of this meeting as the Pharaoh says: “ Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor?” In other words ‘why should the work stop?’

As a result of their requests, which are denied, the Pharaoh decides to make the work of the Hebrews who are building his kingdom even more difficult. They are now to make bricks without straw. Previously, the Egyptians supplied the straw making the manufacture of bricks easier for the Hebrews. Now they must collect the straw and continue to make the same number of bricks.

The Pharaoh’s reasoning is as follows:  “ They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘let us go and sacrifice to our God. Make the work harder for the men that they keep working and PAY NO ATTENTION TO LIES.”  ( vain(foolish) ideas-KJV) Pharaoh just called God a liar, the same as the serpent did in the garden.

Now faced with the impossible task of scrambling to find straw and still meet the daily quotas of bricks, the people are beaten severely for this lack of accomplishing their daily goals. The Hebrew foreman appear before the Pharaoh to make their plea for relief from this impossible tasks.

Normally, a slave or representative of the slaves would never be given the opportunity to appear before the Pharaoh, but the Pharaoh knows exactly what he is doing in allowing them to appear before him.  As they make their case, it becomes clear why the Pharaoh has allowed their appearance before him. He tells them these circumstances are all a result of Moses and Aaron’s request to let them go and worship their God.  He is turning the people against the leaders God has placed over them.

Since we recognize the Pharaoh as a type and symbol of satan, we see how this strategy has been skillfully used throughout the ages among God’s people to cause dissension and division so the work of God is neglected and our witness to the world is compromised.

The Hebrews now turn against Moses and Aaron saying look what a mess you have created. We are in more trouble now than before. ‘ You have made us a stench to the Pharaoh and his officials have put a sword in their hand to kill us!’

This brings forth the third question in this encounter which comes from Moses to God:  “ Why have you sent me?”  Moses is upset, he disappointed with the way things are going.  This is a setback he did not understand.  Even though if he would recall, God told Moses, the Pharaoh would respond this way.  But what do we say about setbacks for believers?  With God a ‘setback is a set up for a comeback.’

When you determine to obey God; to step out in faith and do what He tells you to do- you can expect the enemy to attack. Peter said we should not even consider fiery trials as strange.

The circumstances in your life might very well become dire. You might become as upset as Moses and cry out to God- are you doing to do what you said you would do? Are you who say you are?  Am I who you say I am?  When we are mired in negative circumstances we have a hard time as Moses did in seeing God and doubt and fear come into our lives.

Do you see what Moses is learning to do?  He is learning when there is a setback, when the trouble and the enemy comes in a like a tidal wave, we are to take our burden to the Lord and honestly talk with Him about the situation.  Moses in his distress calls out to the Lord. “ Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to the Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and You have not rescued your people at all!”

Wow! Moses has voiced his deepest anguish and from a troubled heart has cried out to God: “ Are You going to keep Your promises or not?”

Moses is crying out to God.

Moses is disappointed in God.

Moses wants God to do what He said He would do.

Moses is worried. Moses is distressed. Moses sees nothing but negative circumstances. Moses is afraid

Now the very people God has sent Moses to deliver have turned against him. They are siding with the Pharaoh and against Moses. They are blaming Moses for their trouble and not the Pharaoh. Moses feels betrayed by the very ones he was sent to set free.  Betrayal is something another Redeemer experienced didn’t He?

At  Calvary, Matthew records this exchange for us:  “  About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “ My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” ( Matthew 27:46)

Jesus experienced despair, distress and even disappointment. What did he do in his hour of greatest need?  He cried out with a loud voice to God.  The scripture makes this clear.

Listen to this : “ For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, “ Abba, Father!”  David cried out; Elijah cried out; Jesus cried out and the accounts of those who cried out to God throughout the scriptures are numerous.

Can you not sense that Moses’ prayer is earnest, even urgent and there is a sense of desperation as he wants God to do what He said He would do.   Moses , like a lot of us, wants God to do it without us having to go through any hardships. Smooth sailing. No problems.

Just fix this problem, okay God? We are tired of having to deal with it. Be honest- haven’t you felt that way at times about a situation in your life?

Why doesn’t God do it the easy way without any hassle? Isn’t that what Moses is implying? Isn’t that what we think sometimes- God why are you making this world – this situation so difficult, even scary?   These situations we all face- are real and let’s face it- these real life problems are worrisome.

James tells us:  “ Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many  kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (patience, KJV). Perseverance or patience must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete lacking anything.” ( James 1)

Paul writes in Romans 5: “ We glory in tribulations( sufferings NIV) because we know tribulation worketh patience(perseverance NIV) and patience, experience(character NIV)  and experience –  hope. A hope that does not disappoint.’

*Two things I want you to notice about both of these passages: both James and Paul use the word  ‘KNOW’. James says you can count trials as a joy only if you know the testing of your faith has as its end goal and purpose to develop patience which matures your faith.

*Paul says we glory in tribulation, sufferings for this very important reason- we know tribulation produces a great benefit in our lives, it produces patience and patience creates an experience that provides us with hope that does not disappoint- a confident expectation in God, in spite of current circumstances.

Here is the question:  Do you know this truth? Have you experienced God doing what only God can do?  These situations in life are to teach us how to trust the Lord. To experience His provision.

Patience, perseverance, persistence – all have the connotation of going on – keeping on in spite of adversity and opposition.

Why is this necessary?  It matures our faith.  Adversity matures, purifies, enlarges and proves my faith. These experiences with God give us hope that does not disappoint for  our hope is in Him and His promises.

There are other benefits also:  when we have suffered , it prepares us to comfort others who are suffering in the same way.

Trust is a learned response. We learn to trust someone through experience of the person proving themselves to be trustworthy.

Here is what you must understand- the day you trusted the Lord Jesus as Savior- you became a participant in a spiritual battle. Here in Exodus, the battle between Pharaoh and the Egyptian army and taskmaster and Moses and the Israelites is a picture of the spiritual battle in which we are engaged. This spiritual battle is one we cannot see- but it manifests itself in our lives in all kinds of visible problems, adversity and troubling circumstances.

And just like the story here, God gets blamed for the problems the enemy is creating. Why doesn’t He do something?  Yet, God’s word, from his own son, Jesus tells us – the Father is always working.   And furthermore, He is working all things together for good for those who love Him  and are called according to His purpose.

Moses knew the truth. God had told Moses what was going to happen and the Lord Jesus has told us what was going to happen. Jesus told us in this world we would have trouble, but rejoice for He had overcome the world. God told Moses exactly what the Pharaoh was going to do, but now circumstances did not look favorable. The truth was things were not going well.

Do you know what or who the truth is?  Truth is a person. Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

He said if you know the Truth, you will be set free.

Here is the process Moses is going through- things are not going as he thought they would go. He is angry with the Israelites – they are such complainers.

He is angry with the Pharaoh who stands against them and is making matters worse.

He is angry with God, or at least disappointed that God does not seem to be holding up His end of the bargain.

He is confused, perhaps thinking- have I misunderstood the will of God?

We will see God’s perspective soon, but we must wait on the Lord. Be patient. Be persistent for the reasons James tells us in James 1 and Paul writes about in Romans 5.

God wanted the Pharaoh to resist so the people could see the mighty hand of God. To experience God in such a way, they would never doubt His ability to deliver them from appeared to be impossible circumstances.

Truth is a person. That person is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. Until Truth walks into the situation and circumstances, until the Truth becomes active, present and alive in your life you will not see the whole truth of a situation.

Let’s read just one of the stories of Truth walking into what appears to be a hopeless, impossible, worst case scenarios in the New Testament in the story of the Widow of Nain found in Luke 7:11-17.  The first two verses set the scene and it is a scene filled with hopelessness. A widow’s only son has died and they are taking him in a coffin to be buried.  Stop the story there and  you see the hopeless situation. The truth of the situation is- a widow’s only son has died. She is now alone and without support.  But this is not the whole story is it?

Now let’s look at the rest of the story:  Jesus, the Truth walks into the situation into the midst of the circumstances. What does He do? He touched her son and restored him to life. Henry Blackaby  says: “ Never, ever determine the truth of a situation by looking at the circumstances. Don’t evaluate your situation until you have heard from Jesus. He is the truth.” (Experiencing God)

There are many examples in the New Testament where Jesus walked into a situation and the situation is changed. Jarius’ daughter, the disciples in a storm on the sea;  the man with the son who was demon possessed; Lazarus, dead and buried for four days until Jesus walked into that graveyard;  and of course the crucifixion and resurrection.

The True and Living God is about to walk into this situation. Moses and the Israelites are about to experience the power of God and the reality of faith.

“Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take Him at his word; Just to rest upon His promise, and to Know “Thus saith the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh for grace to trust Him more!

Have you learned to take Him at His word?

Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal
Last modified: 08/12/14