We humans want instant gratification and instant results. When we pray, if we don’t get what we want right away, we often doubt God loves us. Sometimes we begin to doubt if God even exists. In Exodus 5 we learn that God allowed the suffering of the Israelites to increase before he delivered them from slavery. The lesson to us is we need to be patient with God. He does things on His timetable, not ours.
Moses and Aaron reunited
Ex. 4:27 Now the LORD said to Aaron, “Go to meet Moses in the wilderness.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him.
Aaron was the brother of Moses.
Ex. 4:28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the LORD with which He had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him to do.
The words were go to Egypt, speak to the Israelites, and speak to Pharaoh. The signs were turning his staff into a serpent, making his hand leprous, and turning water from the Nile River into blood. (see Exodus 3-4)
Moses and Aaron convinced the Israelites
Ex. 4:29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel;
Ex. 4:30 and Aaron spoke all the words which the LORD had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people.
Ex. 4:31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped.
They did not convince Pharaoh
Ex. 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”
Ex. 5:2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
Egypt was a polytheistic society, but Yahweh was not one of their Gods. Since Pharaoh didn’t know Yahweh, he refused to let Israel go.
Ex. 5:3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God, otherwise He will fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”
Ex. 5:4 But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you draw the people away from their work? Get back to your labors!”
Ex. 5:5 Again Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now many, and you would have them cease from their labors!”
Pharaoh increased the suffering of the Israelites
Ex. 5:6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying,
Ex. 5:7 “You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves.
Ex. 5:8 “But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’
Ex. 5:9 “Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words.”
The taskmasters were Egyptians who had authority over the Israelite slaves. The foremen were Israelites who had supervisory functions over their fellow Israelites.
Things got worse, not better.
Ex. 5:10 So the taskmasters of the people and their foremen went out and spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I am not going to give you any straw.
Ex. 5:11 ‘You go and get straw for yourselves wherever you can find it, but none of your labor will be reduced.’”
Ex. 5:12 So the people scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw.
Ex. 5:13 The taskmasters pressed them, saying, “Complete your work quota, your daily amount, just as when you had straw.”
Ex. 5:14 Moreover, the foremen of the sons of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not completed your required amount either yesterday or today in making brick as previously?”
The Israelites pleaded for mercy
Ex. 5:15 Then the foremen of the sons of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants?
Ex. 5:16 “There is no straw given to your servants, yet they keep saying to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are being beaten; but it is the fault of your own people.”
Ex. 5:17 But he said, “You are lazy, very lazy; therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’
Ex. 5:18 “So go now and work; for you will be given no straw, yet you must deliver the quota of bricks.”
Ex. 5:19 The foremen of the sons of Israel saw that they were in trouble because they were told, “You must not reduce your daily amount of bricks.”
The Israelites turned against Moses and Aaron
Ex. 5:20 When they left Pharaoh’s presence, they met Moses and Aaron as they were waiting for them.
Ex. 5:21 They said to them, “May the LORD look upon you and judge you, for you have made us odious in Pharaoh’s sight and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
Moses questioned God
Ex. 5:22 Then Moses returned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have You brought harm to this people? Why did You ever send me?
Ex. 5:23 “Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done harm to this people, and You have not delivered Your people at all.”
Moses asked why. We do the same. If we ask God to cure someone’s cancer, provide someone a job, or protect someone from abuse, and if God doesn’t do what we want right away, then we ask why. Sometimes we question God’s goodness and sometimes we question if God exists.
God reassured Moses
Ex. 6:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.”
God said, “Be patient”. This passage illustrates some New Testament teaches on patience.
We need to be patient
2Pet. 3:3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts,
2Pet. 3:4 and saying,
“Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”
2Pet. 3:8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.
2Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
God was not slow, Moses was impatient. Sometimes we are impatient. God is patient on delivering on His promises. God is also patient when delivering punishment and discipline.
Gal. 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
Part of being a mature Christian is being patient.
James 5:7 Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.
James 5:8 You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near.