07 October 2014

BSF 2014-2015: Exodus 5:1-6:27

Now we see Moses taking his first step of obedience to God – he goes to ask Pharaoh to release the Israelites from slavery.

Together Moses and Aaron make a request of Pharaoh on the behalf of God. Pharaoh said he didn’t know who God was. Pharaoh and his people believed he himself was a god.

Moses and Aaron make a reasonable request of Pharaoh. They ask him to let the Israelites leave for a few days so they can go worship God in the wilderness. (Moses is not lying to Pharaoh. If Pharaoh would have let the people leave, God more than likely would have encouraged the Israelites during their trip and they would have returned to Egypt.) Pharaoh doesn’t see this as a reasonable request. He sends the Israelites back to work.

The Israelites feel hopeless. So the Israelite overseers approach Pharaoh, asking him to end the oppression. But Pharaoh instead calls the Israelites lazy and takes away the Israelites’ supply of straw (an essential ingredient to making bricks). But he also demands they meet the same quota. The Israelites continue to suffer greatly under Pharaoh’s oppression.

Why did the Israelites go to Pharaoh instead of God? What did they expect him to do? Moses and the Israelites forget that God promised to rescue them. Instead, they focus on their doubt and unbelief.

In his doubt, Moses returns to the Lord (5:22). Moses is frustrated because he obeyed God but Pharaoh did not listen. So Moses honestly seeks the Lord. God responds with compassion and grace. He once again promises to do what He said He would do. And He reminds Moses that He is God.

God refreshes Moses, so he in turn goes to encourage the Israelites. But they do not listen because they are so discouraged and oppressed. They look at their problem instead of God. Then God tells Moses to go to Pharaoh again.

This lesson ends with the genealogy of the tribe of Levi. This genealogy is important because the Levite family will lead the Israelites in worshiping God.

Things to Think About

  • To whom do I turn when I’m looking for relief? People or God?
  • How do I respond when my obedience brings more oppression instead of relief? Do I give in to discouragement instead of trusting and obeying God?
  • Sometimes hardship comes from obeying God.
  • During hardship, focus on God’s character and His promises. Remember that God’s timing is not mine. Anticipate the great things He will do! Honor God in my present situation and wait for Him to unfold His plan. This really spoke to me as I am waiting for God to do something special in my life!
  • The Lord listens to us even when our perspective is wrong and our faith is weak. Both of these describe my heart right now.
  • Will I take my honest requests to God and look for His responses as I spend time with Him in prayer and Bible study? How often am I reading the Bible long enough to hear from God?
  • Our big problems are the perfect opportunities for God to answer in big ways. Moses took his big problems to God, and God answered in big ways, as we’ll see in the coming weeks.