Within the Bible, Moses’ role as a prophet is on trial. He’s failing to convince his people that they need God, and he’s discouraged because of it. But then things start getting better for him (and them).
Exodus 4:18 tells the story of how Moses is discouraged as a servant to God. He becomes angry and frustrated with his lack of success, but he is then encouraged by the Lord to continue His work.
Dr. Gary Baker is a columnist for The and the Paso Robles Press; he may be reached at [email protected].
Moses was summoned by God to go to Egypt with his brother Aaron in order to free the people of Israel from slavery, and he obeyed. He said his goodbyes to his father-in-law, Jethro, and returned to Midian with his wife and children. They visited with the nation’s leaders and informed them about God’s intention to free them from slavery. The elders praised God and delighted at Moses’ optimistic prophecies.
However, things did not go as well for Moses at first as God’s servant and messenger. He had no clue how Pharaoh would react when he informed him that the Lord had asked that Pharoah free the Israelites from slavery. Moses was really declaring WAR on Pharaoh, and his retaliation was swift (Exodus 5:1-19).
Pharaoh rebuffed Moses’ requests, telling Moses that he didn’t know who the Lord was and hence had no justification for releasing the Israelites from slavery. Pharaoh then made a fateful remark that would bring immense hardship and suffering to the Israelites (Exodus 5:6-19). He informed his Egyptian taskmaster that the Israelites would no longer be provided straw to create bricks. The Israelites would have to harvest their own straw, and they would have to meet a daily quota of bricks. This resulted in a significant deal of pain and suffering.
Moses faced rejection from Pharaoh, as well as harsh criticism and rejection from his slave brothers. Moses was accused of inciting Pharaoh to despise and mistreat his fellow Israelites to the point of murder (Exodus 5:20-23).
We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero
The people accused Moses of making life WORSE for them as a result of their tremendous pain. Moses was to blame for their agony escalating. Of course, Moses was discouraged and disappointed as a result of this. Moses’ answer was to go to the Lord and cry out to Him in pain. He uttered some stupid things out of exasperation. He blamed God of giving suffering to HIS people and argued that God’s purpose for delivering His people was failing. Moses had forgotten that the Lord had informed him that Pharaoh would first refuse to listen to Moses and allow Israel to escape Egypt (Exodus 4:21-23).
Moses was unprepared for both Pharoah and his own people to reject and ridicule him. Moses still had to discover a crucial fact about God. He has an impeccable sense of time and a method for carrying out His goals and intentions. In the days ahead, Moses would learn about this reality as he saw God miraculously carry out His Divine purpose.
There are some lessons to be learned.
- Pharaoh and other unsaved people blaspheme God and refuse to heed God’s commands. This should come as no surprise.
- Both his workers and the general public are subjected to harsh trials by God (1 Peter 1:3-7, James 1:2-5). Trials force us to seek God’s assistance and put our faith in His capacity to rescue us.
- We have a propensity to react to God’s challenges with despair and dumb words when we are weak. This can be averted with God’s help (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
As an example:
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