This blog post will cover the devotionals #27, 28 for Exodus Chapter 5.
**Pictures will be added at a later date.
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 Exodus 5:1-5
After Moses and Aaron met with the Hebrew elders, they went before Pharaoh. They told him: “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Let My people go, so they may hold a feast for Me in the wilderness.’” They relayed all we saw in devotional #26 about the firstborns, etc. Pharaoh got pompous and responded: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” The brothers continued to speak to him, saying, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us: let us go, we beg you, three days’ journey into the desert, and sacrifice to the Lord our God; lest He falls on us with pestilence, or with the sword.” Isn’t it interesting that Moses gave him a taste of what was to come as a consequence—not for Israel failing to worship, but for Egypt failing to let them worship? The brothers made a modest request. They wanted to travel only three days into the desert. Pharaoh wouldn’t even give them that much. Israel had largely announced their belief in God for four centuries. They were mocked by Egypt in hopes of keeping them submissive. Thus, Egypt wasn’t ignorant of the Lord. Pharaoh used a cover of ignorance for his hatred and defiance of God’s power. Pharaoh acted as though he wasn’t subject to this God. Romans 8:6, 7 tells us: “To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace—because the carnal mind is enmity against God: because it is not subject to the law of God, nor can it be.” Just as God had said, Pharaoh wouldn’t give Israel up without a struggle. It’s amazing how we do the same thing in our characters. God wants to accomplish something, but we make it as hard as possible—causing suffering, pain, and frustration—before we finally surrender and let God work. Think of all Pharaoh could’ve avoided for himself and for all of Egypt if he’d just let go from the beginning. His heart was hardened, and this was the first time (of many) in a string of events. Pharaoh became annoyed when he realized that Moses and Aaron were distracting the slaves from their work with this talk of leaving to worship the God that he denied existed. Talk of their coming and their intentions had reached him before they did. They’d disregarded Sabbath in their bondage (and their taskmasters made it virtually impossible to keep), but they were reminded of the necessity of obeying God’s laws if they hoped for deliverance. They made efforts to restore Sabbath worship, so Pharaoh reprimanded them for causing the people to rest from their burdens. He feared they’d started scheming to escape his service. He knew that idleness produces disaffection, so he’d remove time for worship and plotting, as well as hardening their labor to get rid of their independent spirit.
 Exodus 5:4-23
Pharaoh made a statement that couldn’t be ignored. He told his Egyptian taskmasters, and the Hebrew officers they appointed over the slaves, what changes would be made effective immediately. The straw they used to make their bricks would no longer be provided for them—they’d have to gather it themselves, while still maintaining their weekly quota. This’d leave them less ‘idle time’ to worship (on the Sabbath or in the wilderness). Once the slaves were informed, they had to search Egypt for stubble. They were rushed in their work, and when they couldn’t keep up, the Hebrew managers were held responsible—they were questioned and beaten. The managers responded—asking why they were being punished when it wasn’t their fault the materials weren’t available—that it was Egypt’s issue. They thought the taskmasters were responsible for their increased oppression, but when they approached Pharaoh, he essentially said, ‘No, you’re idle, and that’s why you want to go worship God. You have plenty to keep you busy, so work harder and keep up.’ He hardened his heart against the suffering Hebrews even more and looked at them with hatred. Then Israel turned the blame from Egypt to Moses. When they saw him and Aaron leaving Pharaoh’s presence, they said, “May the Lord look at you and judge, because you have made our savour to be abhorred in Pharaoh’s eyes, and in his servants’ eyes—to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” Strong’s Concordance defines ‘savour’ as ‘breath’. In other words, they said that their life became an offense to Egypt. The reality is that it already was. If the Hebrews had truly believed that God had sent Moses to deliver them, they wouldn’t have blamed Moses for Pharaoh’s abuse. They thought they’d be delivered from slavery without any suffering or test of their faith. Many were ready to leave Egypt, but not all of them. Some of their habits had become so similar to Egypt’s that they preferred to stay with them. ‘Slavery’ is also defined as ‘excessive dependence on, or devotion to, something.’ We’ll discuss this more later in devotional #112. The truth is that God wasn’t delaying—Israel was. They weren’t ready. They were low in faith, and too impatient to endure until God would deliver them. Moses was distressed by Israel’s anger towards him, and questioned God for letting Israel be mistreated, and for sending him to deliver them—because, since he’d been there to speak to Pharaoh, their abuse was only increased, and they were still not delivered from Egypt. Moses forgot that God had told him that Pharaoh wouldn’t release them without the signs, and he probably wasn’t expecting Pharaoh to do more than just say no. It’d get much worse before it’d get better.