6 That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: 7 “Do not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves! 8 But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy. That’s why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ 9 Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!”
10 So the slave drivers and foremen went out and told the people: “This is what Pharaoh says: I will not provide any more straw for you. 11 Go and get it yourselves. Find it wherever you can. But you must produce just as many bricks as before!” 12 So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt in search of stubble to use as straw.
13 Meanwhile, the Egyptian slave drivers continued to push hard. “Meet your daily quota of bricks, just as you did when we provided you with straw!” they demanded. 14 Then they whipped the Israelite foremen they had put in charge of the work crews. “Why haven’t you met your quotas either yesterday or today?” they demanded.
15 So the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him. “Please don’t treat your servants like this,” they begged. 16 “We are given no straw, but the slave drivers still demand, ‘Make bricks!’ We are being beaten, but it isn’t our fault! Your own people are to blame!”
17 But Pharaoh shouted, “You’re just lazy! Lazy! That’s why you’re saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ 18 Now get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you must still produce the full quota of bricks.”
19 The Israelite foremen could see that they were in serious trouble when they were told, “You must not reduce the number of bricks you make each day.” 20 As they left Pharaoh’s court, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who were waiting outside for them. 21 The foremen said to them, “May the Lord judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!”
22 Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” Exodus 5:6-23
Pharaoh’s response to Moses and Aaron asking for the Israelites to go and worship in the wilderness was to make things more difficult for the people. They not only had to continue to make the same amount of bricks, but they themselves had to go and collect the straw. Pharaoh failed to understand who he was dealing with. But what he didn’t know and couldn’t understand is that God would use Pharaoh’s pride and arrogance against him. He truly believed that the only god who existed was himself and those he worshiped in Egypt. But God through all of this would show Himself to be the one true Living God.
The slave drivers begin to push the people even harder not only telling them to find their own straw but to continue to produce the same amount of bricks. This would make things incredibly hard for the Hebrew slaves. Pharaoh’s hope was that the Hebrews would cry out to him for mercy. But again he failed to understand who he was dealing with. God Almighty would use everything Pharaoh meant for wickedness for His goodness and glory.
As the quotas are not being met the Egyptian slave drivers begin to beat the foreman and ask them why the quota is not made. They taunt them over and over again carrying out Pharaoh’s commands. Hoping that the Hebrews would turn on Moses. This is a picture of demons carrying out the will of Satan. Satan has placed people in bondage and when they come to God for freedom, Satan tries to beat them down and discourage them from pursuing the Lord. But the Lord will give us the strength to overcome.
The foremen go to Pharaoh crying out for mercy stating that it is the Egyptians who have held back the straw and make it impossible to meet the quota. Pharaoh intentionally gave the Israelites an impossible situation. But God would intervene even though at the present moment it seemed that Pharaoh would crush them.
Pharaoh’s response is simply to call them lazy because they desired to go into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord. Pharaoh truly believed he was the one in control. But he fails to see and understand that God has risen him up for this moment to display his glory. Often times when we view circumstances with our natural understanding things can seem impossible and overwhelming. But God is always in control and using all things to grow and mature our faith and relationship with Him.
The foremen know turn their attention to Moses and Aaron and blame them for everything that happens. They curse Moses and Aaron and it would take a man of deep faith to stand strong and not be swayed by the words of the people. Moses spent forty years in the wilderness for this moment in time. He had been prepared and refined in the wilderness. Anyone else would have crumbled under the harsh words of the people, but the Lord knew every trial and challenge Moses would face. Moses was victorious because he had gone through the training of the Lord. Even though it was hard and difficult, it was for a reason and had a purpose.
Moses returns to the Lord and cries out to Him on behalf of the people. Since Moses has returned to Egypt and confronted Pharaoh, Pharaoh has made it much harder for the people. It seems what God has called Moses to do will simply lead to destruction. But this is the true test of faith. Will we simply trust the Lord at His word and His leading. When God is leading often times we won’t know where we are going, but the Lord leads us one step at a time. He is faithful to fulfill every promise. But He has asked us to trust Him.
Maybe today you find yourself in a place like Moses. The Lord has called you to trust Him and it seems that things have become much worse and much more difficult. It feels as if some how God has abandoned you and forgotten you. Be encouraged because God is doing a deep work in your heart and in your life. As you trust Him each day He will lead and guide you. He keeps every covenant and every promise. But what it all comes down to is will we trust Him. If we will simply trust Him, He will provide every need and bring all things to pass.