“Exposing the Exodus”
Bricks Without Straw – (Chapter 5 Verses 10-19)
We have seen that Pharaoh has been given ample opportunity to repent, such however was not given to him. However, this means he was left without any excuse whatsoever. God must be seen to be justified when he judges, so for this, the wickedness of the wicked must be clearly manifest. It must stand out, it must be evident that they will not humble themselves. The way of obedience is made plain, clear, easy to them, thus, in their disobedience, they are exposed as being without excuse. God will be just when he judges. Pharaoh’s response to God is one of haughty defiance (v2), cloaked in the garb of ignorance. It is wanton rebellion, a blatant refusal to the Almighty. Do not be surprised that God intimated that his purpose was to harden his heart (Exodus 4:21). But the refusal has an effect on God’s people. The purpose of Pharaoh we must see and understand clearly is driven by the powers of darkness (Ephesians 2:2), to break down any hope of freedom. The devil whispers in their ears, you will never be free. Neither Moses nor Aaron is any match for either Pharaoh or the powers that drive him. Remember the demands of Moses are based on the revelation of God, this is where Moses confidence lies, God has got his back. Otherwise, his plans are folly. It is no different with ourselves, if we view things from just a human perspective, we begin to sink beneath the waves of discouragement and hopelessness. Our gospel, the commission is likewise a revelation from God, and his demands are exactly the same today, to the Pharaoh’s of this world and the powers of darkness that drives them. “Let my people go!”
So Pharaoh’s tactics change (v9-10). The chain of command works from the bottom up, the Israelites, the rank and file workers, then section leaders who would be Hebrews. It’s much the same way the Nazis worked, with Jewish police in their concentration camps, with Egyptian work bosses over them. It would be the latter who would mete out the physical stuff, cruel, and impervious to any human plea. Pharaoh, of course, he thinks he is in the place of God. He is about to learn a serious lesson, he is nothing, nobody, a man of straw. Contrary to all such creatures, including our own society’s humanistic assumptions, there is the over-riding and supernatural issue that all of history’s events are governed by God himself. Men neglect God at their peril, to do so is to invite judgment, just as Pharaoh himself did. The use of Jewish police is a cunning one, it deflects the blame, the criticism because the slaves are never certain as where the pressure is coming from. It keeps them guessing, divided, arguing amongst themselves, blaming each other. As long as they are kept doing this, they will never stand (Matthew 12:25). It will take a lot of grace to mould and shape them, to make them God’s people, united, standing as one, ready to fight God’s enemies and not one another. Would to today’s church please take note?
(© James R Hamilton, written Spring, 2015)