Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Lesson Scripture: Exodus 5:1-9
Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus said the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness. Exodus 5:1
God hates pride and condemns it as stated in Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” That is just one of the many warnings about the power of pride in the bible. Some historic examples of the downfall pride causes can be found in Daniel 4:30-33 and Acts 12:21-23. As in all cases, God did humble the prideful Egyptian Pharaoh.
I. Moses First Request – Exodus 5:1-2
Exodus 3:11 tells us that Moses was hesitant to accept God’s mission to tell Egypt’s Pharaoh to allow him to bring his fellow Israelites out of Egypt. Moses’ reluctance to perform the mission was based on his feelings of inadequacy rather than on the power of God. Now, Moses was making excuses but his attitude had been quite different forty years earlier when he wanted the Hebrews to recognize him as their deliverer. Murdering a man and spending forty years in Midian did humble Moses. He then received clear instructions from God and set out for Egypt.
Aaron, Moses’ brother, was directed to meet Moses in the wilderness and serve as God’s spokesman. After Moses informed Aaron of all that happened, the two of them met with the elders of Israel and told them what God had directed them to do. The elders believed Moses and rejoiced in the news that they were about to be delivered.
Remember that the people had rejected the brash, young Hebrew forty years earlier but now they were accepting of the humble old shepherd who told them of God’s plan for them. As often happens, their faith did waver when their hardships increased.
Moses and Aaron went to speak to Amenhotep II who was the pharaoh at the time. Like Moses, Amenhotep II had to be humbled from the powerful and proud ruler he was before he would give the Israelites their freedom. Moses began his message with the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord,” (Exodus 5:1, 4:22-23) when speaking to the pharaoh.
Moses used the title, “Lord God of Israel” when delivering God’s message. Lord is the personal name of God and the name God emphasizes His strength, power and superiority over all gods created by the Egyptians. The message was that the people of Israel would be freed so they could observe a feast to the Lord in the wilderness.
Pharaoh’s response was to question why he should obey the Lord which was a challenge to the Lord’s authority rather than just a show of ignorance.
II. Moses Second Request – Exodus 5:3-9
The second request was that the Israelites be allowed to travel three days into the desert and make a sacrifice to the Lord our God. Pharaoh did not know or respect God and so he would not listen to Moses and Aaron. They took the message to Pharaoh as God directed and the result was harder work and more oppression for the Hebrews.
Bricks were stronger and more durable when they were made with straw and mud. Pharaoh had supplied the Hebrew slaves with straw. Now he made them find their own straw and increase the number of bricks they produced. Pharaoh thought Moses and Aaron were just trying to free the people from work.
There were many Israelites and their numbers kept growing. The taskmasters believed any attempt at an uprising would be prevented if the hard, tiring work was increased. The order to increase the work load was issued the same day as the request was made to free the Israelites.
Pharaoh’s plan succeeded for the short term. The increased oppression caused the Israelites to become bitter and they turned against Moses. However, we must be mindful that Pharaoh would ultimately fail because he was defying the Lord our God.
Moses was still as bold as he was when he was younger but now he had wisdom and humility in addition to his boldness. He knew he was doing the right thing at the right time with God’s plan. He used his humble faith in God to lead his people and to humble the Egyptian king.
Doing what God has commanded us to do is never going to be easy. Having faith in God is easy when things are going smoothly and conflicts are few. However, when the devil targets you, the only way to maintain your faith is to rely on God for patience and perseverance. It is difficult for those with great authority to accept the idea of a higher authority. However tough it might be to acknowledge the fact, every human being is subject to God’s authority.
Valinda Livingston | Shiloh Baptist Church | Lexington, Kentucky