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Exodus 5:13; 6:68; 7:15comment (0)

March 11, 2010

By Jeffrey S. Quiett

Related Scripture: Exodus 5:13; 6:68; 7:15

Explore the Bible
Associate professor of marriage and family counseling, University of Mobile

Exodus 5:1–3; 6:6–8; 7:1–5

Courage and Confrontation (5:1–3)

Moses and Aaron finally came face to face with what God intended for them to do. The scene must have been intimidating. Moses and Aaron were granted an audience with the most powerful man of the ancient world. The Egyptian pharaohs were considered by their people to be gods. Yet Moses and Aaron had the audacity to confront a king in his own palace and demand God’s desire be fulfilled. The word “feast” or “festival” does not merely signify a meal or temporary leave but comes from a word meaning “to make a pilgrimage.” It is clear that Pharaoh interpreted their request as not simply a demand for a weekend off.

Pharaoh’s response was one of contempt. He knew who Moses was, but he questioned the Lord of Moses. Pharaoh had no knowledge of the one true God and flatly denied Moses’ request. Pharaoh’s sense of “godhood” left no room for a competing claim of divinity. It is impossible to hear God when one is busy making himself a god. His denial of Moses’ demand reflected Pharaoh’s own pride and refusal to see the truth. Rejection of the truth often leads to a dramatic downfall. God may call those who follow Him to confrontation. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Christians are called to use wisdom and sound defense in the face of a world that does not know God. God calls us to have courage in the face of intimidating circumstances. The good news is that we do not stand alone. Jesus promised He will always be with us (Matt. 28:20).

Reassurance in Adversity (6:6–8)
Pharaoh’s denial of Moses’ request led to increased trouble for the Israelites. The Hebrew slaves were given more work out of Pharaoh’s retaliation for Moses’ abrupt and bold demand. In the preceding verses, Moses expressed dismay for the unexpected turn of events. God responded by giving assurance that His plans would ultimately be fulfilled. Setbacks and hardships will not thwart God’s design. Negative, immediate circumstances may lead to mistaken belief that God is absent, but His purposes will always come to pass. 

When Christians stand for God’s truth, they are often met with resistance and persecution. Jesus promised that His followers would experience such persecution (John 16:33). Yet God will not withdraw His promises. Although Moses’ initial encounter with Pharaoh was unsuccessful, God assured him that His will would be carried out. We cannot escape adversity but we can experience joy and peace when we realize that God is with us and He will always have the last word.

Adversity an Opportunity for Growth (7:1–5)
This passage is part of a break or interlude from the rest of the story. The call of Moses is retold before the story resumes with the first of many mighty miracles performed by God through him. One discourse that stands out in the passage is God’s assurance that Pharaoh would not let the people of Israel go even though the signs and wonders would be great. The “hardening” of Pharaoh’s heart looked like an obstacle for God and His people but would only give reason to glorify and follow Him even more. Once again, the unbelief and pride of man would not hinder God from fulfilling His purposes. Another lesson of the passage is the opportunities that adversity brings. Although Pharaoh was stubborn and the Israelites endured pain, these events were chances to see the true power and majesty of God. God is beyond human ability and achievement. Throughout Scripture, we see that human weakness is an opportunity for God to be glorified and His purposes to be completed (2 Cor. 12:9). Human weakness and suffering give opportunity to experience and know God in a more intimate way.

A final lesson from this passage is noteworthy. God made it clear to Moses that the Egyptians would know that He is the true Lord (5). God’s mighty acts that freed the Hebrews from bondage were also a testimony to a people who did not believe in Him. God always desires to bring all people to Himself. The Egyptians would soon learn that the various gods they worshiped were no match for the one true God.    

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