This is what the LORD the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so they may hold a festival to me in the desert.’” –Exodus 5:1
You may read Exodus 5:1-6:13 here: Bible Gateway.
The Israelites acceptance of Moses’ message quickly sours as Moses’ fears are realized: Pharaoh defies God’s demands. Although historical records show that Egyptian serfs were allowed to take time off for religious festivals, Pharaoh did not know or respect God. He believes Moses is lying.
So Pharaoh exasperates the Israelites by demanding the same quota of bricks. But this time they would have to gather their own straw to mix with the mud. After the Israelite foremen were beaten, because the Israelites couldn’t keep up with the slave drivers demands, they appeal to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh stubbornly persists in oppressing the Israelites.
Now Moses and Aaron are the foremen’s target of frustration: “May the LORD look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us!” (v. 21).
Frustrated, Moses questions God. So God repeats His promises of the Abrahamic covenant: His commitment to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. But His promise does little to encourage the Israelites’ hope.
This seems like a drab message, especially on the heels of Thanksgiving. But when our focus is on God’s eternal perspective when facing trials, we actually have reason to rejoice. (I am preaching to myself here!)
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything,” (James 1:2-4).
“Sometimes a clear message from God is followed by a period when no change in the situation is apparent. During that time seeming setbacks may turn people away from wanting to hear more about God. If you are a leader, don’t give up. Keep bringing people God’s message as Moses did. By focusing on God who must be obeyed rather than on the results to be achieved, good leaders see beyond temporary setbacks and reversals,”(NIV Life Application Bible Study).
Wishing you a refreshing Thanksgiving weekend!