As we continue through the book of Exodus, we come to a visceral and gut-wrenching text. In Exodus 5, we are confronted with the reality of sin and its effects that reverberate throughout our lives. Here we see that God is setting up His plan in the midst of disappointment and struggle. God is going to use difficulty and hardship to accomplish His purposes through the people of Israel. These are dark days for the nation; and we saw this theme of dark days driving what we saw in the text.
- Questioning God’s Identity and Leading: v.1-5
In this first section we see Pharaoh posing the question, ‘Who is the Lord that I should obey Him?’ In short, Pharaoh thought of himself as a god and found it audacious that anyone would have the boldness to question his autonomous rule. As much as we look at Pharaoh and shake our heads, we must consider in our own lives if we question God’s identity and leading for us. Make note of these four realities of Pharaoh’s stance towards God and ask yourself if there are any areas of your life where this is true of you? For the sake of application, I’m going to frame them as questions directed towards us.
Do I deny God has any claim on my life? Do I realize that God has the rightful claim to exercise His authority in my life or do I fight for personal autonomy and self-rule?
Do I put myself in the place of God? Am I the one who makes the final decision? Am I the arbiter of right and wrong; or is God’s voice the final say on matters in my life?
Am I resistant toward God? Do I fight against, push back on, or find myself resistant towards God’s leading and direction in my life?
Am I malicious toward God’s people? God’s people became the object of Pharaoh’s wrath. Am I malicious toward God’s people in any way, shape or form?
- Suffering Under Harsh Treatment: v.6-21
In this middle section, we see a series of harsh, cruel and vicious treatments issued from Pharaoh to the people. In summary of this section, we drew three very important conclusions.
God’s people will encounter suffering: I can’t be more blunt or unflinching about this. Exodus 5 is a firm reminder for us that as the people of God we will encounter suffering. We see this theme permeating the Scriptures, but we must be reminded of this, lest we suddenly encounter suffering while having bought into a false narrative that following Jesus makes my life easy, comfortable, happy and without issue. Simply put, if we’re going to follow Jesus, it will come with seasons of suffering and hardship.
Slavery is a depiction of our sin: The slavery that we see for Israel is a picture of the slavery we see in our sin. Just as Israel is incapable of escaping this slavery on their own, we are incapable of escaping the penalty of our sin. Thank God that He has given us hope through the cross of Jesus and we are not left without any hope!
God is working out His plan: If we were to read Exodus 5 stripped from the larger narrative of the book, this would be an utterly hopeless text. Yet, we know from the larger picture, God is using this to accomplish His good work. You might find yourself wondering why God is allowing something in your life, or questioning why you are struggling so much right now. Allow this time to press you into the presence of God, knowing that He is accomplishing a greater work that we simply cannot see all of right now.
- Petitioning God for Answers: v.22-23
This is really the response to dark days. Moses is confused, angry, disappointed and yet he is praying! Oh how we need to hear those words. Too often items like these drive us from prayer instead of leading us into prayer. This is one of the ways that suffering and struggle is a form of God’s kindness to us; it drives us back to the Lord in prayer.
You may find yourself in a particularly difficult place, circumstance or trial. That is a means to petition the Lord and to throw yourself upon Jesus in brokenness and humility. God help us that in the midst of these dark days, that would be how we would respond.
Please read the following Scripture before Sunday, October 15, 2017: