Israel Prepares to Leave Egypt
Open Your Bible
Exodus 4:18-31, Exodus 5:1-23, Exodus 6:1-13
BY Guest Writer
Text: Exodus 4:18-31, Exodus 5:1-23, Exodus 6:1-13
When was the last time you had one of those days where things seemed to go from bad to worse?
My most recent one started with a phone call from my mother. She called to tell me my grandmother had only a few hours left to live. I immediately picked up my laptop, abandoned my latte, and headed out of the coffee shop, rushing to get home and start packing. I’d driven to the edge of the parking lot when a passerby mimed for me to roll down the car window.
“Your tire,” he said. “You know it’s flat?”
“Yeah,” I lied, heartbroken. “I know.”
That evening, my grandmother passed away. It was sudden. Shocking. The older I get, the more I brace myself for times like these. When it rains, they say it pours. And when things are hard, it’s possible they’re about to get a whole lot harder.
Things were bad for the Israelites: enslaved, baking bricks in the hot sun, suffering from ridicule, racism, and genocide. The news Moses brought was like salve to the their ears. Hearing that the Lord saw and remembered them, had seen their misery and was concerned about them, they bowed down and worshiped Him (Exodus 4:31). But little did they know, things were about to go from bad to worse.
The Lord’s plan was coming into fruition, though it wasn’t all rosy. The signs “I AM” gave Moses included blood and snakes and leprosy. And as Moses opened his mouth to speak, he watched Pharaoh’s grip tighten around the necks of the Israelites, the people he’d been sent to save.
Can you imagine? The situation was so ridiculous—so absolutely fraught with hatred—I wonder if any of the Israelites had to laugh in the midst of their tears. They were already slaves, already broken, ridiculed, and beaten. And now, this? No straw? Forcing a slave to gather his own straw was like asking a construction worker to make his own boards.
The rug was being pulled out from under the Israelites, and let’s be clear: God was doing the pulling—not because He was cruel or cold-hearted or enjoyed watching them suffer. He did it because He loved the Israelites too much to leave them in slavery.
After living under Pharaoh’s oppression for so long, enslavement had started to feel normal. It had become the everyday rhythm of the Israelites’ lives. They had forgotten what it means to be free. So God’s first step in freeing them was to make slavery even more unbearable. In His mercy, He lifted the veil from their eyes and made it clear: there was no future for them in Egypt.
God does the same for us. His concern and love for us dictate that He use all means necessary to wake us out of the acceptance of our own slavery—to comparison and greed, lust and selfishness and joylessness—whatever it may be. In His mercy, God refuses to let us bear it any longer.
Here’s a hard truth: God’s mercy does not require His treatment of us to be comfortable or safe (Deuteronomy 8:2-3). But in the midst of our pain, God’s plan is still good and His promises remain true. He will deliver us. He will free us. He will redeem us (Exodus 6:6). And come what may, He promises to be with us (Isaiah 43:2).
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Claire Gibson is a freelance writer and editor whose work has been featured both locally and nationally in publications including The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, and Entrepreneur Magazine. An Army kid who grew up at West Point, New York, Claire is currently growing roots in Nashville, Tennessee. She loves her husband, Patrick, and their dog, Winnie.