Day 4

Israel Prepares to Leave Egypt

from the The Life of Moses reading plan

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.”
-John 16:33


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.

Post Comments (61)

61 thoughts on "Israel Prepares to Leave Egypt"

  1. Trisha Bilbrey says:

    I needed this passage this morning. Life is hard and we all encounter difficult times but I know God will bring everyone peace.

  2. Ash Lee says:

    Had no idea how much I needed to hear this today. Thanks

  3. Hannah says:

    I have never seen it this way, and it makes so much more sense! Thank you for making this childhood story from the Bible alive and so relevant!

  4. Ru says:

    Indeed God’s nature doesn’t change. He is good and his pln is perfect. Thanks for this!

  5. God is always good and His promises are always true.

  6. Audrey says:

    What great words of assurance! I have found the more I suffer in this life, the deeper my desire becomes for God’s kingdom. Egypt was not home for the Israelites: God wanted to bring them into the promised land. In the same way, my suffering and pain remind me that this is not my home and that God has a promised land that I can hope and yearn for. Until I lost my father last year, I was growing content in this world of sin: I didn’t have a kingdom mindset. Less than two weeks ago, my older brother was called home suddenly to be with my earthly father and my Heavenly Father and now my desire for His kingdom has only grown stronger. I hurt so much but I know that one day God is going to bring me into the promised land and I will be reunited with everyone I have lost and He is going to take away this earthly pain, just as he removed the physical pain of slavery from the Israelites. Hallelujah!

  7. Kat Wiltsey says:

    Wow! This days study really spoke to me!

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