Day 3

The Lord Promises Freedom

from the Exodus reading plan

Exodus 4:18-31, Exodus 5:1-23, Exodus 6:1-13, Psalm 68:4-6, Isaiah 6:4-5

BY Jen Yokel

When we are in the middle of the darkest times of our life, hope can feel impossible, even foolish. We long for God to intervene. We may even question whether God notices, cares, or is as good as we know we should believe He is. Maybe you can automatically think of a time in your life when the dark was so thick you couldn’t see a way out. Maybe you’re living it now, whether personally or sharing in our whole world’s collective groaning.

For countless generations, people across eras and cultures have found solace in Exodus, a tale of a people suffering under the boot of a cruel ruler. Though Exodus ultimately tells a story of triumph, it didn’t start that way. Moses and Aaron’s first visit to Pharaoh was a failure, at least on the surface.

The plan seemed clear. Moses was given two signs to show God’s power to Pharaoh. When the Israelite elders saw these miracles, it was enough to rekindle their hope. Finally, God answered them! And “when they heard that the LORD had paid attention to them and that he had seen their misery, they knelt low and worshiped” (Exodus 4:31). Of course, Pharaoh would be impressed too, right? Maybe even afraid of a bigger, truer God he couldn’t dare defy?

But after Moses and Aaron’s first meeting with Pharaoh, things only got worse. They weren’t asking Pharaoh to free all the enslaved people just yet. They asked for a few days off, a festival reprieve for the Israelites (Exodus 5:1).

Instead of believing, Pharaoh mocked. Instead of seeing weary fellow humans, he saw lazy, whining slaves. Instead of compassion, he heaped more impossible demands on them. It’s calculated, astonishing cruelty, meant to break their spirits and keep them in their place. And for a time, it worked. After moving his family to Egypt for a mission he barely felt qualified for, Moses found himself questioning the point of it all, asking God, “Why did you ever send me?…You haven’t rescued your people at all” (vv.22–23). 

And still, God sees. God’s response is an appeal to the past, a reminder of the covenant He made with their ancestors—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob—even before they knew His name. God saw exactly what was happening. He heard their pain, He saw the violence, and He hadn’t forgotten His promise.

“Therefore tell the Israelites: I am the LORD…[I] will rescue you from slavery….I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment.” —Exodus 6:6

We know how this story goes, how it extends and echoes throughout the narrative of Scripture. We can now see it as a preamble to the ongoing story of redemption, a story with places in the middle where God seems slow and absent and silent. And in those middle places, in the brutal days and dark nights of their labor, God is still working. The rescue is only beginning.

Post Comments (72)

72 thoughts on "The Lord Promises Freedom"

  1. Aaliyah Rardin says:

    I am so encouraged and filled with hope. I’ve read Exodus before but diving in deeper with this and God is just speaking with me directly about His heart and love for us (me). I am walking through a hard season but in the midst of all that is going on I have hope and the understanding of God that He sees and is working even when I can’t see it or it doesn’t feel like it. Thank you, Lord!

  2. Magan Strickland says:

    Praying with you!

  3. Carol Crossman says:

    Yes, God often seems absent or unavailable at the darkest times. I cry out, oh God where are you? Why did you let this happen? It is often hard to understand and I know God has a plan even if I can’t see the “ big picture “. God keeps his promises! We have seen that during this and other studies.

  4. carlie layton says:

    Amen ❤️

  5. Katrina Cornelison says:


  6. Stephanie Wabi says:

    Just want to say that sometimes things get harder or worse than they were after we asked God to intervene and so we don’t think that He’s even in it to begin with but that’s not the case! And these few chapters of Exodus clearly show that! God is always right there with us – the rescue is just the beginning!

  7. Lex says:

    Yesterday, I found out that I was only approved for a partial loan for grad school and will have to pay the rest on my own. It was very stressful and discouraging, but I am reminded of time and time again when God has provided. I can relate with Moses and the Israelites a lot in only seeing the immediate obstacle right in front of me. However, I am praying for my financial situation and trusting that the God who called me to this situation will provide a way for me to walk through it.

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