Sermon #9 from "Take Off Your Sandals" series on Exodus for Today
When life gives you a beating.
Based on Exodus 5:1-23
Bricks Without Straw
1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”
2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”
4 But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” 5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”
6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
10 Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”
15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”
17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”
19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
God Promises Deliverance
22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
1. Read Exodus 4:31. How did the people of Israel feel when they learned that God was on the move?
2. After all the excitement of Exodus 4, what really happened in Exodus 5. How might this have affected the people?
3. Exodus 5 is an accurate description of brick-making in Egypt. What was involved? How did Pharaoh's taskmasters make the job more difficult?
4. The chapter is also a clear historical record of the organizational structure of Pharaoh and his workers. Who were the taskmasters? Who were the "people of the land" (5:5)? Who were the foremen of the people of Israel (5:15)?
5. After Moses came on the scene, matters just got worse for the people. What did they think of Moses (5:20-21). What did they think of God's plan?
6. "Anything in life that's worth doing takes resilience." How have you found this to be true?
7."Resilient people have realistic expectations." What did God say that Pharaoh would do, according to Exodus 3:19? What does the Bible say will come our way, according to James 1:2-4?
8. "Resilient people persevere through testing." What does perseverance produce, according to Romans 5:3-5?
9. "Resilient people don't turn against each other." Have you seen ways that blame can be misplaced in times of testing?
10. "Resilient people return to the Lord." How does Moses do this in Exodus 5:22-23?
11. "Resilient people keep their eye on the finish line." What is the finish line for the Christian life? (Romans 8:28-30)
12. Where do you find that you need resilience these days in your life? What is your take-away from this story in Exodus 5?