Exodus 5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

December 9, 2007


The book of Exodus is a book about deliverance.  The Israelites would be delivered from slavery in Egypt.  Yet the lessons speak to our lives as well, like deliverance from sin.

A church ran a competition to find the most high-principled, sober, well-behaved local citizen. Among the entries came one which read: “I don’t smoke. I don’t touch intoxicants. I don’t gamble. I am faithful to my wife and never look at another woman. I am hard-working, quiet and obedient. I never go to the movies or the theatre, and I go to bed early every night and rise with the dawn. I attend chapel regularly every Sunday without fail. “I’ve been like this for the past three years. But just wait till they let me out of here!”

I don’t think this is God’s idea of deliverance.

Moses has been called by God to deliver Israel out of Egypt.

:1-9 Moses meets Pharaoh: Let my people go

:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, "Thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.'"

Pharaoh – probably Amenhotep II.

It is likely that they meet the Pharaoh in the delta region, near where the Nile empties into the Mediterranean. History tells us that the Egyptian kings visited this region often in the Eighteenth dynasty (this current time period). The palaces in the delta region were filled with red granite and massive limestone columns painted with hieroglyphs. This area is also close to Goshen, the land where the Israelite slaves live.

feastchagag – to hold a feast or a festival; this is the first time this word is used in the Bible. The next time it is used is when God gives the first instructions concerning the Passover, when they are actually, finally delivered from Egypt:

Ex 12:14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations…

The next time it is used, God is instructing the Israelites that they are to hold three annual “feasts” (Ex. 23:14) as a part of their worship of God.

This is not just an excuse to get the people out of Egypt. It’s the beginning of a relationship with God for Israel.

:2 And Pharaoh said, "Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go."

LORD – remember that the Hebrew here is God’s name, Yahweh. Moses has spoken for Yahweh and Pharaoh says he doesn’t know who Yahweh is.

Pharaoh claims to have never heard of Yahweh. In Egypt, Pharaoh was considered a “god”, the “perfect god”, the “great god”.

Yet God declares Himself,

(Isa 44:6 NKJV) "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.
(Isa 44:8 NKJV) Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.'"

:3 So they said, "The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days' journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword."

three days’ journey – they aren’t saying they only want to go for three days. They are saying they want to get a three days’ journey away from Egypt to worship God.

One of the reasons for going so far away was because some of the animal sacrifices would be offensive to the Egyptians.

(Exo 8:26 NKJV) And Moses said, "It is not right to do so, for we would be sacrificing the abomination of the Egyptians to the LORD our God. If we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, then will they not stone us?

:4 Then the king of Egypt said to them, "Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor."

Pharaoh doesn’t think they are serious about wanting to worship God. He just thinks they want to get out of work.

Ancient Egyptian records show that historically there was a great concern about continued “idleness” in the slave labor.

:5 And Pharaoh said, "Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!"

:6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying,

same day – Pharaoh doesn’t waste any time in responding to this threat to his brick production.

taskmasters – these were Egyptian bosses over the Israelites.

officers – these are the Israelite supervisors over the slaves.

:7 "You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves.

Bricks were made from clay, moistened with water, and pressed into molds. The bricks were then laid out in the sun to dry. Bricks were used to build houses, buildings, tombs, walls of towers, fortresses, temple enclosures, and sometimes small temples. Archaeologists have found bricks made with straw and without straw. Bricks were often stamped by the name of the reigning king. Bricks have been found with the name of Thutmose III, the father of the Pharaoh of the Exodus (Amenhotep II). Egyptians bricks were about 15 inches long, 7 inches thick.

Straw wasn’t added as a binding agent, but to make the clay more flexible, more durable.

I guess you could say that Moses bugging Pharaoh to let the people go was “THE LAST STRAW”.

:8 "And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'

:9 "Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words."

false wordssheqer – lie, deception, disappointment, falsehood

Moses said the people needed to worship God. Pharaoh calls those “false” words, deceiving, disappointing.


Worship and Deliverance

The initial approach to deliverance is centered around worship.
1) It was to be a “feast” (vs.1)

There is an aspect of worship where we are fed. We “feast” on the things of the Lord. We are satisfied. We don’t need any of that other “stuff” when we are satisfied with God.

2) It involved sacrifice (vs.3)

An aspect of worship involves death and giving. For many, deliverance will come through learning to give up that thing you’ve held on to. Deliverance comes from learning to “die” to the cravings, to your self.

3) It was in the “wilderness” (vs.1), the “desert” (vs.3)

Deliverance doesn’t often happen while you’re being pampered at the Ritz Carlton hotel. It doesn’t often happen at Disneyland.

It happens in a wilderness. It happens when I’m willing to leave the comfort of my “stuff” and learn to depend on God.

4) It is worship of God (vs.1,3)

Our worship of God involves truth.

(John 4:24 NKJV) "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Truth is one of the primary agents of “deliverance”, also known as “sanctification”

(John 17:17 NKJV) "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

How does this work?

Change isn’t going to happen in my life until I start facing the truth about who I am, who God is, what God desires for me, and how God wants to help me.

As long as I keep lying to myself, telling myself that things aren’t that bad, then nothing is going to change.

5) It was not a waste of time (vs.9)

Satan will tell you that seeking after God, worshipping God, coming to church, seeking God’s truth, is all a waste of time.

It is not. It is the way towards deliverance.

:10-14 Less straw, more work

:10 And the taskmasters of the people and their officers went out and spoke to the people, saying, "Thus says Pharaoh: 'I will not give you straw.

:11 'Go, get yourselves straw where you can find it; yet none of your work will be reduced.'"

The people will have to produce the same amount of bricks in addition to now finding straw.

:12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw.

:13 And the taskmasters forced them to hurry, saying, "Fulfill your work, your daily quota, as when there was straw."

:14 Also the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, "Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as before?"

officers – these would be Israelite supervisors over the slave labor. They are beaten because the new orders aren’t being met. They aren’t able to meet their quota and find straw at the same time.

Sometimes deliverance doesn’t feel very good. Sometimes you feel like you’re being beaten up for doing the right thing.

The beating will end up turning these Jewish supervisors against Moses and Aaron.

:15-19 Israeli complaint

:15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, "Why are you dealing thus with your servants?

:16 "There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, 'Make brick!' And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people."

The Israeli supervisors come and complain to Pharaoh for the increased workload.

They blame the Pharaoh’s taskmasters.

:17 But he said, "You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, 'Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.'

Pharaoh is saying that the reason for Moses’ request to worship God was that they already had too much time on their hands.

:18 "Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks."

:19 And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, "You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota."

Even though there are people who experience that overnight deliverance, for others the process starts and things get worse.

:20-21 Complaint to Moses

:20 Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them.

Moses and Aaron had been waiting outside while the foremen pled their case with Pharaoh.

:21 And they said to them, "Let the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us."

abhorrentba’ash – (Hiphil) to stink, emit a stinking odour

put a sword in their hand – earlier Moses had tried to make a case to Pharaoh that the people needed to leave Egypt because they were afraid of what God would do to them if they didn’t. Moses said,

(Exo 5:3 NKJV) …lest He (God) fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword."

Now the foremen come back and they are more concerned about Pharaoh’s sword than they are about God’s sword.
Who do you fear more?
I wonder if this isn’t an important part of deliverance. I wonder if we need to get to the point where we are more concerned about our relationship with God than we are with the problems we have with people.


Don’t shoot the messenger

The people seem to have forgotten that they were the ones who asked to be delivered.
(Exo 2:23 NKJV) Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage.
God has simply responded to the people. They asked to be delivered and now God is answering that prayer by sending Moses.
Do you have something you need to be delivered from?
Olga and Sven and been fighting all their married life until Olga one day said, “Sven, we been fightin’ and fightin’ these many years I think we should pray about this together.” When they knelt down to pray, Olga interupted Sven before he had three words spoken. “Dear Got, Sven and I have been fightin’ and fightin’ these many years. It is time that one of us should go to Heaven. Then I can go live with my mother.”
It’s not your spouse you need to be delivered from.  But it may be your anger, impatience, lack of forgiveness, lack of caring.
When you are ready to be delivered, don’t get mad at the people that God raises up, or the situations that happen that will bring about deliverance.
He might use friends. He might use your spouse. He might use a police officer or a jail cell. He might use a counselor.
Don’t shoot the messenger when things get hard. Perhaps God is just moving the deliverance along.

:22-23 Moses complains to God

:22 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, "Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me?

:23 "For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all."


It might not happen overnight

Be careful of comparing your own deliverance to someone else’s.
I came to know the Lord in 1970 as an eighth grader during the days of the Jesus People movement. It was a very common thing to hear of people who had been delivered from alcohol, drugs, or even smoking by simply asking Jesus for help. People would stand up and share their testimony, one day they were a drug addict, the next day they were delivered.
For me, I had been caught up in pornography and lust. I had my own personal collection of Playboy magazines stashed in my bedroom closet. Even though I had accepted Jesus as my Savior, I would still be drawn to pornography. I often prayed for God to take my lustful thoughts away. Even after I threw away my stash, I still struggled with lust. I often wondered what was wrong with me. I wondered if I lacked faith. I know that I’m still drawn to pornography, yet terrified of being enslaved again.
I have learned over the years that not everyone is delivered FedEx-style, overnight. Some of us have to work through a process. Sometimes it’s more like UPS, or the pony-express. But He does set people free.
There is a museum in Florence Italy that contains four sculptures by Michelangelo.  These sculptures are unique in that they were never finished.  They were originally intended for use on the tomb of Pope Julius, but midway through the project he decided not to use them and stopped work on them. There is a hand protruding here, a torso of a man there, a leg, part of a head, but none are finished. Nearly everyone who sees these works senses the turmoil, the struggle embodied in these figures. It is as though they are crying to break free from the prison of the marble to become what they were intended to be.
Unlike Michelangelo, God promises to finish what He starts.
(Phil 1:6 NKJV)  being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;
It may not happen overnight, but God isn’t finished yet.