The enslaved Israelites grew desperate when Moses’ interference on their behalf only worsened their situation. Yet what God had in store for them was beyond what they could have imagined.
Question: What personal “Egypt” has God delivered you from? What was it like just before you were delivered?
When God sent Moses to deliver the people of Israel from the land of Egypt, they had already been in slavery for 400 years, just as He had promised they would be. They had lived under increasing burdens, and even the killing of their male children. They longed desperately for a deliverer.
Yet, when Moses stood before Pharaoh and commanded him in the name of the Lord to release the thousands upon thousands of Israelite slaves, Pharaoh laughed. “I will not let this people go.”
As a sign of his intention to keep them, he increased the workload. The Israelites were instructed make the same number of bricks in the same amount of time as before, but without having their straw and other materials provided for them. When the impossible task was not completed, the leaders of the people were beaten.
The people of Israel were furious. Their response to Moses speaks of their desperation (Exodus 5:21):
“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.”
The Edge of Deliverance
The Israelites were on the edge of an incredible deliverance. They would soon see ten horrific plagues sweep the most powerful nation on earth, while they themselves remained under the protection of the Lord. They would soon be released from slavery, with gold and jewels and all kinds of rich possessions given to them by the Egyptians.
But at the moment when they stood right at the threshold, it seemed that their situation only worsened.
If God had left the story here, in the midst of this desperation, what a terrible loss it would have been to the Israelites and to all of us who read their story! I am so glad He pushed them beyond what they believed they could bear, in order to show His mighty vengeance on their behalf.
How often do we give up right on the edge of deliverance? How often have things become worse before they have burst into hope? If we had not been willing to endure our own desperate times, to wait for God to bring us through our own ten plagues, what glories might we have missed?
If you struggle with something today, remember the Israelites—and remember their powerful and merciful God.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.