The stage was set for one of the most epic dramas to unfold in human history. All the players were in place. From Pharaoh who stubbornly sat on his royal throne in Egypt greedily unwilling to let free labor go without a fight, to the people of Israel who were broken-hearted and hardened by years of tough and painful slavery. While things looked bad and all hope seemed lost, it was merely a setup for some of the most dramatic accounts in Scripture—the Ten Plagues of Egypt.
Times were tough. Moses was between a rock and a hard place. The Israelites had given up on God. All seemed lost. Then God spoke hope into the situation. But only one person listened to that word and was forever changed.
God uttered a word for Moses to pass on to the Israelites, but the Israelites didn’t listen. However, as we discussed last week, I think God gave it more for Moses’ benefit than Israel’s. Moses needed the encouragement from God. And God gave it. Let’s read again what God said.
The plight of the Israelites had gone from bad to worse. The people of Israel had given up on Moses and Aaron and even started blaming them for their additional problems. They were done listening and had given up all hope of deliverance. Meanwhile, Moses was ready to throw in the towel. Within the first few days of his mission, it seemed that his efforts had failed. At the first sign of resistance, Moses was ready to give up.
Moses and Aaron told the people of Israel all that God had said to Moses during his burning bush encounter. They performed the signs God gave them and Israel believed and worshipped God for remembering His people. Thus ended chapter four—a good, positive ending. One that would make a person believe that Moses’ mission was already a success. However, there was rocky water ahead.
Pharaoh was the most powerful ruler in the world during the days of Moses. His kingdom was vast and Egypt was at the height of its glory. And while the Pharaoh reigning during the time of Moses’ return to Egypt didn’t have the same paranoia about the Israelites as the previous one, he did recognize the usefulness of free labor and continued oppressing the Hebrews and enslaving them in hard manual labor.
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