The Move

WHEN BONDAGE GETS NASTIER…

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.’ ” 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.” 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.” But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.” That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 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.’ Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” 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. Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’ ” So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 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?” Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 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.” Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord .’ Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.” 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.” When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 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.”
Exodus 5:1‭-‬21 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/exo.5.1-21.NIV

Moses and Aaron faced Pharaoh in order to make a decree. This wasn’t their own private statement but was a decree God had instructed them to make on behalf of His people…Let My people go so that they can worship Me. Notice that this wasn’t a plea or an appeal. It was God demanding of pharaoh to release His people. God is not pleased by the suffering of His people. It’s His desire to ensure that they are released of their burden so that they may worship and honor Him. When God sees people trapped in bondage, He demands for the release of His people. But Pharaoh wasn’t going to let this go down easy. He surely was spoiling for a fight. Such was his viciousness that he made the work of the Israelites even harder. Before, they were being supplied by the raw material needed for brick making. Now, he opted to withdraw this ‘privilege’ and force them to go and collect the straw themselves without lowering the quota required. Pharaoh even defied God by saying … ‘Who is the Lord that I should obey Him’ (vs 2). His disdain and disrespect towards God was so evident it must have sent shivers down the spines of Moses and Aaron. Ultimately the Israelite leaders even came to complain to Moses and Aaron about the pickle ‘they’ had put them in. Life had suddenly become harder and unbearable. The God who had sent them seemed silent as the oppressors seemed to enjoy a field day doing as they please. But the truth is that people privileged with power don’t give it up easily. People who thrive through the toil and suffering of others are so protective of their privileges and will not give any leeway to those suffering. The story of the children of Israel in captivity seems farfetched. But it still resonates with our age. In a world which is richer than any other time in history, the gap between the wealthiest and the poorest is also the widest in history. Isn’t it a wonder that most of those gifted with these privileges of wealth seek to protect them at all costs…even if it means pushing the poor deeper into their poverty? Some multinationals have perfected that art. Poor people are employed in some of their factories and shops. They mint millions if not billions of dollars in the process yet whatever they pay their day laborers can’t even sustain a life (let alone a decent life). When the downtrodden seek for better wages or better working conditions, these same multinationals run by the super wealthy conive with corrupt government officials to squeeze them deeper into their predicament by withdrawing some of their benefits or even terminating their employment. Worse still, some of the poor people have not received compensation from injuries sustained from occupational based accidents. Bread winners have been bed ridden for years not able to fend for their family yet multinationals and big businesses still continue making obscene profits in the process. This is not a guilty ride I’m starting. This is oppression operating the same way scripture illustrates in this passage. Its not in God’s will that His people are oppressed. He desires their freedom and deliverance. The book of Exodus summarises this. The greatest freedom from bondage is the freedom from sin through Christ Jesus our Lord.

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