Today’s Reading: Exodus 5-14
Have you ever accused God of doing nothing?
Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharoah as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” – Exodus 5:22-23
So let me ask again – Have you ever been so bold as to accuse God Almighty of doing nothing?
Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, just as God told them to do, but Pharoah did not react the way the Israelites expected – God did not provide in the way and in the time His people thought He would. Instead of letting the Israelites go, Pharoah increased the workload by making the people provide their own straw for making the bricks. The workers took their anger out on Moses and Moses took his confusion out on God. God had a plan and He was about to move in such a way that the Hebrew nation would NEVER forget.
“…You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them. Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!” – Exodus 6:5-8
What a powerful word from God! Yet the people were too discouraged by their circumstances to find hope in God’s promises, too consumed by their own pain to see the capacity of God to rescue them and too stubborn to wait on God’s perfect timing and plan. They refused to listen. But God was about to get their attention in a grand display of His mighty power:
– A plague of blood turned the water of the Nile River into a stinky river of dead fish, taking away the Egyptians source of drinking water.
– A plague of frogs invaded their river, their bedrooms, their kitchens, their lives.
– A plague of gnats covered everyone and everything, causing the Egyptian magicians to shout out “This is the finger of God!” – Exodus 8:19
– A plague of flies filled their homes and the palace, covering the ground and throwing the land of Egypt into chaos.
– A plague killing all the livestock owned by the Egyptians still did not move Pharoah’s stubborn heart.
– A plague of festering boils broke out on all the Egyptian people.
– A plague of hail fell on all the people, livestock and plants throughout the land of Egypt. Never in the history of Egypt had there been a storm like that, with such devastating hail and continuous lightning (9:24).
– A plague of locusts covered the land, devouring any plant that had survived the hailstorm.
– A plague of darkness covered the entire land of Egypt for three days.
– It was finally the plague of the firstborn that caused Pharoah and the Egyptians to urge the Israelites to leave.
During all of these plagues, God’s people were protected. They became the audience to God’s grand display of judgment. The Israelites were given specific instructions to follow to make sure the angel of death passed over their house, sparing their firstborn. God’s people now had experienced God firsthand and had a story to pass on to their children and grandchildren, from one generation to the next for the remainder of time.
“This is a day to remember. Each year, from generation to generation, you must celebrate it as a special festival to the Lord.” – Exodus 12:14a
“Then your children will ask, ‘What does this mean?’ And you will reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he struck the Egyptians, he spared our families.’” – Exodus 12:26-27a
“This is a day to remember forever – the day you left Egypt, the place of your slavery. Today the Lord has brought you out by the power of his mighty hand…This annual festival will be a visible sign to you, like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. Let it remind you always to recite this teaching of the Lord: ‘With a strong hand, the Lord rescued you from Egypt.’” – Exodus 13:3,9
The story of God rescuing the Israelites from their Egyptian captivity is a story I grew up learning and a story I have taught to my daughters. They know God is powerful because they know of the plagues. They know God provides “dry land” when all we see is “the Red Sea” in front of us and the “Egyptian army” behind us (Exodus 14).
But we have more than just the stories of those who have gone on before us to tell the next generation. We also have our own stories – stories of difficulty, pain and discouragement – times when God has stepped into our situation with a mighty hand. We have stories that provide proof that God provides and that God heals. These faith-building stories are gifts for our children and our children’s children.
When I am tempted to accuse God of doing nothing, may I remember all that He has done – according to His plan and in His time. He is the God who rescues, who provides and who saves. Glory to God!