Read - Exodus 5:10-14
Message - Alan Burke
“I have my rights”, ever heard someone say that? Human rights, consumer rights, employment rights, all of us have rights. Depending on where you live in the world, those rights will differ, in some countries they are greater than others. For the Israelites they had none, no rights at all, they weren’t employees they were slaves, they were the property of pharaoh. There was no such thing as working part time, or having a forty hour week, this was full on, all day every day. They weren’t entitled to sick pay, maternity leave, retirement, instead all day every day, they served pharaoh.
Their already arduous work, was about to get a lot worse. Here we are told how the slave drivers and the foremen of the people go out and tell them the decree of Pharaoh which equated to; ‘no straw, same amount of work’. They were being set up to fail! Their task remained the same but the straw that would have been brought to the Israelites on carts from vast distances, that enabled them to make bricks, they themselves would be tasked to gather.
The people were now double jobbing, but it wasn’t like having a nine to five job and then in the evenings doing a few hours at the local garage. No, the task given to the Israelites wasn’t achievable, and as a result they were scattered, they were forced to gather stubble (12). Along with the difficulties in their task they were being lorded over by the slave drivers urging them to do what was required of them, ultimately knowing that they were set up for failure.
But look here to what happens, as a result of their failure to meet their daily quota the foremen of the people were beaten (14). They were asked mockingly by their slave drivers why had they not achieved their quota as before. The plan of pharaoh was working, his ingenious plan for how ever awful it may have been it was working, it was causing division and strife among the people of God and subduing them further.
Look back to verse 10, when the taskmasters and the foremen took the message out and what was it, ‘This is what Pharaoh says’. This is what pharaoh says!
It may be easy to overlook how this decree itself is given to the people of God. But look back to chapter 4v22, when Moses is told by God to say to pharaoh “This is what the Lord Says” and then as Moses goes to Pharaoh in 5:1 saying; "This is what the Lord the God of Israel says”. And Pharaoh says back, this is what I say!
What it reveals is that Pharaoh is pitting himself against God, he is in direct opposition to the plans and purposes of God. The Lord has spoken but pharaoh has rejected in and is in opposition to it. He is an enemy of God. We have already thought about how Satan was using Pharaoh for his purposes and here pharaoh was demanding the allegiance of God’s people despite the Lord’s claim on them. Satan was at work behind all this for he is the enemy of God’s people.
In the New Testament we are told clearly how Satan is the enemy of God’s people. It is Satan who is the ultimate source of opposition against the people of God. He is at work today, here in this world and this land. It is the inescapable truth, Satan is the deceiver of the world (Rev 12:9), in 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 tells us that, “[Satan comes] with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.”
Satan not only opposes the word of God as pharaoh did, but hates it, for it is God’s word alone is the way to make people wise unto salvation (2 Tim 3:15). And what do we see today; Pharaoh is long dead, but Satan uses the tide of public opinion, political correctness, corporations, academics, celebrities, bloggers, to deceive the world, to deceive those around you, and because we are born as slaves to sin, by our nature walk in the darkness, most people are oblivious to the work of Satan as he perverts and distorts the truth.
Q 105 What do we pray for in the fifth petition?
In the fifth petition, (which is, And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors, (Matt. 6:12)) we pray, That God, for Christ’ s sake, would freely pardon all our sins; (Ps. 51:1–2,7,9, Dan. 9:17–19) which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by his grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others. (Luke 11:4, Matt. 18:35)