August 10, 2021
10 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. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 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?”
15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 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.”
17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”
19 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.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 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.”
That doesn’t seem to be resolved. The last time they saw Moses they were hearing promises that God was freeing them and now they are being worked harder and blaming Moses. It doesn’t look like things are getting any closer to leaving Egypt, it looks like things just got worse and they will work till they die.
Not the uplifting story you want to hear in devotions. We want to hear about how God is always with us and how we are always heading to something better. We want to hear that what Moses is doing is making things better already, not that he is being blamed for the work getting harder and suffering getting worse.
But life does feel like this for many today. Some in our world do live in a current state of slavery with no hope. But for many others also, life is a struggle and we don’t see the picture of hope for the future. Relationships are broken. People feel distant. Anxiety and stress are high.
We do get to remember that one piece the people here are missing. God is with us in the lowest points. We may feel he has ignored us, yet he is with us even now. We may feel alone, but God is always with us, even when we don’t acknowledge him with us.
The cry of the people reminds us of the words of the Psalms of lament. “How long, O Lord.” Feeling forgotten, but ending with the praise that God does not forget, he stays with us always.
Song – Psalm 13
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.
—Psalm 13, NIV