Saturday 10 July 2021

Bible Book:

Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Indeed, by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land.’ (6:1)

Exodus 5:1 – 6:1 Saturday 10 July 2021

Psalm 18:1-19


The whole point of this chapter is to set the scene for the presence of the Lord to be made clear in the coming account of the ten plagues. Moses and Aaron begin by faithfully relaying God’s message to Pharaoh. They reasonably think that this will be the high point of their duty as messengers, but it has the opposite effect. Pharaoh refuses to recognise the Hebrew God at all, so  Moses and Aaron are quickly reduced to pleading their case (verse 3). Pharaoh increases the workload of the slaves by forcing them to collect straw for the bricks themselves, instead of having it delivered by the Egyptian resourcing systems. When they understandably produce less bricks, the Israelite supervisors are punished. The people turn against Moses and Aaron, blaming them, and in turn they accuse God. The Lord though makes clear that now the stage is set for people to truly see God at work – so striking will this be that even the hard Pharaoh will not only release the slaves but actually drive them away so much will he be in fear of Yahweh; no longer a foreign god he has not heard of, but a real living presence… And so, people will still be reading about it thousands of years later.

The pattern of oppression by a tough and confident tyrant rings all too true with many experiences of injustice, as does the way that asking for relief or recognition of people’s needs leads to even harsher treatment. Often people settle for a stable state of injustice instead of challenging the powerful, and risking the further suppression of the vulnerable. The example of Moses and Aaron is for leaders to speak out the truth as God reveals it, and to be assured that even when they themselves despair, the Lord will be faithful to promises of deliverance, rescue and salvation. The Exodus is an archetypal narrative of God’s faithful care for those in need.

To Ponder:

  • How does the injustice and oppression in this chapter make you feel?
  • How have you experienced challenging an injustice? It might be a personal situation or a situation in the news or in history. How does it feel when oppression is resisted?


To serve the present age,
My calling to fulfill;

Oh, may it all my powers engage
To do my Master’s will!

(Charles Wesley, StF 658)

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