Exodus 5:9 (HCSB)
9 Impose heavier work on the men. Then they will be occupied with it and not pay attention to deceptive words.”
There is plenty of good stuff in this passage.
We see a sort of reinforcement of Pharaoh’s god-complex in Exodus 5:10, by using the same form of announcement used in Exodus 5:1 by Moses on God’s behalf: “This is what Pharaoh says.” And the contrast between God and Pharaoh is enhance: God commands time focused on Him, while Pharaoh commands more work in order to keep the Israelites distracted. God has promised to provide and deliver His people, Pharaoh takes away (the straw), yet keeps the same demands. When the Israelites “cry out” to Pharaoh it falls upon cold, deaf ears, but God has heard His people, knows their suffering, and had promised to save them.
The Israelites, and even Moses, are surprised by the response of Pharaoh. And it almost seems that maybe this was a test of the Israelites to see if their faith was truly in God. Notice that, other than the questioning of the outcome, there is no renouncement of God by the Israelites that is documented in scripture. The reaction instead is to turn to God. The Israelites “blame” Moses, and invoke the judgement of God upon him, and Moses actually comes to God in prayer. Shouldn’t that be our reaction when we are confused about God’s plans? When we are wondering where He is, and what He is doing, in the midst of the trouble that comes from following Him? Our reaction should be to lean further into Him, and call out to God, just as Moses does. And God’s reaction? Reassurance. God promises Moses that he is about to see His power.
But I am really stuck on this idea that springs from Exodus 5:9. This idea that the world, that Satan, is constantly trying to load more and more on us to keep us distracted from focusing on God. Not only are these pressures of a professional sense, which those are very real and ever-increasing pressures, the pressure to continue to produce more and more, make more and more money, and sacrifice more and more time to focus on doing so, but the pressures are social, consumerist, and entertainment as well. Everything has a facebook or twitter address following it, our language is peppered with social media phrases. There is a constant drive for more likes, more followers, more retweets. More and more we are finding our approval, our satisfaction, in social approval (as impersonal as it is these days), as well as the consuming of all the latest and greatest products, and being part of the latest trends and scenes. There is a fine line, I think, between being in the world and being of the world… and it seems our culture today, the Christian culture, is walking it.
Lord, I am so grateful that You reach out to us, as we are consumed with ourselves and the world around us, to bring us into life in You. I pray for the will to resist the temptations of this world, to resist the traps that will pull me away from You, whether self-created or of the world, and stay focused, to stay grounded, and to stay close to You. Amen.