Exodus 5


Exodus 5 starts the conflict between the Living God and the might and power of this world. There are at least three reasons for the hardness of Pharaoh heart towards the command-word of God and the ensuing conflict, namely:

1) To establish for all the earth to see for all time that the One True God was indeed the Lord of the whole earth. (Exodus 9:14, Romans 9:17.) The fact that the Lord did indeed harden Pharaoh's heart for His own glory is hard to accept for those who deny God's sovereignty.

2) The conflict establishes God as the Covenant-keeping God. He will move heaven and earth (shake is the term used by Paul in Hebrews 12) in order to keep His covenant-promise to, A) His Son, B) Abraham and C) His people.

Psalms 2, He has promised the Son that all power and authority will be subdued unto the Son. (1 Corinthians 15:25.),The conflict with Egypt proves that the Father will fulfill His covenant with His people in His good time and in the manner pleasing to Himself.

3) To bring judgment against Egypt. Pharaoh, and thus Egypt, was blinded (hardened) by God for the purpose that He might bring judgment against them for their sin against Him and against His people. This is called JUDICIAL BLINDNESS, i.e. blindness so God can bring judgment. There are severe results of Judicial Blindness, and they are all prevalent today.

First, it prohibits men from seeing cause and effect, especially in their own lives. (Hosea 8:7, Galatians 6:7.)
Second, it prohibits men from seeing any need to repent, to turn or to obey His word. (2 Corinthians 4:1-6.),

The result of Judicial Blindness can be summed up: It is an escape from reality on the part of those blinded. Those who are not caught in Judicial Blindness are astounded at the blindness of those who, including God's people, are unable to see any cause and effect in their lives or in society.

We could thus define Judicial Blindness as a God-sent blindness so that either He can bring judgment against sin, or so sin can have its natural results of destruction, both in the church, family, and in society in general.

As I have contact with people, including pastors, there are times that I have been amazed at their blindness: They seem to be totally oblivious of any connection between their attitudes toward God and His law-word and what they see happening in their families and all around them in society. To further complicate matters, if anyone says anything to them, even their pastor speaking, they become offended, and, many times, even seek another church. I have found that most people want someone who will tell them what they want to hear. (Jeremiah 5:31.) The Scriptures say a great deal about this Supernatural Blindness, e.g. Exodus 5:2, Deuteronomy 29:4, 32:28.

God sent Judicial Blindness upon Pharaoh that He might bring His judgment against Egypt for its sin against His covenant-people. Judicial Blindness was also sent upon Israel so that God could judge them for their sin against Him (they rebelled against His man, Moses, and absorbed a lot of Egypt's ungodly culture), and thus they refused to go into Canaan. All of the Egyptian generation had to die because they were Egyptian slaves at heart.

There are a few things that enables us to recognize Judicial Blindness, and that Blindness IS NOT limited to the unsaved. Rather, it is in relationship to the law-word of God. Accordingly, both professed Christians and pagans can be blinded to the cause and effect in their lives in relationship to His word.

1) The purpose of Judicial Blindness is so the Lord can take flaming vengeance upon the disobedient to His law-word; i.e. that God might judge sin, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2:11, 12 (cf. Titus 1:16; 1 John 3:4). (Psalms 79:6, Proverbs 4:19, 10:21, 13:18, 14:12, Isaiah 6:9, 10 [Matthew 13:14, John 12:38-41], Isaiah 29:10-12, Amos 9:10' Matthew 15:14, Romans 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:14, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2:11, 12.)

2) A result of blindness is that people cannot understand (or they ignore) Moses, 2 Corinthians 3:14. (See 1 Kings 2:3, Deuteronomy 29:9, Joshua 1:7, 22:5, Psalms 1, &c. & 1 John 1:6, 2:4-9, 3:1. All these verses, plus a great many more, all fit into the same category—that is, rejecting Moses rejects God's blessings upon the rejecters)

3) Blindness replaces the wisdom of God with the wisdom of this world, 1 Corinthians 1:18-20.

4) Only by God's supernatural intervention can one be delivered out of the kingdom of blindness (darkness) and into the kingdom of light, Acts 26:18, Ephesians 4:18, Colossians 1:13. Therefore the answer to this blindness is to sincerely seek the Lord, Proverbs 28:5, Philippians 3:15.

5) Our Lord warned us that from His time on, Judicial Blindness will increase; therefore, we should not surprised, 2 Timothy 3:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:11.

When Christ said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind (Jn 9:29-39), He was speaking specifically of and to the nation of Israel of His day. In Matthew 23:34-39, Christ said that Jerusalem was going to be judged for all of the innocent blood which had been shed upon the earth from Abel unto Zacharias. Thus, He came not only to redeem His people (Isaiah 53:8), but to judge those who rejected Him and the one who sent Him, the Heavenly Father. He returned in judgment against the blinded nation of Israel, Jerusalem, AD 70.

In other words, Israel was supernaturally blinded to Christ. Among other things, the purpose of that blindness was so: A) carnal Israel would crucify the Son of God (Acts 2:23), providing redemption and salvation for His own (Ephesians 1, Colossians 1:20); B) God could judge them for all the innocent blood that had been shed upon the earth (Matthew 23:34-36); C) He could fulfill the Old Testament prophets (Luke 31:33), and D) He could replace the carnal nation of Israel with a spiritual nation of Israel, the Gospel Church (Jeremiah 31:31-34/2 Corinthians 3, Hebrews 8:8-12, 10:16, 17, Galatians 6;16). Israel's murder of Christ resulted in Israel's destruction as God judged her evil ways.

Consider that it took about 4000 years for God to avenge the blood of Able. How long will it take Him to avenge the innocent blood from 70 AD to the present? And there is plenty of innocent blood being shed. The land spued out carnal Israel for its rebellion, Leviticus 18:28. Is it any wonder why church men vainly want to be released from the godly principles of the Old Testament, and placed only under an "age of grace", where there is no judgment according to the precepts laid down by God's law?

6),We are left with this question regarding Judicial Blindness: "Why does blindness increase instead of decrease?" Though there is an abundance of passages which deal with this question, we will only look at a few.

A) Isaiah 42 (v. 21), it is through His judgment against sin that a) men forsake their false gods and graven images; b) His law is magnified and made honorable (the time-frame of Isaiah 42 is important: it was set in motion at the time of Christ, vv. 1-4, and c) men know that He is the Lord (Exodus 7:5, Ezekiel 6:7, Revelation 2:23, and many more passages).

B) Isaiah 48, it is through His judgment against sin that the hypocrite turns from his hypocrisy.

C) Isaiah 51 defines His salvation as His judgment against sin, eradicating sin (v. 4-6).

Furthermore, Isaiah 11:4 tells us that His righteous judgment against sin (the rod of his mount, which is His law-word—see Revelation 1:16, 2:16, 19:15, 19:21) will result in the slaying of the wicked, the exaltation of righteousness and the earth being filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Psalms 72 (& 96 along with Isaiah 55:10), tells us that as His righteous judgment against sin descends like the rain, righteousness and peace will flourish like the new mown grass. Moreover, His judgment against sin establishes His dominion from sea to sea, unto the ends of the earth; it causes all kings to bow before Him and all nations to serve Him. Furthermore, His deliverance of the needy, the poor and those who have no help depends upon His judgment falling against sin. (Check also Acts 14:17.)

The purpose of Judicial Blindness

Why does blindness increase instead of decrease? So the Lord can bring in His righteous reign and justice here on this earth. As time progresses from Christ on, men grow harder and harder in their refusal to turn to the law of the Lord. The result will be that the Lord's goodness, forbearance and longsuffering expires, His wrath will be revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, His law exalted and magnified and, finally, righteousness and salvation springs up as the new mown grass after a rain storm. (Cf. Romans 2.)

Judicial Blindness is prevalent today not only among those who make no profession of Christ, but among the vast majority of God's people. People are unable to make any connection between their personal relationship with the Lord and His law, their personal lives - attitudes and decisions – and what is taking place around them in society. People are unable to see that society only reflects their attitude toward the Lord and His word. Hosea (4:9) and Isaiah (24:2) both point out that the Lord gives leaders after the hearts of the people. People who disregard God and His word will begat leaders, both spiritual and civil, who disregard law.

The result is two-fold: first, men, even "Christian men," seek answers everywhere except where the answer lies: renewed faithfulness to the Lord and to His total word, and second, the situation only gets worse, hastening God's judgment against sin.

But in spite of the apparent impending flood of fiery wrath against sin, we have a sure promise: judgment descends like the rain so that righteousness, justice and salvation might flourish as the crops in the field. What a marvelous day for the faithful servant of God to live in.

Exodus 5.

The point to which this book has built up to is Moses meeting with Pharaoh to present God's to him. Actually, Moses spoke to Aaron and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh. Imagine the sight: Moses, probably still dressed as a poverty stricken shepherd, stands before the glory and slender of the world: Pharaoh, King of Egypt. Moses does not speak to the king, but Aaron speaks for him. Moses stands before Pharaoh, the living god of Egypt, as god to Aaron.

Furthermore, the symbolism here would be extremely striking: Aaron spoke for Moses who spoke for the Lord God. In other words, this God whom Moses represented was so powerful that He required not one but two mouth-pieces; He was so powerful that He could not speak directly to the one speaking for Him to the king of Egypt; rather, He needed two speakers; His words had to be "distilled" or reduced twice, ie. God spoke to Moses, Moses spoke to Aaron, Aaron spoke to Pharaoh.

Neither Pharaoh nor the Egyptians could miss the symbolism in this "chain of command.",The Lord, according to His divine providence, uses Moses' weakness to present His (the Lord God's) strength to Pharaoh.

Moreover, the contrast in appearance could not be more striking. Here was Moses and Aaron not dressed in the fine appeal as ambassador's of a god should be in Pharaoh's mind. And besides, Moses and Aaron represented a captive people: the Hebrews. If this God were so strong, why did He permit His people to be slaves to Egypt?,The strength and power of a god was determined by how many people were under his subjection. As far as Pharaoh could see, this God had no people subjected to Him. So why should he be obedient to this powerless God?

V. 1.

We should open this with a short description of Pharaoh. The word itself means 'great house,' and signifies the royal house or estate, especially in titles such as 'superintendent of the gardens of Pr-'o' ; but there is nothing to show that it was then applied to the person of Pharaoh" (Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, vol 3, pg. 819.)

"The idea has, however, been more recently stated that Pharaoh corresponds to the Egyptian phra, "the sun," which is written as an hieroglyphic symbol over the titles of kings. It seems to us that this explanation might be admitted without contradicting the other, seeing that it is not only possible, but highly probable, that the Egyptians should make the name of the sun a royal title, and that at length custom rendered it equivalent to "king.",The practice of ancient and, indeed, modern Oriental kings of associating the idea of their own dignity with the glory of the sun, is well known.",(The Classic Bible Dictionary, J. Green.)

"In the New Kingdom it [Pharaoh] became at once personal, and was soon a common term for the king: e.g. a letter is addressed to Amenhotep IV. (18th dynasty) as 'Pharaoh the Lord.'",(Hastings.)

Thus we see that Pharaoh was considered the living god and the central government of Egypt. Therefore, this conflict between Moses, Aaron and Pharaoh was a conflict between the Lord God and the god of this world. The total message which will come out of the conflict will be that Pharaoh, the living god of this world, is no more than just another man, existing only by the grace and mercy of God.

Again we are reminded of Daniel and Neb. The Lord God raises up and puts down whosoever He will. Thus all kings, evil and good, are in their place of authority for God's purpose. Remember that the Lord said about Pharaoh that For this purpose I raised Pharaoh up....

Moses and Aaron went boldly in before Pharaoh with the demand to let the people of God go into the wilderness to hold a feast unto the Lord. When we come to the compromises which Pharaoh offered, we will see the reason for this demand that the people depart from Egypt to serve their Lord God.

Before we leave this verse, here are a few points worth making. The Lord had told Moses that this time must come for him, 4:21. The Lord had also told Moses the response which he was going to receive. In God's divine sovereignty, Pharaoh was going to be hardened.

Parker makes these three points about the sovereignty of God:

1) All nations are not equally honoured.
This difference among the nations is obvious and is not established by the Bible, or by any system of theology; it is simply a matter of fact. God is the same Creator and the same Governor over all nations. The inequity between nations is totally a choice of the Sovereign God of Creation.

2) All individuals are no equally endowed.
We are all men, and yet no two men are alike. Again, whether saint of atheist, the fact of the Sovereignty of God over individuals must be confronted.

3) Divine judgment is regulated by Divine allotment.
Scriptures tell us that to whom much is given, much will be required. Those to whom God has reveled much will be held much accountable. "The divine plan of judgment therefore is not arbitrary, but moral",Thus "God must do right, or he is no longer God. Everything must perish which opposes this law.", as Job Said, Will not the God of the universe do right?

The conclusion to these points about the sovereignty of God is that, even though we do not understand this at all, "the fundamental principle here is that God must do right, and that, consequently, however mysterious may be the processes through which he moves, his purpose is infinitely just."

Now, to develop a couple of points about this sovereignty of God.

1) God, in His sovereignty, chose Israel to be His people. Thus they were exalted above Egypt; God gave the heathen nation Egypt for their ransom.

2) God, in His sovereignty, chose Moses; He did this over Moses' and the people's objections. God uses whom He will, when He will and in the manner which He wills. Everything is dependent upon the Lord who alone raises up one and puts down another.

3) God, in His sovereignty, hardening Pharaoh's heart in no way added to the iniquity of Pharaoh. His eternal abode was already established and his actions toward God's people did not change a thing.

3) If Israel had been allowed to escape from him at once, the results would have been worse for them. How many times have we seen easy deliverance from difficulties destroy those who were delivered because they undervalued the deliverance?

Therefore, the hardening of Pharaoh's heart was "merciful" to Israel. "God cursed the ground for man's sake.", God hardened Pharaoh's heart for the sake of all the parties involved. (Parker)

Pro 11:12. He that.. Pride and unloving toward one's neighbor shows a lack of wisdom. Mt 8:3-5 wisdom would not look for the mote in our neighbor's eye; rather, wisdom will look for the beam in our own eye. 1 Cor 4:7 wisdom will realize that the Lord is the one who made the difference between people.

The man of understanding... may see much in his neighbor to rouse envy or hatred or spite, but the man of understanding will not allow these things to take control of his tongue or emotions. Gal 6:1 describes the man of understanding. He will consider himself, hold his peace and put up with the brother's, Gal 6:2, 3.

Furthermore, V. 1, Let my people go, that they may serve Me.. This gives us some thoughts to develop.

1),Even though God's people were in bondage to Egypt, they were expected to serve Him. In fact, notice v. 3, if they did not serve the Lord, He was going to fall upon them with pestilence and sword. They were in bondage to Egypt through no fault of their own. But, when the time was right, they were expected to make the break from Egypt.

Observe for us:,The generation of God's people which is alive in the world today is in bondage to the world through no fault of their own, but it is expected to make the break, or the pestilence or sword of the Lord will come upon them. I am in bondage to the "system" because my dad placed me in bondage because of his Darbyism. But, I can start to make the break and I can provide conditions whereby my children can make the break.

2),They could not pleasingly serve God in Egypt. They had to depart.

3),God will make provision and provide freedom for His people to serve Him, if they want to. If they are committed to serving the Lord, He will provide the means and freedom to do so. Note that it was Egypt, the world, which was holding them. God offered them freedom from Egypt (4:31) to serve Him, and they were thankful. The problem is that far too often God's people do not want freedom from Egypt. They will accept Pharaoh's offer to serve Him in the land (as we will see).

Observe that the Lord will provide the means for His people to serve and worship Him, if they want to serve Him. Most do not want to make the break from Egypt in order to serve Him. Personal note, the desire to serve the Lord is placed there by Him, Ph 2:13. If He placed the desire in the heart, then He must provide the wherewithal to fulfill that desire. Thus, my responsibility is to do the very best I can with what the Lord has provided, and it is His responsibility to provide all that is needed to do what He placed in my heard the desire to do.

4),This third point is probably the most important point of the whole deliverance of Israel:,The purpose of their deliverance... that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness... Notice these two subpoints:

A),Moses did not tell Pharaoh the truth, 3:8. The purpose of their deliverance was said by God to be that He could fulfill His promise to their fathers and give them the land of Canaan. The Lord says nothing about the reason for their departure being to hold a feast unto Himself in the wilderness. Compare 3:8 with what Moses told Pharaoh in 5:1. In other words, Moses, under the Lord's orders, misleads Pharaoh into thinking that they will be back a few days.

B),The purpose of their deliverance was not to deliver them into a life of ease. The purpose was: a) to enable them to serve and worship their God, and b) to fulfill His promise which He had made with Abraham. That promise was to give them the land of Canaan which had to be claimed by much difficulty, sacrifice, discipline and war.

Observe:,Salvation, redemption, from Egypt is for the purpose of godly worship and warfare, not for ease and personal comfort. The vast majority of preaching today is centered around the personal ease and comfort of the individual. I know of no national teacher which teaches redemption from Egypt as freedom from bondage so the individual can fight the good fight of faith and claim the world for Christ. Now, of course Chalcedon was formed for this purpose, and there a few others: Gary North &c.


Ex 5:2.
Pharaoh's response was swift and predictable. Even though the Lord had prepared Moses for this response, it still caused discouragement on his part, 3:19 & 5:23. [I like what MH says here: "Being summoned to surrender, he thus hangs out the flag of defiance.."],

Who is the Lord..?,I know not the Lord, neither will I obey the Lord. Why should I?,Pharaoh's response shows that there was not a spark of the fear of God in his heart. Furthermore, who was this God of a captive weak people. If He was not powerful enough to prevent their bondage, why should he fear this powerless God.

The initial challenge is established; events are going to move quickly now. Aaron has made the requirement of the Lord clear to Pharaoh; Pharaoh has made his position clear. The outcome will be determined by the Lord. Pharaoh's question will be answered; he will certainly find out who the Lord is that he should obey him.

Observe that this is the initial response of the world to any thought of the Lord. Sad to say, the average Christian sees no hope in changing Pharaoh's heart. And, Pharaoh's heart was not changed; rather, he was totally destroyed through judgment.

I know some pastors who use this demand by Moses, Let my people go.. to demand of the civil government freedom for churches from government intervention. But the ones who are saying this see no hope for freedom and victory over Pharaoh without literal, divine and physical intervention by the King Himself. But here God delivered Israel without Personal Divine intervention. God establishes here in the conflict between Pharaoh and Moses that He can (and will) indeed intervene between the god of this world and Himself; He will indeed deliver His covenant people to victory through His Spirit in spite of all the power, might and threats of the god of this world.

V. 3.
let us go, we pray thee... It is interesting that even though Moses and Aaron represent the Creator of all things, and they are speaking His direct words at His command, they still present their request in the most humble manner. They make no mention of Pharaoh's terrible oppression; rather, they ask for a few days off to worship their God.


1) many of those who try to separate from the oppressive Pharaohs of our day have anything except this kind of attitude. Then those who do are so whimpy that when Pharaoh says, "not by the hair of my chinny chin chin," they humbly submit to Pharaoh's further bondage.

2) the Lord provides oppressive Pharaohs of all times with the opportunity to submit to Himself before He destroys them and their nations, Rom 2:1-6.

Who is the Lord…?,Moses answers that He is the One who will kill His people if they do not serve Him. Evidently, God had given further unrecorded revelation to His people. Note a point that is overlooked in this verse: the Lord told His people that either they stand against Pharaoh and depart from Egypt and serve Him, or God will judge (even kill) them with pestilence, or with the sword.

Is this not exactly what we are seeing today?

The God of the Hebrews… makes a point of separating Jehovah God from any false gods of Egypt which Israel might be serving in their bondage.

V. 4.

1),V. 17, gives us further response by Pharaoh: Ye are idle, ye are idle…, but the facts said otherwise. The evidence of their work was all around them in the public works projects which they were forced to do.

Observe: This is typical of oppressor the world over; the evidence of Christian work is all around them, yet they claim that Christian effort is non-effort. Lester Rollof was a good example of this: the evidence of his hard work was obvious in the lives of the boys and girls he took in, yet the state refused to see the good fruit of his effort. Thus people only see what they want to see.

Those who hate God will misrepresent God, His people and His work in order to justify their action against the kingdom of God.

2),Pharaoh sees Aaron and Moses as no more than labor agitators now before him to plead for a captive people for more time off (a holiday). He sees them as trying to get a slave people freed from their work. So he answers,"Get to work!"

3) MH makes this good comment here:

"Moses and Aaron themselves must get to their burdens (v.4); they are Israelites, and, however God had distinguished them from the rest, Pharaoh makes no difference: they must share in the common slavery of their nation. Persecutors have always taken a particular pleasure in putting contempt and hardship upon the ministers of the churches."

V. 5.
Pharaoh expresses his concern: the people are many…,He accuses Moses and Aaron of desiring rest for the people so they can overthrow Egypt. Though a different Pharaoh, the thinking was still the same as it was 40 years previously, 1:10. The answer was still the same also: the people have too much time on their hands; therefore, make them work harder. The answer to the labor unrest here was to make the people work harder.

These were the labourers of Egypt. Time off would be of great cost to Pharaoh.

V. 6.
the taskmasters would have been Egyptian, while the officers would have been Hebrews, v. 14. ("lit. writers, from to write.",These officers were the scribes of the people who were chosen from the Israelites, and had to distribute the work among the people, and hand it over, when finished, to the royal officers. Keil),The Egyptian taskmasters enforced Pharaoh's will upon the Israelite officers who, in turn, enforced his will upon the people.

V. 7.
The bricks required straw which until now had been provided. Even though the straw would no longer be provided and they would have to provide it themselves, the Hebrews still had to provide the same number of bricks.

V. 8.
The instructions are clear: they must continue to provide the same number of bricks even though the time and work required to make them was greatly increased.

Furthermore, the reason for the increased burden is clear: the people had cried out, Let us go and sacrifice to our God; therefore, they must be idle.


Observe: The world views service to the Lord God corruptly:

1),He is a God of slaves, people who cannot make it on their own.

2),He is a God that one serves if he has nothing better to do. If one has idle time on hand, then serve the Lord, but there are far better things to do with one's time, e.g. sporting events, second job so we can raise our standard of living, overtime &c.

3) Pharaoh had an hatred for the Lord whom he knew not. A means of breaking any desire of his captive people to serve the God which he hated would be making them work harder.

4),We will also mention here an obvious contrast between the false gods of the world and the Lord God of the covenant. The gods of this world demand total commitment all the time. By this I mean that the world's god, money, requires long hours of work 7 days a week. On the other hand, the Lord God requires the Sabbath rest; one day a week where all labour is forbidden.

Pharaoh says, "They have nothing better to do with their time; they are idle or they would not be wanting to make the sacrifice to their God. Therefore, make them work harder."

V. 9.
Let there more work be laid upon the men… Pharaoh's response continues: Make them work harder. The purpose of the heard work was to break their spirit, their desire to serve God. From v. 8, we can assume that Pharaoh wanted to break any desire (spirit) for freedom from their labour by making life unbearable and hopeless.

Furthermore, in Pharaoh's opinion, Moses and Aaron were no more than labor agitators there to upset the status-quo. The way to break any leadership that Moses and Aaron might have would be to discredit them in the eyes of the people. This was done by making it more difficult upon the ones they were "agitating.",Pharaoh intended to show that it would cost the people dearly to listen to Moses and Aaron.

Personal note:,This reminds me of the situation with Sileven several years ago. He took his stand against the king of Egypt when the king demanded that his church school and teachers be licensed by the state. He refused, so the state threw him and the parents of the children in jail. The state promised to release the parents if they would promise not to send their children back to a non-state approved school.

The point is that when people, under godly leadership, refuse to go along with the ungodly demands of the state, the state makes it difficult on them in order to break the hold of the man of God. Furthermore, the ungodly will work at discrediting any godly leader who might turn the captive people against their captors. This is a common tactic by the ungodly to discourage any commitment to serve the Lord.

I also think that it is interesting that the state will encourage any person who, under the name of the Lord, will not disrupt the slaves. As I have said many times before, I am confident that the vast majority of the "preachers" who are invited by heads of states to hold meetings (such as leaders in the Eastern Bloc nations) in their nations are invited because they know that those preachers will not say anything with will disturb the captives. Gothard and Billy Graham are good examples. But, all things work the purpose of God; therefore, even though they invite men which they are confident will not disrupt the slaves, the word of God will do its work.

Moses and Aaron have come and told the Hebrews that they need to go sacrifice unto their God. Pharaoh desires to teach them a lesson: do not listen to vain words, empty words which offer a false hope.

Vain words…, lying words, according to Keil. This phrase could be understood two ways.

1),Pharaoh says that God lied to Moses and Aaron and they are passing along those lies, giving the people a false hope. (MH)

2),But this would not be true to the context. Pharaoh had denied the very existence of God; he had reduced the Lord God to a level lower than himself, for he was the living god of Egypt. Therefore, Pharaoh would not say here that God had indeed spoken. Accordingly, Pharaoh tells the people that Moses and Aaron are lying to them when they say that: 1) God appeared to Moses: 2) God demands a sacrifice, and 3) they are to be released.

"They are lying to you," says Pharaoh, "They are filling your head with vain words. They are creating hope for release from bondage with vain words. You had better not listen to them, or you will be in more trouble than you are in now."

Observe:,Again, we are reminded that this is exactly the way the enemy of God regards the command to serve the Lord God: vane, empty, lying words; words of no value which only raise false hopes of freedom here on this earth and a "pie in the sky by and by.",Satan cannot say enough derogatory about the word of God.

Sad to say, many Christians regard any message of victory over the Egypts of our day through obedience and service to the command-word of our God as no more than vain words which can only lead to false hope. They are so totally convinced of this that they call any other message a false message and will separate from those who deliver such a message.

The challenge is issued to Pharaoh; Pharaoh picks it up and responds in his hardened way, exactly as the Lord said he would. Although things are going as the Lord had ordained, they are not at all like Moses had hoped for.

Observe:,I believe the challenge has been issued to the Pharaoh's of our world, and they have responded exactly as the Pharaoh of Egypt did: "Who is the Lord that I should obey Him?",Furthermore, the covenant people are happy in their bondage, but the Lord has spoken and we will undoubtedly see Egypt destroyed and His people set free to serve Him.


V. 10.
the taskmasters.. Egyptian officials who enforced Pharaoh's orders.
their officers.. Hebrew men between the taskmasters and the slaves.

The message given to the people, I will give you no straw. Straw was a necessary ingredient for bricks in those days. Evidently up until this time, Pharaoh had provided the straw to the brick-making sight. Now they will get none.

V. 11.
Continues the message from Pharaoh. He tells the Hebrews that they will have to gather their own straw from wherever they can find it, but the amount of bricks made cannot diminish.

V. 12.
This gives us some idea of the amount of added time which was now needed to fulfill the required task. They scattered abroad all over the land of Egypt to find straw. Egypt was a good size country and the means of travel would have been slow. It would take several days to make a trip in search of straw. But the people could not find straw, so they brought back stubble instead of straw.

This is interesting: I wonder what happened to the straw?,Previously they had been provided with straw, now they cannot find straw anywhere in the land, only stubble. What happened to the straw?

V. 13.
Pharaoh's taskmasters enforced Pharaoh's decree that the number of bricks not diminish even though there had been a huge amount added of work and time.

V. 14.
Pharaoh's taskmasters did not deal directly with Israel. They had Israelite officers over the people to enforce their decrees. Because of the tremendous added work, Israel could not produce as they had in the past. So the taskmasters beat the Israelite officers as they demanded that Israel meet the previous work allotment.

Observe:,Many people seek leadership roles over God's people; they regard such a place as one to fight over at times. In this instance, we see that the ones in leadership role were the ones beaten. It does not say that the people were beaten, but that the ones which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten. I would say that these Israelite officers had been exempt from the hard physical labor itself, and that they had been the recipient of much bitter envy and hatred of those who had to do the work. Most of the time that place of authority looks good when actually it has some hard difficult responsibility with it.

With the position of authority comes the heaver responsibility. People like the place of authority, but few want to take on the responsibility when things do not go as planned. As our Lord made clear many times: with more authority comes more responsibility. We see here that these officers were held responsible and beaten for the laborers under them not fulfilling their impossible task.

V. 15.
We will have to give these officers credit: they went directly before Pharaoh to plead their cause rather than taking it out on those under them.

V. 16.
They point out the impossibility of fulfilling the demand which has been placed upon them. They had been doing all they could before the added work load of finding their own straw. The officers tell Pharaoh that it is impossible to do more, yet they are beaten. Their inability to keep up their required production is not their fault; rather, it is the fault of his own people for not providing the straw as they had before. Even though the fault is Pharaoh's peoples', they are beaten.

V. 17.
Again Pharaoh tells them the reason for what he is doing to them. They have time on their hands or they would not be wanting to go serve their God.

We might mention that this is typical of the world's reaction to any desire to serve the Lord.

V. 18.
Pharaoh only enforces his will against them. He tells them to get out and get to work, because they are only looking for an excuse to get out of work.

V. 19.
When Pharaoh told them that they must still keep up their daily tasks, the officers saw that they were not going to get anywhere with Pharaoh. If they pressed the issue any more, they would only make the matter worse, so they left.

V. 20.
Evidently Moses and Aaron had gone with the officers to Pharaoh, but had not gone in before Pharaoh. They were waiting outside for the outcome of the meeting, and met the officers when they came out from before Pharaoh.

Exodus 5:21.

Moses presented God's word to Pharaoh which did not impress Pharaoh in the least. Pharaoh's response was to increase Israel's burden, and the taskmasters beat the Israelite officers when Israel could not fulfill the added burden. The officers go in before Pharaoh to plead their cause. Pharaoh heard them out, but rather than easing things, Pharaoh said that the people were lazy when obviously they were not.

Evidently Moses and Aaron had gone with them to Pharaoh, but waited outside the throne room. When the officers came out from before Pharaoh, they looked at Moses and Aaron and cursed them in the name of the Lord. The officers laid two charges at the feet of Moses and Aaron: 1) they, rather than improving their lot before Pharaoh, had only made matters worse; in fact, Moses and Aaron had made them to stink before Pharaoh, and 2) Moses and Aaron had given Pharaoh an excuse to kill them. Moses and Aaron had promised Israel release from bondage and, rather than release, they only increased their bondage.

Pharaoh's plan had been not only to destroy any leadership possibilities of Moses and Aaron but also to turn Israel against them. His plan worked as they now curse Moses and Aaron.

The officer's words to Moses and Aaron show us several things:,

1),People, especially God's people, want instant results. Please bear with me for an illustration:,

Some time ago, I was contacted by a candidate who was challenging, on an anti-county-wide zoning platform, an incumbent commissioner in a neighboring county. He called to find out what to do because the Lord has given us some major victories in our county. I pointed out to him that they had had a chance several years ago when they gathered many names on petitions to successfully stop zoning in their county. But they went on to miss their opportunity by not keeping in touch with those who sided with them. Now they must try to do everything at once.

We took a simple stand 4 or 5 years ago when we saw the danger arising by saturating a couple of RD's in our county with information about and petitions against zoning. We tried to get the Christian community involved by sending to them excerpts about zoning fights from "The Briefcase" (David Gibbs' mailing) to the 55 churches in our county; three responded with signed petitions. Other than that, the Christian community has ignored us. Even though the "Christian community" would not get involved, a dozen or so unsaved people saw and understood the issue enough not only to return the petitions, but enough to invest their time in council meetings and money in postage for further effort. We placed sufficient pressure on the council with petitions and appearances at their meetings to stop their efforts to institute county-wide zoning. We kept in touch with these 10 or so people and added to them a few at a time. It doesn't take many people to influence an election in our small county of around 14,000 registered voters.

They used to say about us, "Who are you?" when we would ask candidates something; now they contemptuously say, "You mean that group up in Linden?",A 14 year incumbent commissioner who was beaten in the 92 primary told the man who beat him, "I guess I should have joined that preacher's group over in Linden.",The man who beat him was one of the original 10 who returned a petition. Furthermore, the challenger for the second commissioner's seat unseated a 20 year incumbent. The victor stood strongly against us at our first appearance against zoning 5 years ago, but before this last election, he switched sides and stood firmly with us.

All of that to say this: Human nature (pride) hates starting at the bottom with just one or two; rather, it says that if you cannot do it all at once then there is no need to do it.

What we are doing now with the Salvation book and The Biblical Examiner (5/8/92, received another request for 200 Salvation books from a pastor in Somerset OH) started as just a few books or ideas 6 years ago. RemoveFromMO We keep getting responses back saying that they should write something. But no one wants to write. Why?,I don't know other than if they cannot start at the top, they see no need to do it.

So what is our point?,Christians, particularly, feel that if they cannot start at the top there is no need to proceed. It seems that most Christians are not interested in the promises of God that cannot be claimed right now. Extremely few people are willing to pursue a course of action which, in their opinion, does not promise instant results. We could call this attitude "Instant Mashed Potato" or even the "Microwave" mentality. On the other hand, the wicked have no problem starting with just a few, and with those few mix in long-range plans. The result is that they seem to have conquered the world for evil.

To these Mashed Potato Christians, Omnipotence means that the Lord will move on their command. Yes, they believe in a Sovereign All-powerful God, but they see Him as one who will fulfill all of His promises immediately at their command. When He does not move according to their timetable and in the manner which they feel He should, then many times they are ready to turn their back upon Him.

This is closely connected with instant (Mashed Potato) salivation resulting from the "Pray this Prayer" mentality.

2),Notice how quickly the Israelite officers turned on the man of God. It does not take much to turn even God's people (particularly the Mashed Potato Christians) against God and His man. They cursed Moses and Aaron in the name of the Lord: the Lord look.. and judge.. "Things are not going as we expected and as we understood you to promise," they tell Moses; "You delivered a false message and gave us a false hope.",

Just a few days previously, they had hugged Moses' neck and told him how glad they were that the Lord had sent him to them with God's truth; they had praised God for sending their promised deliverance from bondage by Moses, 4:30. Now they are cursing Moses in the name of the Lord.

Observe:,One of the saddest thing in any pastor's ministry is the shortness of memory of God's people. My former pastor used to tell me of this hidden sin (ie. 4:31 & 5:21) in the heart of God's people, but I never believed it until I experienced this short memory. This is a sad thing to say, but I am becoming very cautious of people who profess undying love for their pastor. Many of the very people who profess the most love will turn the furthest from the one they profess to love.

I have no doubt that if possible the people of Ex 5:21 would have found another church or another pastor for their church.

3),Their faith in and worship of the Lord was not only very short lived, but it was conditioned upon the message corresponding to their desires and upon the Lord fulfilling their expectations. The people believed that the Lord would release them from their bondage, so they worshipped God. The promise of God was quickly and easily abandon when things did not meet their expectations.

Observe: Their faith in God's promises was conditioned upon their circumstances.

4),In their opinion, the promised deliverance was to be fulfilled in ease and luxury; they interpreted the promise as saying that all Moses and Aaron had to do was present the word of God to Pharaoh who then, trembling and shaking, would gladly release them.

Observe:,They expected an easy solution to a very difficult situation. They saw God's promised intervention as a promise of easy salvation from their very oppressive bondage. They interpreted the word of God (4:30) to say that all their problems were over: they expected deliverance without any effort, discipline or suffering on their part; they expected deliverance without God's judgment against sin, either Egypt or their's; they expected a supernatural carrying away on flowery beds of ease from all the problems, difficulties and hard labor of life. Based upon their understanding of Moses' words, they just did not expect Pharaoh's evil response. They heard Moses say what they wanted to hear, then tried to hold Moses' accountable for what they heard.

Misinterpretation of God's word has led to false hopes throughout the ages: God will intervene in a "painless, strainless" way against today's oppressive Pharaohs; it expects Supernatural deliverance from the oppressive powers of this present age without any judgment against sin in the congregation of the Lord or against oppressive Pharaohs; it desires deliverance without diligence, distress or departure from worldly goods.

5),Their corrupt faith demanded victory without humility. Typical of this generation was that any trial of their faith brought rebellion against Moses (and thus against God) upon their part. (Cf. 1 Sam 8:7; 1 Pet 1:7; 5:5,6; Ja 4:6-10. Their rebellion cost them the promised rest, Heb 3 & 4:1-3.)

True faith would have shared their concerns with Moses, but the major doubts and complaints about their distressed condition would have been to the Lord, Philippians chapter 4 (v.6).

6),V. 22. What we feel is evil treatment by the Lord is actually Him working His much higher purpose for our good and for His Kingdom's sake, Romans 8:28.

7),Finally, we will see that God delivers His people in spite of themselves. He did not deliver them for any good on their part because, as Moses told them, they were rebels from the first day he met them. The Lord delivered them because of his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob, 2:24. (Cf. De 7:7-11 ["If," says Moses, "He kept His word for good to deliver you, He will surely keep His word to judge your sin"]; 9:4ff.)

In conclusion, we see from this exchange of hostile words (v.21) that deliverance will come for God's people; God's people will be delivered into God's promises to Abraham (cf. Gal 3:29). But before this happens, there will be some difficult days of plagues ahead.

V. 22.
Moses expected an easy delivery even though he knew better, 4:21.

Notice what the Lord did here -- He further separated Moses from the people. Moses had Aaron as a go-between. Now, he is even further removed as Israel turns turn against him again for not, in their opinion, delivering on his promise of 4:31.

Moses asks a question of the Lord, "Lord, why…," but he is not given an answer. Moses continues to try to get out of having to do what the Lord has called him to do, but he cannot.

V. 23.
Moses takes his complaint to the Lord as the people should also had done. He also expected an easy deliverance. Notice neither hast thou… He places the blame upon the Lord with "Lord, you have not kept Your promise.",
Moses expresses the doubts concerning his calling before the Lord. I would say in this situation: "Lord, I told you this would happen back at the bush, but You sent me anyway. Now what?",But, the Lord knows our frame and that we are but dust, so He encourages Moses and gives fresh assurance of His call and that He will accomplish His plan, 6:1. In fact, to meet this further demand upon Moses, the Lord gives to him further revelation of Himself. God will reveal more about Himself to His faithful servants as they need that further revelation.

Some points for our consideration:,

1),The simple challenge had been issued by Moses and Aaron. All that remained now was to prove which god was the strongest: the gods of Egypt or the Lord God. There would be no contest.

2),As Pharaoh's oppression of Israel became more tyrannical, Jehovah's triumph would be more glorious.

3) We say that we fear God; therefore, we expect the pagans to fear God. They do not have the same reverence for Him as we do, and we are greatly disappointed. Sad to say, we see here that God's people were very short on faith. Is it any wonder that Pharaoh had no faith.

Note that Israel was only one step ahead of Pharaoh in their unbelief:,Moses spoke once to Israel and they believed, 4:31. Moses spoke once to Pharaoh and he did not believe, 5:2. Pharaoh responded in unbelief, and Israel turned from their belief. We could almost put these words in Israel's mouth in 5:21: "Who is the Lord that we should believe you and Him.",Though they did not say this, they sure curse Moses in the name of the Lord.

4),We want deliverance from Egypt and victory over the pagans with no effort on our own, or at least minimal effort. We desire an easy salvation with no judgment. Israel, including Moses, expected to be able to speak to Pharaoh and Pharaoh would fear God and submit to God's word. When Pharaoh did not respond as they expected, they blamed God for not delivering on His word.

5),Actually, Israel feared God little more than did Pharaoh. This reminds us that God did not deliver Israel because of their faith; they had little more than did Pharaoh. Israel had a head-knowledge of the God of their fathers' which caused them to cry out to the Lord, but their knowledge did not translate into an active faith. God delivered Israel because of His promise to Abraham. He is a covenant-keeping God, and He is now keeping His covenant.

6),I have found it extremely typical of Christianity that we want total deliverance and victory all at once. People do not like to start out with just a word or two and build upon it. We feel that if we cannot see immediate results, then we are wasting our time.

7),If the greatest man in history other than Christ had this trouble, think of the problems we have. How many times have I thought the same thing: "Lord, this is not according to the promise that I feel you have given to me."

8),Obviously, we give up too easily. But if we skip ahead to the next chapter, v. 1, we see that the Lord does not rebuke Moses for his shortness of faith. Rather, the Lord says, "Now I can show Myself strong."

9),As the ungodly Pharaoh's of our day stand against the Lord and His people, as they do all they can to stamp out Christianity, we can rest assured that the Lord will show Himself strong. Both the ungodly Pharaohs and faithless covenant-people will know that it was indeed the hand of the Lord that delivered His people.

My, how thankful I am for the grace and mercy of God. He works with us where we are to bring us to where we ought to be.