Chapter 5 of Exodus has the Egyptians scaling back on the raw material supply for the brickmaking Hebrew slaves, but demanding the same daily quota. Now the slaves have to gather the straw themselves to make the bricks.
Pharoah does this to make sure they don’t have any leisure time. If they’re kept busy, they won’t have any energy left to plan an uprising.
Kind of like when your mom said “Stop yer cryin’ or I’ll give you something to cry about”.
Did your mom say that? I had a nice mom, and she said that a lot. And she never did give us kids something to cry about.
We learned early on to keep complaints to ourselves. Remember how long those summer months were? By August we were restless and bored. But if mom noticed our idleness and sighing, she’d quickly give us something to do. It usually involved cleaning and scrubbing,
Back to Moses. He’s just doing what God asks him to do: requesting three days off in order to travel and give a sacrifice to God. Talk about shooting the messenger. He gets it from both sides. Pharoah is infuriated. The Israelites are angry with him too. Why was Moses stirring the pot and causing them all this extra work?
We know it’s going to get a lot worse for everybody before it gets any better. The Hebrews suffer right along with their Egyptian neighbors with the first three of the ten plagues.
But we also know that God planned it all. He knew what it would take to get His stubborn children to leave Egypt for God-knows-where (literally). He knew what it would take for hard-headed Pharoah to let them go.
This is strangely comforting. If we feel that things aren’t going forward in life, we are in good company. Well, maybe I should say stubborn and hard-headed company.