In Exodus Chapter 4 we learned God wants Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. However, the Pharaoh refuses. Why does the Pharaoh refuse? Because God hardened the Pharaoh’s heart. Yes, God wants Moses to leave Egypt, but then also directly causes the Pharaoh to refuse Moses. It’s okay to be confused here. It doesn’t make any sense, but that’s God for you. Chapter 5 begins with Moses and Aaron pleading with the Pharaoh to let the people leave. The Pharaoh does not respond kindly.
“’You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ ‘Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.’” – Exodus 5:7-9
What the Pharaoh is doing is wrong. There is no doubt about that, however, let’s remember that it was God who hardened the Pharaoh’s heart. Had God not done this, the Pharaoh may very well have reacted with a much greater level of kindness.
“Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.’” – Exodus 5:22-23
Moses asks an excellent question. God, after all, said He was concerned for the Israelites. God says He is ‘helping’, but it doesn’t appear that way. By hardening the Pharaoh’s heart, God has made the lives of the Israelites MUCH more difficult.
That’s it for Exodus Chapter 5. Because the Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, the Israelites are suffering greatly. The cause of this? God. God is the one who hardened the Pharaoh’s heart. Let’s keep that in mind through the entire story of the exodus.
Coming Soon: Exodus – Chapter 6: The Story Continues