Reading: Exodus 5:1-9 and 17-23.
Moses and Aaron tell Pharaoh “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go’ ”. Pharaoh refuses, and increases the burden on the Israelites. The people complain to Moses, who then complains to God. This is the beginning of a long and painful process to free Israel. Why does God take so long? John Calvin gives several answers to the question, including:
First, God displays more clearly His power; for if Pharaoh voluntarily gives up or is defeated without effort, God’s victory will not be so glorious.
Second, by these events God wants Israel to remember His great love for them; by persistently and forcibly struggling against the stubbornness of this powerful king, God gives great proof of his love towards his Church.
Third, God wants His servants to be patient at all times; they must not give up hope if God does not immediately answer their prayers and relieve them from their distresses.
Fourth, God wants to show that He will overcome every work of Satan and the plans of the ungodly who oppose Him and the church. God assures us that no matter how strong the opposition, He will prevail.
Fifth, by exposing the deceit of Satan and Egypt’s magicians, God warns His Church to be very careful to recognise and fight against temptations and heresies.
Sixth, God demonstrates his power to Pharaoh and the Egyptians, leaving them without any excuse for their foolishness.
Furthermore God will gain honour: “the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gained honour for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen” (Ex 14:18).
Key text: Ex 5:22-23 “So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
Question: Which of God’s attributes are evident in the above?