Pharaoh’s foolish rebellion against Jehovah

Published 3:16 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

Scripture: Exodus 5:1-6:9

Aim: To help the pupil understand that refusal to obey Jehovah’s will only bring trouble to others.

Golden Text: “And Jehovah said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2).

Email newsletter signup

Moses and Aaron arrived in Egypt and gathered the Israelites for a meeting (Exodus 4:29-31). When told that Jehovah had sent Moses and Aaron to deliver them from Egyptian bondage, they “bowed their heads and worshipped.” They must have thought that the impossible was about to come to pass.

I. Moses’ and Aaron’s first encounter with Pharaoh (5:1-5). Pharaoh received the two strangers into audience with him. He was totally unprepared for the request they asked of him.

“Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness” (vs. 1) they requested?

He replied by asking, “Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go” (vs. 2). Probably he had never heard that such a God as Jehovah’s God existed. The Egyptians had many gods. If fact, Pharaoh himself was considered to be a deity, and he was worshipped by some of his subjects.

It is very important when dealing with persons about Christ and salvation that we be careful to identify Christ clearly. People will not respond the Christ in faith when they do not know, or understand that He is God in the flesh, the Savior of sinners. In this case, more information about Jehovah’s identity was needed and would be given to the dismay of Pharaoh himself.

Moses and Aaron expressed a concern that Jehovah would punish them should they not go into the wilderness and worship Him (5:3). To which Pharaoh accused them of hindering the people from their work (5:4-5).

II. Pharaoh burdened the Israelites more (Exodus 5:6-9). He refused to furnish straw to make the bricks needed for building and paving streets in Egypt. He made the people gather their own straw and still make the same number of bricks (v. 6-9), thus burdening the Israelites further.

III. The people complained to Pharaoh (5:10-19). He would not lighten the load, but affirmed that the requirement would stay in place. To him they needed more work, not leisure.

IV. The people were angry with Moses and Aaron (5:20-21). They were after blood! These two men had come and stirred up more trouble for the Jewish people (vs. 20-21).

V. Moses complained to the Lord (5:22 – 6:9). He complained that Jehovah had not delivered the children of Israel, but only made their lives more miserable. Moses is a failure. He is ready to quit. Moses charges Him with being untruthful with the people.

VI. Jehovah informed Moses that He could now use Moses, because Moses realized that only God could release the Jews from Egypt(6:1). He promises to cause Pharaoh to drive the people of Israel out of Egypt. God reminds Moses that He is Jehovah God and will perform His promise (vs.2), Jehovah would deliver after great affliction upon the Egyptians (vs. 3-9).

Pharaoh’s refusal to obey Jehovah had placed deep affliction on all of the Egyptians. Often the refusal to obey God brings suffering and problems. It is best to humbly obey when Jehovah commands.

Moses has learned a wonderful lesson. He cannot do God’s work. Neither can we. We simply obey the commands given, trust the Lord, and watch Him do His works. To do this one needs to surrender to God’s will in humility and thanksgiving. God then is able to work for, in, and through His people.