In the Office: Of Blessing, Bricks and Bondage

Today’s Old Testament lesson (Exodus 5:1 to 6:1) offers a window into the bondage of God’s people before the LORD  delivered them through the wonders of the Exodus. At the LORD’s command, Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh and deliver God’s message: “Let my people go so that they can worship me in the wilderness.” But Pharaoh is hard of heart and more concerned about productivity than about people; and so, he doubles down on the burden of their slavery: “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.” (5:7-8)In the Office

Now, I suspect that there’s a “labor-friendly” message in there somewhere about the manner in which workers are still often called upon “to do more with less.” But rather than dwelling there, let’s simply note that the people are upset about these new demands, which turn out to be impossible to meet. And in their frustration, they turn on Moses and Aaron: “May the Lord look on you and judge you!” (5:21)

This is a rather far cry from the attitude they displayed at the end of the previous chapter. There, Moses and Aaron had gathered the people together and had told them everything that the LORD planned to do for them. And the scriptures say: “They believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.” (4:31)

Why did their attitude change so dramatically? Well, the increase of their suffering probably played a role! (Duh!) But then, too, I think it’s fair to say that they “forgot the blessing.” They had been given a revelation of the LORD’s concern for them and of His plans to set them free, but they allowed their bondage to seem bigger than the blessing. Like Peter when he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus, they “saw the wind,” and they started to sink back down into the abyss of their slavery.

What about us? Where will our hearts be focused today: on the various forms of bondage that make unrealistic demands and weigh our spirits down? Or on the blessing of knowing that the LORD is concerned about us, knows our burdens, and has promised to set us free?

Paul writes, “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38) May we trust that blessing today — and discover along the way that it offers us a kind of freedom that no challenge can destroy.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s