“Lord? What’s going on?”
That’s the essence of Moses’ words in the last two verses of Exodus 5.
Moses tells us that the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites with “forced labor,” that they made their lives “bitter” and worked then “ruthlessly.” Israel “groaned” in their slavery – but they remained in slavery. God “heard their cry,” “saw their misery” and was “concerned” about them. He chose and sent Moses to deliver them and Moses did everything God said.
But the slavery continued.
In fact, it got worse. Israel had been forced to make bricks. It’s one thing to make bricks from the raw materials supplied. It’s quite another to have to gather your own raw materials and still make the same amount of bricks.
Israel, instead of rallying around Moses their leader, turned on him, and Moses had to wonder what God was up to.
As people of God, we live with the promises of the Lord, promises of his protection, indwelling and reward. But equally as people of God, we also live with disappointment when God fails to rescue or bless us as and when we believe his promises warrant.
God, however, has His own agenda and it is rarely so small that it focuses only on one person or even a small group of people. God is working out his cosmic plan for the lives of humanity. Much must come together at just the right time for God’s goals to be met. It should be enough to simply be a part of His plan.
But it rarely is.
Moses is discouraged and puzzled, but he isn’t quitting. Imagine what would have happened if he had?