Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Last Straw

The Last Straw
April 24, 2017
Exodus 5:22 "Moses returned to the Lord and said, 'Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on these people?  Is this why you sent me?'"

When the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, Moses was sent by the Lord to tell Pharaoh to let His people leave. Moses was supposed to free the slaves, and the brilliant idea of walking into Pharaoh's court just making the demand for freedom didn't work. Pharaoh didn't want to let the slaves free; he benefited greatly from their labor. To punish them for the attempt on freedom, Pharaoh made their tasks harder when he required them to make bricks without straw. The slave drivers beat them with whips to drive them to produce the same number of bricks while gathering their own woody stubble from the fields to use as straw. Their work load doubled. The Hebrews were wondering why they thought it was a great idea to follow this God of theirs who took an already bad situation and make it worse. Their lives were supposed to get better, not cause them to rethink the benefits of serving the Lord.

While in hind-sight, the Lord knew what He was doing, it seems rather harsh to allows the Hebrews' lives to get harder. The Israelite overseers didn't deserve to get whipped for their quota of bricks without straw; and the Lord caused it, in a sense. The Lord knew the Pharaoh would punish them and the Lord allowed it. The Lord allowed their lives to get harder while they attempted to serve Him deeper. It did not seem like a win-win situation. Aren't our lives supposed to get better when we serve the Lord? Why would the Lord allow such treatment of His people who just wanted to worship Him? To what benefit did it serve the Hebrews to get punished for trying to serve the Lord? They continued to have to work harder and longer way before it ever got better.

In the story, the bricks without straw was actually the only thing that negatively impacted the Hebrews during the entire freedom from slavery movement. The term "only" suggests it wasn't that bad even though it was truly rotten. But if you remember the story, there were plagues after plagues on Egypt and the Bible makes clear the plagues were there to punish the Pharaoh for not letting them go. The Egyptians got punished far more than making bricks without straw. The Hebrews were immune to the affects of the plagues. The plagues on the Egyptians were the Lord's retribution for not letting them go, for the whole bricks without straw fiasco. In a sense the Hebrews' lives got harder, but the Lord went to work on their behalf to punish those who would dare take a stab at His children. When the Hebrew's lives got harder, the Lord promised to vindicate them, that it would all be worth it.

You may be trying to serve the Lord right now and it seems your life is harder. While I have no clue what's going on in the background or the spiritual battle over your life, I do know the Lord does not take delight in your life getting harder for serving Him. He does allow it, for whatever reason, but I've never read a time in Scripture when the Lord completely allows the unjust situation permanently. The Lord has always resolved the story for His heroes who serve Him on the earth. You and I may not perceive it, but the Lord honors those who honor Him. Sometimes it happens in this lifetime and sometimes the medals of valor are awarded on the other side of Heaven. But I do know there is no such thing in the Lord's eyes as acceptable harshness towards His children. Bricks without straw is never permanent, though right now it's difficult. The last straw is never the last straw.

Don't take my word for it; look it up:  Exodus 5-6, Rom 9:14-15, Heb 6:9-11, 1 Peter 2:19

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