This week we read about the first time Moses goes before Pharaoh. I have often wondered why God let it work out such that the first thing that happens is life becoming much more difficult for the Israelites. Why didn’t God just start with the process of getting them out of Egypt?
Moses asks God this same question in Exodus chapter 5 verse 21 through chapter 6 verse 1. God’s only answer is, “now you will see what I do.” I’m still left wondering why God chose to do it this way.
Could it be because of our character as humans? The Israelites had cried out to God about the burden of slavery, but the Bible doesn’t actually record what they wanted. Did they want freedom and the promised inheritance, or did they only want the burdens to be less?
I put forward the possibility that the Israelites only wanted less work. They didn’t want to leave Egypt as, other then the forced labor, things were good there. They weren’t concerned about God’s promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The increased suffering was necessary to get them to even be open to the idea of actually leaving the “comfort” of known surroundings.
Is it not the same with us many times (or always?) ? We ask God to lessen our burdens and increase our portion in life, but we aren’t concerned with actually furthering His kingdom or accepting His promises. Often it takes extreme discomfort or pain to kick us out of our comfort zone and force us to move in a direction that is ultimately much better. And, according to Jewish tradition, this would be a direction that brings the coming of the Messiah closer!