Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Monday after Septuagesima Sunday

Posted on February 18, 2019 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: Exodus 5:1-23 (NKJV)
5:1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.'”
2 And Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, nor will I let Israel go.”
3 So they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”
4 Then the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.” 5 And Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!”
6 So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, 7 “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8 And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it, and let them not regard false words.”
10 And the taskmasters of the people and their officers went out and spoke to the people, saying, “Thus says Pharaoh: ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go, get yourselves straw where you can find it; yet none of your work will be reduced.'” 12 So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. 13 And the taskmasters forced them to hurry, saying, “Fulfill your work, your daily quota, as when there was straw.” 14 Also the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today, as before?”
15 Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, “Why are you dealing thus with your servants? 16 There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, ‘Make brick!’ And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people.”
17 But he said, “You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ 18 Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks.”
19 And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, “You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota.” 20 Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. 21 And they said to them, “Let the LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
22 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
When God began His great work of redeeming Israel from slavery in Egypt, things got worse before they got better. The Egyptians made life even harder for the enslaved Israelites after Moses spoke the Lord’s word to Pharaoh.
So it went also with Christ. He had to face temptation, persecution, suffering, and death before rising from the dead. So it went also for His earliest believers; for the first three hundred years after Pentecost they suffered terribly at the hands of the unbelieving world until eventually the worst of the persecutions ended.
So it goes for the whole world in these end times. Things have to get worse before they get better, before we enter the true Promised Land. The world’s hatred of Christians is getting worse. The society we live in is becoming harder for the godly to endure. And Christians have to bear a cross that the world will never know. Didn’t God promise to deliver us from all this?
He did. And He will deliver us from it in His time, even as He showed in His mighty deliverance of Israel. Indeed, He has already redeemed us from the power of sin, death, and the devil by the cross of His Son, bringing us into His holy Church. But He also warned us that things would get worse here before they get better, before the final deliverance takes place. For now, though the flesh would accuse the Lord of faithlessness or of slowness in keeping His promise, let us remember His dealings with Israel in Egypt, and let us consider the blessed outcome.
We pray: O Lord, sustain our faith when Your deliverance seems far off, that we may partake of the wondrous things You have promised, for the sake of Christ our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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