Notes on Exodus 5-7


Chapter 5 begins with Moses confronting Pharaoh with God’s message, “Let my people go.” The people were excited at the prospect of being set free.  It seems like now that God is involved this is going to be a slam dunk, but Pharaoh says, not so fast. Who is this God you are speaking about? I’m god, and to prove it he makes the people’s work more difficult. The people complain to Moses and Moses complains to God at the end of the chapter.

 God’s plan is multi-faceted. He is not only going to set His people free, He is going to make them strong and make Moses into a leader. In order to do this He is going to use some resistance training. Resistance training takes time and repetition but it is necessary preparation for what lies ahead. The same is true for us. We may not understand the why of what we are going through today but he can be sure that we are being prepared by God, for what lies ahead.

 In Chapter 6 God reassures Moses that He is God, He cares about the people, and even though, Pharaoh seems to be in control, that he is not god. In verse 11 he tells Moses to go back and tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Moses seems discouraged. If the people are not going to listen to him, why would Pharaoh?

 It is important for us to understand what is taking place here. Again, God is using resistance training. On this website, in the “Shepherd My Sheep” section, is a study entitled, “The Hard Life or The Strong Life.” This study describes the process of hardening that is going to take place in Pharaoh’s heart. This study also points out that the Hebrew word translated hard is also translated strong in the Bible. In the New Testament the Greek word for hard means a stone from a stone.  It means to petrify, think petrified wood. The rock, petrified wood, is formed when a piece of wood is buried in the dirt and slowly rots away.  As it rots water is absorbed which is carrying dissolved minerals which are deposited where the wood was. (Think hard water). These minerals form a rock in place of the wood and become much harder.

 It is interesting to me that wood in the Bible symbolizes mankind. When wood is alive as say a tree, wind and rain come against it.  It is watered from the water table even with hard water, yet the tree does not become hard as a stone, it becomes stronger because it has life.

 Pharaoh, Moses, and the people of Israel are going through the same storm. They are facing the same resistance from God.  But Pharaoh is separated and separating himself from God by pride. He is going to put his faith and trust in his magicians and in himself. Pharaoh is spiritually dead and his heart is becoming hard like a stone. Moses and the people of Israel are alive with hope and faith.  Their faith and hope will grow stronger in order to be able to stand against the storms of life that are ahead.

 So, when God says to Moses that he is going to harden Pharaohs heart it is important for us to understand the process and what is truly going on.  If we think that God is going to zap Pharaoh and he has no choice in the matter we will miss a valuable lesson that can have eternal consequences. We will see Pharaoh come close to making the switch but the hardness that he has allowed to be built up will always pull him back into his old hard thinking. In this case it is better to switch than to fight God.

 When trials come, and they will, how we respond based on what we believe will determine whether we will be strengthened or hardened.

Pastor Dave