What To Do When You Have To Make Bricks Out Of Straw?
Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’”2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”4 But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” 5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”10 Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 And Pharaoh’s slave drivers beat the Israelite overseers they had appointed, demanding, “Why haven’t you met your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”15 Then the Israelite overseers went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” – Exodus 5:1-23 NIV
Not every one walked into the New Year with joy, perhaps you had high expectations, but some of you were really going through, and are really going through. Some of you are depressed, discouraged, and taking life day by day because that is about all you can handle. Things may “look pretty bad” this year, or just right now. You may have problems that don’t have solutions, and you may have solutions to problems that just don’t seem to be working out. Right now, things may seem impossible, you may feel as if there is no way out, at least none that you may see. Things just keep mounting, and you may feel like you have been asked to make bricks out of straws.
In this text, the people have been calling out to God and asking Him to save them. They have been talking to Him about all the things that have been going on, and He is in the answering and cleaning up mode. God called on Moses to save his people, and finally take them out of their misery. It’s finally time for the promise God made Abraham to come to pass. In this moment in time though, they have what may seem like an insurmountable situation in front of them. They have to make bricks without straw. To give you some context, they already had a difficult enough job making and moving bricks, and building, they already have enough on their plate. Adding on this extra step just made everything 10 times worse for them. I can almost hear them saying this is not better, God this is worse. Even Moses is wondering what God is doing here because he sees how their condition is getting worse! The Israelites don’t want Moses’ kind of help. Now that they have seen what Moses’ help produces, they hate the idea that Moses has come to them, promising God was gong to make life better, and instead his actions at least to them just made life harder, and everyone feels worse! Moses feels like a failure, and even he is questioning God’s strategic plan and implementation.
Perhaps you know how this feels, I know I do! Your marriage was bad, but now since you have been praying and going to church, now it’s worse. You fought before, but now it seems like you fight every day. Your boss was giving you a hard time, but now he is writing you up for everything you do, and it seems like he is just picking with you for no reason. Before you hated your job, but now you’re afraid you are about to lose it. Your children are getting in trouble at school, they don’t help out at home, and you feel as if you are operating on overload. We are not even going to talk about everything that is happening with your finances, you have more month than money and your frustrated, upset, and mad. With all this pressure your health is a mess, you feel terrible, you’ve gained 20 pounds, you are worn out, no energy, and you maybe wondering how in the world did this happen. You have seen doctors, and no one can tell you any good news. Trust me, I’ve been there! You may be thinking this is the new and improved, please give me old, stale and back to normal. You may even feel like a known hell is better than an unknown Heaven, especially when you can’t determine when you will reach the final destination.
The good news is God works in these in between stages in ways you cannot begin to imagine. He works out situations and circumstances on what we feel like is the fly, but the truth is God fixed these things before you were even born. The text tells a story, but it also teaches a lesson that all of us can learn. God is always in the prayer answering posture. He is always answering prayers, and the answers are always on their way. That prayer you prayed last night, the answer is coming! God heard their prayers, and He answered them in Moses. It took some time for Moses to accept his assignment, but God had already answered the Israelites prayers. God knew way back when, how the Israelites situation would be solved, even before they were born. He told Abraham, that there would be a promised land and that they would be in slavery and that He would free them. He told Abraham what they would gain would be far greater, than what they lost. He had already made a promise to make things better.
God has already planned out your redemption! He has already given you the victory; this moment in time when you have to make bricks without straws is a temporary situation, with a finite and a specific end date in mind. Don’t let what you see, stop you from celebrating what is to come. God made a way out of no way already! He answered your prayer even before you prayed it! Your latter will be greater than your former! What we can learn from God in the text! God answers Moses in Exodus Chapter 6, like this…
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty,[a] but by my name the Lord[b] I did not make myself fully known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’” -Exodus 6:1-8 NIV
Beloved, it might seem rough, and it might be tough, TODAY, but God can, God will, and most of all He is going too! Stand, trust, wait and believe! Your breakout is coming!