By Mary Vee
Moses wiped sweat from his brow. "Are you ready, Aaron?"
"As ready as I ever will be, Moses."
The guard nodded to them and pushed them forward. They stopped at the place marked. Pharaoh turned from his work. He folded his arms and scowled. "What is your business?"
Moses looked at Aaron then at Pharaoh. "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.'"
Pharaoh stared at the two men for a moment then shook his head. "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice and let Israel go? I don't know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go."
Moses and Aaron stood firm. "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 punish us with pestilence or the sword."
Pharaoh stepped toward the window. "Why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor. I see all those Israelites stitting around. You have grown to a large number." He laughed. "You think you can let them rest from their labor? Get out. Get out, now."
As Moses and Aaron turned to leave, Pharaoh called for his commander. "Tell the taskmasters to stop giving the people straw to make bricks. Let them gather straw for themselves. And watch those Israelites closely, for they are not to make one less brick than their quota. They are nothing more than lazy. Their cries to go sacrifice to their God is nothing more than a way to get out of work."
Moses and Aaron returned to the Israelite camp. Moments later the taskmasters gathered the people. "Listen, you lazy people of Israel. Pharaoh has commanded that you will not be given straw any longer. You will find your own straw to make bricks. And know this--you will make the same number of bricks as before. Go, hurry, for your next quota is nearly due."
The Israelites hurried to find any pieces of straw they could. They looked in every field and gathered stubbs of straw. They tripped and spilled the pieces. Friends and family helped each other, but no one could get enough straw to make the bricks in time. Although Moses and Aaron helped, the Israelites scowled and grumbled against them.
"Be patient. God is with us. He didn't say this would be easy. Please be patient."
One young father raised his fist. "What do you know Moses? You haven't lived here."
"No, I haven't, but God has been with you. He said he will set you free, and He will. Be patient."
When problems arise, it is hard to believe God is standing beside you, helping. Usually we don't notice until after the problem has been resolved. Think back to a time when God helped you. Use this to help you remember that God will always be with you even when you have problems.
What did Moses and Aaron ask Pharaoh?
What did Pharaoh answer?
What problem did the Israelites have?