Exodus 10:24-26 Pharaoh summoned Moshe and said, “Go, worship ADONAI; only leave your flocks and herds behind – your children may go with you.” Moshe answered, “You must also see to it that we have sacrifices and burnt offerings, so that we can sacrifice to ADONAI our God. Our livestock will also go with us – not a hoof will be left behind – because we must choose some of them to worship ADONAI our God, and we don’t know which ones we will need to worship ADONAI until we get there.” I’ve read this story a hundred times, and heard it probably as many times. Moshe tells Pharaoh to let the people of Isra’el go, but over and over Pharaoh refuses. This time this particular verse struck me. Pharaoh says they can go (he actually does this the previous time too, but won’t let them take their children), as long as they leave their animals behind (animals and herds, at this time, were like money, and to leave them behind would have meant starvation and death). Moshe says that is not acceptable and the people won’t leave without them. Seems insignificant, right? But did you catch the part where Pharaoh let them go (albeit, conditionally)? If I were in a difficult spot and I was offered the chance to go, I’d go. I’d think, “Whew! God’s finally getting me out of here!” I’d take the best offer they’d give me and run. But that’s not what Moshe does. He refuses to settle for “whatever he can get.” He stands firm and says that the people must take all their things, including their children and livestock. When Isra’el goes, they’re going in style! Obviously, it’s important to note that Moshe was in the middle of a rather unusual situation and had been speaking at the behest of God. But, God never wants us to leave a difficult situation with our tails tucked between our legs, whimpering and escaping by the skin of our teeth! He won total victory for us! He is THE God! He is almighty and powerful and strong and awesome! God doesn’t whimper. God also doesn’t settle for whatever He can get. It’s all His. And He’s not leaving it behind! The point that really made me stop was, “How often do I settle for less because I’m in such a hurry to get out of the situation I’m in?” How often have I left my Egypt, but left behind the spoils and my belongings? Shortly after Moshe leaves Pharaoh, God tells the people to ask their neighbors for their gold and silver jewelry, and He gives the Isra’elites so much favor that all the Egyptians load them up with their jewelry (which, being gold and silver, would be like the Egyptians emptying their bank accounts to give it to the Isra’elites)! Talk about taking it all when you go! This is how we are to live! We don’t leave with a whimper and with our tail tucked between our legs! We leave with all the spoils of the situation we’re walking out of! We walk out with all our belongings, all our blessings, and take the ones that belong to the enemy, too! ADONAI, Lord of Hosts, may I have the boldness to walk in Your great favor and to only leave when I can take the treasures of my enemies with me; not leaving behind any of the things You’ve blessed me with, not settling for whatever I can get, and not leaving before Your glory has been manifested! May I walk in the victory You promise, and believe that when You give the victory, it is total and complete. I praise You that you make those around me favorable disposed towards me, and that I am regarded highly by my enemies, and that You have already won my victory! Hallelu Ya!
Exodus 6:1 YHWH said to Moshe [Moses], “Now you will see what I am going to do to Pharaoh. With a mighty hand he will send them off; with force he will drive them from the land!” All through Exodus 5, the people of Israel feel the backlash of Moshe’s request to Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Pharaoh, instead of agreeing or simply saying “no”, makes the already difficult task of making bricks for building projects even more difficult by requiring the Israelites to find their own straw. Instead of a rescue, Moshe the man sent by God has caused a huge setback and an even worse situation. So Moshe turns to God and asks Him why he was sent. God tells him to watch and see what He will do to Pharaoh. God needs to make a point with Pharaoh, utterly crushing the so-called power of the Egyptian “gods’, down to the god-man, Pharaoh himself. How often is this like our lives? God promises something incredible, but instead of getting better, things seem to get worse. For me, it’s scary and often faith-shaking as I wonder what on earth God is doing. But, one thing that the Torah and the apostles all agree on is God’s faithfulness. In the story of Moshe, the darkness before the dawn of hope makes Pharaoh cocky. When God systematically destroys the “power” of each of the Pharaoh’s gods, He shows the Israelite people (and the Egyptians) that there is only one God, who has power over everything. Ultimately, when the Israelites are sent from Egypt, they go with all the gold and silver and jewels of the Egyptians, richer than they ever would have been if they’d have left on their own. In our lives, the darkness before the dawn is a time when God deals with some of the ugliness in us so that when it is time to step out, we can step out richer and stronger and more confident in our God’s power. That tough time is a good time to work on strengthening our warfare strategies and our prayer muscles. It’s a time to keep an eye out for the ways that God is destroying the “gods” we’ve raised up in our lives. And it’s a time to wait with anticipation for the moment when God finally says, “GO!”