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!”