Moses and Pharaoh

The Bible in Art: Moses and Pharaoh  


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Verses for Consideration: Exodus 5:1-2, 20-23    

1 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.” …


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.”



Have you ever questioned God’s goodness because of something he allowed to happen to you? Moses did.

“Why?” Moses asked the Lord. “Why have you allowed the Israelites’ slavery to get worse here in Egypt?”

From a burning bush God had called Moses to lead his people out of their captivity in Egypt, and Moses obeyed. The way to freedom -after 430 years of slavery- seemed open. But the king of Egypt became a roadblock. “I will not let
Israel go,” he vowed. Then he gave the Israelites even more work to do. “They are lazy,” he said. “That is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.'”

The Israelite workers complained to their foremen. The Egyptian overlords beat the foremen because not enough work was done. Then Moses felt the pressure. “May the LORD look upon you and judge you!” the foremen cursed. “You have made us a stench to Pharaoh.”

That’s when Moses turned to God and questioned what he was doing. He couldn’t understand how God could put him in a position like this. He had obeyed, but instead of freedom, the Israelites got trouble. “You have not rescued your people at all,” Moses grumbled.

Moses hadn’t learned to trust that God’s thoughts and ways are so much higher than ours are and always for our good.

God’s plan for rescuing his people included ensuring they would be safe from Egypt for generations to come. He also intended to frighten Israel’s new neighbors in the Promised Land. His plan was to devastate Egypt and, in that devastation, exhibit to all people how powerful he is.

By sending his Son to be our Savior, God has demonstrated that he loves us and always has our best interests in mind, even when the way he leads seems
unjust. No wonder the Bible encourages, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for your promise that you will always work in our lives for our good. Strengthen us through your Word to trust that promise. Amen.


Title: Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh (1537) 

Artist: Unknown