Taskmasters

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Moses and Aaron deliver the LORD’s message: Let my people go.

But Pharaoh is singularly unimpressed.

“Who is the LORD?”  (Exodus 5:2)

“I’ve heard of Ra, Amun, Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys, these gods I know.  Who is this LORD??”

Pharaoh has no time for weak men preaching a weak message about an unknown God.  Baffled and angry, he turns up the heat on the Israelites.

Pharaoh commanded the same day the taskmasters of the people, and their officers, saying, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves.  (Exodus 5:6-7)

This is what happens when you meet earthly power with the weakness of preaching.  In the end the earthly power comes tumbling down, but in the short-term the people of God suffer more.

But as we read Exodus 5 about their burdens, this isn’t just a history lesson for us.  This is our story.

Jesus will say, “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”  (John 8:34)  We were born into a spiritual Egypt – a slavery to sin and Satan and self.

And here is how it’s described:

Verse 4: Works and burdens – they weigh us down.
Verse 6: Taskmasters We go from task to task to task and the world is our slave-driver.  God might be a Father, but the world is a taskmaster.  And verse 8 is the beat of its drum:
Verse 8: ye shall not diminish ought thereof: for they be idle”.
Verse 9: “Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein
Verse 11 not ought of your work shall be diminished!

That’s the treadmill of the world, the flesh and the devil.

You’re enslaved to sin, working harder and harder to prove yourself and getting less and less recognition.  Even as you do more and more you are branded as lazy.  Our slavery to sin and Satan is just like this.  We chase after moving targets and never get the verdict we’re looking for.

The world is a place of taskmasters.  But the LORD is different.  He speaks these words to those suffering and enslaved:

I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.  (Exodus 6:6-8)

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