But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
– Exodus 3:19-20
Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 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.”
– Exodus 5:22-23
To fill in the gap between these two passages, Moses is given the sign of the staff turning into a snake and his hand becoming leprous, and then clean, in Exodus 4 (at the burning bush). God gets angry with Moses’ excuses and suggests that Aaron, Moses’ older brother would be Moses’ spokesman before Pharaoh. In Exodus 5, Moses gives his request to Pharaoh, and Pharaoh makes them gather their own straw for making bricks, making their burden heavier.
The Israelites had not heard what God said to Moses in Exodus 3. They don’t know of the coming signs.
Yet, what is odd is that there is no record of Moses remembering either. At the end of Exodus 5, Moses gets angry with God. Moses is begging God to let him go back to his sheep in the land of the Midianites. All Moses has done for his people is to make things worse.
We think that we created ‘short attention spans’ in the past one hundred years, but Moses hears that God will perform great ‘wonders.’ God says that He will stretch out His hand and strike the Egyptians. One snake, transformed from Moses’ staff, eating a few Egyptian snakes does not count as many great wonders. It doesn’t strike the Egyptians. That phrase sounds like people are going to get hurt. “Rats! I am an Egyptian sorcerer, and I must go down to the magic stick shop and buy a new one. This has hurt everyone in the land of Egypt!” Of course, the sorcerers might think that, but the Egyptians that weren’t in the royal palace that day probably never heard about it.
What was Moses thinking? Was Moses thinking? He was getting old. Maybe he forgot. Or maybe short attention spans are part of human nature, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve.
It may take a few days, but I will follow this brief thought with more details about these upcoming ‘wonders.’ As I just read the end of Exodus 5, it simply made me think. Moses did a lot of one-on-one time with God, but he also had moments when he was kind of thick headed.
Praise the Lord. God is the master at teaching us patience, for He has a lot of practice being patient with us.