One of the times that Moses and Aaron appeal to Pharaoh to let God’s people go, Pharaoh concludes that if the people desire to worship their God, they must not have enough work to do. So, Pharaoh commands that not only would the Jews need to continue to produce the same amount of bricks every day, but they would now need to do so without having straw supplied to them. They need to scatter around Egypt and find their own stubble for straw.
The people aren’t happy. And when they find out why Pharaoh has decreed this, they turn in anger to Moses and curse him. In turn, Moses turns to God and complains. He says,
22 Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?
23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.” – Exodus 5:22-23
What audacity! What audacity to say this to the Lord, the Creator of the universe, the Almighty over all. One might expect that God would strike Moses dead at this point, or at least with boils, for he dares to speak against the actions and character of Yahweh.
Yet God is merciful to him. He instead responds,
But the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land.” – Exodus 6:1
Not only does He not punish Moses for his insolence, but He even graciously explains His thought and action. All of what has happened and will happen to Moses and the people is leading up to the Exodus. This was all part of the plan.
Just as God showed patience to Moses when he whined, so God forbears with us. How often do we complain and gripe about our present circumstances? We may not say it in prayer to Him (which is actually worse), but we grumble all the time, and rather than receiving wrath, we receive mercy, and grace, and loving discipline. May we thank the Lord for His mercy.
At the same time, we can see from this passage that Moses’s grumbling was unfounded and wrong. And the same is true for us. We are to rejoice always and to do all things without grumbling or disputing and to give thanks in all circumstances. And the way that this is possible in the worst of circumstances is that we remember, by the Holy Spirit’s help, that God is good and He is sovereign. He is doing all things according to plan, and it’s all leading up to a weight of glory beyond comparison.
So, may we not only thank God for His patience, but let us also learn to trust in Him.