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Persecuted Witnesses

Exodus 5:1-2,8-9,17-18,20-22 Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover, I will not let Israel go”… But the number of bricks that they made in the past you shall impose on them, you shall by no means reduce it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words”… But he said, “You are idle, you are idle; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the LORD.’ Go now and work. No straw will be given you, but you must still deliver the same number of bricks”… They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; and they said to them, “The LORD look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” Then Moses turned to the LORD and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?

Finally the reluctant obedience of Moses was rewarded with his greatest fear, rejection from the Pharaoh and from the Israelites he came to free!

This is a hard knock on the heads of the Israelites who obediently followed Moses’ lead because they sensed he was sent by God and was there to deliver them to freedom.

Instead of the gift of freedom, they were given hard labour as a reward and had lost favour in the eyes of the Pharaoh and all Egypt. What can God speak to us today through this story of God’s broken promise?

Back in Exodus 3:19, God said to Moses, ‘I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders that I will do in it; after that he will let you go.’

God had revealed to Moses that Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go easily and this was proof of that statement.

Worse still, Moses cried out to God on behalf of the broken Israelites asking God why He did evil to these people!

Time and time again, Jesus said that the cost of bearing His name would be persecution. Read Mat. 5:11-12, Mat. 10:17; 24:9; Luke 21:12; John 15:20; 16:2 and 2 Tim. 3:12.

In John 15:20, He said ‘If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you’ and then in Luke 21:13, Jesus revealed the purpose of persecution by saying, ‘This will be your opportunity to bear witness’.

Moses and the Israelites look like a complaining bunch but in reality, their suffering was great indeed. They expected freedom and got persecution in return, a real let down for a nation waiting for liberation.

We do know that not long after, the Israelites were freed but not before things got a lot worse for them. We certainly have short memories like Moses and are quick to complain but slow to respond.

God in His sovereign ways works out all things for His glory and regardless of our contrite hearts establishes His perfect will.

Jesus gives us the opportunity to be freed from the slavery of sin and offers us instant redemption, permanent hope and a promise of an eternity in His presence. However, this invitation comes at a cost and that cost is our lives.

Are you willing to lose it all to gain much more than you lost? Then call on Jesus right now.

If you are saved by God’s grace, do you live a life of bearing witness to His name or are you reacting like Moses with amnesia when under persecution?

In His Loving Service,

ServantBoy

John 15:20 (Jesus said) If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you also.

If you would like to know about Jesus, then please click here.

2.9.2011

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