People Who Say Such Things: Bricks Without Straw



March 21, 2020

Exodus 5:1-3 (NIV)

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.”

3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”

4 But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” 5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”


Moses and Aaron must have thought to themselves, “This will only take a couple of days.” They were obeying God, moving in his grant of authority. They had received the favor of the Elders of Israel. A couple of conversations with Pharaoh should do the trick. After all, they were doing the will of God, right?

If God is for us, who can be against us, right? Short answer, Pharaoh can be against us. Though God must win the battle, it doesn’t mean there will not be a ton of opposition, struggle, hardship and loss along the way. There is an interpretive heading over chapter 5 in most of our bibles. Three words tell the story. BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW. 

6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” 5:6-9

BRICKS WITHOUT STRAW. In the matter of deliverance, the “Bricks without straw” principle teaches us things will often get worse before they get better. I hate to say it, but I think this is par for the course. The will of God diametrically opposes the will of Satan. The forces of evil, the powers, principalities, rulers and authorities of this present darkness will not release their hold without a fight. Pharaoh will not willingly  give up his slave labor force. They are building his kingdom.

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.” 5:22-23

Pursuing the will of God will not mean smooth sailing. It does not mean life will get easier. It will be better, but likely harder. You can expect tremendous blessing and yet you can be guaranteed significant struggle and difficulty. Though many others will be blessed, even future generations to come, the people around and associated with you will often pay a price or suffer a consequence for your obedience. 

Deliverance is costly. Ask Jesus. It’s why he says things to us like, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Ask Moses and Aaron. As glorious as the outcome will be, the process can be excruciating and the work often thankless. 

19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 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.” 5:19-21

Moses and Aaron carried the cross before there was a cross. Or did they? God reveals a great mystery to us through the lives and obedience of Moses and Aaron. It is this: there was never a time before the cross. Why do I say this? Because the cross is the Love of God; “the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God” (to borrow a popular song lyric). Revelation 13:8 reminds us the Lamb was slain from before the foundation of the World. 

“Oh he chases me down, fights till I’m found, leaves the ninety nine. . . .”

People who say such things. . .


Father, I want to be a person who says such things. I marvel at who you are. From before time and the world came to be, you are self-giving love. You give yourself away. You love in such costly ways. And this is what you will for me; to love in costly ways; to lay down my life for my friends, to give myself away. And you will do it in and through me. Come Holy Spirit, and train me to be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 


Are you grasping more of the mystery of the profundity and power of the love of God? You know what he does for you. Are you ready for him to do more in you and then through you? 


So we made a big decision yesterday. We asked God for his plan for us at Seedbed in this time of global crisis. His answer was clear: GIVE IT ALL AWAY. So we are making all our resources available in digital and video streaming format at no charge for the next week. Take what you need. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.