The Hebrews suffer harsh treatment working for Pharaoh. Moses himself is unsure what God is doing. But God continues with his plan.
“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”
So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.”
“But Lord!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!”
When Moses gave God’s message to the people, they were too discouraged to listen. The Hebrews didn’t want to hear any more about God and his promises because the last time they listened to Moses, all they got was more work and greater suffering. And think how hard it must have been for Moses. He had to bring God’s message to Pharaoh when his own people had trouble believing it. Eventually the Hebrews believed that God had sent Moses, but for a time he must have felt very alone. Nonetheless, Moses obeyed God, and what a difference it made!
Ultimately, God’s promises for the Hebrews were fulfilled to the letter when they left Egypt. He freed them from slavery, became their God, and accepted them as his people. Then he led them toward the land he had promised. When the Hebrews were rescued from slavery, they portrayed the drama of salvation for all of us. When God redeems us from slavery to sin, he delivers us, accepts us, and becomes our God. Then he leads us to a new life as we follow him.
Sometimes a clear message from God is followed by a time when nothing seems to change. During that time, apparent setbacks may turn people away from wanting to hear more about God. If you are a leader, don’t give up. Keep bringing people God’s message as Moses did. If you are a follower, strive to be patient. God always fulfills his promises.