Exodus 5:6-9 – 6The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen, 7“You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as in the past; let them go and gather straw for themselves. 8But 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.’ 9Let heavier work be laid on the men that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.”
There are a plethora of false teachers out there who would convince anyone, Christian or potential Christian, that being the people of God and following the commands of God is the key to making your life on earth easier. But we can learn a simple lesson about such teaching from the experience of Moses and the Israelites from Exodus 5. God commanded Moses to go to the Pharaoh, and to demand that he let the people of God go. According to many of our pop Christian teachers who proclaim health, wealth, and prosperity for all who are God’s, Moses and the Israelites should have met with great success. You would think, from the way that some teachers write, that the Pharaoh would have been ready to pack for the Israelites. But this is not the case.
In reality, following God does not always lead to happiness and success in this life. In Matthew 5:10-12, Jesus promised his followers persecution from the world. Here in Exodus 5, Moses did what God told him to do, and Moses’ life and the lives of the people he loved were made miserable by the Pharaoh. The people were forced to work harder. The foremen were beaten by their task masters. The hardships for the Israelites increased dramatically simply because Moses did exactly what God had commanded.
So, the question might arise, “Why follow God?” If God is not promising to make your life easy here, why follow him at all? And the answer is that we do not live for this world. We live for eternity. God may give you a nice, comfortable, relatively painless life; but that is no guarantee. What is guaranteed is, if you are God’s child by grace through Faith in Jesus Christ, your eternity is set. You will live forever in God’s kingdom, in perfect happiness, in perfect fellowship with God, in complete and utter joy if you become God’s child here on earth. You obey God now, because you love God for both what he has done for you in purchasing your salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross and for what he will do for eternity. You serve God now because, even though you face persecution, glorifying God is the reason you exist and is therefore the most fulfilling thing you can possibly do.
No, we do not follow God to have our easiest life now. Instead, we follow God because we love him, because it gives us joy to glorify him even in the midst of persecution, and because being God’s child leads to an eternity of perfection. No, life may not be easy, and never let anyone convince you that it will be. But, when you are doing what God has commanded you to do, you can know this: your suffering in this life will be very small in comparison to the glories of an eternity in the presence of your Lord.
Dear God, I come to you this day, and I acknowledge that you do not promise a life of success and ease. I recognize that sometimes, obedience to your commands leads to exactly the opposite result. However, I desire to obey you. I would rather suffer while obeying you than to have success while dishonoring you. I pray that you will grant me the opportunity, this day, to serve you through the joy or through the pain of life. I pray that you will give me the great honor of pointing others to the glory of your holy name.