Summary of passage: The Israelite foreman protest Pharaoh’s orders directly to Pharaoh, telling him it is his fault they are not producing enough because of his orders. [Note for future: Don’t tell the ruler of the world he is wrong and anything is his fault. Bad idea!] Pharaoh tells them they are just lazy. If they have time to sacrifice to the Lord, then they have the time to meet their quotas. They left Pharaoh, dejected. On the way back, they meet Moses and Aaron and blame them for making their lives harder and for making them a stench to Pharaoh.
5a) They had the guts to actually go to Pharaoh, the ruler of the known world, and ask for leniency in their work. Of course, telling Pharaoh it’s his fault they aren’t producing enough was not a good idea and never is.
b) They blamed Moses and Aaron for their increased work load and cursed them essentially. They could only see the immediacy of their plight and not the future. They did not have faith the Lord would free them.
c) Personal Question. My answer: I am sure there have been numerous times I have blamed others when the fault lay with me. I see my kids do this and try my best to instill personal responsibility and faith in them. I’m trying to think of major events and nothing is coming so they must all be small. Either that or I’m in complete denial and blocked it from my memory! 🙂
Conclusions: Natural human reaction is to blame those who brought more upon yourself. It takes a bigger person and a bigger faith to see the bigger picture in the midst of hardship and I believe that is what God is trying to teach us here. Have faith even when you can’t see and especially when you don’t want to see and all you want to do is wallow in self-pity.
End Notes: Instead of turning to God with the straw problem, they went to Pharaoh, the initiator of their problems. I think they hoped for it to go back to the way it was but God didn’t want the way it was–he wanted a new way.
This was a test on Israel from God. He could have snapped his fingers and freed them, but He knew they needed to grow in trust of Him. Gone was the worshipful attitude of Chapter 4. Under duress, how we forget the Lord so!! They were certain this was Moses’ and Aaron’s fault for God would never allow this to happen. But Pharaoh had showed his true colors and little did the Israelites know it would get worse before it got better as God increased their faith in Him.