Discouragement

can be a great teacher.

Exodus 5:10-23 (ESV)

So the taskmasters and the foremen of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. Go and get your straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced in the least.’” So the people were scattered throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.” And the foremen of the people of Israel, whom Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, “Why have you not done all your task of making bricks today and yesterday, as in the past?”

Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.” 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.” The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 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? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all.”

Imagine being this discouraged. Your spiritual leaders do something they know is right, and they know is the LORD’s will, and yet it’s a total disaster. The whole nation is cracking under the strain. Moses is completely depressed and asks God, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people?

Oops! Moses has just accused the LORD of doing evil. Don’t worry; God’s going to give him a free pass – this time. After Moses has grown some, he’ll be held to a higher standard.

For now, the LORD is teaching Moses to trust Him. As always, God’s timing is often not to our liking (nor to Moses’s) but He knows what He’s doing.


Discouragement is one of the main ways that the forces of evil attack us. Even when our struggles are nothing compared to slavery, we still tend to get absorbed in our disappointments and lose heart. The LORD wants us to turn to Him for help.

Ask God to encourage those of us who need it. Pray that we will see positive signs, whether it’s in work or school or illness or just in-basket-itis. Pray that we won’t let our challenges get us down. Also, please ask the LORD to help us overcome our obstacles.

But most of all, may we see his hand at work. I can endure a lot if I know what it’s for.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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