Worse Instead of Better


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.” Exodus 5:10-23 ESV

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:1-3, 9-11 ESV


In the United States in the 1930s, there were some terrible problems for farmers living in Oklahoma and other Great Plains states. There had not been enough rain, and the area turned into a “Dust Bowl.” It was hard to grow any crops. Many farmers and their families were forced off their land, especially since the tractor was becoming more common, and the people who owned the land didn’t need farmers to do the work anymore. So the farmers lost their homes. Many of them tried to move to the west coast, especially California, where they heard there was work. Many families were terribly disappointed with the life they found in California. There wasn’t enough work. They were terribly poor, and had to camp by the roadside in tents or shacks or in the backs of their trucks. They had hoped that life would get better, but instead it only got worse. Many of them almost completely lost hope.

The people of Israel felt much the same way. Moses had told them that God was going to save them from slavery, but after that Pharaoh made life even harder for them. They had to work even harder than before, and it was impossible to meet Pharaoh’s cruel demands. Some of them were beaten, and they got angry with Moses for doing nothing but cause trouble. Moses didn’t understand how God could allow things to get even worse for his people. He cried out to God for an answer.

Sometimes it’s hard to understand how God allows bad things to happen to the people he loves. We know that God works good things for his people in his own time and way, but it’s not always easy to understand why things happen the way they do. Sometimes we’re even tempted to lose hope that God loves us and is working for our good. We might also cry out to God for an answer.

God gave us his best answer when he became a human person in Jesus. Jesus took all the sadness and pain and injustice in the world to the cross with him. He did this to defeat the sin and death that is the cause of all our problems. Because of Jesus, we can always be sure that God is with us and for us. We might not always understand what God is doing, but we can be sure that God understands how we feel and loves us and will always help us through everything.


Dear Heavenly Father, please be with us, forgive us our sins, and help us to trust you through all the good and bad times in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.