That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” — Exodus 5:7-9 (NIV84)
Those who listen to me teach Bible studies often hear me refer to 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we walk by faith, and not by sight.” I believe this verse hits the key component of living a life of faith. Often, what our eyes see would cause us to conclude differently from how our faith would. Look at our verses for today. Moses had told the Israelites that God had heard their cries and that He was going to redeem and save them from their oppression. They believed Moses’ message and grew in anticipation for their release from the misery the Egyptians had placed on them. Moses went to Pharaoh with the message that God sent him to give. He told Pharaoh that God wanted him to let the Israelites go. What was Pharaoh’s response? More oppression. The Israelites were told to keep up with their brick-making quotas, but now they had to gather their own straw for making the bricks. Their eyes of sight would conclude that they did not move one step closer to freedom but actually moved deeper into their oppressive slavery.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Sure you have! You were certain that there was light at the end of the tunnel only to find that something happened that kept you in the dark. Things got worse instead of getting better. We all have experienced times in which we were certain we heard God say one thing, and our life situation seemed to say the complete opposite. It is during times like this that walking by faith is so critical. I often tell my Bible classes that there are times in life that it would be better if we closed our eyes so that we could see better. What I mean by that is, the circumstances surrounding our lives can sometimes overwhelm our senses and we lose sight of the promises of God. We become so overwhelmed with what our eyes can see that we fail to see what God has promised and what He is doing.
God’s people, since the beginning of time, have been called to walk by faith and not by sight. What you are going through today does not negate God’s presence or His promises. Just as the Israelites had to endure stronger oppression before their deliverance, we may have to endure more trials and tribulations before we are set free. But be certain of two things: First, if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed, no matter what you are going through. Second, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you into His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” — 1 Peter 5:10 (NASB)
So, let’s walk by faith and not by sight!