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Ralph's Daily Devotional - Monday, June 11

Exodus 3:18 is a strange request Moses is called to make regarding the Pharaoh, given the fact that in reality a complete and permanent exodus from Egypt is what God had in mind for His people.  But here, rather than full emancipation, only a three day celebration festival of sacrifice to the Lord is requested.

Scholars see this as a stratagem designed to outmaneuver Pharaoh's intransigence.  On the other hand, a temporary reprieve from drudgery was not uncommon or unreasonable in Egyptian state-wide servitude.

Ancient log records from this time show that time off for slaves was allowed for sacrificing to their particular gods.  Often we hear that there should be records of the Hebrew slaves as well, thus confirming their time in Egypt.  However most scholars still debate what the word "Hebrew" meant to ancient Egyptians since the word can refer to simply nomadic separate groups drawn from a wide variety of cultures and areas.  The word 'Hebrew" simply means "wanderer." 

Moses then did not make an exception for his people to worship, but stood on an Egyptian precedent in making his request to Pharaoh.  The immediate rejection Pharaoh made of this reasonable request revealed his true character.  God already forewarned Moses of his implacable obduracy.  Success will come, but it will require a sustained effort on God's part and patience and faith on Moses' part to liberate Israel.

Here is wisdom.  Many things in our faith and life do not come easily.  These people who always preach easy victory and prosperity should read Exodus!  Victory often requires time, patience, energy and the ability to endure adversity if we are to hopefully gain success.  It can be quite discouraging and overwhelming at times.  Yet in the end, God will bring about His promise.

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