Scripture: Exodus 5:1 – 6:1
Key verse: (18) Go now, and work; for no straw shall be given you, but you shall still deliver the same number of bricks.
Reflection: When the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt, God heard their cry and called Moses to go to Pharaoh to bring the people out of Egypt. Moses first asked Pharaoh to let the Hebrews journey into the wilderness to celebrate a worship festival. Pharaoh responded harshly. He didn’t let the slaves leave their work for worship and he punished them by telling the taskmasters to stop providing straw for their brick-making. Straw helped the dirt to hold its shape and it loosened the clay so that it dried more quickly and evenly. Clay without straw would take longer to dry and harden. Those bricks would be more likely to crumble and break apart.
Bricks without straw. When I traveled to Israel many years ago, I visited a biblical park. The park had animals and plants of the Bible, as well as opportunities for hands-on activities. One activity was brick-making; park visitors could try making bricks with mud and no straw to see how hard the slaves worked in Egypt.
Some days feel like “bricks without straw” days. Those are the days when I don’t have what it takes to keep up. The days when my taskmaster (usually the voice inside my own head) is demanding and harsh. The days when things crumble and fall apart. Do you have “bricks without straw” days?
It is good news that our God is not Pharaoh. Our God is not a harsh taskmaster. I believe God will give us what we need in order for us to be faithful. God hears our crying hearts when we have “bricks without straw” days and God cares. God calls us to worship, to step away from work in order to rest and celebrate. Our God offers us an endless supply of straw in the gracious presence of Jesus Christ. We will have bad days, but God is faithful to remain with us no matter what.
Prayer: Some days are hard days, dear Lord. Thank you for loving me on the hard, falling apart, can’t-keep-it-together days. Thank you for offering me freedom. Teach me to trust in you every day. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].