So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters over the people and their foremen, saying, “You are no longer to give the people straw to make brick as previously; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But the quota of bricks which they were making previously, you shall impose on them; you are not to reduce any of it. Because they are lazy, therefore they cry out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let the labor be heavier on the men, and let them work at it so that they will pay no attention to false words.” Exodus 5:6-9
Pharaoh is one of the earliest and most formidable enemies of the people of God. Whenever you see in the Bible an enemy of God’s people or His work, it gives you insight into the strategies of the enemy against us today. We can study these enemies so we may be wise to the schemes of Satan. (2 Cor. 2:11)
In these verses from Exodus, we see that in response to Moses’ request that Pharaoh let the Israelites go into the wilderness for 3 days to worship God, Pharaoh sets taskmasters over the people to oppress them greatly. And as a result, the people would believe His words to and call on them are false.
In the same way, we can anticipate that one of the enemy’s strategies against us today is to burden us heavily with things to do–the tyranny of the urgent, the demands of work, the pressures of life, or the expectation to produce more with less. And when we’re under the affliction and oppression of the Taskmaster, we too struggle to believe the call of God on us.
I struggle with the Taskmaster. After reading this verse, and even sharing it with others, I missed an opportunity to apply it. (I’m not beating myself up! I’m simply conveying this as an example of how the Taskmaster works in our own lives). My co-worker’s daughter was hit by a car on her way to school. She lived, but was hospitalized in critical condition. This was the same week that I discovered these verses in Exodus. And though I had read it, though I had shared it, I didn’t think to visit them or even call them until Niki pointed it out to me: “Don’t you think you should go visit her?!”
I missed it! There had been “so much to do” that I didn’t think to care for those around me. I am called to be salt and light and to love others with the love of Christ. But I was so burdened with the tasks of the week that I struggled to believe this call of God on me: “Me, really? I’m the light in this co-worker’s dark situation?”
Yes, me. When I showed up at the hospital, she hugged me and cried. “Thank you for coming.” I asked her if anyone from her church had come to visit her or pray for her daughter yet. No, not a one. And I almost hadn’t come either.
Beware the Taskmaster who burdens believers so heavily that we miss the call of God on us–even on a day-by-day basis.