Exodus: Bricks without straw

David Garman

We were in servitude. We are in servitude now, though nebulous, less recognizable. Servitude precedes liberty. We have experienced a number of exodus events through our history. The most famous, of course, was out of Egypt, though other monumental ones were out of Assyria, and out of Europe.

An exodus is an escape. An exodus signals deep emotion, trepidation, anxiety for many because everything we know is going to come to an end. We will claw, and kick and fight to stay.

Get ready, the pharaohs of this day will usher in the most constrained parameters since our sojourn in Egypt. Make your bricks without straw.

Straw is refuse from the grain harvest. Straw is used as a binder in the ancient building material, mud brick. Without the binder, your labor is in vain. The brick will eventually crumble. Pharaoh chose a strange request with which to burden us back then regardless of the consequences.

First he says no more allowance of straw to make brick, as a response to releasing us to leave. Pharaoh said he would no longer give us straw. Go get it yourselves! At this point he still expected the continued quality and quantity of the product, but we were to get no allowance. No more government handouts. And by the way Pharaoh reasoned, you are not going anywhere, you are lazy, you have too much time to think. I must not let you rest! Forget such notions of freedom!

So, we had to forage for what dry plant material we could find as a binder. Then they wondered why we couldn’t deliver the quota without the government supply. They knew. We had to go out and look for that necessary ingredient ourselves. In so doing, we were unable to fulfill our obligation to the economy of Pharaoh. We suffered humiliation. We suffered physical repercussions for it.

(No one is saying that Egypt was not pleasant, magnificent buildings, beautiful art, food and beer. A little hard to think about giving it all up. Why not compromise with Pharaoh? Mustn’t be too hasty.)

Once the conflict lines were drawn, along with the ultimatum, physical punishment was inflicted at the hand of the taskmasters. Then the plagues against Egypt, one by one came. First it forced a search for straw before the plagues, that dry refuse of the harvest, the chaff, to build for Pharaoh. It was the opening salvo. The material which brought strength to building the kingdom of Pharaoh was withdrawn. As with the final plague, the result came by his own command.

Pharaoh’s own harshness caused Israel to go out to search for straw and they found something instead of straw (Exodus 5:12). It says we garnered stubble. An act of gathering as a testimony against Egypt. A restoration promise to us and a curse to them, that the glory and might of Yahweh would be shown.

Yes it was difficult, yes it didn’t seem fair. We complained we wept and we cried out. We had to leave! After our servitude we did leave. Because with another binding agent, we were to build for another Kingdom.

In our emerging liberty, Yahweh, Elohim of Israel, gave, instead of straw to bind the clay or mud, He gave us something to bind to ourselves. Not with straw but with love. It is written: How do we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. And we must bind them for a SIGN upon our hand and they should be frontlets between our eyes. A new building material for a Righteous Kingdom. With this building material, we build our house upon the Rock, Y’shua the Messiah. Yet there is something even more specific, another sign. A sign between you and Me, Yahweh said concerning His Sabbaths.

We will have to come out once more. What ultimatum in our day will force us to search? We will no longer gather straw, we will no longer stomp the mud for Pharaoh.

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