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Moses and Aaron Meet Unfair Pharaoh
by Sophia Prinsloo

Moses saw that although the bush was on fire it was still green and was not burning up

Text Version | Afrikaans

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It was one of those days when nobody was in the mood for sitting in class, while the summer sun was shining brightly across the schoolyard and in through the classroom window. Everybody sighed a sigh of relief as the history teacher, Mr. Williams, was urgently called out to the principal's office.

paper airplane Suddenly, Jade felt something hitting him on the back of the head. When he turned around, another paper plane struck him on the forehead, as Nick and Francois burst into laughter. In a frenzy, Jade rolled a piece of paper into a ball and threw it back at them, hitting Charlie instead.

In a flash, everybody in class, except Lorenzo, was rolling and throwing paper balls at each other and they were getting noisier and noisier by the moment. Lorenzo was in no mood for fooling around. He was tired from helping his mom with the baby the previous night and he was not looking for trouble.

Things were getting out of hand so Lorenzo stood up cried out, “Everybody, calm down!” He was still standing when the teacher suddenly opened the classroom door and got hit with a paper ball, smack in the middle of his face. Mr. Williams was furious and yelled, “One hour detention for everybody this afternoon!”

“But, sir, I did nothing and had no part…,” Lorenzo tried to explain, but Mr. Williams did not want to hear a thing, “On second thought, make it two hours detention and one more word and I'll make it three!”

If you think THAT was unfair, let us learn about another story of unfair suffering in the Bible.

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Moses first had to take the animals and tell Jethro that he had to leave When the Lord spoke to Moses through the burning bush, He commanded him, “Go back to Egypt and deliver Israel from bondage!” Moses did not know how he would accomplish that, but He trusted God, especially when He said, “I will send your brother Aaron to help you. Another thing — all the men who wanted your life in Egypt are dead.”

Then Moses took his wife Zipporah and his sons and started his journey to Egypt Moses could not leave his father-in-law Jethro's animals there and leave for Egypt. He first had to take back the animals and tell Jethro that he had to leave. Jethro told him, “Go in peace!” Then Moses took his wife Zipporah and his sons, loaded them on a donkey, and started his journey to Egypt. Moses also remembered to take the very important rod of God with him in his hand. It was the very same rod which had turned into a snake and then back into a rod.

On the way, the Lord told Moses, “Remember to do all the miracle signs that I have shown you in front of Pharaoh.” God knew Pharaoh's heart would be so hardened that he would not let the Israelites leave before God had slain all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians.

One night when Moses and his family were staying at an inn, the Lord met him and wanted to kill him. Why would the Lord want to do that? Moses first had to make something right, because he had not completely obeyed God. Was it about the murder he had committed in Egypt all those years ago? No, God had forgiven him for that long ago, but there was something else that he neglected to do in Midian. Only when he would make that right could God use him any further.

Moses and Aaron were so happy to meet Moses had never circumcised his son Gershom according to the covenant God made with Moses' forefather Abraham and with his descendants. Until then, Moses was in trouble. Moses' wife, Zipporah, realized she had to do something to save Moses, because she loved and did not want him to die. She immediately took Gershom and circumcised him on the spot with a flint knife. Only then the Lord let Moses live. With the circumcision, Gershom also received the mark that he was also part of God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Moses and his family journeyed on, and when they came to the mountain of God, he saw someone approaching them. It was his brother, Aaron! They were so glad to see each other that they embraced each other heartily. Aaron told Moses that God had sent him to come and fetch Moses. “Hallelujah!” Moses shouted elated. “God is faithful to have done exactly what He said he would do by sending you to me. Praise the Lord!”

Moses and Aaron assembled the leaders of the people Then Moses told Aaron everything God told him and also about the signs God told him to perform. He said, “Hey, Aaron! Are you ready for this? God said you must do the talking.” With a broad smile Aaron answered, “Of course, my dear brother! You know me well enough to know that I can speak quite well. It is like second nature to me!” Aaron had always enjoyed talking a lot.

When they eventually reached Egypt, they first assembled the elders, the leaders of the people. Aaron told them what the Lord told Moses. They were very glad to hear that the Lord had seen their affliction and that He would deliver them from bondage. When they saw the signs that Aaron did in front of their eyes, they believed and bowed down in worship before the Lord.

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Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh

One day, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and told him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Let My people go, so they can celebrate and bring glory to Me in the desert.”

Pharaoh was quite annoyed. “Who is the Lord that I must listen to Him and let Israel go? I don't know the Lord and I won't let Israel go either!”

Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews revealed Himself to us. Please let us go three days' journey into the desert to sacrifice to the Lord our God, so He won't strike us with pestilence or with the sword.”

Pharaoh immediately sent his messengers to all the taskmasters Pharaoh ground his teeth in anger. “Moses, Aaron, why do you keep the people away from their work? Go away! Go back to your work! Your people are already too many and now you want them to stop working too?”

When Moses and Aaron left, Pharaoh immediately sent his messengers to all the taskmasters and commanded them, saying, “You may not give the people any more straw to make bricks. Let them go and gather straw themselves to mix with the clay. They must still make the same amount of bricks as before. They are just idle and that is why they complain, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God!' Let heavier work be laid on those lazybones so that they don't have any time to pay any attention to the lying words of Moses and Aaron!”

The Egyptian taskmasters beat the Hebrew foremen The taskmasters did exactly what Pharaoh told to them to do and made the Hebrew slaves look for straw, hurrying them along and driving them even harder. The people did not have enough time to make the same amount of bricks so they made less and less bricks. Because of that, the Egyptian taskmasters beat the Hebrew foremen while they yelled, “Why do you now make less bricks than before? You all are lazy!”

In protest, the Hebrew foremen went to Pharaoh and complained, asking, “Why do you deal like this with your workers? No straw is being given to us and we are being told not to make less bricks than before. We are getting beaten up, but it is not our fault. It is your people's fault. It is very unfair!”

Furious, Pharaoh chased them away from his throne, saying, “You are just idle, very lazy! You only want an excuse not to work and that is why you want to go to sacrifice to your God in the desert! Away with you! Back to work! No more straw for you, but you shall deliver your full quota of bricks per day!”

The foremen of Israel felt very dejected and angry because they still had to deliver the same amount of bricks every day as before. Pharaoh was so unfair and they did not know how they would survive all the hard work. When they left Pharaoh's palace, they saw Moses and Aaron waiting for them. “It is your fault that Pharaoh and his taskmasters hate us so much and abuse us. You gave him a weapon to kill us with!” the foremen accused Moses and Aaron angrily.

Moses was very unhappy to hear how heavy the burden of the Hebrews was. He was sad because his own people blamed him and Aaron unfairly for the hardship Pharaoh brought upon them. He knew it was only the Lord who could help them now, and that is why he prayed to the Lord again and said, “Oh Lord, why do You treat this people so badly? I thought You were sending me to deliver them, but since we went to talk to Pharaoh in your Name, he abuses them and You have not at all delivered your people.”

God answered Moses The Lord answered Moses, “Now you will see what I shall do to Pharaoh. I am going to force him to chase them out of his land!”

The Lord further explained to Moses, “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as God, the Almighty, but I did not tell them my Name Lord. However, I made a covenant with them, promising to give them the land of Canaan as possession. I also heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians have enslaved and remembered My covenant with them. Go tell the children of Israel that I shall deliver them from their bondage and from Egypt with mighty acts of judgment. I shall bring them into the land which I promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and give it to them as their heritage.”

Moses humbled himself and did what the Lord told him. He went back to the Israelites and told them about the Lord's promise. But the Israelites did not want to listen to him because of their impatience and anguish about all the extra hard work they had to do.

Yet, God had a plan that He would exercise. Moses believed the Lord, but because of all the unfairness and hardship in their lives, the Israelites did not believe Him. Do you think one miracle would make Israel change their minds about Moses and God? How about ten miracles? Now we'll have to wait for the next story to found out!

Moses went back to the Israelites and told them about the Lords promiseGod had a plan and they would have to trust Him

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When you are being treated unfairly, remember, God has a plan and will let it work for your good. Talk to Him and have faith!


1. Why did God send Moses to Pharaoh?
2. Who did God send with Moses when he went to meet Pharaoh?
3. Fleeing from there after the murder he committed, how did Moses know it was safe to return to Egypt?
4. Moses took Aaron, his wife Zipporah, and his son Gershom to Egypt with him. What other very important thing did he bring along?
5. What did Pharaoh do after Moses and Aaron asked him to let the Israelites go into the wilderness to sacrifice to their God?
6. What can we learn from today's lesson?
7. Do good people sometimes suffer unfairly or is it only bad people who suffer?
8. Do you think it was easy for Moses to obey God and humble himself before the Israelites who were angry with him?


“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully” (NKJV 1 Peter 2:19).


“But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God” (NKJV 1 Peter 2:20b).


Have you ever been treated badly or been sneered at because you serve Jesus and want to do his will? Did it make you want to quit serving Him or did you feel it was an honor to suffer for Him?

[After discussion:] Moses didn't let the bad treatment he got from Pharaoh and from his fellow Israelites stop him from seeking to do what God told him to do. Would you like to be as brave as he was?

Let's take a moment in prayer and ask God to help us not want to quit when we're persecuted for his Name's sake. Let's ask Him to give us strength to stand up under pressure and patiently keep on doing God's will. Remember, in due time, we'll be rewarded for our faithfulness.


Dog and boy praying

Heavenly Father, when I feel down because someone has
treated me unfairly, please help me to remember
to trust You to work everything out for good.
In Jesus' Name. Amen.


Exodus 4:18-6:8



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