19 The Israelite overseers realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
Exodus 5:19-23 (New International Version)
When a person hears the word of God, there are two ways that they could respond. They could either accept and obey the message of the Lord, or they could ignore the message and resist those who wish to follow it. When we proclaim the Gospel, we will meet people who will not appreciate the Good News that we speak. In fact, they may even try to stop us from testifying about Jesus. Some may even try to use violence to hinder our witness!
Jesus Himself warned us that we would be persecuted for our faith. Persecution is never fun, in fact, it can be deadly in its enforcement. Throughout history, there are stories of Christians being martyred for their faith; some were crucified, some were beheaded, others were burned alive, and others were tortured.
Israel is Persecuted
In Exodus 5, Moses declared the word of the Lord to Pharaoh, the King of Egypt. The message was straight to the point: The Lord commanded that His people Israel be released from their bondage in Egypt. Now the King of Egypt considered himself a living god, and probably didn’t like the idea that God was giving him an order. Instead of obeying the Lord’s command, Pharaoh ignored it and proceeded to persecute Israel by making their labor even harder.
The Israelites suffered greatly at the hands of Egyptian persecution. The people blamed Moses for all their difficulties and some may have wished that Moses wouldn’t have come at all with God’s message. Even Moses, when he saw how his people were treated, complained to the Lord asking why this was happening.
Faith Strengthened in Trials
Why does the Lord allow His people to face such trials in their walk of faith? It is not because He despises His people. On the contrary, He does it so that we can be strengthened in our faith.
This may sound strange, but our faith grows strong when it is faced with difficulties. That’s because pain and weakness forces us to draw closer to the Lord. As we rely on the Almighty during our trials, we are strengthened by His sustaining grace. It is under His grace, that we are able to stand while in the middle of the storm.
How to Respond to Trials
When we face persecution, there are two ways we can respond to it. W can complain to God about the hardships that we face and turn away from the mission we’ve been given in order to escape from the persecution. However, when a believer does this, their spiritual growth becomes stunted and their faith weakened.
Instead, we ought to turn to the Lord in prayers and petitions; asking Him to save us from the pain that we face. He may answer our prayers and deliver us from persecution. However, even if He doesn’t, we still must turn to Him, for when we do, His grace will help us power through the challenges we face. Therefore, let us stand firm in the face of hardship, for when the smoke clears and we’re found still standing, we become a greater champion of faith than we were before the persecutions began.