1 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.’ ” 2 Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.” 3 Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.” 4 But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” 5 Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.” 6 That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: 7 “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. 8 But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
Exodus 5:1-9 (NIV)
The Israelites have been enslaved for about 400 years, and therefore have been making bricks for 400 years. That’s a lot of bricks. Now you’re beginning to see where all those pyramids came from.
Can you imagine? You wake up, and trudge to work knowing what arduous labor awaits you. You make bricks. And more bricks and more bricks and more and more, and you do not stop making bricks until the boss says you’ve made enough bricks. Maybe that means you make bricks until the late hours of night when everyone else has gone home. Then, you finally begin to make your way home; every aching bone and muscle, every sandy cut and bruise, every blistered footstep reminds you that all you did, today, was make bricks. Then, you lie down, but your mind is still “on” from working all day. Your thoughts are pulsing; your body restless, and before you know it, it’s morning again. More bricks to be made.
After making bricks for 400 years, don’t you think you might begin to believe that’s what you are. You make bricks. That’s all you do. That’s all you’ll ever do. You are only as good as the amount of bricks you make.
This is the way of life for the Israelites. They make bricks. Not only slaves to Pharaoh but perhaps to their work.
Pharaoh is right. They are lazy.
Eugene Peterson says, “Busyness is the enemy of spirituality. It is essentially laziness. It is doing the easy thing instead of the hard thing. It is filling our time with our own actions instead of paying attention to God’s actions…It is an either/or situation. Busyness has nothing to do with activity, and spirituality is not the absence of activity. You either enter into what God is doing or you don’t. A busy person is a lazy person because they are not doing what they are supposed to do.”
God sees that they are busy and therefore lazy people. Not lazy in the sense of lethargic or bored or apathetic, but in the sense that they are not doing what they were meant to do. Lazy in the sense that they’ve given in to the belief that they are brick-makers. They are stuck in a never-ending cycle of labor day in and day out. So, what does God tell them to do?
Have a party. Go have a festival with me in the desert. The original Hebrew in verse 1 actually translates to, “Let my people go so that they may boogy with me.” Okay, not quite, but you get the point. It has been 400 years since the Israelites took a sick day or went on vacation or turned off their iPhones. It’s party time.
What’s Pharaoh’s response? Give them more work. Make them busier. Give them something more to do. Because if they stop working for even one day, then they may begin to realize that they are more than amount of bricks they make or how many hours they put in each week or how much revenue they bring in for the company each year or what their salary is compared to the guy next door or what kind of car they drive or…
When you meet someone for the first time, what is one of the first questions you ask them?
"So, Bob, what do you do?"
Our culture has taught us to believe that we are defined by what we do. By how many bricks we can make. Throughout your week, you do and make and produce and build and type and print and staple and email and drive and… But when was the last time you just were. Not working or thinking about work or just answering that one email, but you just were.
Doing is easy. Anybody can do. But being…that’s hard for us.
When we are being, we realize that our identity is not found in what we do but rather in our Creator. In God. He made us. He knows what we are made to do, what brings us joy, purpose, fulfillment, peace, rest. We are made to worship Him. To be and say and sing and live in the truth that God is worthy of everything. He is worthy of all that we are. We live for Him. He made us and knows the rhythm that we ought to live by. When to work and when to rest. When to make bricks and when to party. When to do and when to be.
So, when was the last time you partied with God?
Just finished my first week of composting, ever. This is my compost pile.
Isn’t it beautiful? Basically, each week I add carbon-filled materials—the brown stuff (dead leaves, dead plants, etc.)—then a little bit of nitrogen-filled stuff—the green stuff (fruit/veggie scraps, grass clippings, etc.)—then some soil, just add water, and PRESTO…Compost!…after like 6-8 months.
I think my compost pile needs a name. Any ideas?
Scrappy? Fertile? Heaper?
Anybody else composting out there? Got any tips?
It has been many a day since I blogged. Therefore, we’ll start off small with some interwebular lunges. My day…
Drank coffee w/ Jesus.
Taught someone the Lakewood Interwebz.
Updated the Lakewood Interwebz.
Got a free futon w/o the help of Craig or his list. (Thanks John and Tiff!)
Listened to Chris play a progression of chords that stirred my soul into soup.
Went to bed and…Zzzzzzz
|Me:||Hey! Sorry, remind me again, what was your order?|
|Customer:||Lake Tahoe....I mean, what!?|
|Me:||Hmmm...it could be a few more minutes.|
|Customer:||...Yeah, I'm hoping this is my last day at the clinic.|
|Me:||Yeah, me too. Well, I hope you have good session at your clinic, today!|
|Customer:||Thanks, you, too!|
|Me:||Tha...wait, what?||*Customer drives away*|
|Customer:||Hey, this doesn't taste right.|
|Me:||Oh, that's 'cause we made it wrong! We made it as a Java-Chip Frappuccino--which has coffee in it--but it's supposed to be a Double-Chocolatey-Chip Frappuccino--which doesn't. I'll remake that for you!|
|Customer:||Hey, are you single?|
|Me:||Uh...what does that have to do with a Double-Chocolatey-Chip Frappuccino?|