Summary: So Moses comes back to Egypt with his brother Aaron after the experience with the burning bush. Apparently his wife and kids stay in Midian, and we begin to see what was probably the most difficult and frustrating ministry position ever.
The people are happy to see Moses and at the end of chapter 4 we see that they are convinced that the Lord sent Moses and they worshipped together. Well, there's usually lots of enthusiasm when a new pastor comes and does lots of great things. Hope starts to build in the people and they get excited about God again. But no man can live up to the expectations and God certainly tends to do things in ways we may not like too much, so as we see here the excitement dies down pretty quick.
Moses first job is to go with Aaron to Pharaoh and tell him, "Uh king, the Lord our God says you should let my people go so we can walk for three days and then have a wild bush party in honour of me".
Can you just imagine Pharaoh, all dressed in his fancy royal attire, dusty, hairy old 80 year old Moses comes in with his 83 year old brother and says this? Pharaoh must of looked at him with bewilderment and says, "Oh is that so, and who is this Lord of yours? Why should I listen to him and let you go (as if you're going to come back). I don't know this Lord of yours, and no I will not let you go".
But in verse 3 we see that Moses and Aaron persisted, "No seriously, the God of the Hebrews has met with us so let us take this three day walk so we can offer sacrifices to our God. If we don't he will kill us with plague or sword."
Notice how Moses turns it up a notch here. At first it was just a party in the wilderness for Moses, so now he thinks well, maybe if I make it sound more important, he'll reconsider. But no, in fact Pharaoh turns it up a notch himself, probably getting a little irritated now.
You guys are stopping you're peoples work by distracting them. Stop this nonsense and let them get back to work.
And he wasn't done. A little later that day he decided to teach them a lesson so he sent an order for them to work even harder by not supplying the ingredients for making the bricks. So now they had to make the same amount of bricks but they also had to go get the straw themselves as well. It got really hard now as if it was easy before, and the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh pleading with him to ease up, but Pharaoh just called them lazy and said it was their own fault.
So Moses and Aaron are waiting outside and the foremen curse them saying, "May the Lord judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. We're as good as dead because there's no way we can deliver that many bricks now.
Then Moses goes and takes it up with God. "God why are you making it worse? Why did you even send me? How come you are not rescuing them?"
Isn't it true that sometimes when we surrender to and give our lives to God, things in this life may get harder for a while before they get better. Often with God its not about making things better right now, but about the future promises.
Pharaoh didn't know or respect God. He couldn't have thought this God had much power or cared about his people because they had been slaves in Egypt for so long. Pharoah represents how much of the world views our God and the church - non-existent, non-caring, non-powerful.