So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent Me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all”
Pharaoh has done evil and God has not delivered his people. Why was that a surprise? When God spoke to Moses at the burning bush he said God would not let them go the first time they asked. The lack of deliverance is not the issue bothering Moses. It’s the evil that came upon the people God sent him to deliver.
Why do things get worse before they get better when God comes to deliver?
If you do a little research you can find a lot of good reasons God allowed Pharaoh to do “evil to this people”. Before we look at God’s answer to Moses questions, let’s look at a little background puts God’s answer into a clearer perspective.
MOSES IS A LIAR
Moses, Aaron and the elders of Israel appeared before Pharaoh to deliver God’s message but the meeting did not go well. Both the Hebrews and the Egyptians know some things about God, but they don’t really know God. If Pharaoh had known God, the trouble would not have come. The trouble that came upon God’s people should have given them the ability to “rightly divide” between God and man. We learned in the last lesson that Moses request for a leave of absence to worship God was common because the Egyptians were a very religious people. BUT to Moses,
…Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go.”
Moses request and Pharaoh’s answer is not about Israel leaving to start a new nation. Pharaoh said NO to a request to worship God, even though others were permitted a leave of absence to worship gods. His request was denied because Pharaoh did not “know” the Lord. Pharaoh made a foolish decision he did not control Moses’ God. This God operated independent of Pharaoh and he couldn’t allow that. Nelsons Bible Dictionary says,
“The Pharaoh was a mediator between the people and the cosmic gods of the universe. …… the significance and honor of the Egyptian gods rose and fell according to the religious convictions of the ruling Pharaoh…”
Unlike the god’s Egypt worshipped, Pharaoh had no say in where and how the God Moses represented would be worshipped. If Pharaoh is not in control, he is not letting anyone worship “God” especially a god he does not KNOW! Not content with Pharaoh’s NO, Moses and Aaron repeated the request appealing to Pharaoh’s goodness.
So they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go three days journey into the desert and sacrifice to the Lord our God, lest He fall upon us with pestilence or with the sword.”
Pharaoh is not the only one who does not “know” God. Moses and Aaron did not really know the God they serve. Help us Pharaoh. If you don’t let us worship God he is going to kill us. Why did they think God would destroy them with pestilence or with the sword? Had he ever done it before? After the Israel agreed to a covenant of law, there was some pestilence and sword but that was a nation of milk not a nation of milk and honey. Up to that time, the only stories their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, had to tell were stories of blessings. Noone really knows God yet. Even the men sent to speak in his name do not know the God they represent. They are learning about God just as the people God sent them to deliver are learning about God.
Then the king of Egypt said to them, Moses and Aaron, why do you take the people from their work? Get back to your labor.
Go back to work Pharaoh demanded. The only valid god’s are the ones I teach you how to worship. Why work for a God that will destroy you with pestilence and sword.
And Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are many now, and you make them rest from their labor!”
Moses, I have not destroyed any body. Look! The people of the land are many. You don’t need to rest and worship a God that would destroy you with pestilence and sword. Pharaoh attempted to discredit Moses and Aaron by pointing to the prosperous condition of the people. These people are doing OK worshipping god’s I know. Look how many they are. Why do you want them to stop working for me and go worship a foreign God, Moses? I’ve been good to them and this is how you treat me. You want to rest!
Pharaoh sowed seeds of doubt because Pharaoh is shrewd. He senses a rebellion brewing and leaves them with some things to think about. Pharaoh’s strategy almost worked. After this meeting, we find Moses questioning God. Why haven’t you delivered them? Why have you let evil come upon them? Maybe it is better to serve Pharaoh than the God of Abraham!
Pharaoh knew he had nothing to do with the people being many. He tried to reduce their numbers without success before Moses arrived. There was only one reason the people were many. The God of Abraham promised they would be many. Pharaoh attributed to himself what God had done in an effort to their leaders, because Moses and Aaron were not the only Hebrews standing before Pharaoh at this initial meeting. God told Moses at the burning bush,
… you shall come, you and the elders of Israel to the king of Egypt…
After Moses, Aaron and the elders left to ponder Pharaoh’s words, Pharaoh decided he better do something more than say NO! At one time, Moses was a prince in Egypt. Now, he had come back stirring up the people to worship a god according to his religious convictions instead of Pharaoh’s. Pharaoh can’t let that happen. He controls the multitudes with religion. The struggle between Moses and Pharaoh is a religious argument. Egypt recognized Pharaoh as the supreme authority on god and called him Lord. I can hear Pharaoh’s thoughts, “I’m God’s man of the hour not this abomination that wandered out of the desert wearing shepherds clothes reeking of sheep dung.”
“So the same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks, which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let more work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it and let them not regard false words.”
“Let them not regard false words” another way of saying, Moses is a liar. Moses had already left. Pharaoh was speaking to his Egyptian taskmasters and their Hebrew officers. The officers are the Hebrew shepherds who forsook their calling to work for Pharaoh. Now Pharaoh’s servants must decide who is telling the truth about God?
Not much has changed since Moses and Pharaoh struggled over where and how God would be worshipped. To this day, servants still have to decide which leader is telling them the truth about God. Feeling threatened by the appearance of a new God Pharaoh did not know, Pharaoh wasted no time telling his servants whom to believe. He threw the first spear at Moses back by calling him a liar. Why not let the servants make up their own minds.
God and Pharaoh were fighting to win the hearts of their servants. Pharaoh might be shrewd but nobody is as shrewd as God. Pharaoh is not at war with Moses. He’s at war with God. Pharaoh thought he called Moses a liar. He really called God a liar, because Moses was only the messenger. Before God gave Pharaoh opportunity to repent, he used Pharaoh, who is his minister because all governing authorities are God’s ministers, to deal with his covenant people, the sheep and shepherds of Israel.
1 Peter 4:17-18 NKJ
For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?
What is the end for those who do not obey the gospel of God? The first thing that comes to my mind is death. Ultimately, death is the end result of disobedience but death will not come until you have had opportunity to repent. Death is never the first item on God’s agenda when he deals with rebellious ministers and the sheep who follow them.
And the taskmasters of the people and their officers went out and spoke to the people, saying, “thus says Pharaoh: “I will not give you straw. Go, get yourselves straw where you can find it; yet none of your work will be reduced.” So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters forced them to hurry saying, Fulfill your work, your daily quota, as when there was straw.
Before we talk about the dilemma of leadership, lets talk about the sheep who followed the Hebrew officers appointed by Pharaoh’s taskmasters. The sheep are depressed and miserable, so they cried out to God and things got worse. It’s not enough they had to make the bricks. Now they had to find the straw too. What good did it do to call on God for help?
A well-known verse of the Bible, we often hear quoted but seldom explained, says,
2 Chronicles 7:14-15 NKJ
…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
The dirt we walk on does not need healing. The people do. God spoke these familiar words to Solomon in answer to Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple. There is more to it than this but in the simplest of terms all Solomon asked God to do was make things right by bringing a man’s own way upon his head. God will not do what is wrong to make things right nor will he be mocked by the people he comes to deliver. Things were amiss in Egypt but it’s not ALL Egypt’s fault. Would it be right for God to deal with the sin of his ministers and ignore the sins of the sheep who empowered Pharaoh?
When Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt, they met with the elders before they made an appointment with Pharaoh.
Then Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. So the people believed and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that he had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
The Hebrew word for “the people” and the “elders” are two different words. This was a public meeting. The elders brought their congregations to a revival meeting in Goshen. Aaron preached. Signs were performed. People believed. They worshipped God. Sounds like a revival meeting we might have in our day, except for the signs. We see precious few of those.
Exodus does not record everything that happened that day. If we want a clearer picture of what happened at this revival meeting. We need to listen to a conversation God had with Ezekiel.
Say to them, Thus says the Lord God: On the day when I chose Israel and raised My hand in an oath to the descendants of the house of Jacob, and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt,
Where did God raise his hand in an oath? He swore an oath in the land of Egypt. To whom was God speaking? God swore and oath in the land of Egypt to the descendants of the house of Jacob. God started at Jacob making it clear that he was talking about a different oath than the one he swore to Abraham. He swore an oath in the land of Egypt to Abraham’s great great great grandchildren. To the children of Abraham living in Egypt God said,
I raised my hand in an oath to them saying, I am the Lord your God. 6 On that day
What day? The day God made himself know to them in the land of Egypt. The day everyone gathered together and listened to Aaron declare everything God told Moses at Mt. Sinai. The day they saw signs, believed and worshipped God. On that day God said,
I raised My hand in an oath to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land that I had searched out for them, flowing with milk and honey, the glory of all lands.
This happened in the land of Egypt. Twice God said to Ezekiel, I raised my hand in an oath to be their God and deliver them. But more than a promise of deliverance was made that day. God also made a request.
7 Then I said to them, Each of you, throw away the abominations which are before his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
Is this an unreasonable request? All God wanted was to be the only God in their life. He did not ask them to take up arms and go to war for their deliverance like the Lords of this world do. God fought for them. The people who needed deliverance did not have to deal with Pharaoh. God already had a man who did not need deliverance prepared to deal with Pharaoh. All the people had to do was love God and God only while God fought the war for their freedom. The battle we fight is the battle to stand still until God is finished. The battle we fight is to wait while God fights for us.
What did the people do? We know from the book of Exodus they believed and worshipped. We know from God their worship was not sincere.
8 … they rebelled against Me and would not obey Me. They did not all cast away the abominations which were before their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.
These are the people who heard Aaron preach, saw signs, believed and worshipped God but they never made him their only Lord. They just added him to the collection of gods they already worshipped. The gods their Lord Pharaoh taught them to worship. The God of Abraham was just one more way to get what you want in this life without changing your ways.
Then I (God) said, I will pour out My fury on them and fulfill My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt.
The people knew they angered God in Egypt. In the wilderness they said to Moses, “It would have been better if we died by God’s hand in Egypt”. So why didn’t God kill them in Egypt?
9 But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. 10 Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness.
God did not kill them in Egypt because of who God is. He came to Egypt to deliver so everyone can know who he is. Life becoming harder was better than dead. God brought their own way on their own head. Their way was to follow Pharaoh and his gods. They accepted Pharaoh as their Lord. They treated the God of Abraham as though Pharaoh was his equal. If they want to keep Pharaoh as Lord and serve him, so be it. A Lord has the right to do what he wants with his servants.
The question is not why God let Pharaoh do evil to them. The question is why did they do evil to God? They heard the word. They saw the signs. They believed in God. They worshipped God. But they don’t want to do things God’s way. They did not want God to be their only God. They still wanted to be Pharaoh’s servants and worship his gods.
God allowing Pharaoh to do evil to them should have opened their eyes. It should have provoked them to say, Pharaoh is not a very good Lord. He made our job impossible and now beats us for failure to fulfill his demands. Why didn’t they say, “We have had enough of this mans harsh ways. Would a man who loved us be so unfair to us?”
The Egyptians believed in more than one god. Why couldn’t Israel worship the God of their choice without Pharaoh doing evil to them? was Pharaoh greater than God? Then why did God allow the devil to harass his people? The answer is very simple. God is not mocked, if you don’t want to get rid of Pharaoh and his ways you will have your fill of Pharaoh and his cruel ways?
Things will never get better until you get out of bed with the devil. God’s way is allowing no other God in your life but him. There is none his equal. All God wanted was for them to love him and him alone. Israel went from a hard life in Egypt to a harder life in the wilderness because they never forsook the idols Pharaoh taught them to worship. They never made the God of Abraham #1, their only Lord. Why is it evil to let evil come upon evil people? Why didn’t Israel get rid of their idols?
As I reflected on this lesson, I became frustrated. It’s easy to say get rid of your idols. But I don’t have figures of gods made out of wood or stone in my house that I can destroy. It would be a lot easier to obey this command if I did. How do you get rid of your idols?
It’s not the idol in the house you live in that’s the problem. It’s the idol in the house you live in that’s the problem. You can remove the idols from the house wood and brick your body lives in and an idol still be in the house your spirit lives in.
Ezekiel was talking to some elders of Judah when the power of God fell upon him. A creature that looked like a man grabbed Ezekiel by the hair and brought him to Jerusalem and said,
Ezekiel 8:6-12 Living Bible
“Son of Dust, do you see what they are doing? Do your see what great sins the people of Israel are doing here, to push me from my temple? But come, and I will show you greater sins than these! Then he brought me to the door of the Temple court, where I could see an opening in the wall. Now dig into the wall, he said, I did and uncovered a door to a hidden room. Go in he said, and see the wickedness going on in there! So I went in, The walls were covered with pictures of all kinds of snakes, lizards, and hideous creatures, besides all the various idols worshipped by the people of Israel. Seventy elders of Israel were standing there along with Jaazaniah (son of Shaphan) worshipping the pictures. Each of them held a censer of burning incense, so there was a thick cloud of smoke above their heads. Then the Lord said to me: Son of Dust, have you seen what the elders of Israel are doing in their minds?
God showed Ezekiel what was going on in the minds or hearts of his people. They were in his temple worshipping, but they were not worshipping a true image of God. The seventy elders and son of Shaphan were worshipping the pictures. In their minds God was a snake in the grass, a hideous creature. The carved image of stone or wood they set up in the temple Solomon built began as an image or picture in their mind first.
If the image or picture of God in your heart is not correct you can take the idol out of the house of wood and brick your body lives in but it’s not gone. It does not do God any good to take you out of Egypt if Egypt is still in your heart. Pharaoh’s whip on their back should have been enough to tell them what he had to say about God was not worth listening to. Yet when they were the wilderness as soon as Moses was out of sight and they thought he would not be back they made an image of a cow and worshipped it because the spiritual image of God in your heart is powerful. It controls you. People want to worship. Our problem is that we tend to worship anything and everything but God because we don’t have an accurate image in our minds of who God is.
I thought I did not have an idol in my house but I might. The New Testament calls my body a house, tent, dwelling place. Every one of us has an idea, image, picture of God in our heart. If the image of God in your mind is wrong, you are not worshipping God. You are worshipping an idol of your own creation. You are worshipping the vain imaginations of your own wicked heart. That is why your God is a snake in the grass, a hideous creature. Why would you worship somebody that is no better than you are? I’ll tell you why. If your God is evil it justifies the evil you do.
When I first came into Christianity I was taught an image of a hideous creature. One who made you sick with cancer so he could get glory. He was a snake in the grass that planned car wrecks and laid you up in the hospital because you had been neglecting him. Good people by the world’s standard taught me these things, people who did not smoke, drink or cruse. They had given their lives to help others – a pastor and his wife. They wanted to worship God and were doing their best to help others worship God, but they had an immature image of God. You can’t give people anymore than you have, and they did not have much.
Paul wrote to the Galatians,
My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you…
An image of who Christ really is needs to be formed in your thoughts. What do you think renewing your mind is all about? Until that image is mature, you are subject to do what Israel did after God delivered them. Worship an idol. See God as a cow, snake in the grass, or hideous creature. It does not mean you are not his. It means you are immature. Once God took Israel out of Egypt he never left them. He wanted to kill them a time or too but he never forsook them. The only people who died in the wilderness were those who insisted they were right and led others into error. You get your leaders reward, so choose carefully whom you follow.
We need to get rid of our idols. They are the reason there is so much fussing and fighting when people talk about God. If somebody says something contrary to the image of God you have accepted, your idol is being challenged and like Pharaoh you will claim the challenger is a liar. If the idol you worship is wicked, so are you. That is why you would rather get in a fight than live in peace with someone who does not agree with you. It’s very hard to admit what you chose to worship is not a real god. You have to be humble to admit you are wrong.
We have to throw away, ground into powder, burn in the fire, the false ideas we embraced about God because the false ideas about God that we worship are idols. If you want your life to get easier get rid of your idols. The truth about God is the only thing that will set you free. If you possess the truth, there is nothing to fear because the truth survives intense scrutiny.
All Israel really wanted when they called upon the God who delivered Jacob out of all his distress was a better life without changing their ways. They loved their idols. They loved the lie they worshiped. God will not overlook your sin when he comes to deliver. If you don’t clean out the idols you will have your fill of your idols and the man who taught you to worship them.
There are a lot of Christians caught in this no mans land today. Living miserable Christian lives because they have a miserable image of God in their hearts. Unable to find their way out because they have embraced ministers who sold themselves to walk in the ways of this world. Ministers who know nothing about God and his ways yet count themselves authorities on the way people ought dress, talk and walk. Ministers who have nothing to teach except their own religious convictions about right and wrong.
10 NIV .. these men speak abusively against whatever they do not understand and what things they do understand by instinct, like unreasoning animals, these are the very things that destroy them.
They criticize what they do not understand and destroy themselves with the things they do understand.
11 Living Bible Woe to them! For they follow the example of Cain who killed his brother; and like Balaam, they will do anything for money and like Korah, they have disobeyed God and will die under his curse.
12 NIV These men are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm – shepherds who feed only themselves.
God will not overlook the sins of these ministers either because when God comes to deliver he sets things right by doing what is right. Our leaders bear responsibility for your life being miserable because they taught you to worship an idol.
What will God do to the ministers who feed themselves but not the sheep it is their job to love and serve? Kill them! I don’t think so! Not yet anyhow. Our God is good. He is patient and kind. He is not willing that any should perish even shepherds who follow their own desires. Those shepherds are still his sons who cry for his presence. But that will not stop the cry of desire from turning into a cry of anguish when Daddy comes home.
Also the officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and were asked, Why have you not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and today as before?
Life getting harder because you have to find your own straw is not as bad as getting a beating. Pharaoh’s taskmasters only beat the officers they appointed. The Hebrew shepherds who led their brothers into the slavery of serving man and worshipping lies about God were beaten. That is the difference between being a leader and being one of the sheep.
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
Never be ashamed to share what God has done for you personally but don’t be in a hurry to teach others about God. If you teach them wrong, ignorance will not excuse you from a beating. Jesus said,
Luke 12:47-48 KJV
And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.
Ignorance is no excuse. If you do things that deserve a beating whether you did it in ignorance or not you will get a beating when God comes to deliver. Ignorance will not excuse you for leading God’s people into error. Ignorance only lightens the punishment to a few stripes instead of many. God takes the work his minister’s do serious whether they do or not.
Isn’t that a little harsh? Shepherds give up so much to enter the ministry and help people. Do they? You’re not helping people when you teach them lies about God. Aside from that, you don’t give up anything to enter the ministry you don’t get back in this present age.
Mark 10:29-30 NIV
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospelwill fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields– and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
If God has called you into the ministry and required you to sacrifice anything you will get back 100 times as much in this present age. God owes a debt to no man. If you sacrifice and don’t get it back. It may be God never sent you. God does not owe you anything if he did not require it.
Ignorance is no excuse. If you know it is the Master’s will for you to be in ministry Jesus said PREPARE and DO. You’re not doing God any favors if you don’t prepare yourself with the truth. If you don’t take the time to know God’s ways how can you teach anybody else to know God’s ways? All you will have to teach are your own religious convictions of the right and wrong way to worship God. All you will be able to do is dictate to people whether they can wear shorts or not. Eat crawfish or not. Go to the movies or not. All those things are matters of conscience between the sheep and their God. If that is all you have to teach you will end up leading God’s people into the slavery of serving your religious conviction and than wonder why you got a beating when your Lord comes to deliver.
Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried out to Pharaoh, saying, Why are you dealing thus with your servants? There is no straw given to your servants, and they say to us, Make brick! And indeed your servants are beaten, but the fault is in your own people.
The fault is in your own people, Pharaoh! If they were slaves like the Africans were slaves in America they would never get away with talking like this. They were in a partnership that turned sour because God wanted their love.
But he said, You are idle! Idle! Therefore you say, Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord. Therefore go now and work; for no straw shall be given you, yet you shall deliver the quota of bricks. And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble after it was said, You shall not reduce any bricks from your daily quota.
A daily quota meant a daily beating. It was impossible to meet the quota without Egypt supplying the straw. I wonder how times Egypt beat them before they understood it is far better to serve God than Pharaoh?
Moses wants to know why Pharaoh has done evil to this people neither has God delivered his people at all. Why is really no mystery? They don’t want to be God’s people. How many times did the officers of the children of Israel say “ I am your servant” to Pharaoh?
Why hasn’t God delivered these people at all is not the question. Why are God’s people in Pharaoh’s throne room kissing his ……feet and saying I am your servant to Pharaoh over and over after God has swore with an oath to be their God and deliver them from the misery of serving Pharaoh. Our God is a living God. He has eyes. He has ears. He sees what we do and hears what we say even when our brothers don’t.
Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. And they said to them, Let the Lord look on you and judge because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
Excuse me! It was a whip not a sword. Blowing things out of proportion is a typical characteristic of immaturity. Children you only got a spanking.
Do not withhold correction from a child, For if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with a rod, And deliver his soul from hell.
It just looked like a sword. God only gave them a whipping so he could deliver their soul from hell.
They wanted the Lord to look on Moses and judge! Might I ask what Lord? The evil man they just got through saying I am your servant to three times. Or the Lord they want to deliver them but they don’t want to honor him as their only Lord. They have made them selves abhorrent in the God of Abraham’s sight by bowing to a mere mortal but all they are concerned about is being abhorrent in Pharaoh’s sight.
If you have obeyed God don’t let anyone put a guilt trip on you for the mess their life is in. Moses did not know what happened in the throne room. Moses and Aaron were standing outside waiting to see how the meeting went. I wonder why the officers of the children of Israel met with Pharaoh privately. Could it be they had something to hide? They are one way in Pharaohs presence and another way in Moses presence. In Pharaoh’s presence, they are his humble servants. In Moses presence, they want the Lord to judge OTHERS! People with one foot in the world and one foot in the church will blame others for the mess their life is in because they want the Lord to judge others but they don’t want the Lord to judge them.
I can understand why Moses questioned God. He didn’t see what God saw. He didn’t hear what God heard. Moses does not know what is going on in the throne room. Moses thought his brothers were sincere about returning to the God of their fathers. I know this is a hard message but don’t be discouraged!
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
When God came to deliver Israel’s life grew harder because whom the Lord loves he chastens. Discipline is better than death, isn’t it? God was mad enough to kill them but HIS love put a rod of disciple in his hand instead of the pestilence and sword they feared. God is good, kind and gracious but he is not mocked. If you think you can use him to make your life easier while you continue to walk in your own ways, you are sadly mistaken. God can also be severe but don’t blow things all out of proportion. It wasn’t a sword flashing in the sunlight, only the buckle on God’s belt. You got a spanking because Daddy loves you.