Imagine this: you are fed up with your job. You can’t make it another day. So you march into the CEO’s office and tell him you’ve had it up to here. He gets a piece of your mind. Word gets out pretty fast that you aren’t happy and that you aren’t taking it anymore. But then just before you quit, you go to your direct supervisor and ask her for a bonus. Now I ask you, how is that going to go for you? Do you think you’d get the bonus? Probably not.
I know that all sounds a bit far-fetched, but this is exactly what the Israelites did in Exodus 11. Recall that the Israelites were slaves in the land of Egypt. That made them pretty much the lowest class. Everyone else was in a higher position of authority. So Moses goes in and demands freedom and then God gives this audacious instruction to His people…
Exodus 11:2-3 2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”3 (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)
“Sure. No problem. I mean, we OWN you and all, but here’s some silver and gold. Have a nice life. I’ll just do my own hard labor. No big deal. Be blessed.”
Am I the only one who thinks this is absolutely insane? I mean, who does that? Who quits their job and then asks for more paychecks? Apparently, God’s people. It’s not the “ask” though that got me. It was the response. This little passage of scripture seems to imply that their neighbors ACTUALLY gave them silver and gold.
So here’s the question… why did this work? The answer: Favor. Faithfulness. Obedience. I think it was all three. They had favor that stemmed from faithfulness. They had been good slaves and had won the heart of people. So people wanted to bless them. Do we have favor? Are we faithful to those who are in authority in our lives? Because if we are faithful, favor will follow. They will want to bless us. Let me put it this way: have you given people in your life any reason to want to bless you? The Israelites had.
And obedience. Perhaps the biggest reason this whole free silver and gold thing worked out was due to obedience. God’s people were obedient to Him. Obedient to His instructions to follow Him, obedient to prepare to leave Egypt, and obedient to ask their neighbors for some silver and gold. All they had to do was ask, because God has already prepared their hearts. We tend not to ask because the answer might be no. But we fail to realize that the answer might also be yes. If God says to ask, then ask.
There’s so much here in these two little verses. Let’s be faithful and in turn find favor. And above all, let’s be obedient to the instructions of the Lord. After all, He has a pretty good idea as to what to do in any given situation. So trust Him and find the favor and blessing in the Lord!