Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage. (Exodus 6:9).
It hadn’t been that way at the beginning. When Moses and Aaron initially met with the leaders of the Israelites and told them of God’s plans for them, they did more than believe. Upon hearing of God’s concern for the misery they had endured, they bowed down in worship (4:31). And why not—they were finally going to be rescued!
And they would be, but sometimes it gets darker before the dawn and that’s a harder lesson to learn. Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and presented the case for him allowing Israel three days in the desert (5:3). Pharaoh’s take was that not only was this totally unnecessary, it also would put them behind production on his latest pyramid. His solution for such foolishness was to quit supplying the slackers with the straw for their bricks and make them find their own — while still demanding the same quota be produced as before.
Israel’s response was typical of them and us (at times). They complained and called down God’s judgment upon Moses and Aaron. Moses took the criticism and then complained to God. God patiently reassured Moses of His plans for Israel. Not only had He not forgotten them, He was the God who remembered. He remembered Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the covenant He had made with them. And now He would do for Israel now what He had long ago promised to their forefathers because He remembered.
Moses reported this to Israel but they wouldn’t have anything to do with it. The text says it was because of their discouragement and the cruelty they had experienced. They just weren’t “up” to having another go at believing. Their longing for release had evaporated in the hot desert sand. They had been worn down and out. In their heart of hearts they still desired deliverance (of course they did!), but they were unwilling to openly embrace hope because they had been disappointed one too many times. They had foolishly listened to the brothers and it only resulted in things getting worse, not better. They weren’t going to make that mistake again. They may not have liked their situation, but better the enemy you know than the one you don’t.
We know people like that, don’t we? They stopped believing that things would ever get better a long time ago. They reconciled themselves to their circumstances and are simply content if things don’t get any worse than they are. But they’re manifestly uninterested in anything that has to do with hope. They’ve experienced too many Ponzi schemes, false promises, and empty words. They want no more of it.
In the old Peanuts comic strip, one of the recurring themes was Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown and encouraging him to kick it. This, despite the fact that every previous time she pulled the ball away just at the instant Charlie Brown was about kick it—resulting in him spectacularly landing on his back and uttering his trademark lament, “Good grief!” And for anyone who even marginally kept up with the strip, you wondered why Charlie Brown kept trusting Lucy.
As far as I know, Charlie Brown never kicked that football. Lucy let him down every time. Was he wrong to have kept trusting? Well, you can decide that for yourself but I know this—God is no Lucy! It’s never wrong to trust in Him. It might be difficult at times. There is often a period of darkness before the dawn (the crucifixion before the resurrection), but make no mistake about it—dawn is coming!