In their distress, the Israelites cry out to Pharaoh, but he is not the right one to appeal to. They have to go to the LORD. They don’t think about that yet. They subserviently call themselves “your servants” to Pharaoh several times, but all attempts by the people to get relief from slavery, he answers with ruthless harshness. He makes unreasonable demands on them. He shows his true nature.
The people are beginning to understand how hopeless their situation is. A person must first come to the lowest point of his misery if he wants to experience the redemption God offers. A sinner is not really set free if he is redeemed by God at the first sigh for salvation. God wants to teach us what true salvation is, what His great power is, and how great salvation is. If Pharaoh had let them go straight away, they would have thanked him. Where then would be their honor of God? Only God can set the captive free. John 8:36
It is with the people as with the man in Romans 7. There the experience is described of a man whose soul is awakened by the gospel. Then he discovers the power of sin within him and the impossibility of overcoming sin dwelling in him. The gospel, which first seemed (and is!) a happy message, seems to become a torment for him.
When he comes to the recognition that his struggle against sin in him is a hopeless struggle, he exclaims: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free” (Rom 7:2424Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?)? Then he is where he should be, for immediately afterwards comes thanks: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Rom 7:25a25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.). He is ready to believe the gospel in its fullness. Now he is free. Romans 8 describes the situation in which he found himself (Rom 8:1-3,10-141Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.3For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God [did]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and [as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,10If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.12So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—13for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.14For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.).
The people must first discover that they have no strength to work on their own liberation. The same goes for the sinner, who has to learn that he is in the flesh and under the power of satan. God allows this to test the faith of His people and to make them accustomed to His discipline. He also allows it in order to give a glorious revelation of His power in the area where satan had established his control.
The slavery of Israel in Egypt is an appropriate type of our slavery to sin (Rom 6:1717But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed,; Tit 3:33For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.). Being dominated by sin is fatally exhausting. No matter how we beg for relief, it does not come, rather desperation. In the gospel comes relief, liberation, freedom. That was brought by the Lord Jesus. It is written of Him: “THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME, BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED, TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD”” (Lk 4:18-1918“THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR.
HE HAS SENT ME TO PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES,
AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED,
19TO PROCLAIM THE FAVORABLE YEAR OF THE LORD.”