"...but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage" (Exodus 6:9).
It is very difficult to lead when those you lead believe they have been mistreated and have lost all hope. Such was the case when God called Moses to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt. They had lived under many years of oppression and slavery. Yet, God heard their cry. He sent someone to bring them out of slavery "so that they might worship God." Interesting that God didn't say "to serve Him." Above all else, God desires our worship. A person cannot enter into true worship of God while they are still in slavery and bondage.
In Psalms, the writer tells us that "hope deferred makes the heart sick." There is a place in life where life becomes so discouraging and hopeless that we lose all hope, and it can actually make us sick. I have been at this place. It is a scary condition. It brings you to the edge of despair.
The people would not listen to Moses. Yet, God did not deliver immediately. In fact, it would be many plagues later before ultimate deliverance would take place. Why does God withhold deliverance at times? It is in order to bring greater glory from the situation. It isn't because He doesn't care. It is because His plan for mankind is resting in these events. It is a finely tuned plan that involves many people and situations--all operating at the same time. It can seem cruel at times. But God knows that His children cannot worship Him if they are in bondage and lose all hope. He won't allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear. So, He has a plan of deliverance for each of us. This plan is not always the kind of deliverance we might think is best. It sometimes has pain surrounding the deliverance. When a mother gives birth, that child is delivered into this world through much pain. But with that pain, comes great joy on the other side. Every mother will say the pain was worth it because of the exceeding joy that child brought in the midst of the pain.
Where are you in bondage to today? What keeps you from entering true worship? Work can keep us in bondage if we fail to enter into freedom in Christ during our workday. Today, ask God to show you the areas of bondage that you are living so that you may worship Him.