As scared as he may have been, the first part seems to go pretty well for him. He meets with the Israelite people and tells them that God has heard their cries and has a plan to rescue them from the oppression they face. They are naturally ecstatic. I imagine there was a lot of packing going on and a good bit of “Thank God all our troubles are behind us” being said. Following the will of God was going really well for all of them.
Then Moses goes to Pharaoh and explains to him that God has heard the cries of the Israelites and has a plan to rescue them. Shockingly, things start to go downhill. Pharaoh doesn’t seem as high on this plan as the people had been. But why should he be? Why in the world would Pharaoh just give up power? Like everyone else, Pharaoh has lived his whole life being told the lies that the powers of this world wanted him to believe. He believes that his safety and security and power, even his very identity lies not in God but in his wealth and army and workforce and himself.
Angry Pharaoh decides to drive the slaves even harder. He puts more work on their backs. He demands even more of them than he had before. Following the will of God is not going so well for the Israelites now. It seems that following God isn’t all emotional rainbows and lollipops. Quite often it’s actually spiritually depressing, physically painful and emotional arduous. Go read any chapter of Jeremiah to see what kind of toll following the will of God can have on a person.
Things look fairly bleak for the people and they were not happy with Moses. When all the doors closed, God didn’t seem to be opening a window and Moses was ready to bail out and head back to the sheep. But God wasn’t look for Moses to show cowardice or even creativity. He was looking for perseverance. God’s response to Moses was “Get back in there!” Of course Pharaoh wasn’t going to listen at first. Why should he? Why are we even remotely surprised by this? But now, Moses is told to get back in there because God is about to show everyone why his way is not the world’s way and why his power is not the world’s power.