Exodus 5:1 - 5

"Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, 'This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: "Let my people go, so they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness."' Pharaoh said, 'Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.' Then they said, 'The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.' But the king of Egypt said, 'Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!' Then Pharaoh said, 'Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.'" NIV translation

As we saw in chapter 4, Moses and Aaron had met with the leaders of Israel. As a result of that meeting, the people turned back to worshiping God. As we see here, they went back to observing the Sabbath day of rest. Before this, they had probably been working seven days a week and accomplishing much for the king of Egypt. 

Exodus 5:6 - 12

"That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 'You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota. They are lazy, that is why they are crying out, "Let us go and sacrifice to our God." Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.' Then the slave drivers and the overseers went out and said to the people, 'This is what Pharaoh says: "I will not give you any more straw. Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all."' So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw." NIV translation

Instead of allowing the people to continue to worship God, Pharaoh increased their workload so that they would not have time to worship.

This is the same thing that Jesus was talking about in the Parable of the Sower. There, Jesus spoke of a seed falling among thorns being choked out. He went on to explain that the thorns were the worries of this world.

In the last days, the same tactic is used as a man must work an entire day just to get enough food to feed himself (see Revelation 6:6).