“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I’m working my way through Exodus. It’s been a couple months in this book and I’m on Chapter 5. Go me. I’m not a slow reader, but I have so many books on the go that it’s hard to finish one reading project before I start another…there’s just so many great books out there and so little time!!
The other night I was laying in bed, starting my reading for the evening, and I decided that Exodus would be the chosen book. It wasn’t quite what I was thinking I needed that night, but I felt like I should.
Ever heard that saying “never should on yourself”? I love that saying, so true. But this time it was a good thing that I should on myself.
Chapter 5. Moses has been told by God to go to Pharaoh and tell him to release the Israelites. Aaron goes with him and between verses 1-21 they present this idea to the king of Egypt.
God was pretty clear, he said he would release his people if Moses went to the king and asked him to release them. So when Moses did this, when Moses was obedient to God and Pharaoh didn’t release them…he, instead, made their lives so much worse…the people turned on Moses saying “May the Lord look upon you and judge you!” (vs. 21).
Imagine, this strong, confidant man who has seen a flaming bush in the desert, who has clear and obvious instruction from God. Who has seen his stick turn into a snake, who has witnessed water turning into blood. This man goes before the king of all of Egypt, a king he can see, he can hear and who rules and punishes before his eyes. He can physically touch this king. And he takes this bizarre idea to this king, this idea that everyone would have thought was crazy, and truly believes that Pharaoh will release an entire nation of people because of it. But Pharaoh doesn’t. Matter of fact, he does the opposite. He punishes the people. He makes their lives impossible. He sets expectations that can’t be accomplished and then he beats them when they aren’t completed.
And Moses is confused, hurt even. Why would God do this to him? Why wouldn’t God do what he said he was going to do?
We all know the end result of this story, Moses presents this idea to Pharaoh several times and finally, after it seems like it just couldn’t get any worse, the king releases the nation of Israel.
God didn’t give Moses a timeline. He gave him instructions and a promise. Moses knew what he had seen, he knew he wasn’t crazy, he knew that God existed and had spoken to him. He knew what he knew what he knew. God had told him he would release the Isralites and so he kept going forward in faith, knowing that God would complete his promise.
God doesn’t promise that life will be easy in our obedience. He doesn’t promise that there won’t be suffering. He doesn’t promise that it will happen in the timing we expect. But what he does promise is that he will complete what he has started. He promises that he will be with us every step of the way and he promises that he will show himself when we need it most. All he asks of us is that we continue to do what he has asked of us, even when it doesn’t make sense. Even when there is an entire nation shouting insults at us, asking us to leave them alone…we answer to God. Not to the people around us.
Did you wonder why I put that line in there “He can physically touch this king“? Because sometimes, when we look around and see the disobedience of those around us or lack of movement, we see what is happening in the physical world, we forget that what we can see with our eyes has nothing to do with the work God is doing in the spiritual realm. You can see what is around you, you can’t see God, and some times, most of the time, it’s easier to trust what you can see rather than trust what an invisible God has told you.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
God asks us to walk in faith, to trust him and to not pay attention to what we can see with our physical eyes.
“For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
God works in and with the impossibilities. He works beyond what we can see with our eyes. And he wants all the glory. He wants to bring us to a place where all we can do is give credit to him. Where there is no other way that we succeeded other than by his hand.
God will do what he has said he will do. It won’t be in our timing. It won’t be how we expect. But he will move mountains, he will set the captives free, he will bring us to the land he has promised and he will show us miracles along the way.
Our God is good. Our God is loving. All we need to do is be obedient, put one foot in front of the other, listen, breathe, walk with him and watch him work. He has never promised that it will be easy, but he has promised to carry us through.