This week, as I’m reflecting back on my BSF study of Moses, particularly in Exodus Chapter 5-7:5, it has me thinking about the Israelites ~ their captivity, oppression, hardship, and suffering. They’re still in Egypt, still being held as slaves, and they’re being told to produce just as much as always by Pharaoh’s slave drivers, but now with limited resources. Because of this, discouragement arises and they begin feeling doomed to failure. These same Israelites, who in the last chapter of Exodus were bowing down and worshiping the Lord who they heard had been concerned about them and who had seen their misery, are now cursing Moses and Aaron for making them a stench to Pharaoh. My, my, how quickly their tune changed!
Do you ever find yourself in that situation, where one minute you’re believing God for all His promises and looking forward to your future, but then in the next breath, your world comes tumbling down and you find yourself, much like the Israelites, doomed to failure in your own little Egypt? You feel stuck, like there’s no way out, or cheated, like some one or some thing is always stacked against you? We’ve been facing this feeling ourselves recently in our own little family of three, as we prepare our only child to face the world of college in just a few short months. Will he get into the school of his dreams? What if he doesn’t? What if one school accepts him but another doesn’t? Will he get passed over? Where’s the fairness in that? How can we better control the situation and make it turn out exactly like he hoped it would turn out? Aaaaaaahh! This is our Egypt.
And just as the Israelites turned to Moses with their whining, complaining, and doubts, we see in the Scriptures that Moses returned to the Lord (Exodus 5:22) sadly with the same type of negative attitude. More whining, complaining, and doubts. A-ha! Could it be that discouragement is contagious?? Sure, Moses first tried to talk to the Israelites, reminding them of all that God had promised, but the Bible tells us that they didn’t listen because of their discouragement and bondage. That leads me to wonder, “How well do you and I listen when we are discouraged? And who are we turning to in our discouragement? Is it the Lord whom we’re seeking for His godly counsel?”
If we look at God’s response to Moses, we see that once again, Moses is reminded of all that the Lord promised. God uses “I” to reference His power 9 times between verses 6:28-7:5, and He reminds Moses twice that, “I am the Lord.” It’s like He’s screaming, not just at Moses and the Israelites, but at His people for all times and all generations – that’d be me and you, too, that we need to, “Listen up!” When God repeats something over and over again in His holy Scriptures, it’s definitely something we ought to pay attention to, don’t ya think? So the question remains, “How well are you and I listening?”
The priniciples that we can glean from these scriptures in particular are that, “Obedience to God may mean increased difficulty for myself and others,” and “Discouragement comes when I focus on my circumstances instead of God.” If you find yourself this week lost in your own Egypt wondering if you’ll ever be delivered from your suffering and bondage, maybe you can learn a new lesson from our friend Moses and try returning to God, minus the whining and complaining. That’s right, I’m gonna cling to God’s promise in Exodus 3:17 that says, “I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into…a land flowing with milk and honey.” C’mon, who’s with me? Milk and honey or misery? That’s an easy choice! Get your sweet tooth on and let’s journey together!