When It Feels Like the Whole Free World Is Against You

Sunset

From Exodus 5-7

Chapter 5 of Exodus begins with tough times for Moses: after his initial request to Pharaoh to allow the Israelites to go out to the desert to worship their God and his blatant refusal, the Israelites are ordered to make bricks without straw and retain their daily quota. The task proves to be impossible.  Fingers are pointed, who’s to blame here?  Moses gets it on every side, the foremen come to him, as do the Israelites, everyone is either discouraged, angry or overworked, some, all three. The chapter closes with Moses asking God, “Why?”  What then, enabled Moses to stand firm and keep going–what fortified him to obey God and charge through these proverbial bricks walls?  Nothing was working out as planned, in fact, things had gotten way worse, so what then, helped Moses to stand firm throughout this process to free God’s chosen people?

1) A Constant Reassurance from God that He Would Do What He Said:

Exodus 6:1 “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country…I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and Jacob as God Almighty…I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.” And here, in the following verses are the words that this thirsty soul, for one, longs to hear. Because it is here that the Great I AM also becomes the great I WILL:

I will bring you out from the yoke of the Egyptians

I will free you from being slaves to them

I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and mighty acts of judgement

I will take you as my own people

I will be your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians

I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob

I will give it to you as a possession

I am the Lord

2) Supportive Friends and Family–You see, Aaron would be a constant companion to Moses throughout his lifetime, this wasn’t just a man who would do the public speaking for Moses. Yes, this public speaking thing was a plus and this was why Moses originally asked for help, but Aaron would become a rock for Moses. We see in 5:20, that the foremen found Moses and Aaron, again, in Chapter 7:1, God compares Moses to himself (imagine!) and Aaron as his prophet, that Aaron would listen and do just as Moses commanded him. Who’s in your corner? Listen to them, love them, respect them and above all else value them as someone God has placed in your life to help you accomplish His purposes.

3) Knowledge that It Doesn’t Take a Perfect Pedigree, Just a Willing Heart: It’s interesting to see that there is a lengthy side note going on in Exodus 6: 13-25, what may seem like a bunch of names and numbers is extremely important. We’ve seen throughout the book of Genesis how significant birth order was in a family, being the firstborn in a family meant being the recipient of so many rights and privileges: a father’s birthright, blessing and inheritance. We’ve also seen the devastating consequences when that order is upset by sin as in the story of Jacob of Esau, however, these verses point out that Moses’ family was no where cut and dry privileged, in fact, not a single person in his close bloodline was a firstborn, and yet here he was, hand-picked by God to save his chosen people.

4) A God that Helped Him Take Baby Steps: What were these baby steps? Notice that when Moses initially went to Pharaoh, he did not immediately ask for his people’s release, he began with a more reasonable request: 5:1b: “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness. Of course Pharaoh says “no.” He reasons, “I do not know this God, nor will I let these people go.”   But this wasn’t Moses’ first step of faith…

Leave the life you knew for 40 years, travel with your family to a place where you know you will find trouble and all kinds of heartache, all because God was asking you to? Check.

Prepare for your meeting with a mighty, godless leader by witnessing God turn a staff into a snake, your own hand leprous and then healthy again and watch water turn to blood before your very eyes? Knowing that you will have to perform these same signs in front of said godless leader? Check.

Stand up to the leader of the most powerful nation in the world? Check.

None.Of.These.Steps.Were.Easy. But they were necessary. Friends, God didn’t place us on this earth to do the easy stuff. He didn’t. He placed us here to reflect his glory and to do his work, sometimes it’s as “easy” as living a life of integrity, however, other times it’s going to mean a huge leap of faith. Just know that the Great I WILL will never leave.

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