So Moses went back to the LORD and asked, ” Lord, why have you caused trouble for this people? Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in your name he has caused trouble for this people, and you haven’t rescued your people at all.” But the LORD replied to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh”Exodus 5:22-6:1
Moses was a reluctant liberator of the Israelite nation from Egyptian slavery. In fact, he didn’t want the job at all. He made several excuses to God, most rather lame, until God became very angry with him. The Lord provided answers to all of Moses’ objections, until Moses had nothing else to offer but “please send someone else”. That’s when the Lord got upset with him and said, “I chose you-now go.”
As it turned out, Moses had two oppositional forces with which to contend. The first, obviously, was Pharaoh, who wasn’t about to part with a large slave labor force who were building his cities and monuments. But the other, surprisingly, were the Israelites themselves. At first, they were joyous and receptive, worshiping God and ready to pack up for the trip. But when the only result from Moses’ initial encounter with Pharaoh was to make their lives harder and more miserable, they turned on Moses and had nothing but complaints.
It was then Moses turned once again to the Lord with the prayer quoted above, in which he as much blamed God for their problems as well as complaining of inaction and with an unspoken “I told you this was a bad idea.” God’s answer? “Now I’ll show you what I will do” and went on to say that Pharaoh will not only let the people go, but because of a strong hand he will drive them out. God allowed the timing and circumstances to get right and then He went to work. God continues by reminding Moses of the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to give them the land, and that He has heard the groaning of His people and remembered the covenant. Moses is instructed to tell the Israelites that God will rescue them from slavery, redeem them and make them His chosen people, and they will know Him and remember what He has done for them. But in 6:9 it says, “Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.”
The Israelites had heard of God Almighty but had never had an up close and personal encounter with Yahweh, I AM WHO I AM. It was hard for them to be given a promise of deliverance and not see it immediately happen. When it didn’t, they were once again overwhelmed by the hardships of their lives. It’s hard to maintain hope when any promise of it just makes your life worse. They couldn’t see that God had His own timing and that when He promises something it is iron-clad guaranteed to come to pass. All they could see was now they had to get their own straw as well as make the bricks, more work in the same amount of time and output. This Moses was a troublemaker, why should we believe anything he tells us?
Before you start criticizing the Israelites too harshly, stop and consider your own life. When things start going sideways and you beg God for relief, how do you respond when relief not only doesn’t come but things get worse? What conclusions do you draw? “God doesn’t care about me.” “God is not a loving God, otherwise He would have not let this happen.” Do you get angry with Him, get depressed and hopeless? Do you stop believing in Him altogether?
Our problem is the same that the Israelites had. Their belief and trust in God was based on Him meeting their expectations and timeline. When it didn’t happen, they became so wrapped up in their current circumstances they could no longer believe God would fulfill His promise made to Abraham of deliverance of a Promised Land to his chosen descendants. They couldn’t see it because they didn’t know God. God had to not only convince Pharaoh to release the Israelites by inflicting ten plagues on the nation; He also had to show Himself and His power to the Israelites. They had to know their God was able to deliver on His promise, and they needed to trust Him.
In the end, it all comes down to that one thing. We aren’t always going to understand God’s purposes and timetable, and He doesn’t always choose to explain it to us. He asks that we trust Him and His promises. Satan and the world seek to overwhelm us with troubles and hardships in order to make us believe that God is not trustworthy. If Satan can get us focused on how difficult our lives are, we will begin to think God isn’t capable or willing to give us the abundant life that Jesus Christ described and promised.
The first thing to do is to commit yourself to Jesus Christ as his disciple as outlined in the New Testament: believe He is the Son of God, repent (turn away) from your life of sin and living only for self, confess Him as Savior and Lord, and be baptized. Having done that, learn to love and trust Him completely in any and all circumstances; they have no power over the One who conquered sin and death. Then, when you find yourself in difficult circumstances, be it financial, disease, broken relationships, addictions, or whatever else, have the confidence to trust the God who has made the promise, “I will never leave you or abandon you” (Joshua 1:5). Then hold tight to that promise; it may well be that God is about to say, “Now I will show you what I am about to do”, and the wonder of it will make you forget whatever troubles you. We serve that kind of God, the God who never breaks a promise.