I can feel a knot in my stomach forming as I read this story. We read last week about Moses’ understandable reluctance to lead and now it’s as if his worst fears are being realized. He and Aaron ask Pharaoh to let the people go into the desert for 3 days to worship God and Pharaoh not only says no, he adds an additional, unreasonable burden to the people. The Israelite overseers go to Pharaoh to try to plead the people’s case with no luck.
There are a few details that are important to see from the end of chapter 4. First of all, God tells Moses that Pharaoh’s heart will be hardened and that he’s going to tell Moses no, so as hard as this is, it probably wasn’t a big surprise. Moses and Aaron also met with the Israelite elders and performed the signs that God gave Moses to show that indeed God was with them and the people believed.
Sometimes I assume that God’s promise to always be with me means that things are always going to go well for me. When bad things start to happen, I often wonder if somehow I’ve failed or if I’m being disciplined. But God’s presence and life working out the way I want are not necessarily on equal footing. God’s ways and plans are so much higher than mine and He can see all the details from a vantage point that I can’t. He promised to deliver the Israelites, but my guess is that the path to deliverance didn’t look quite like they expected.
So how do we move forward when things are tough, and unfair things are happening to us or even worse, someone we love? How do we function in relationship with God when it feels like He’s abandoned us? This can be such a hard thing to work through. For me, I have to do my very best to focus on what I know instead of what I don’t, and a lot of that has come through developing disciplines in my relationship with Him during my times of peace.
Sometimes I have to remind myself of these things over and over. It’s often those things that carry me through the chaos. Here are a couple of promises from God that you can bank on. Look these up when you have a minute and try to commit them to memory for those times that you need them. Remind yourself as often as you need to that our God is bigger and better than anything that may come our way.
Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (God is my God and he promises to strengthen me, help me, and hold me up)
John 16:33 “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.” (Jesus is my source of peace and He is bigger than whatever I’m facing)
New Hope Church