This is a weekly guest devotion written by my mother Estelene. Each week she shares with us scripture and a short devotion to encourage us.
We are a very impatient people. We don’t want to wait for anything. We fill our stomachs with fast food, we use our credit cards to purchase material items instead of saving enough money in order to buy them, and we don’t even want to wait our turn in line to be assisted. Even though I believe we live during a time when this characteristic has become more prevalent, it has existed since the beginning of time.
It is difficult for us to accept the fact that God does not, nor has he ever, set his plans according to our timetable. Even though he has spoken promises to us, we may have to go through tough and burdensome situations in order to receive his promises. For example, as a Christ follower we might be ridiculed or even persecuted in this lifetime. But someday, when we see Jesus face to face, it will all be worth it.
The Israelites had been suffering in Egyptian bondage for four hundred years. God told Moses to go back to Egypt and free his people. Moses accepted the challenge, but he did not realize how difficult it would be. This is where we begin our lesson for this week.
Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me go back to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.”
Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.”
Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead. So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand. Exodus 4:18-20
The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him. Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and also about all the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform.
Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites, and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people, and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “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 desert.’ “
Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”
Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews had met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”
But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Go back to your work!” Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”
That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”
Then the slave drivers and the foremen went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says; ‘I will not give you any more straw. Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’ “ So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh’s slave drivers were beaten and were asked, “Why didn’t you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”
Then the Israelite foremen went and appealed to Pharaoh; “Why have you treated your servants this way? Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”
Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”
The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each.” When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, “May the Lord look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
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.”
God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites; ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And 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.’ “
Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”
But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. Exodus 4:27-6:13
Pharaoh had a good thing going, and he did not want to lose it. Many great cities were being built by the hands of the Israelite slaves. There was no wonder why he did not want them to leave. He did not fear the Lord All Mighty, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob because he did not know of him. But he soon found out with whom he was dealing. He thought he was in control of the Israelites lives, but God alone was and is still in control of everything.
At first, when Aaron told the elders what God had said to Moses, they believed and bowed down and worshiped God. But when they were made to find their own straw and the number of bricks they had to make on a daily basis was not decreased, their faith wavered. Why? Because they thought God would instantly deliver them without hardship of any kind. They did not expect to be beaten or their workload to be increased.
God assured Moses that Pharaoh would let the Israelites go. He pretty much said that by the time he got finished with Pharaoh, he would be more than glad to stand aside and watch them leave. God told Moses to share with the Israelites the covenant he had made with Abraham: his promise to free them from slavery, give them possession of a beautiful land, and be their God. Even then, they lacked faith.
Moses himself became discouraged and doubt started to take root in his mind. Things weren’t going as smoothly as he thought they should. God said, “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.” But Moses feared that Pharaoh would not listen to him any more than the Israelites.
What does the scripture say? God spoke to Moses and Aaron again about the Israelites and Pharaoh, “and he COMMANDED them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.”
The road of life is not an easy road to travel, but it sure is comforting to know that God is always there to pick us up when we stumble, trip, fall, and even when we attain a wound that leaves a scar. It is not a matter of if any of these will happen, but it is the matter of when they will happen. If your suffering leaves a scar, every now and then look at that scar and be reminded of how God brought you through it all.
Are you expecting God to immediately answer your prayers? Have patience, my friend. Impatience will do nothing but cause you to doubt, trust, and lose faith in the God who knows what he has planned for your life.