How’s your heart today? What are your thoughts? What has been happening around you? If someone took your spiritual temperature, what would it be? Are you healthy and thriving, sick and tired, or somewhere in between?
I have always enjoyed reading about the life of Moses. A man who accomplished so very much, but was completely honest about his insecurities. God chose him for a mighty mission. He would be the vessel used to rescue God’s people out of oppression, misery, and bondage. The Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years (Exodus 12:40). Generations had come and gone and their circumstances remained harsh. The dehydration of their days mirrored the parched places in their soul. Long standing discouragement is what they felt. A fear of the situation staying “the same” rushed over them like a mighty tidal wave. Maybe you feel like that too. Maybe, you are experiencing a season that seems like forever and it is difficult to see the forest for the trees.
Discouragement is something we all face from time to time. It’s a hurdle and can definitely put a limp in our step and a lump in our throat. During these times, we search for God and wrestle with the “why’s” of our days. The ancient Hebrews were no different. God was making a way to free them but they couldn’t see it or feel it! Moses knew their need and he also knew the certainty of God’s Word becoming their reality!
“The Lord is trustworthy in all His promises and faithful in all He does.” Psalm 145:13
Freedom was on its way, but would the people have enough faith to believe Moses and receive the words of God, or had cynicism so hardened their hearts, that they would have no room to see with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears? Faith is an integral part of witnessing God’s glory! It is the way He set things up and He meant for us to see the connection between the two.
“Did I not tell you that IF you believe, you will see the glory of God.” John 11:40
Moses approached the people with the very words God had instructed him to say. The words that reminded the Israelites that God was most certainly in the midst of their presence and slap dab in tune with their pain! He would WALK them through the journey that would lead them to a new life and a better day.
So often, I believe the emotional upheaval that discouragement causes is due to the feeling that we are all alone and that God has somehow lost our number! The unbearable weight of it’s all up to us to “fix this” or “figure it out.” Oh yes, this will make us want to quit!
“…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 judgement. I WILL take you as my people, and I WILL be your God. THEN you WILL KNOW that I am the Lord your God, who brought you from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore…” Ex.6:6-8
I can just hear the old and wise Moses, standing before them proclaiming these prophetic words with elation and anticipation. Everything God does is for us to not only experience His goodness and freedom, but to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that HE IS GOD! That HE IS ALIVE! That HE IS GOOD! Moses knew this and he wanted them to know it!!! God’s rescuing them would not only be a foreshadowing of the freedom Christ gives us through the cross, but the ongoing liberty and help He provides as we walk life out day to day; as we face difficulties, betrayals, changes, and challenges!
After Moses shares this mighty movement of hope, he becomes dismayed as to why they looked so incredibly sad and untouched! Scripture gives insight and reminds us that discouragement affects our ability to hear God and receive what He has for us in faith! Both of these things will lead to a cynical heart.
“They did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.” Ex. 6:9
What is so perplexing is that after Moses follows through with this message of hope, he becomes discouraged too.
“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.” Ex 6:12
You see, Moses was still focused on his insecurities. Initially, he even asked God to find someone else for the “call” because he felt that he wasn’t “good enough” at speaking. It’s as if Moses was saying, “See, I told you I couldn’t do this! If I had been better, they would have responded to You!” Ahh, yes…it’s all our fault! I know this one! Yep, open door, welcome discouragement! Subtracting God from the equation NEVER ends well and has been known to keep many in a pit for a VERY long time.
Discouragement often results when we focus on ourselves and evaluate our present situation minus God’s movement or intervention. We overcome this by understanding and believing that God isn’t dependent on us perfecting our weak areas. It is through those weak areas that we learn how to draw strength from Him. For our weaknesses become a portal to display the power of God.
Moses was convinced that because he wasn’t good at speaking, the Israelites would remain in bondage forever. In reality, the people were simply discouraged and flat out exhausted!! Funny how we make broad assumptions that are so very often not true. If we believe them, it can truly change the direction of our lives, weaken our resolve in finishing the call, or simply cause us to miss out on so many wonderful opportunities and friendships.
Moses, like us, was putting an incredible amount of pressure on himself. I find we do the very same thing, whether it be a student in college, a parent trying to raise children, an employee seeking to advance in one’s job while simultaneously wanting to represent Christ in all he/she does. We work so hard and simply exhaust ourselves. We believe we have to perfect every weak area in order that God can move! We make it as if God is dependent on us ——> insert embarrassing gasp- This will send us into an emotional spiral every dang time.
The most powerful thing we can do to rekindle the flame of hope is bend a knee and let the Father comfort us by reminding us of His Sovereignty and provision.
“Who have man his mouth? Who makes him deaf and mute? Who gives sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go; I WILL HELP YOU speak and teach you what to say. v15- I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do.” Ex 4:11,12,15
Our souls will find a renewed sense of courage, when we remember God’s infinite supply of power and wisdom to equip us and carry us through
whatever we are facing. We simply need to lean on Him in prayer.
In reading through Exodus, we witness Moses learn to trust God with His inadequacies and watch God move through them. We behold the outstretched hand of Jehovah mark the path ahead, and direct them step by step to a new place and a new land. Scripture is full of God creating leaders out of ordinary, flawed humans. It’s full of God rescuing His people and giving them a new song of deliverance. But we must also remember, that the children of God faced situations where they were called to stay encouraged even as they remained in a discouraging place. Many times in my own life, God has allowed certain difficulties for a very long season in order for me to learn where my faith was and where it wasn’t! To learn how to draw from His strength and remain hopeful even if my circumstances didn’t change. To see that God will always prove faithful and His Word will always prove itself true! Let’s breathe a beautiful sigh of relief realizing that God longs to keep our hearts hopeful and strong and He will surely do this through His comfort, revelation, love and guidance.
Have a wonderful day and may we remember to keep our heads up as we keep our posture down.
Love you all,