His Promises . . . Our Hope
His Promises . . . Our Hope
Have you ever become so weary from the pain of ongoing heartache that you found yourself limiting God’s access to your heart? Have you ever felt your hopes rising as it seemed breakthrough was just around the corner … only to have everything fall apart before your eyes?
If so, take heart, because the Israelites did the exact same thing! I love it when I find people in the Bible who have the same types of faith struggles I have.
Reading through the Exodus story recently, God highlighted a response from the Israelites I’d never noticed before.
Moses had just arrived on the scene – after quite a long argument with the Lord – if you remember. With a bit of trepidation, he’d announced to the Israelites that the time for their long-awaited rescue from slavery had finally arrived. After delivering the entirety of the Lord’s message and performing the miracles God had commanded, “the people of Israel were convinced that the Lord had sent Moses and Aaron.” Full of joyful anticipation, they immediately bowed down and worshiped their God! (Exodus 4:29-31)
Can’t you just hear Moses thinking, “Well that certainly went better than I expected! Now … on to Pharaoh!”
Moses delivered God’s “Let my people go” message …. but that’s where everything began to fall apart. Not only did Pharaoh refuse to obey God, he punished the Israelites for their “laziness.” He ordered their workload increased, cruelly proclaiming that they would no longer be supplied with straw for making bricks. He demanded that they gather their own straw yet maintain the same production quota as before. All who failed would be harshly beaten.
The Israelite leaders ran to Pharaoh begging for relief, but only received more threats and accusations. With no relief in sight and fearing for their lives, they turned on Moses, blaming him for all their troubles.
Can you imagine how hurt and confused Moses must have felt? He cried out to God: Why have you brought more trouble on your people? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh, things have gotten worse. And you have done nothing to rescue them! (Exodus 5:23)
Just when they thought things were finally going to get better, they got worse … and then much worse.
But God in His infinite power and grace responded to Moses: “I am Yahweh – the LORD …Therefore say to the people of Israel: I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment. I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God … I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the LORD!” (Exodus 6:2,6-8)
I can just feel the God-bumps rising on my arms as I “hear” this thunderous declaration of the Lord’s power and promise … but look at how the Israelites responded.
“So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.” (Exodus 6:9)
Did you catch that? They refused to listen to God’s word because they were discouraged and weary.
I wonder how often we’ve allowed feelings of discouragement and heartache to silence God’s voice of promise and hope. I wonder how many times we’ve given into weariness and refused to lift our eyes above our circumstances.
May we be people of courage who consistently look beyond what our eyes see, who courageously press in to Jesus, who consistently declare with unwavering faith: Lord, “You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.” (Psalm 119:114)
Lord, may we place more confidence in Your promises than we do in our circumstances.