14 Sep For Greater Purposes
When I see clear evidence of God’s power and direction, it’s easy for me to trust and believe Him. Exodus 4:29-30 begins with the miraculous signs Moses performs to show the Israelites God’s power, authority, and control. And the Israelites respond appropriately to this display of God’s sovereignty: “When they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshipped” (Exodus 4:31). They were convinced; they believed that God was with them.
But setbacks reveal my fears, insecurities, and lack of trust. Just like we see in Exodus 5, circumstances change; things become more difficult. New and unexpected challenges present themselves. Here Pharaoh doubles down and makes the Israelites’ work virtually impossible. It seems that God’s direction has made things worse for His people. When life becomes harder for me, when my comfort is dislodged, how do I view God and the changes He brings my way? How do I respond? The Israelites, like me, are quickly discouraged and disillusioned by unfavorable circumstances. As Pharaoh toughens his stance and responds with harsher working conditions, they become more and more disheartened with and angry at Moses and Aaron, and ultimately God. They don’t turn to Him in their need. They question His direction and search for an easier earthly solution, just as I often do.
“When life becomes harder for me, when my comfort is dislodged, how do I view God and the changes He brings my way? How do I respond?”
Reading Exodus today, we have the benefit of knowing that God is at work in a bigger way than they can imagine. We know the rest of the story—that God rescued the Israelites, that they made it back to the Promised Land (but not before they wandered in the desert for forty years!). The Israelites’ history reveals God’s ultimate sovereignty over and over, but here the people have forgotten. Moses’ own life story is one of God’s provision despite impossible challenges. As circumstances turn, and his comfort is disrupted, Moses also doubts God. He focuses on what he lacks instead of the blessings God has given him. He dwells on his inadequacies and fear of man instead of God’s mighty power and protection. Moses feels unprepared and unqualified because he forgets God’s complete sufficiency. He forgets to look back and see evidence of God’s presence and character. All of the above sounds just like me.
Has anything in Moses’ life, or mine, gone according to our plans? We learn in Exodus that God often disrupts our plans for greater kingdom purposes. Could it be that He is at work in a bigger way than I can imagine today too? Will I trust that He uses all situations to grow me to depend on Him and at the same time to achieve His purpose in the world? Will I remember God’s unchanging nature, His goodness in the face of injustice and evil, His ultimate power to right all wrongs? Will I live like I believe that one day every knee will bow before Him? Though the words were not yet spoken, Moses and the Israelites had the same truth from the same God, when Jesus said in John 16:33: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
“Moses feels unprepared and unqualified because he forgets God’s complete sufficiency. He forgets to look back and see evidence of God’s presence and character.”
For all of us, God sent His son Jesus to rescue and redeem us from sin and from ourselves. Through His plan of redemption, He has prepared a place for us in heaven that far exceeds anything we can imagine. For that reason, He never intends for us to get too comfortable here. Just as Egypt was never the Israelites’ home, this world, with all its hardships and disappointments, is not now, and never will be, ours. If I believe this to be true, why do I waste my time on any fleeting, temporary, short-sighted comfort that this world offers? Instead, with God’s help, may I fully embrace change, challenge—even discomfort—for God’s greater kingdom purposes.
Midway through launching her four teenage/young adult kids into the world, Keri enjoys life with her loving husband, a fun job, and random volunteer roles. She has a weakness for iced mochas and cookie dough, but fortunately likes to exercise too. She’s working on saying yes to more things that matter and no to more things that don’t. Keri attends our Downtown campus.