(The Faith Forum Series – Batch 3)
God’s ways are not our ways and how we see situations, many times, he sees them differently.
For example, in the Bible, when Pharaoh increased the Israelites’ burdens because Moses and Aaron dared to tell him to let them go to worship their God, the Israelites grew disillusioned and depressed. They gave up all hope that God would deliver them as Moses and Aaron had told them he had promised to do because since then, things had gone from bad to worse.
The Bible states that after their sufferings intensified, the Lord confirmed to them again, through Moses, that he would in fact deliver them. However, due to the reality of their worsened situation, they did not believe.
When they were initially told that God had appeared to Moses and was about to deliver them as his special people, their hopes had been high, they had been ecstatic and they had expected that the next step would be the actual deliverance. However, this was not how things played out. Moses and Aaron spoke to Pharaoh based on what they said were the Lord’s instructions but instead of Pharaoh letting the people go, he increased their workload and oppression.
When the Israelites spoke bitterly in their pain to Moses and Aaron, Moses went to the Lord to understand why this had happened. In that meeting, God confirmed again what he had promised: He would deliver them. Yet, when Moses conveyed the message to the Israelites a second time, they practically ignored him, as one that told tales.
Verses 2-9 of Exodus 6 states:
- “And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord: And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name Jehovah was I not known to them. And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers.
- And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the Lord.
- And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel: but they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.”
The Israelites therefore saw the difficulty and nothing else. Each day they were being made by Pharaoh, to find material to make brick and were expected to make the same amount of brick as they used to make, when the Egyptians used to supply the material. When they failed to do this, the Israelite officers assigned the responsibility of managing them were beaten.
They saw the difficulty brought upon them by Pharaoh’s cruelty and in the midst of that, labelled the idea of ‘deliverance’ an impossibility. However, God from his vantage point saw the difficulty as an opportunity!
It was an opportunity for him to showcase his power and glory, so that both the Israelites and the Egyptians would know that he was God, not just in name only but in action.
One can almost sense the excitement in his voice when Moses went to him in sadness because the Israelites were receiving more punishment. God told Moses in Exodus 6:1: “…NOW SHALT THOU SEE WHAT I WILL DO to Pharaoh: for with a STRONG HAND shall he let them go, and with a STRONG HAND shall he drive them out of his land.”
Later on, in Exodus 7, he instructed Moses to visit Pharaoh again with the same message and stated in verses 4-5, seemingly with great excitement at the opportunity presented to demonstrate his awesome, mind-blowing power:
- “But PHARAOH SHALL NOT HEARKEN UNTO YOU, THAT I MAY LAY MY HAND UPON EGYPT and bring forth mine armies, and my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by GREAT judgments. And the Egyptians SHALL KNOW that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth mine hand upon Egypt, and bring out the children of Israel from among them.”
Later, in Exodus 9:12-16, after the Lord had begun to demonstrate his great power to Pharaoh, he still stubbornly refused to let the Israelites go, just as God had said would happen. God explained that this was all part of HIS plan and that Pharaoh had been placed in that position of authority by him, so that in him being difficult, it would create the perfect opportunity for God to showcase HIS power and glory.
The Bible states:
- “And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had spoken unto Moses. And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; THAT THOU MAYEST KNOW THAT THERE IS NONE LIKE ME IN ALL THE EARTH. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth. And in very deed FOR THIS CAUSE HAVE I RAISED THEE UP, FOR TO SHEW IN THEE MY POWER; AND THAT MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED THROUGHOUT ALL THE EARTH.”
Right before God was about to work one last miracle in Egypt which would cause Pharaoh and the Egyptians to be so grieved, that they would practically thrust the Israelites out of Egypt, God said to Moses: “…Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
God was basically saying that the situation which was created by Pharaoh’s stubbornness, would redound to HIS glory. It would give HIM an opportunity to showcase HIS glory, which would be a testament of HIS greatness to all who heard the story, in years to come.
In my own life, I am reminded of this great truth about God. He is the same God in Moses’ and Pharaoh’s time and his power has not diminished or waned. When I feel discouraged and even overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems I face, I am reminded that my God is bigger and often times, what I have labelled as ‘difficulty’, he redefines as his ‘opportunity’, to showcase HIS glory.
Sometimes the Pharaoh in our lives are addictive habits or strongholds which we desire to break and to be free of, even as God’s special children, yet at times we feel overwhelmed, exhausted by the extent of the spiritual battle we face and we are tempted to just throw in the towel.
Yet, we should keep looking to the Lord for help and deliverance, for, although we are weak, he is strong. He is much stronger than our difficulty and that which seeks to enslave us. If we submit to him, I believe that no matter how bad things look, he will intervene in his own way and in his own time, to free us and he will extract glory from our lives.
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, he told Paul who seemingly felt tired, overwhelmed and weakened by an ongoing problem or difficulty he had: “…for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
(Written on 29th January, 2019)
Dear Reader, if you found the above Article to be informative, edifying, beneficial or interesting, you may also be interested in reading the following:
- Note 143 – ‘God – Sometimes Silent But Ever Present’
- Note 147 – ‘From Bad…To Worse…To Deliverance’
- Note 173 – ‘Showdown In Egypt: God’s Power Trumps All’