I’ve been reading through the Exodus lately and what a powerful story. It’s hard though with as many times as I’ve seen The Ten Commandments to get Charlton Hesston out of my head and those epic seasons. Truly my favorite Bible movie ever.
But there have been two things that have stood out to me. Two very uncomfortable things.
1) Sometimes people are to die before seasons change
This sounds dreadful actually but it’s true in both good and bad ways. I know of a church that is super dynamic and has 1.5 x more people in it than the population of its town. It’s powerful, exciting and engaging. When I spoke with the leadership about the origins of its amazing growth, the pastor had gone to a conference about how “every member has a ministry.” He took that to heart, went back and proclaimed it from the pulpit. Then he unfolded his plan to make it happen for the congregation. One older member of the church scoffed loudly during the message. Without hesitation the pastor responded to him directly, and while I can’t remember the words, something along the lines of, “we will see the power of the Lord!” Not much happened but when that man passed away, things began to explode in a righteous way.
In other seasons sometimes it’s the spiritual leader of a people that the Lord waits to honor their death before he moves the others into the next season. Consider Moses in his late life. He was still young and full of years but the Israelites did not take on the Promised Land until after Moses passed away. I think of this also with the passing of Billy Graham. I think the Lord is going to do something new but he has waited to honor the life and death of this amazing saint.
Now consider Moses in his mid-life. He has spent several decades just being a shepherd. Then one day the Lord appears to him in a burning bush and tells him to go deliver the people in bondage.
“for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead” (Ex 4:19).
Now that they were gone, the time was ripe and the season was to change. The Lord had heard their suffering and was to deliver them. A season was changing.
Even Jesus said that he had to go to change the season. It said he had to leave so that the Spirit would come (Jn 16:7). It was a changing of the seasons.
It’s a tough reality, but sometimes the changing of seasons comes after God himself takes some people home.
Now don’t take this wrong. We are not to harm others or our own lives to force the change of season. This is not God’s way or God’s timing or God’s heart. In fact, these things don’t change the season in good ways ever.
But every life for the span that God determines is for a season. And seasons change.
2. Discouragement can cause us to reject the deliverance of God
This was another thing I saw today. As one has said, “it always gets the darkest before it turns really black.”
This was the way of Moses. He had come with his brother Aaron and told the Israelites that God had heard their cries of suffering and deliverance was on its way. Then everything went sour. Pharaoh made life even more miserable and the people were angry at Moses and Aaron.
The people were doubting Moses and Aaron.
And I’m sure Moses and Aaron were doubting their own call.
The problem was that when Moses again brought the Word of the Lord to them of deliverance, “they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (Ex 6:9).
As I was reading this I realize that in my own life, because of discouragement and at times miserable circumstances, I have not believe or relied upon the Word of the Lord for my life. Discouragement clouded my eyes.
This is a warning for me.
Do not let discouragement or difficulties cloud my hope, joy and trust in God’s Word.
It doesn’t mean that there isn’t suffering. Suffering is actually promised. We would do well to grow in our theology of suffering. But we can know and rest in the fact that God sees, God knows and God cares.
We have an anchor even if the storm seems to never end. I need to reject discouragement as it may cloud my eyes.
There is a lot to learn in the Exodus and with the Israelites relationship with God. But these are the things that stood out to me today.