The Long Way Home
As we approach Easter, I wonder if many of us know that Good Friday is the same date as when the Israelite Passover starts this year.
I was reading in my Bible yesterday about when God told Moses to go back to Egypt at the ripe old age of 80, and talk to the leader of the country, Pharaoh and tell him to let the Israelite people go, imagine it, the slaves of the country want to go free. Pharaoh was not impressed, Moses was not impressed.
Moses did not like it at all when God asked him to go, he had a number of excuses, but God met each excuse and even gave Moses, miraculous powers. Moses was still hesitant. It was then that God said an interesting thing:
“You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelite's go out of his country. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you…” Exodus 7:2-4
Basically God told Moses to go and obey but that it would not work, “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, he will not listen to you…”
What do we do when we act out of obedience and it does not work? Moses got angry, several times.
But…. Moses went.
I think there is the clincher. Moses went. Oh, yes he went dragging his heels, protesting, whining, dragging his brother into the mess, but he went.
We had this discussion yesterday, as a group of ladies. We said we feel like we failed when the outcome is different than what we intended it to be. But is it supposed to be “our intentions”?
What really is the purpose of obeying? Do we go because we think God needs us? Do we go because we think if I do not go, no one else will? Do we think God is telling us to go because we are the best He has?
I do not think God needs us, at all. I think God wants us, a totally different thing.
God is not needy. God is love. He loves it when we want to obey, when we want to spend time with Him, when we talk to Him, when we join Him in His work. Did you get that? In His Work. The outcome of all our obedience is totally dependent upon God, never us.
Without Moses going to talk to Pharaoh, numerous times, it was not a onetime occurrence, the Israelite's would not have Passover, they never would have been free. One man's obedience saved a nation of over a million of people.
Moses nagged at Pharaoh until the 10th plague struck the country. These plagues affected the whole country, life got harder and harder. It was the 10th plague that was called the Death of the Firstborn and resulted in the Passover. God had told Moses that the angel of death would “Pass Over” the country but if the Israelite's put blood over their doorways, the angel of death and would see it and Pass By, and did. The country woke up in the morning with the first born children, firstborn animals all lying dead except where the Israelite's lived.
The grieving Egyptians promptly kicked the Israelite's out of the country, the Egyptians also gave them their very own treasures and possessions, and thus the Israelite's plundered them on their way out.
What would have happened if Moses had given up on the first try?
What would have happened if Moses had given up on the second try?
The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth? Well you get it.
If we are doing something or praying for something and it does not turn out the way we had hoped for, do we give up? Do we keep being obedient to what we heard? Keep going, try again, do not give up – obedience.
Such is life, one act of obedience at a time and each layer of obedience is making a larger, grander picture than we could ever ask for or imagine. Even when it makes no sense, in fact, it could seem to make things worse.
When we leave the outcome to God, the unimaginable is being built, behind the scenes, off our radar, but trust me, each act of obedience counts for something, something – BIG.
If I could encourage you with anything, it is the story of Moses, the story of a man who begrudgingly went, obeyed time after time and in the end got to see glory – The Promised Land.
What is your Promised Land? Have you given up? Will you put your trust into action and
get back up over and over again, until you catch a glimpse of it, there just on the horizon, oh, it can seem like such a long way home.
You will have to have faith, perseverance and assurance that you serve with someone who knows the ending, and what a glorious ending it will be. Just like Billy Graham used to say, 'I have read the end of the Book, (the Bible), it ends well.'
Keep going, it will be worth it.