Excuses | Devotion 6: Pain and Promises
Sometimes we bring a lot of pain upon ourselves. We sin, we do things we know we should not, and we have to pay the consequences. Yet other times, we just get a bad deal. Sometimes the storms of life or wrath of other people just beat down on us seemingly out of nowhere and for no reason. Maybe you are experiencing this right now. You might be trying your best, working hard, and doing everything you are supposed to do, but the trouble keeps coming.
A similar scenario happened for the Israelites in Exodus chapter 5. Here they were, a giant group of people enslaved by the Egyptians, doing their daily job of making bricks, when the trouble came. In the previous chapters, we see God telling Moses that he is the guy who God was going to use to free His people. God told Moses exactly what to do and what to say to Pharaoh, asking him to let the Israelites go so they could worship God. God even told Moses that Pharaoh was going to reject his request and make things difficult for him and the nation of Israel before the promise was fulfilled. This is exactly what happened. After hearing from Moses, Pharaoh not only rejected his request but also decided to take it out on the Israelites by making their work impossible. He immediately took away the materials they needed to make bricks while demanding they make the same amount as before. When they did not meet the quota, they were brutally beaten and abused. To say the Israelites were unhappy is an understatement. Instead of running to God or even to Moses, they instead ran to Pharaoh in hopes of finding a solution. “Then the foremen of the people of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, ‘Why do you treat your servants like this? No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ And behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people’’” (Exodus 5:15-16). Pharaoh basically told them that it was not his problem, to stop being lazy, and to figure it out or pay the consequence. As terrified and angry as the Israelites were with Pharaoh, they were even more furious with Moses, who they had just warmly welcomed as their deliverer. When they see him they yell, “May the Lord judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!” (5:21 NLT). Here they were, wishing curses and judgment upon Moses, the one who was sent by God to liberate them. Unfortunately, bad attitudes did not stop with them. Verses 22-23 (NLT) tell us, “Moses went back to the Lord and protested, ‘Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!’”
We can see that when the trouble came, Moses and the Israelites did not respond well. Notice how quickly they had forgotten what God had promised them. Not only did He promise to deliver them, but He also warned them that it was not going to be a simple path. Pharaoh was not going to make it easy. It was going to take some time, and it was going to be difficult and chaotic. Even though they did not bring this chaos on themselves, they quickly let their bad attitudes and lack of faith get the best of them.
The same is so often true for us. God has given us some pretty amazing promises, all of them true and all of them worth it. But He does not promise that the road to their fulfillment will be easy. Instead, He gently reminds us that in this world we will face a variety of trials and tribulations. This world is full of trouble and chaos, some of which we bring upon ourselves and some that are a natural result of the fallen sin-filled world that we live. It is unavoidable, and the enemy is not going to make it easy for us. But God’s way is always the best way! I encourage you today to keep pressing forward. Do not forget or doubt the promises He has made to you. Trust in His perfect plan, and I promise that it will be worth it in the end!