Ten Plagues | Devotion 4: You Have to go Back
Pastor Ryan Story
I love student camp. Since 2010, as a Youth Pastor, I have had the amazing opportunity to accomplish our student ministries at New Life Camp and watch God use the camp in amazing ways. I have watched Jesus change peoples’ lives right before my eyes. I will always have a sweet spot for working with teens, mostly because I see the amazing potential that God has given them. If you are a high school or middle school student, you are amazing! One thing I started saying to students after a few years of witnessing camp is, “You are going home Friday.” I never meant this as a negative; I meant it as the reality that at the end of the week, their lives would go back to normal. If you have been part of a camp, mission trip, or anything where the “ugly cry worship face” comes out and you get that “I know the Holy Spirit is talking to me right now,” you might understand why I remind these students of going back home. It is very easy to get close to God in an environment such as camp. The camp is secluded, there are minimal distractions, and everything we do for the week is to help push the focus back to God. Sadly, when most of the students go home, there is not the same “Church Bubble” around them.
Moses went through a similar situation in his life. If you recall Moses was born a Hebrew and was adopted into Egyptian royalty. At some point in his life, he realized that he was a Hebrew, who were the majority population and all slaves. One day, Moses saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, and Moses snapped and murdered the slave master. Moses thought it was all done in secret, but the next day, someone referred to his action. Moses ran for his life in fear he would suffer the same fate as his victim. Moses eventually started a family in the desert. Fast forward a bit more, and Moses found the burning bush when God began to give orders to Moses directly. Exodus 4:19-20 says, “And the Lord said to Moses in Midian, ‘Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.’ So Moses took his wife and his sons and had them ride on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the staff of God in his hand.” Basically, God told Moses, “you are going home” now.
I have always been curious about what Moses was experiencing. God had to guide Moses through every step and ensure him that all things would work out right. Moses made excuse after excuse to seemingly get out of being used by God to free God’s and Moses’ people. I believe that is why Moses had to be told that every person who knew Moses murdered a man and the king was gone. Without this information, I feel Moses would have dragged his feet all the way back to Egypt fearing what fate awaited him.
It is hard to go back to a place, especially when that place knows all of our faults and failures. Sometimes returning is harder than going to a new place. There are many times in life where God is going to send you somewhere new, and you will have to navigate the best you can through God’s plan for your life. For many of us, though, God is not trying to send us to somewhere new, but back to a place where we once were. I am not a fan of living in the past, and I believe that God can and will change any circumstance if it is His will. I can confidently say, it is hard to go back “home” in order to be used by God. In the same way, I have seen teens terrified to return home because they know it will be hard to look at friends, family members, and even themselves and show that they are now living for God. Moses went back home knowing who was backing him. If you are in the same spot as Moses where you know there is a place in which you should return, go with knowing who is behind you. Go knowing God can change anything. Go knowing we were never meant to stay in an unnatural safe bubble. Embrace the difficulty, because that is when God can do amazing things with you and those around you.