Picture the situation. You have long been a slave under a ruler of a foreign country when along comes a man who says God has told him to demand the ruler let you go. You are excited and hopeful, right? Well, that is until the ruler responds not by letting you go, but by making your job even harder. Understandably, you aren’t exactly happy with this man who’s offered to speak for you.
This was the case for the Israelites and the man delivering this ultimatum to the ruler was Moses. But the Israelites aren’t the only ones that were probably confused & frustrated. Moses was left wondering why God asked him to do this and why the ruler didn’t respond they way he expected. Nevertheless, God assures him that He’s heard the cries of the people and has not forgotten the covenant that He made with their ancestors. He tells them they will be freed and that God has said:
“I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.”
But remember what happened last time he told them that. So it’s not that surprising that “they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (Exodus 6:9).
Of course, if you’ve read Exodus you know that there was in fact an amazing plan. There were a lot more rejections from Pharaoh and many more miracles, but in the end the Israelites were finally freed by the hand of God. Since we already know the ending it’s easy for us to read this story and think how little faith they had or how ungrateful they were being. But when you think about what they’d been through it puts it in a different light – makes them seem a little more like one of us. I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I couldn’t hear what God was trying to tell me because of the pain in my heart. Times when I couldn’t believe what He was saying because I was so discouraged by my circumstances.
The next time we feel that deafness from pain, frustration, and discouragement, let’s be careful to listen for that quiet voice that’s reminding us that there’s an ending we can’t see. The one that is telling us we are loved and part of an amazing story. Part of a story that shouts,
“I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God…”