Read Exodus 6:2-12
2 God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself fully known to them. 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they resided as foreigners. 5 Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 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, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”
9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”
12 But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him…”
I wouldn’t either.
It would hurt too much.
When the only sure things in life are pain, brutality, and heartbreak, you need all your defenses. Hope is just too costly and promises of relief and escape only make the awfulness worse. Best not to think at all: don’t hope, don’t dream, just endure.
There is no emotional room to process the disappointment over God’s betrayal.
Moses must have felt the same way because God’s words to him are all reassurance: “You can be sure that I have heard … I am well aware of my covenant … I will free … rescue … redeem … bring you into the land.” (NLT)
Almost as though God is defending Himself.
He gets it, you know.
He understands that when it looks bad to us then, to us, it is bad, even if He knows He’s going to fix it soon. When life is hard, God doesn’t get mad at us because we find it hard.
Moses is finding it very hard right now, so God meets with him and reassures him. He’s not angry that He needs to do this. Patiently, so patiently, He repeats all the things He’s already said.
You see, He’d promised – right at the start – to be with Moses.
This is how He does it, by reminding him of His plan and letting him see His heart: I hear their groans, too.
God still plans to save the Israelites. But there’s something He wants to do first and that is strengthen Moses’ faith. He wants Moses to know Him better. I told you my name, Moses, and I’m going to show you my power, but will you trust me first? Will you trust me now, even though it looks as though I’ve let you down?
It’s the same question He asked Abraham, Jacob and Joseph. He’s looking for an obedience that comes from faith and if faith means believing against evidence, then it cannot grow where there is evidence of God’s presence and activity.
All the evidence needs to be against God.
It needs to feel hopeless.
Because faith and hope aren’t the same thing.
When hope fails, faith can still push on.
It’s a rugged obedience that says I will go back to Pharaoh, even though I know he won’t listen. I will do it because You ask me to and despite everything, I trust you.
Will Moses do it?