Read - Exodus 5:15-18
Message - Alan Burke
“If you have a problem, if no one else can help and if you can find them maybe you can hire…” do you know? If you were a child of the 80’s or had children in the 80’s then you know what comes next (by the way you don’t need to message me to give me the answer). What happens if we have a problem, if no one else can help, where do we turn to? For the Israelites they had turned to the Lord God, they had cried out to him (2:23) because of their slavery, but now things were different.
Things had gone from bad to worse for the people of God, the foremen turn to pharaoh, asking him why have you treated this way? In effect they went to Pharaoh asking: “why are you beating us, it is your people who have stopped suppling us with straw, why aren’t you beating them”. Pharaoh’s attempt at breaking the spirits of the people of God, at causing them to reject their leaders was working. But don’t miss what pharaoh has done here. The people in their oppression had cried out to God (2:23) because there was no where else to turn to in what they faced, God heard their groaning and he remembered, he was concerned about them. This time things were different, with the added brutality of the oppression they faced, as they believed the message Moses brought and they worshiped the Lord (4:29-30) they have given up on God and they turn but to pharaoh who unlike God does not listen.
But notice where the foremen go. It wasn’t the Lord God who was concerned about them, who had seen their misery, who had sent Moses, instead they went to the source of their troubles, they went to pharaoh. Instead of where they should have gone first they should have gone to God. These foremen were representative of the people of God, they were showing their lack of faith, they were happy to listen to Moses and worship God when there were signs but when the rubber hit the road they relied on their own strength. Yet God was greater than their problems and God was with them. They should have cried out to God once more.
But look back to chapter 4:30, where we read ‘and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses’. Everything, not just the nice bits but everything and that would have included how God would harden the heart of pharaoh and he would not let them go (3:19, 4:21). It seems that they had heard the good news but not the bad news, they heard what they wanted, they believed that God would set them free (4:31), but they did not listen to how God warned that it wouldn’t be plain sailing. God was using what they faced to increase their faith, to transform them.
Neither can we expect that our walk with God will be plain sailing. Remember there is a cost to following Christ, a cost, and as we are reminded in Romans (5:3-5) we are to rejoice not only in future glory but in present trials and sufferings, not because trials are pleasant but because they produce a step-by-step transformation that makes believers more like Christ.
Right now in the midst of what you are going though, even though that’s likely not what you want to hear God uses present trials and sufferings not because they are pleasant but because they produce transformation. And when things get hard, when the unexpected challenge or change comes, when we are struggling, when that curve ball arrives, the place we need to go to first unlike the foremen in Egypt is the LORD God himself through Christ Jesus.
Q 107 What doth the conclusion of the Lord’ s prayer teach us?
The conclusion of the Lord’ s prayer, (which is, For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen. (Matt. 6:13)) teacheth us, to take our encouragement in prayer from God only, (Dan. 9:4,7–9,16–19) and in our prayers to praise him, ascribing kingdom, power, and glory to him. (1 Chron. 29:10–13) And, in testimony of our desire, and assurance to be heard, we say, Amen. (1 Cor. 14:16, Rev. 22:20–21)
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