Sunday, December 30, 2012

Moses Questions God -- Exodus 5:22-23

Then Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why hast Thou brought harm to this people?  Why didst Thou ever send me?  Ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Thy name, he has done harm to this people; and Thu has not delivered Thy people at all.”
It happens to all of us.  When things are not going right, especially when we think we have done all that God wants us to, and people are being hurt, the natural thing to do is to turn to God and ask “Why?”  It is a common response or frustration.  It hits Christians and non-Christians alike.  In fact, even atheists seem to want to blame the God whose existence they deny.
I experienced a little of this recently when I was speaking to one of the members of a Board of Directors I work with.  I told him that I did not know why God was allowing certain things to happen, but I was willing to keep on following what I believe He has told me and suffer any necessary consequences.  My personal view is that it is okay for us to wonder “why” God is allowing or doing something we cannot understand, but it is not okay for us to question Him.
I think that Moses, in keeping with his previous approach to questioning God, again went a little too far.  Not only does he ask “why?” but also he accuses God of bringing harm to the children of Israel.  And then he makes the issue about him when he further asks, “Why did you ever think of sending me?”  Wow.  Now Moses was actually challenging God’s selection of His choice as to who would do His work or how it was to be done.  This is probably not a wise way to question the Almighty.
And Moses does not stop there.  He tells God that he did everything in His Name, as God told him to and all that resulted was that Pharaoh started harming the people more.  God’s plan was faulty as far as he was concerned.  And then he makes it about God – “You have not delivered at all as you promised.”  We cannot miss that phrase, “at all”.  I am reminded of our grandchildren that get ‘totally’ upset at one of their parents because they were denied a fourth treat at a local fair, but give no credit to their mom or dad who take them to the fair, buy them lots of rides, and the first three treats.  So it is with us, in the moment’s frustration, we often forget God’s blessings and overall generosity to His people and His individual children.
Chuck Smith in his commentary on these verses in C2000 Series says this:
You know quite often Satan, when you embark on a work of God, throws so many things in the way that things look like they've just gotten so much worse, you wonder, "Oh man, did God really tell me that?" Or, "Did God really call me?" He does his best to discourage you right at the onset of any program that you endeavor for God. You'd be amazed how many problems can arise when you make a commitment to God, you desire to serve the Lord. Not gonna be peaches and cream, not gonna be roses. Satan will do his best to discourage you. So often things look like they have just gone from bad to calamity because you've launched out in faith to do a work for God. Satan will do his best to hinder it and stop it at the beginning. He'll do anything to stop it, discouragement, lies, anything to stop that work of God that you endeavor for Him. So that secret is "just keep on". If God has called you to a task, "just do it". Don't get discouraged at initial responses.
Years ago I thought God called me to the ministry. So I trained, went to school, prepared, and spent seventeen years trying to minister, until I got so discouraged that I thought "Well, maybe God didn't call me to the ministry." I was ready to quit, ready to give up so many times. Put out applications for different kinds of work, get out of the ministry, get into something secular. I was discouraged, I was tired, fighting, hassles, trying to feed a family, to patch the squabbles of people. The thing, the interesting thing is it was just after my period of greatest discouragement, I really just sort of resigning from the ministry, and going into home Bible studies that God really began to bless and anoint me. Just when I had a good job, started making money. Satan will do his best to discourage you. He'll make you question your call. He'll challenge you on every corner. If God has called you to do it, stick with it, God will bring you through. God will work.
I know exactly how Moses felt. I turned in my resignation to God so many times, "I've had it, through. Thought You called me to the ministry, but Lord there's nothing happening, I'm tired." Lord said, "Ah get out there and get back to work. What are you doing crying to Me?"
It is my prayer that we can all learn from Moses’ mistakes and be strengthened by God’s undying love for us and His willingness to forgive and overlook our failing eyesight and memory.  It is fine that we pour out of heart to God as Moses did, but we must never forget God’s promises and His exact words.  You will remember that back in Exodus 3:19-20 God had actually said, “But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand. So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go.  Moses had forgotten.  Let us not forget God’s promises to us, even when things look dismal.
In the next chapter of Exodus, we see God’s response once again to the man He has chosen to lead Israel out of Egypt.

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