“Since I gave Pharaoh your message, he has been even more brutal to your people. You have not even begun to rescue them!” “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh,” the LORD told Moses. “When he feels my powerful hand upon him, he will let the people go. In fact, he will be so anxious to get rid of them that he will force them to leave his land!” –Exodus 5:23-6:1
Moses was called by God to return to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to free God’s people from slavery. I am not sure about you, but if a voice inside a burning bush came and spoke to me and I knew I had God on my side, I would probably be pretty confident that things would be taken care of quickly. However, Pharaoh could not have cared less. In fact, the Bible records that things got worse for the Jewish people. Many of them started wishing Moses would stop, so they could return to the way things were…as slaves. This was not as Moses expected.
In elementary school, we all learned that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But for Moses and I know this is true in my life as well, rarely do we seem to get from point A to B in a direct manner. It is through these detours that God teaches us the most.
I wonder what that day was like when God’s people left Egypt to head to the Promised Land. They must have been shouting God’s praises and thanking Moses for not giving up on them. Then things looked grim; Pharaoh’s army came after them. Finding things not as they expected, they questioned why they were brought to the desert to die. But God did what God does. He came through in a miraculous way by parting the Red Sea.
We learn reliance, we learn dependence and we learn to trust God in ways that would not be possible if every plan went smoothly and perfectly. God works on our character during the journey. He builds us up, teaches and molds us, as we trust in Him. Sometimes, the lessons feel painful and long. In the midst of these detours, I often pray that things would be easier. When I look back, I would never trade for anything the lessons I have learned and the things I have been taught.
Don’t avoid the difficulties and the challenges. Keep your eyes focused on God and allow Him to work miracles in your life through the impossible.
1. Looking back, where have you seen God work when your life has not gone as expected?
2. What important lessons has God taught you that you can hold onto the next time things do not go as planned?
Genesis 50:20; Psalm 56:3; Isaiah 64:4