Dead End Paths (Part 2): God, What Are You Doing?

Troubled and weighed down with yokes of burden put on them by the Egyptians, the Israelite were in great distress.

Misery.

They called out for help, and then…

One day, Moses and Aaron came to them, showing signs and speaking words of promise that God had told them to speak to His troubled people.  These words and signs were to let them know that He had seen their misery.  He had heard their cries of distress.  He was concerned about their suffering and pain.  He was going to deliver them.

With these words of promise and signs, embers of hope began to flicker in the hearts of the people as they believed, bowed down and worshiped God.

I wonder how quickly the refreshing, hopeful news of their coming deliverance was delivered to the rest of the Israelites?  Did they start making plans to leave for the Promised Land the next day?

How eagerly they must have waited with expectation as Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh to tell him to let the Israelites go!

And yet…

That is not what happened.

In fact, the very same day that Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh…

That very same day, the king of Egypt increased the burden that the Israelites – his brick makers – were under.  Not only would they have to maintain the daily quota of bricks, now they would have to find and supply their own straw to make the bricks.

The Israelite overseers – who were being beaten by their Egyptian slave drivers for not meeting their quota – went to Pharaoh to try to reason with him.

But, it didn’t work.

Instead, they found out just how much of a stench they had become to Pharaoh.  They found Moses and Aaron and said to them, “May the Lord look on you and judge you!  You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 5:21)

Moses went to the Lord and asked Him why He was bringing trouble on the people, for…

He had not rescued His people as He had promised to do.

In fact, just the opposite had happened.  Their trouble had increased.

What was God doing?

Beginning in Exodus 6, God reveals that, in tandem, with the fulfillment of His promises, He was also working circumstances and events in such a way that…

  • The Israelites would know that He was the Lord their God (Exodus 6:7)
  • The Egyptians would know that He is the Lord (Exodus 7:5) and that there is no one like Him in all the earth (Exodus 9:14)
  • That the name of the Lord would be proclaimed in all the earth (Exodus 9:16)

God’s concern and God’s purposes were not limited to His people alone.  God’s purposes encompassed a far greater circle than the Israelites could even imagine!  Through their trial and deliverance, not only would the Egyptians know that the Lord is God, but the name of the Lord was going to be proclaimed throughout the whole earth!

Wow!  That’s a big circle!

You know, in difficult circumstances and the trials that I face, I am reminded that God is working not only in my life, but also in the lives of others who are being effected by my circumstances and by those who hear about my circumstances.

I remember one time when I was having to deal with a particularly difficult person – a thorn in the flesh.  God was not removing him from my life.  In fact, instead of lessening the burden this person was becoming…

The thorn was being driven deeper and deeper.

And so, I began to pray for this person…to pray for my enemy…the one who was opposing me at every corner it seemed.

After some time had passed and things still had not changed, I remember asking God why He was continuing to let this happen, and by His Spirit, He asked me…

“Would you be praying for this person if he wasn’t a thorn in the flesh to you?”

That question gave me pause, because you know what?

I had to answer honestly…

And that answer was no, I would not have been praying for him.  Although I casually brushed shoulders with him from time to time, he had never been on my prayer list…

But now he was.

And in this, as He has so many times before, God was reminding me – that just as His purposes for the path that He had chosen for the Israelites was so much bigger than just their deliverance – His purposes for the paths that He sets before me to walk on – as difficult as some of them are…

Are so much bigger than just me.

Through the trials I face, not only is He working to transform me into the image of His Son, but He is also working so that those who are directly affected by my trial and those who hear about my trial will know that…

He is God.

And so…

  • When the path that He has for me to walk on is difficult…
  • When a “thorn in the flesh” person or circumstance from my life is not removed…
  • When I question how the circumstances I am in can actually be bringing glory to the name of God…

I need to remember that He will be faithful to me and He will accomplish His purposes for me.

But…

His purposes encompass a far wider circle than just me.

And so, in my circumstances – whatever they may be…as confusing as they may be…as difficult as they may be…

I need to remember that God is God who is working all things together for my good and His glory, while at the same time accomplishing His purposes in the lives of others in a way…

That only He can.

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