Exodus 5, Moses has just finished making God frustrated with him and forcing God to add to the one-man show He’d hoped to show His power through. God had precisely told Moses what He was sending him to do and how it would turn out.
Exodus 4:21 And the LORD said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go.
Moses dutifully sets off, meets his brother Aaron, and off they go to speak with Pharoah. True to God’s Word, Pharoah refuses to comply and makes matters worse for the Hebrew people. But what is Moses’ response?
Exodus 5:22-23 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? why is it that thou hast sent me? 23 For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.
While it’s true that today we have the benefit of hindsight, I wonder how many of us still pull off this same routine in our own lives. God told Moses that Pharoah would not let His people go.
Exodus 3:19-20 And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand. 20 And I will stretch out my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
God had invited Moses to take part in a miraculous work, even spelling out how it would go and how people would respond along the way. But Moses in his humanity, could only focus on the end result. . . that the Hebrew people would go free. Somehow his active memory skipped from “Go before Pharoah and ask that My people be allowed to come and worship me” to “My people shall walk free, taking the plunder of Egypt with them”, completely overlooking the interim steps involving the hardening of Pharoah’s heart.
I have seen this behaviour in my own church, where someone gives a challenging word that is intended to cause introspection, repentance and renewed humility before God, but instead is interpreted solely for the blessings mentioned AFTER such repentance is engaged in. To this day I shudder at how one such Word from God was responded to by the people. They actually clapped afterward when, based on what I myself had heard with my physical ears, everyone should have gone running to the altar instead!
On the greater world stage, Christians are acting amazed, frightened, and even hateful toward what is going on, forgetting that God prophesied current events as being precursors to the final global judgement that would usher in first a millennial reign under Christ Himself and then eternity spent in either the New Jerusalem or the Lake of Fire. Christ spelled out what was to happen in Matthew 24, which lines up with Joel 3 and the seals of Revelation as being precursors before “the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord”, or before the “Days of Awe”.
Truly it is one thing to read it in words on paper that has been around for several millenia now. But it is another thing entirely to be living in it, experiencing the horrors and remembering that these things were foretold to come to pass. Just as God gave Moses advance notice of what would happen, and Moses very shortly lost sight of it, so too has God given us advance notice of what is now going on in our time. Let us not lose sight of the admonitions God gave through Jesus Christ, the prophets, and the apostles. As some are so fond of saying, “I’ve read the last page of the book, we win! It will all work out in the end”.
Precisely because we have the advantage of reading Scriptural historical accounts and seeing the shortcomings of our heroes of the faith, let us learn from them as we pass through our own time in history. Let us not be so quick to forget, and to remember that the closet always gets messier before it is finally cleaned out and organized. God’s cleaning process is no different. Let us stay the course and remember the roles we’ve each been given to play. Let us not frustrate God into diluting the blessing He would have reserved solely for us, and let us obediently move forward, not merely remembering the first part and last part of God’s words, but the process in the middle as well.
Don’t lose heart because of the terrible nature of the process.