SOMETIMES it gets WORSE before the FINAL BREAKTHROUGH
January 19 Bible Reading: Exodus Chapters 4-6
So Moses returned to the Lord and said, "Lord, “Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all." (Exodus 5:22-23)
Someone has once said that the night is darkest just before the daybreak. The night of the bondage of the Israelites under the Egyptians were about to end, and God had chosen Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. However, things did not work out exactly as Moses anticipated for he ran into opposition from the Pharaoh, who refused to listen to him (5:2-19). Then, when Pharaoh added additional burden upon the Israelites, they came to Moses and Aaron and complained to them: "Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us" (5:21). Let us not forget that opposition from within the ranks of God’s people is often harder to bear than persecution from without. It now appeared that everyone was against Moses in his attempt to rescue the Israelites from the Egyptian slavery!
Moses had expected Pharaoh to cave in as soon as he heard the use of the Lord’s name Yahweh (3:14, 15; 5:1). Yet, earlier God had warned Moses that Pharaoh would do the opposite (3:19). During the time of his trouble, Moses should have remembered what God had told him that He would harden the king’s heart: "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go" (4:21). Also, Moses had not yet learned that God’s delays are not necessarily God’s denials. Nothing short of God’s power could deliver Israel now!
Just as the people complained against Moses, in the same manner, Moses complained against God (5:22–23). In fact, Moses was greatly discouraged and began to (a) accuse God of wrongdoing (“why have You brought trouble on this people?”); (b) question his call (“why is it You have sent me?”); and (c) blame God for His inaction (“neither have You delivered Your people at all”). In the similar manner, when we are discouraged it is easy to be tempted and question God as we wonder about our position in relation to Him. However, we must trust Him, and rest assured that His love works for our ultimate good. Madame Guyon spoke of these kinds of difficulties: “In the commencement of the spiritual life, our hardest task is to bear with our neighbor; in its progress, with ourselves; and in its end, with God.”
God gave Moses all the assurance that He needed and told him to return back to his assignment of delivering the people of Israel. He was the El Shaddai (the all-abundant One) who had long ago promised to the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) that their descendants would inherit Canaan one day (6:1–5). The time had now come to implement the terms of the ancient covenant by redeeming Israel out of Egypt (6:5–6), by making a new national covenant (6:7), and by leading them into the Promised Land (6:8).