“So Moses told the people what God had said, but they wouldn’t listen anymore because they were too dispirited after the tragic consequences of what he had said before.”
Exodus 6:9 (The Living Bible)
It’s easy to understand why the Hebrews were dispirited. Moses had come to the elders to proclaim the message that God had heard their cries and was going to deliver them from slavery. Not only that, He was going to lead them to the land He had promised to give them – a land flowing with milk and honey.
The next thing they know, they’re forced to gather their own straw to make the same number of bricks (because Pharaoh is so angry with them).
Is it any wonder that when Moses again came and tried to encourage them with God’s promises of deliverance that their response was essentially, “Whatever.”
Either Moses had failed to give them God’s whole message of His plan for Egypt, or the elders of Israel had simply failed to hear the portion they didn’t want to hear. God had not promised an “instant” deliverance from Egypt. He had said to Moses:
“But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go except under heavy pressure. So I will give him all the pressure he needs! I will destroy Egypt with my miracles and then at last he will let you go.
Some Christians (even pastors and evangelists who should know better), in their zeal to see people put their trust in Jesus, have painted a false portrait of the Christian life. They’ve given the impression that if a person places their trust in Jesus and follows Him that the rest of their life will be perfect. God will give them health, wealth, a happy marriage, obedient children, etc., etc., etc.
That’s not what Jesus promised. He didn’t promise an “instant” deliverance from this world and all of its problems and trials. In fact, He warned the disciples that in this world they would experience trials. He said that anyone who wanted to follow Him should first measure the cost of doing so. God’s grace and forgiveness are free and unearned, but following Jesus often comes at a steep cost. It may cost you the very things the false teachers of the “prosperity gospel” promise; your health, wealth, marriage, children, relationships, and even your very life!
So why do we choose to follow Jesus? Because He is the only one who can rescue us! He has promised that even with all the trials and persecution we encounter in this world…
- He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5-6)
- He has overcome the world (John 16:33)
- He is preparing a place for us in His eternal kingdom (John 14:2)
- He will return for us (John 14:3)
- We will live with Him forever in a creation restored to it’s original perfect state. (Revelation 22:1-5)
That is why, even though our lives as Christians may be filled with trials, that we can rejoice – even in the midst of those trials. We, like the apostle Paul, “count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus [our] Lord, for whom [we] have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that [we] may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8)