Thursday, March 20, 2014

Discouragements and Enlightenments

Reflections on Exodus 6:1-12
Discouragements and failures can sometimes blind us to the possibilities before us. Instead of being excited about what God can do, we can be so focused on the past, or even on our present feelings. What would God do when we are faithless?
Moses has just been rejected by Pharaoh. The Israelites were under intense suffering because they were being asked to make bricks while at the same time being responsible to look for their own raw materials. It was a burdensome situation.
But God told Moses a new revelation. He said that so far He has revealed Himself to their forefathers – to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – as God Almighty, or as El Shaddai. But He has yet to reveal Himself as Yahweh, the Lord, the faithful God. The Hebrew word is actually a “to be” verb. It can be translated as “I am that I am,” “I was that I was,” or “I will be that I will be.” In other words, He is the all faithful One, the truly reliable One, the always consistent One, the One we can all rely on whatever happens because He will be and do who He says He is and what He says He will do.
So He will deliver His people with a mighty hand. He will perform wonders to force the hand of Pharaoh. In other words, God was giving Moses the guarantee that he will succeed in his mission because God was with him. His people also will “know” by experience that He is Yahweh. It will no longer be a mere word for them but a reality. They will truly experience the faithfulness of God in their own situation. It will be a revelation indeed – not just by words but by actions. God will fulfil His promises and this would prove beyond doubt that He can be trusted because He is Lord.
But His people were so discouraged they could not hear a single word. Moses, too, was discouraged and disillusioned. He felt that failure was just around the corner – in fact it has already arrived, as far as he was concerned! There was no use moving on. He wants to pack up his bags and go home.
But the truth remains. God is the Lord, He is Yahweh. He will be who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do, even though His people and His servants were weak and faithless because of their situations and feelings. He will carry on as planned. He will not pack up His bags. He will fulfil all His promises. The apostle Paul, centuries later, reflected on this faithfulness of God and wrote these powerful words.
11 Here is a trustworthy saying:
If we died with him,
    we will also live with him;
12 if we endure,
    we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
    he will also disown us;
13 if we are faithless,
    he remains faithful,
    for he cannot disown himself.
Our experiences and feelings can sometimes overwhelm us because we are weak. But God remains strong and faithful. He will always stay be true to His character, and therefore His promises can always be trusted. Let us depend on Him, not on ourselves. Let us cry out to Him in times of need, knowing fully well that even though we may be weak, or full of doubts, He will always be strong and true.

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