Pastor Ken Maxey: Morning Devotion 7/27/21
Worldly Opposition, Godly Opportunities.
“Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness. ‘” Exodus 5:1b (ESV)
We have all been in those moments when we stand before the Lord confused and disappointed asking, “Why, Lord? Didn’t I do what You asked me to do?” It didn’t make sense. I had been obedient to do the thing the Lord impressed upon my heart to do. I did what was required of me. But the results I anticipated didn’t materialize. If anything, things had only gotten worse.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever done the right thing, only to have it make your situation even worse? That’s what Moses experienced during his encounter with Pharaoh.
In today’s reading (Exodus 5:1-14) we join Moses and Aaron at a particular moment in time. It’s that key moment when they stood before Pharaoh to declare, “Let my people go.” (Exodus 5:1) Pharaoh, of course, wouldn’t hear of it. Instead, he increased the Israelites’ burden by removing the straw necessary for their brickmaking, while demanding they still meet the same daily quota. (Exodus 5:6-8)
For the Israelites, their lives as slaves had just gone from bad to worse, and it was all Moses’ fault! But Moses hadn’t done anything wrong. He was simply being obedient to what the Lord had instructed him to do. Therein lies a core biblical truth: Obedience is sometimes followed by opposition. That was certainly the case between Moses and Pharaoh. Moses’ obedience was followed by Pharaoh’s opposition.
If we get stuck in moments like this one, discouragement can quickly seep in, but today’s story reminds us that there is always a bigger picture at work that we can’t necessarily see with our physical eyes. There’s a spiritual battle taking place. We know this because, in the story of Moses, we have the advantage of hindsight. We know the Israelites will soon be standing at the water’s edge, as the Red Sea miraculously parts, so they can walk to freedom on dry land.
When the Israelites saw only opposition, God was setting the stage for a major opportunity – an opportunity to display His magnificent power while setting His people free. But the miracles that we know are coming haven’t happened yet. In the middle of Exodus 5:1-14, things are just plain hard. Moses faced an unsuccessful bid with Pharaoh, and it cost his people greatly. And that’s all the Israelites can see in this moment.
Perhaps that’s where you are today. Perhaps there is an area in your life where you have honestly sought God’s will and done your very best to be obedient to that which He has put before you, but things still didn’t turn out the way you hoped and prayed they might. And it’s left you understandably discouraged. My friend, if that’s you right now, take comfort from today’s passage, knowing that even someone like Moses faced moments where things didn’t work out at first. But that terrible moment in time didn’t last forever. Another chapter in the story was coming!
While Moses’ obedience led to Pharaoh’s opposition, it set the stage for a beautiful opportunity. And the same can be true for us. If your obedience leads to opposition, trust that God is setting the stage for an opportunity.
Pastor Ken Maxey