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Exodus 2:23-25 During that long period (when Moses was shepherding in the wilderness of Midian), the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
Exodus 3:7,9 The LORD said: I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering….And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them.
God was concerned. He heard the prayers. But his plan called for the raising up of Moses to lead his people to freedom from slavery. And that plan took time to bring about. A long time. 80 years just from the time of Moses’ birth!
Why did it take so long? Only God knows that. What we can know is that if our prayers seem like they are not being answered, it could be that God is already working out his plan of deliverance for us, but we are going to have to simply trust him during the time of waiting.
James 5:7-8 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
If the Lord seems to be saying “wait – I’m working on your answer”, be patient and stand firm. Keep hoping in God, who is able to deliver what you need.
3. God is testing your faith.
Sometimes we may pray for God to do something – and he will politely decline our request. Why? Because he needs us to remember our complete dependence upon Him.
If you need a little help understanding this point, take a look at what Paul wrote in 2Cor 12:7-10.
2Cor. 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Could God have delivered him from his “thorn in the flesh”? Most definitely. So why didn’t he? Because it is when God’s servants are weak, when they endure weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties, that God is able to glorify Himself in and through them.
Sometimes he will allow difficult situations to persist in our lives simply because it is that difficult thing that reminds us of our place in the universe. It is in that struggle that we will be brought to our knees time and again, recognizing our need for God’s strength and power.
I believe God understood Paul and how he might have become conceited if God delivered him of this “thorn in the flesh”. Whatever this thorn was, it limited Paul’s ability to succeed in life and ministry in his own power. It made him weak – so
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