Summary: This message looks at the way people in Scripture processed disappointment and observes the impact on their lives. Then Pastor Richard gives five keys to getting past a disappointment and moving forward in your life.
Getting Past a Disappointment
I want to begin this morning with two verses in Exodus 5:22-23.
“So Moses returned to the LORD and said, ‘Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 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.’”
Moses’ life is not going the way he thought it would! He has just experienced a major disappointment. And in these two verses we get an intimate glimpse into how he is responding to that disappointment. He asked God this question, “Why is it You have sent me?” I thought you were with me; I thought you had sent me to deliver these people from bondage. But none of that is happening. Instead my arrival here has actually made matters worse. Just want to let you know, God, all this is not working out the way we had talked about earlier!
Let’s go back and get a little context for the passage. What were the events that led Moses to this point in life?
For the last 40 years Moses has been in the wilderness minding his own business. He has been doing the lowly job of tending to his father-in-law’s sheep. One day he is out shepherding the sheep and sees a bush in the distance that is on fire, but is not consumed by the fire. As Moses approaches the bush, God speaks to him, tells him to take off his shoes, because the ground he is standing on is holy ground. Then in Exodus 3 God tells Moses to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let His people go. Moses resists the call because he feels totally inadequate for the assignment. But God assures Moses that He will be with and enable him to deliver Israel out of the Egyptian bondage. So Moses obeys God. He goes to the elders in Israel and tells them of his experience. They go with Moses and tell Pharaoh that Jehovah has met with them and they are to go out in the dessert and sacrifice to the Lord.
Pharaoh’s response was not what they thought it would be. Instead of letting them go, he told them to get back to work. Worse than that, Pharaoh became even more oppressive; he started requiring them to gather their own straw in addition to making bricks. They thought life was going to get easier; instead, it got harder. The elders of Israel were very upset with Moses.
So now let’s come along side Moses and think about how he must have felt. “First, God, I didn’t plan this strategy, You did. I just did what You told me to do. Second, I didn’t want the job to begin with. I told you I couldn’t do it. But You told me that You would be with me to make sure it all worked out. Well, it’s not working out down here very well. Not only is Pharaoh rejecting me; but now Israel is upset with me as well.”
Listen to the content of Moses’ prayer, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23 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.”
I find two questions and two comments in that prayer. Question one: “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people?” This doesn’t make any sense. You have heard their cry. You have promised to make life better for them. What I see here is that life just got harder instead of better for them.
But, Moses cannot see the end from the beginning the way God can. We have read the Bible and we know that when all is said and done, God did exactly what He told Moses He would do. The same will always be true in our lives as well. You can take God’s promises to the bank. He is faithful to His word. He does not tease us with promises of good things to come. It is His good pleasure to give us the kingdom. God cannot and will not lie. Everything He says He will do, He will do.
The problem Moses is experiencing concerns what it all looks like half way through the process. At this point the results are extremely disappointing: more trouble, instead of less trouble; Israelites are now being beaten for not making their quota. They had asked the Lord to give them favor with Pharaoh. Instead the wrath of Pharaoh has come down on them. What do you do when God’s promises are simply not coming to pass? What do you do when life gets harder instead of easier? How do you handle that?