Summary: This is the sixth message in a series on the life of Moses that shows that being God's man is never easy. This message examines how God often calls us to do things that make absolutely no sense.
Listen to this powerful but short story. “God decided to reduce the weapons in the devil's armory to one. Satan could choose which 'fiery dart' he would keep. He chose the power of discouragement. 'If only I can persuade Christians to be thoroughly discouraged', he reasoned, 'they will make no further effort and I shall be enthroned in their lives.'” Nothing is more discouraging than when we are trying to follow what we perceive as God’s plan and things seem to unravel. Those difficult situations that we are facing begin to go from bad to worse. Regardless of how hard we try we just seem to mess everything up. Usually during these times we cry out, “God, are you really sure about this?” If you have ever felt this way then you can understand what it is to stand in Moses’ sandals. Moses has reluctantly made his way back to Egypt and now he stands ready to carry out all of God’s directives. Up to this point God’s plan seems to be working beautifully but it is all about to go south. Wait a minute…if Moses is truly following God’s plan everything should run smoothly…right? Well, this is all a matter of perspective. From Moses’ vantage point things are about to go south. From God’s vantage point everything is working out perfectly. Pharaoh’s resistance and the Hebrews’ resentment are signs to Moses and Aaron that things are not working as planned. So once again Moses begins to feel the pain of failure. However, as things progress, they will learn that all these supposed problems are a part of God’s master plan to receive the glory due Him. Today, we want to look at how Moses handled these situations and discover the timeless principles that we can learn to handle those difficult and discouraging times.
I. Pharaoh responds in a less than desirable way.
A. Moses announces God’s desire to Pharaoh.
1. The reluctant Moses shows great confidence and authority as he announces God’s will to Pharaoh.
2. Moses and Aaron are obviously expecting an easy resolution to the problem.
3. In this first encounter Moses simply presents God’s demands and does not offer to do any miraculous signs.
4. This is the first of seven times that God will demand the release of his people in Exodus 5-10.
B. Pharaoh responds to Moses both stubbornly and arrogantly.
1. Pharaoh’s question, “Who is the Lord?” is quite arrogant. What right does this Yahweh have to come in to my land and push me around?
2. Pharaoh’s response literally takes the winds out of Moses’ and Aaron’s sails.
3. Moses and Aaron basically tell Pharaoh if he refuses to let the people go celebrate this festival he will be in danger of God’s wrath.
4. The attacks by Pharaoh turn personal as he accuses Moses and Aaron of just trying to get the Hebrews out of their work.
5. The most discouraging part of this is when Pharaoh in response to God’s demands increases the oppression upon the Hebrew people.
6. When the people appeal to Pharaoh for relief, he simply laughs and calls them lazy.
7. Pharaoh’s plan is quite calculated as it increases the tension between the Hebrew people and their deliverer.
II. Moses is puzzled by the way things are working out.
A. Moses was obedient to God but nothing is working out.
1. Moses delivered the message and instead of deliverance the people received a more burdensome work load.
2. Moses is taken back by how quickly he has fell out of favor with the Hebrew people.
3. God shows Moses that he is not seeing the big picture and that He has the situation well in hand.
4. God will force Pharaoh’s hand and he will let the Hebrew people go free.
B. God fights Moses’ discouragement by reassuring him with four statements.
1. Because of God’s hand Pharaoh will actually throw the Hebrew people out of the country.
2. God will now make Himself fully known unlike in the days of the Patriarchs.
3. God had promised the patriarchs that their descendants would possess the land of Canaan and He would not break that promise.
4. God’s compassion for His people prevents Him from leaving His people in their present situation.
C. God fights Moses’ discouragement by not letting him sit around and dwell on what he perceives as failures.
1. Moses needs to get back to work and encourage the people with more words from God.
2. God fully intended to secure the release of the Hebrew people with His mighty power.
3. By delivering the Hebrew people God would be choosing them to be His people.
4. God would not break His promise to Abraham.
5. The Israelites are so discouraged that they refuse to listen to anything that Moses has to say.