Summary: Finding success where we once experienced failure.
Moses was once again wondering whether or not he had been a failure. God had given him a chance to start over but it wasn’t going as he had expected...again.
Forty years earlier he had tried to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage through his own devices. Humbled and made wiser on the backside of the desert he returns to Egypt to deliver the Hebrews according to God’s instructions at the burning bush.
This time he is sure he is on the right track. This leads us to the most important principle for success in the eyes of God, or, the primary guideline for starting over:
Success is doing what God tells you to do.
Various definitions of success hammer us every day. Success is "living your life in the limelight" like the stars of Hollywood. Success is "amassing great wealth and living an opulent lifestyle". Success is "climbing to the top of your occupational ladder". Yada, yada, yada.
The definition of success that really counts is God’s definition. To God, success is obedience. Success is doing what God tells you to do regardless of the response of other people.
God instructed Moses to confront the most powerful monarch in the world and tell him to let His people go. (Exodus 5:1; 7:16; 8:1,20; 9:1,13)
God didn’t say that Pharoah would like the message.
Our job as believers is to share God’s message. We ought to try and make it as palatable as possible, but we must still share it even if it isn’t accepted.
Consider the last time the message, "Let my people go" was delivered to Pharoah:
Exodus 9:13 - "And the LORD said to Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharoah, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go that they may serve me."
14 - "For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; THAT THOU MAYEST KNOW THAT THERE IS NONE LIKE ME IN ALL THE EARTH." (Emphasis added)
15 - "For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth."
16 - "And in very deed FOR THIS CAUSE I HAVE RAISED THEE UP, FOR TO SHEW IN THEE MY POWER; AND THAT MY NAME MAY BE DECLARED THROUGHOUT ALL THE EARTH." (Emphasis added)
This scripture passage makes something very clear that we cannot afford to overlook. God was USING PHAROAH to bring GLOBAL ATTENTION to His name. God knew Pharoah wouldn’t cooperate with Moses - but that was not what God was initially after.
He began with a man called Abraham. He blessed the descendants of Abraham so that they grew into a thriving nation and through that people God blessed all the nations of the earth. (Genesis 12)
He wanted everyone in Egypt (and in the world) to know that there was absolutely no god except the only living God. He wanted the world to observe a mob of slaves marching in procession to worship Him.
God was establishing His reputation as the only true God. He was unique in comparison to every deity dreamed up by man’s imagination. He is holy, exquisite, Almighty, and resplendent.
The Exodus was to be one of many reference points to the world of His character, His holiness, His power, and His involvement in the affairs of men.
God knew Pharoah wouldn’t agree to the message. That was all right - for God had bigger plans!
Often we believe we have failed in life because we are looking at life from our perspective. We thought we knew how everything was supposed to turn out. When it turned out differently than we envisioned, we threw our hands up in desperation, believing we’d been a failure.
We only see what’s in front of us but God sees the whole panorama. Like the coach on the sidelines with the headset on - listening to the observers in the booth high above the playing field - he’s wisely taking instructions from someone with a much better perspective.
God sees the big picture. We succeed when we trust His Word, follow His instructions and plug into His plan.
Since success is obeying God we can’t be fooled into alternate plans. Moses had tried to deliver the Hebrews by his set of plans - that failed miserably. Starting over, he was learning to follow God’s instructions and not be so self-sufficient.
When Pharoah started getting the picture about God’s plan he suggested a compromise: let the adult Israelites go, but have the children and animals stay behind. (Exodus 10:24-26)
The water had turned to blood, the Egyptian landscape had been littered with frogs, lice, boils, hail, locusts, etc. Every idol of the Egyptians had been proven fake because God struck down every object the Egyptians worshipped and every thing the false gods were supposed to protect.