Let My People Go (Wilderness Journey #5)

We are all tired of staying home. Days have turned to weeks and it looks like it could be months. Let me remind you of a group of people who had been enslaved for 400 years.

The children of Israel were in Egypt because of a famine. God had put Joseph in place there through a chain of extraordinary circumstances. They came to find food, found their brother and prospered until a change of leadership brought a change of mind.

God had a plan. It started with the obedience of a mother who couldn’t put her son, Moses, to death. It continued with him being protected and raised by the daughter of Pharaoh himself. Moses, who had the benefit of a topnotch education, was intimately involved with the culture of the Egyptians and the Israelites. Who better to bring about a change to the sorely oppressed. But it wasn’t the right time and his initial efforts were an utter failure.

Spending 40 years herding sheep had quite an effect on his character. He had been proud and hot headed, now he appears humble and reluctant to act.

God sends him back to Egypt with careful instructions, a staff in his hand and a brother, Aaron, who will do the speaking that he is now afraid to do.

You see God had heard, God remembered, God saw and God took notice. (Exodus 2:24-25)

When they meet with Pharaoh they get right to the point.

Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go…’.” (Exodus 5:1)

Pharaoh’s response – “Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice…? I do not know the LORD, and besides, I will not let Israel go.” vs. 2

Because of Moses interaction with Pharaoh he decided to withhold the straw they needed to make their quota of bricks. Now they were forced to gather it themselves without a reduction in the number of bricks required.

Look at Moses conversation with God in Exodus 5:22-23. To say he was unsure of his usefulness is an understatement.

Look at how God responds to Moses in Exodus 6:1-8. God’s plan was still in place.

Moses tries to comfort the people after his assurances from God. How did they respond and why? (Exodus 6:9)

God gave Moses 10 signs to give Pharaoh. Here is a quick list. (Exodus 7:10 – 10:29)

  •  Moses staff becomes a serpent
  •  Changes all the water to blood
  •  Swarms of frogs
  •  Dust becomes gnats (Magicians warn Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.”)
  •  Swarms of insects (Goshen excluded, where sons of Israel lived.)
  •  Livestock killed (Goshen excluded)
  •  Soot becomes boils on man and beast. (Magicians unable to stand on their feet.)
  •  Heavy hail, warned to bring in man and beasts. Those left out were killed and early crops were ruined.
  •  Locusts to cover the surface of the land. Will eat the rest of the crops, fruit, everything green.
  •  Three days of darkness that could be felt.

These were difficult days. They had lived through difficult years, but those difficult years and days would have their purpose. They have one more plague to live through and a long journey through the wilderness. These difficulties were a preparation.

How does what they lived through give me courage to face another day of whatever I am going through? How can I learn to trust God more in the midst? How have I seen God work in the past? What could God be preparing me for?

 

 

 

 

Hymn #2 – Like a River Glorious

 

Like a River Glorious – Frances R. Havergal / James Mountain

1. Like a river glorious is God’s perfect peace,

Over all victorious in its bright increase

Perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day,

Perfect, yet it growth deeper all the way.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest;

Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest. 

2. Hidden in the hollow of His blessed hand,

Never foe can follow, never traitor stand;

Not a surge of worry, not a shade of care,

Not a blast of hurry touch the spirit there.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest;

Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest.

3.  Ev’ry joy or trial falleth from above,

traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love.

We may trust Him fully all for us to do;

They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest;

Finding as He promised, perfect peace and rest. 

 

 

Hymn #1 – Day by Day

I’ll be posting some hymns from time to time. I’m choosing things that are over 100 years old to avoid copyright infringement. The words will be posted so you can sing along with me. I wish I could hear you.

Day by Day – Sandell Berg / Oscar Ahnfelt

Day by day and with each passing moment, Strength I find to meet my trials here.

Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment, I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.

He whose heart is kind beyond all measure gives unto each day what He deems best,

Lovingly its part of pain and pleasure, mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day the Lord Himself is near me with a special mercy for each hour.

All my cares He fain would bear and cheer me, He whose name is Counselor and Pow’r.

The protection of His child and treasure is a charge that on Himself He laid.

“As your days, your strength shall be in measure,” This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then in every tribulation So to trust Your promises, O Lord,

That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation Offered me within Your holy Word.

Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting, E’er to take, as from a Father’s hand,

One by one, the days, the moments fleeting, Till I reach the Promised Land.

 

Wilderness Journey #4 – Called to Service

Moses has spent the last 40 years tending sheep. He seems to have forgotten his former zeal for his brethren, but God had a plan that involved Moses. God had not forgotten. Read the following passage and work through the questions.

Exodus 3:1-22; 4:1-17

  • What did God use to get Moses attention?
  •  When did God speak to Moses? (vs. 3-4)
  •  What is God doing in your life to get your attention?
  •  God’s word is our burning bush. If we turn aside God will speak to us through it. See II Timothy 3:16 and Hebrews 4:12
  •  God introduces Himself in vs. 5 & 6. List the verbs God uses in verses 7-9.
  •  What was the problem? What was God going to do?
  •  How does God want to include Moses? vs. 10
  •  How does Moses respond in vs. 11?
  •  The argument continues. Take note of Moses’ misgivings and God’s solutions.
  •  How has Moses changed? Compare Exodus 4:10-13 with Acts 7:22? Why the shift?
  •  Our confidence needs to be in God, not our own abilities. At this point Moses had lost confidence in both. Did God write him off?
  •  What is God asking you to do today? How can you be faithful? Is there an area that you feel inadequate? Is that a good or bad thing?
  •  Learning to trust God is a daily process. Pray that you don’t get so busy arguing with God that you never move forward in obedience. The road ahead is uncertain, but our God has never been uncertain. Our God has never been more faithful. Our God is bigger than the problems we face.  He is there with us.. Believe it.

 

Wilderness Journey #3 – Preparation

white sheep on farm

Photo by kailash kumar on Pexels.com

Waiting. I don’t wait well. Today we find Moses sitting by a well in Midian.

Read Exodus 2:16-25 and Acts 7:29-30a and then work through the questions.

  • What trouble did Moses witness in verses 16 & 17?
  •  What did Moses do?
  •  Does this remind you of the incident in vs. 11 & 12?
  •  What did the priest of Midian do for Moses?
  •  What do we assume was Moses job for the next 40 years?
  •  Why would this have been good training for his next position?
  •  Meanwhile what has been happening in Egypt? (vs. 23)
  •  List the verbs associated with God in vs. 24 & 25.
  • How does that bring you comfort?
  •  These few verses cover a 40 year span. He will be almost 80 when we see him next.
  •  How can I learn to wait well? What can I be doing while I wait?

Just a reminder that our timeline is not God’s timeline. He is patient towards us.

I’m debating about how often to post next week. If you have time let me know how often is helpful for you. 1, 2 or 3 times a week. I started out posting more often since we are all home, but I think people are finding their own things to do and I don’t want to be an annoyance.

I have pulled out an old hymn book. I’m reminded how rich the words are. I need to do more singing. I might post one or two next week. Time will tell. Let me know if you have a favorite.

Until next time.

Karen

 

Wilderness Journey #2 – False Start

sand desert blue sky egypt

Photo by David McEachan on Pexels.com

Mid-life crisis. We’ve all had moments when we realize how old we are and fret about missed opportunities or determine to change the direction of our lives.

Today we catch up to Moses when he is almost 40. Notice the two worlds he is a part of. Read Exodus 2:11-15. There are two New Testament passages that would also be helpful. Acts 7:22-29 and Hebrews 11:24-26.

  • What has he been spending his time doing up to this point? What kind of man had he become? (Acts 7:22)
  • Unlike the movie version he knew what his roots were.
  • What did he think his destiny was? (Acts 7:25)
  •  What did Moses do when he saw a Hebrew being mistreated?
  •  Whose job is it to take vengeance? (Deuteronomy 32:35)
  •  How did the sons of Israel respond to Moses the next day when he tried to be a peacemaker?
  •  What did Pharoah try to do?
  • What did Moses do?
  •  What or who had he been looking to for the freeing of Israel?
  •  Who am I looking to for help in trouble? Do I ever overstep my role in trying to fix things?
  • How do I get ahead of God?
  •  How was God using these circumstances in Moses life to prepare him for service?
  •  What difficulties in my life is God using to prepare me for service?

God’s time table is not the same as ours. Forty years old seems like a reasonable age for someone to start their ministry or leadership, yet God had other plans. We will learn more about that on Friday.

 

Wilderness Journey – #1 – Background

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“Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.” Genesis 15:13-14

It had been 320 years since God had said this to Abraham. If anyone was counting that meant they had 80 years to wait.

Today we will learn about Jochebed. Her story is found in Exodus 1:22-2:10. The names of her and her family are found in Numbers 26:59. Take some time to read through it and then answer the following questions.

  • Why did Pharaoh decide to murder the innocent baby boys? (Exodus 1:8-10)
  •  How did Jochebed manage to hide Moses for 3 months? (Talk about social distancing.)
  • When that becomes unmanageable what does she do? Who does she involve?
  • Who is she trusting? (see Hebrews 11:23)
  • Who does God send to protect and care for Moses? How is this ironic?
  • What role does Jochebed continue to play in Moses life?
  •  What does she eventually do in verse 10?
  •  What impossible situation am I facing?
  •  How can I live each day well? What can I do today to trust God?

This is the last we hear of Jochebed. I don’t know if she never made it out of Egypt, but because of her faithfulness a nation was delivered from bondage.

This series will be looking at the next 120 years in Israel’s history. It is an amazing story. I hope you come on the journey with me.

Karen