Standing before Pharoah had to be terrifying.
Like Dorothy approaching the “great and powerful Oz,”
I’m sure Moses’ legs trembled and his voice cracked as he came closer and closer to the throne.
Who wouldn’t find it difficult to smoothly connect words when placed in front of such a leader –
A man with enough power to have someone killed in a moment’s notice if he didn’t like what they had to say?
Sometimes God calls us to the very edge of our human abilities,
and then pushes us a little more.
As if spiritual growth isn’t complete until we walk the plank…….
to the very end.
Stepping just beyond the security of the splintered board beneath us,
our survival is suddenly placed in the hands of the One who will later call Peter to walk upon the water.
That’s where we find Moses in the early chapters of Exodus.
Walking by faith before faith was even a word.
And Moses knew it wasn’t going to be easy.
God had warned him of Pharoah’s negative response,
“I will harden his heart so that he won’t my people go.”
But I wonder if Moses was prepared for what would happen next –
After he made his request for the release of the Israelites?
In his anger, Pharoah turned to his overseers and foremen and commanded them,
“Don’t continue to supply the people with straw for making bricks, as before.
They must go and gather straw for themselves.
But require the same quota of bricks from as they were making before;
do not reduce it.
For they are slackers – that is why they are crying out,
“Let us go and sacrifice to our God.”
If Moses thought standing up to Pharoah was frightening,
I can’t imagine how he felt when he had to stand before his family –
beaten down, exhausted, at the end of their ropes –
and convince them that God had somehow remembered His covenant.
And this was the result.
Exodus 6:9 says,
“They did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.”
Can we really blame them?
Moses had been pushed out of his comfort zone,
but the Israelites had been shoved out of theirs.
It’s one thing to encounter God through a burning bush,
hear a voice in the wilderness,
have a direct link to Heaven.
It’s a whole other thing to know someone else has experienced this……
while you’ve been forced to make bricks……….
with little to no supplies.
And that’s where the Israelites are today.
And I’m wondering this morning if the coming plagues were more than a way for God to scare Pharoah.
I wonder if they were a way for God to show the people of Israel what Moses was able to see long before them.
They needed to see His power before they could trust in His strength.
They needed to feel His protection before they could run into His arms.
Crossing the Red Sea would require more than just hearing of Moses’ experience with God.
These people were in their own kind of wilderness
And they needed their own burning bush.
So God sent gnats and frogs and blood-filled rivers…………….
sparing His people so that they would finally believe.
He had really come to save them.
I’m not sure where you’re at today in your life journey.
Maybe your heart has hardened.
Or you feel forgotten.
Maybe you’re wondering if God is real.
Or why life feels so hard.
Maybe you’ve longed for your own burning bush.
A sign that He is with you.
Even on the toughest days.
I’ve been in all of those places.
And if I live long enough,
I’ll probably visit them all again from time to time.
The journey to the Promised Land was not an easy one.
And I don’t think our journey there is any easier.
But I do believe God’s with us.
And I do believe He still shows up.
Right in the middle of our wilderness.
Or our early-morning, before-a-long-day-of-work routine.
It may not be a burning bush,
but I think He’s desperately trying to get our attention.
Snap us out of reality.
Into His presence.
So how do we find Him?
When we hunger and thirst for Him,
how does He feed us?
Maybe it’s in the very things we would normally toss aside –
The orange peel we almost scraped into the trash can.
It’s amazing what we we’ll see when we’re looking for it.
Love truly is here.
Right here in our kitchens.
Right here in our orange peels.
And God truly is too.
And He wants us to know –
and believe –
Our Promised Land is coming.
If we’ll just keep walking towards Him.
Even when it feels as if the next step may be the last one on sturdy ground.
He’s waiting to catch us.
And He’s faithful.
There’s nothing your day will hold that He can’t handle.
And just as Moses approached Pharoah’s throne,
we can approach God’s too.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.