Thursday, October 27, 2011

Exodus 6:9-12 Discouragement Happens to the Best of Us

"Moses reported this to the Israelites,
but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.
Then the LORD said to Moses, 
'Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.'

But Moses said to the LORD,
'If the Israelites will not listen to me,
why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?' "

Exodus 6:9-12 (NIV)

Moses reported  to the Israelites all that God had told him:
  • God would be able to deliver them because of His own mighty hand.
  • God had heard their cries for help and would keep the covenant which He had made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
  • The Israelites would be God's own people, and He would be their God.
  • God would free them from slavery in Egypt and bring them into the land of Canaan, which He had promised to give to them.
However, both because of their discouragement about how previous meetings with Pharaoh had turned out, and because of the additional burdens which had been imposed upon them, the Israelites were in no mood to continue this discussion.  As Pharaoh had hoped, it seems that any possibility of a change in their situation was no longer up for debate.

Although Pharaoh was probably breathing a sigh of relief that the uprising which he had feared was no longer probable, God seemed to have had a different view of the situation.  He orders Moses to go tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.  Apparently, in God's mind, their journey would still happen as He had planned.

Moses was a bit incredulous.  If the Israelites would not listen to him, why would the great Pharaoh, king of Egypt, pay him any attention?

I think we have to stop a moment to appreciate Moses' situation.  First of all, in those days, nobody ordered a king around, especially one as powerful as the Pharaoh of Egypt.  There were no 'rights' to be insisted upon, no personal freedoms to be demanded.  [I believe I have read that the Pharaoh's subjects had the 'right' to have grievances addressed, but, let's face it, if a Pharaoh didn't want something to change, it didn't happen.]  I think that even Pharaoh's closest advisors would be careful to word their advice in very deferential terms, considering the fact that he held their lives in his hands.  Yet God was telling Moses to tell Pharaoh to let the Hebrews leave his country.[!]

Secondly, Moses' insecurity regarding his own speaking ability seems to have resurfaced.  I suppose that his failure to have Pharaoh approve the three day festival he had requested, and the resulting worsening of the Hebrews' circumstances had not done much for his confidence.  If his own people would not listen to him, why would Pharaoh?  If Moses did indeed have some type of speech impediment, I'm sure that these stressful conditions would not help matters at all.

Think about this:  God had chosen a man who couldn't speak, to lead a people who wouldn't listen, out of the land of a king who thought that he was god.  No wonder Moses was discouraged.

However, this was God who was speaking to Moses.  He was more powerful and authoritative than any earthly king.  Neither Pharaoh's power nor the Israelites' discouraging circumstances nor Moses' perceived failings would stand in the way of His plans.

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