If I’m learning anything during this season, it’s that I really need to trust God. I’ve never had so many crises of confidence as I have lately and just a general sense of overwhelm. Now more than ever, I realise the importance of trusting God because it truly brings peace. I’m still learning, trust me! However, I’m grateful that each time I’ve chosen to listen to Him, He’s been more than faithful.
“Moses told this to the Israelites, but they would not listen to him, because their spirit had been broken by their cruel slavery.” (Exodus 6:9, GNT)
In this chapter, Moses’ heartfelt and inspirational speech about what God plans to do for the Israelites falls on deaf ears. However, this has nothing to do with the content of his speech, but rather the condition of the people. Sometimes we have barriers that disable us from being able to connect to, or accept, what is being communicated to us. I’ve listened to so many appeals after a sermon and connected with the words, but still felt something preventing me from acting upon the speaker’s impassioned plea; thus, I remained resolute in my seat. The Israelites were hearing a timely message: one of hope, acceptance, and freedom… yet they did not rejoice. I believe that the Israelites wanted to get excited about the prospect of the future. They wanted to believe. They wanted to trust. Unfortunately, their present experience prevented them from doing so.
Doubt is contagious; don’t allow your faith to be compromised by doubters.
The Israelites chose to base their faith on something they could trust: disappointment. They dared not entertain the very thought that God could do what Moses proclaimed because liberation was unthinkable in the midst of slavery. Their negativity also caused Moses to doubt. He chose to use the Israelites’ response to his speech as a measure of his ability to accomplish what God had said (v12). He allows them to feed his insecurities even though their response does not dictate his success. God appears to be the only one that is confident in His abilities and simply repeats His command to Moses (and now Aaron, too; v13). The enemy will happily use others to discourage you. Unless properly guarded, your faith is vulnerable to attack.
The broken spirit of the Israelites was, in part, due to their slavery. However, the bigger issue was less about their circumstances (slavery) and more about their relationship with God. Being in bondage had severely eroded their connection with God such that they did not regard Him as capable of fulfilling His word. It’s unlikely that Moses’ message would have been rejected if they’d maintained close communion with God (as far as possible in bondage, of course). Doubts are a symptom of disconnection from God. That is not to say that ‘strong’ believers don’t have doubts, but that when those doubts arise, they choose to combat them with faith. The Israelites were bereft of the faith that would allow them to heed Moses’ words.
Your refusal to believe God’s promises demonstrates a lack of faith.
The Israelite experience is complex in that it’s unlikely that people who didn’t have a connection with God would have gone to Him personally with their doubts. However, when you hold on to your broken spirit rather than asking God to heal it (and your doubts), you’re robbing yourself of the beauty of a promise fulfilled. I’m not sure what may have caused your broken spirit, but know that God still desires to to show Himself strong in your life (2 Chronicles 16:9). The Israelites heard what Moses said and responded with a ‘no’. Saying ‘yes’ probably seemed nonsensical, but God showed them otherwise. You’ll never know what lies on the other side of a promise unless you choose to exercise faith in spite of your doubts.
- Be transparent with God – is there a promise you want to claim but you can’t because _____? Or maybe you want to believe something about His character but you can’t because of ______. Whatever you feel is holding you back, tell God about it. He can handle your doubts.
- Be vigilant – is there an experience that you’re currently going through which you know could breed bitterness or mistrust towards God? Bring your hurt to God rather than allowing it to fester and infect the picture that you had of God before.
- Be mindful of what you internalise – Moses listened to the negativity of the Israelites all too easily… another person’s doubts do not have to become your doubts if your personal experience gives you reason to believe otherwise (which Moses’ did). Stand firm in faith!
Your relationship with Him, rather than circumstances should dictate your response to God. Don’t let your doubts prevail. You have more to lose by calling Him a liar (verbally or through your actions) than you do my taking Him at His word. I hope that you’ll experience the peace that comes from trusting Him.