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That’s the last straw!

16 Jul

Despite the claims to the contrary, life does not necessarily get easier once you become a Christian. It gets better, yes, but it can often get harder after you put your faith in Christ.

A young couple goes to the mission field, taking their small children with them. Despite constant opposition from unsaved parents, they settle in a remote village. Not long after they arrive, one of the children contracts a rare, life-threatening disease, forcing them to return home. Their parents respond, “See, we told you not to go!”

A woman refuses to date a man who is not a Christian. Now she is waiting for the right man, but no one calls. An employee refuses to work on Sundays and gets laid off three months later. A pastor starts to teach the Bible, but rather than growing numerically, his congregation begins to shrink.

You put your faith in God, you believe him for great things, you strive to be obedient, and yet life still goes sideways. When you reach the last straw, remember God’s promises. That is the lesson God wanted Moses to learn in Exodus 4:29-6:13.

“We believe” (4:29-31). Moses and Aaron met with the leaders of Israel and presented God’s plan to them. They present the miraculous signs. The people believe God’s promises and worship him.

At this point, we expect the orchestra music to swell to a crescendo as success follows. However, things will go from bad to worse to worser.

“Let my people go” (5:1-5). Moses and Aaron meet with Pharaoh to deliver God’s instructions. Rather than give the people time off for worship, Pharaoh responds with an air of indifference and an attitude of defiance. He tells them to get back to work.

“Increase the work load” (5:6-14). Not only does Pharaoh send the people back to work, he increases their workload. Forced to gather their own supplies, they now have to work harder to meet their quota of bricks.

Pharaoh’s disrespectful demands starts a three-round cycle of the blame game. The people initially blame Pharaoh (5:15-19). They stressed their loyalty to Pharaoh and he accused them of laziness. The people then blamed Moses (5:20-21). If he had left well enough alone, they wouldn’t be in this mess. Having nowhere else to turn, Moses blames God (5:22-23). Moses accuses God of not keeping his promises.

Oftentimes, God waits until we reach the end of our rope before he steps in. Until our eyes are fixed on God, we will not be able to endure the days when life goes sideways. When we are finally ready to depend on God completely, he tells us, “Watch me work” (6:1-8). God reminds Moses four times, “I am the Lord” (6:2, 6, 7, 8). He also says, “…see what I will do …” (1). “I will deliver you” (6:6), “I will have a relationship with you” (6:7), and “I will give you a home” (6:8).

Unfortunately, the trials of life have made the Israelites hard of hearing (6:9). Moses now faces the challenge of whether or not he will choose to obey God’s command and accept his assignment (6:10-13).

Life often gets harder after we trust God. When we reach the last straw, we must remember God’s promises.

This is the synopsis of a message preached at First Central Bible Church in Chicopee, MA, on July 16, 2017. It is part of a series of sermons on the life of Moses. Please click on the link to download a copy of the sermon notes.

 

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