The closest followers of Jesus learned this hard lesson repeatedly in their time with the Lord. Whether they were trying to feed over 5,000 in the countryside with only five loaves and two small fish, facing down a man who was uncontrollable with a legion of demons, or facing the strong storms on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus’ apostles found themselves in a humbling position on each occasion. They faced circumstances far too overwhelming to manage, much less fix. Each time, however, the Lord delivered them with his power and grace.
Moses' work to deliver Israel foreshadowed Jesus (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 3:22; 7:27). God called Moses at a burning bush in the desert and revealed to Moses that he cared about his people and was about to deliver them:
The Lord said, "I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey — the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt" (Exodus 3:7-10).
Notice the not so subtle shift from, "I have come down..." to "I am sending you..." The Israelites were in an impossible position, and only God could redeem them. He did, through Moses.
These larger than life stories are easy to dismiss. Our lives get caught in the undertow of problems, difficulties, disasters, illness, and loss. We can sometimes feel as if God has forgotten us or rejected us. However, we need to remember that 400 years passed from the time of Joseph until the deliverance of God’s people through Moses. People and families prayed untold thousands upon thousands of prayers for God to help them. Generation after generation came and went across the sands of Egyptian history. Somehow, however, faithful people passed on some thread of faith to their children and grandchildren. They were faithful in the face of increasing cruelty, hopelessness, and slavery. Then, when the time was right, God called Moses, fulfilling his promise to Abraham (Genesis 15:13; Acts 7:6).
Image from "God's Eye View" in The Daily Mail, image credits © James Dive and Solent News & Photo Agency, all rights reserved. See the article for more images and explanation.
We don’t know where you are in your sojourn through life. We do know that there are times when we all — even Jesus — feel abandoned by God because of our circumstances, problems, and pain. At that moment when we find ourselves in a position where only God can save us, let’s remember Moses. Let’s remember the family of Moses and those in the generations before him who lived faithfully without seeing their redemption (Hebrews 11:39-40). Let’s also recommit ourselves to endurance, remembering that God is faithful to keep his promises (Hebrews 10:23) and that his love will never abandon us (Romans 8:32-39). The story of Moses delivering the Israelites, of Jesus saving his apostles, and God's deliverance of Jesus’ from the power of sin, death, and hell through his resurrection, are all reminders to us to endure.
God gave us these biblical reminders of his faithfulness to encourage us to endure and to be faithful:
Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled (Romans 15:4).
So, if you are between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, a rock and a hard place, or in over your head, remember Moses, remember the apostles, and remember Jesus on the cross and in the tomb. Redemption is coming. God has you in a position to see his great work and make your life an enduring testimony of faithfulness in the face of struggle and victory in the face of defeat.
We have a God who sees, hears, knows, cares and comes down. He did it in Moses. He has done even more fantastically, in Jesus!
The two previous images are from Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings movie: it is not recommended for historical or biblical accuracy, but for its great visual imagery and emotive power. See the trailer below.