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Thursday, January 18, 2024

Focus: Just a few words of encouragement...

“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”   [Exodus 6:9]

Initially, the Israelites recognized Moses was sent from God, that God had heard their cries of suffering and was now going to lead them out of Egypt. But when Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh and ask to leave, Pharaoh calls them “slackers” and increases their load of labor, requiring the same quota of bricks, but not giving them the straw to make them. Then, he has their overseers beat them because they are not “keeping up.” 

The people go to Moses complaining, stating that he was the cause of their suffering. Moses goes to God, telling Him that he had obeyed,  Pharaoh’s response and that the people are worse off than before. God assures Moses who “He Is” and tells the Israelites that now they will see the hand of God at work– but they cannot hear or believe because of their pain.

The pain and suffering are real. The blood from the lashes on the backs of the laborers was not an illusion. The hope of deliverance vanished in the hopelessness they saw in the situation.  When we shift our focus from the truth of who God is and His promise to the difficult circumstances we may be experiencing, we will lose hope and discouragement will come.  When we choose to focus on the truth of who God is, we are not denying the gravity of the pain, and the severity of our circumstances, but placing them into the hands of the only one who can really do anything about them. 

Through trusting God amid hurt, we get to know Him in deeper and richer ways: in distress and grief, our Comforter; in confusion, our Rock and Teacher; in sickness, our Healer; in danger, our Shelter.  Leaning on what s the truth of God in our circumstances builds our faith and helps us grow in Him.  

How can we do this?  Here are some ways to begin: 

1. Lay out your hurts and situation before the Lord in prayer. Share your honest feelings and fears, confusion, anger, and hurts to Him. 

2. Recall Who God is, His great works, His love for us that sent Jesus to suffer and die for us; recall His greatness, His mercy, and grace.  

3. Thank Him for Who He Is and that He has not changed. 

4. Give Him, lay before His feet all these feelings, people, situations, —give them all to Him in faith.  

5. Remember Jehoshaphat’s prayer when surrounded by the enemy: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” [2 Chronicles 20:12]. 

6. Thank Him for what He is going to do. Wait and hope in Him. 

7. Remember: You are not alone, He has promised never to leave or forsake us.

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