Like most people, these past few months in my life have had its challenges. Navigating life, trusting the Lord for myself and others is not always easy or simple. These life challenges either lead us to Him, or perhaps cause us to take a step or two back wondering if He is the trustworthy God we want Him to be. We all experience “bad news”. This bad news can range from it is going to rain on our picnic, to a loved ones death or serious diagnosis. How we walk it out depends on our understanding of God and His loving care. The kind of bad news that shakes our world to its core reveals the status of our trust in His Word and who He is. I do not have this all figured out–but I do know that He is dependable, trustworthy. Reading through the book of Exodus, I came to chapter 33. If you haven’t read that book lately–refresh yourself with its story.
Moses is God’s main man in this part of Israel’s story. He was somewhat of a reluctant leader, but with the power of God working through him, he led the Israelites out of Egypt toward the Promised Land. I can only imagine how excited and amazed the first part of the journey was, until the journey became more of a reality and difficulties arose. We see Moses doing his best to relay God’s plans and direction to these people. They did not always want to listen–a common problem most leaders encounter from time to time! Bad news, Moses, the people you are supposed to be leading toward the Lord created an false god and are partying while you have been up on the mountain obeying God’s instruction. Not a fun day to be Moses. He was angry, but I do not think it made him happy to watch some of the people be fatally punished. So how did Moses process this bad day? He talked with the Lord. None of us have Moses’s responsibility, but we do have the same access to our God!
I love how the Message Bible describes Moses’ conversation with God. Exodus 33:12-13 Moses said to God, “Look, you tell me, ‘Lead this people,’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me. You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to oyou, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you. Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility.”
God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.” Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? They continue with this conversation until verse 17. God said to Moses: “All right, Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name. How amazing is that! Because He is no respector of persons, He is saying that to each of us. I know you well. You are special to me. I know you by name. No matter how rough the journey, how difficult your path. He knows you. No matter how many weaknesses you are dealing with, He is with you to strengthen you. As I read those verses, I just sat back and relaxed, refreshed and encouraged by the fact He knows me well. I can trust Him to take me through the roughest waters or the hottest fires. Not always in the ways I would like, but the way that will lead to my blessing and the blessing of others.
The next words from Moses were: “Please. Let me see your Glory.” As we seek to live our lives, not for ourselves, but for Him life gets simpler. God reassurred Moses that He was with him. He knew him and that motivated Moses even more to want to reflect His love, power and might with others. Spending time in prayer talking through the hard things with the Lord always brings me closer to Him and with an even greater desire to see His glory revealed. How about you?