Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he (Pharaoh) has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all” (Ex. 5:22, 23).
Can’t you feel Moses’ disappointment and frustration? Do you remember a time when you felt like this—maybe even now? Perhaps it was a situation about which you earnestly prayed and things got worse and not better. I think that Christian leaders often fall prey to this disappointment when all our best-intentioned efforts and ministry to our people end up being misunderstood and creating more problems than they solve. We make the mistake, like Moses, of judging God at the beginning of the process and not by the big-picture vision of what he ultimately wants to accomplish in our people. We have so little information as to ways of an eternal, omniscient God. Perhaps that is why Moses later prayed “show me now your ways.” (Ex. 33:13)
Another principle that we need to learn is that the way to liberation is often through deeper bondage. That sounds strange, doesn’t it? However, how many times have we heard (or experienced) that a person needs to hit bottom before they start looking for help? Israel had not yet hit rock-bottom in their slavery. They thought they had options and had to learn to entrust themselves completely to the covenant-keeping God that Moses represented. Moses also needed to learn to trust in the Lord with all his heart if he was going to lead Israel out of oppression. “God is to be trusted when his providences seem to run contrary to his promises.” (Thomas Watson)
We cannot manage God; we must learn to trust him. He is our Father, who loves us and yet is also the sovereign God of the universe who is working out his redemptive process for us and the world. It is only by faith born of experience that we will learn to glory in the process and not judge God by a certain circumstance.
You fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds you so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan his work in vain:
God is his own interpreter, and he will make it plain. (William Cowper, 1774)