Then the Lord told Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!”
And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh— ‘the Lord.’I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’—but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them. And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners. You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.
“Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am the Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment.I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt. I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am the Lord!’”
So, Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.”
“But Lord!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!”
But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them orders for the Israelites and for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt. (New Living Translation)
We can become our own worst enemy.
In Lodi, California, in March of 2006, a city dump truck backed into a car belonging to a man named Curtis Gokey. The car was damaged badly. So, Gokey sued the city of Lodi for $3,600. There is, however, a catch to the story: Curtis Gokey was driving the city dump truck that crunched his personal car. And he admitted it was his fault. The city dropped the lawsuit, stating that Gokey could not sue himself.
Like Curtis Gokey, we are often our own worst enemies. We might get down on ourselves or on God. There are times when it’s easy for us to either justify ourselves or blame ourselves, while wondering why God and/or others keep doing things we don’t like.
When life is not going so well, it’s possible to slide into a private belief system that thinks God is not good for his promises (James 1:16-17). At worst, one can start to think that God is the problem and the source of the trouble.
To be self-deceived is to go astray and slowly drift from the truth…. It can happen to anybody. The first step is having expectations that go unmet. An expected answer to prayer goes unanswered. Somebody lashes out and there seems to be no protection from it. Some anticipated blessing does not come to pass….
Moses was downright confused. He was confident and convinced God had called him to free the Israelites from their cruel bondage in Egypt. But nothing was going right. And the people were upset with Moses for making things worse, not better.
Trusting God and not becoming discouraged when we don’t understand everything that’s happening can be a big challenge. We might wonder if we really have what it takes to do anything well. We may wonder if God is even listening, or if God is paying any attention, at all, to our terrible plight….
- “Why, God, did you let my son or daughter die? How in the hell am I supposed to keep going!?”
- “Why, God, did you give me a gaslighting boss to deal with? I get tongue-tied around her. How is she ever going to listen to me?”
- “Why won’t people get vaccinated for COVID-19? How am I supposed to talk to the anti-vaxers?”
- “Why, God, is everything changing? How am I going to speak up?”
Questioning can help us make sense of our situations. However, questioning may also cause us to doubt that God is there and will act on our behalf. In such times, it might be tempting to blame God for a broken relationship, a terrible event, a dysfunctional family, or an adverse situation.
Yet, God has chosen to give us birth through the word of truth (not a word of deception and lies) so that we might have new life with fresh eyes of faith to see our situations as God sees them (James 1:18). That is what wisdom is – the ability to see all of life from God’s perspective.
If any of us lacks wisdom, we should ask God, who gives generously without finding fault, and it will be given to us (James 1:5). This is a promise from a good God who knows how to give good gifts.
None of us are above falling into misinterpretations that lead to the self-deceptions of questioning God’s goodness and our own God-given personhood. We need to be vigilant in watching for the false stories we might tell ourselves such as:
- “This wouldn’t have happened, if I just would’ve been better.”
- “There’s nothing I can do about it.”
- “I’m just a big screw-up. I can’t do anything right.”
- “God messed-up when he made me.”
- “I don’t know what to say. I’m not good with words.”
We are all to take charge of our lives through having a robust theology of God that discerns the Lord is always good, all the time, without exception; and that we are called by a good God to do good work.
The good news is that a good God has taken care of the sin issue once for all through the cross of Christ. The Lord has brought us the good gifts of forgiveness and grace. God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us and guide us into all truth so that we will have wisdom and humility to live the Christian life as it is meant to be lived.
For the Christian, the key to it all is faith – genuine authentic faith that places head, heart, and hands completely in Jesus Christ so that we have right belief, right motives, and right actions all rightly working together in a full-orbed Christianity that glorifies the triune God, encourages Christ’s church, and blesses God’s big world.
Don’t be your own worst enemy by sabotaging your thoughts with the double-mindedness of wondering about the true nature of God.
Explore the depths of God in Christ and discover the goodness that can result even in life’s most difficult experiences.
Lord God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth:
When evil darkens our world, give us light.
When despair numbs our souls, give us hope.
When we stumble and fall, lift us up.
When doubts assail us, give us faith.
When nothing seems sure, give us trust.
When ideals fade, give us vision.
When we lose our way, be our guide!
That we may find serenity in Your presence, and purpose in doing Your will.
Through Jesus Christ, our Savior, Lord, Brother, and Friend. Amen.