I AM the LORD! ∙
They did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor. – Exodus 6:9
1 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!”
2 And God said to Moses, “I am Yahweh – ‘the LORD.’”
3 I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai – “God Almighty” – but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.”
9 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.
Dr. Shane Lopez was a Senior Scientist at Gallup and one of the world’s leading researchers on hope. Dr. Shane taught that hope is contagious. Here are some of his observations. “The tiny ripple of hope you set in motion can change the path of someone’s life. Hope is created moment by moment through our deliberate choices. It happens when we use our thoughts and feelings to temper our aversion to loss and actively pursue what is possible. How we think about the future – how we hope – determines how well we live our lives.”
He believed that hope could be engendered by:
- Modeling hope and treating others with the kind of love, compassion and kindness you want for yourself.
- Caring enough to support others who are in need of help.
- Becoming a Super-Empowered, Hopeful Individual who believes the future can be better than today, and you can make it happen, despite the obstacles in your way (psychologytoday.com).
“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me’” (Billy Graham).
“Depression begins with disappointment. When disappointment festers in our soul, it leads to discouragement” (Joyce Meyer).
“The most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come” (James Whitcomb Riley).
When the Father promises to do something, the children of the King can rest assured and trust that it will be done. Frequently, before a promise from the Father can be realized it is preceded by a change in the status quo. The Father makes waves. He has a way of shaking things up. When he appeared at Sinai, the earth shook. In the future, He will shake both the earth and the heavens. His goal is to shake things until all of the things that can be removed, are removed (Hebrews 12:26-27).
In a similar fashion, to a much lesser degree, the Father also shakes His children. We do not desire to be shaken or rattled. His touch is often viewed as an unwelcome intrusion or disturbance. Often things often get worse before they get better.
Upon returning from Mount Sinai, Moses goes to Pharaoh and asks him to let the children of Israel go. Pharaoh rebuffs him. Moses fails and his failure brings sadness and adds misery to his people. He blames himself and questions why the Lord asked him to do it in the first place. It is easy for most of us to identify with the failure of Moses. He starts with great enthusiasm and falls flat on his face. He complains and whines. He wonders if the Father made a mistake in choosing him. He seems so inadequate for his assignment. But that is exactly the point, Moses is adequate for the job. That is why the Father chose him to do the job.
But the gloom and doom of pessimism are often contagious. After 400 years of suffering and servitude making bricks for Pharaoh, what could be worse? Try making bricks without straw. The people were discouraged. They stopped listening to Moses and hoping in God. They did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency (Exodus 6:9).
The Hebrew word translated as broken, despondency, and discouragement is qotser. Qotser means shortness. When used in conjunction with the spirit, it has a sense of impatience and dejectedness. They were beaten down, and their spirits were broken and crushed. They were discouraged and exhausted. They had given up (UBS).
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is like a tree of life.
“When we feel oppressed and our spirit groans, it is difficult for us to believe the good promises of God regarding our welfare” (Stanley). Instead of being long-suffering, they figured they had suffered long enough. They had had enough. All hope was lost.
REFLECT & PRAY
Physical suffering pains our bodies, but emotional suffering and discouragement bring leanness to our souls and ravages our hearts.
Father remind me again and again, and bring to my mind that no matter what my circumstances are or how gloomy and dire my situation seems to be, your answer always begins, “I am the LORD!”
The irony is that initial failure lays the groundwork for ultimate success. Pessimism and doubt are the fertile soil in which promises are fulfilled.
Matthew 19:26 with God all things are possible.
The Scriptures are replete with examples of the Father doing the impossible after all hope is lost. But a few examples: the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the preserving of the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace, the miracle of the Red Sea, the angelic hosts guarding Elisha and Gehazi, and the greatest of all, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The problem has never been with the Father. The problem has always been with our discouragement and lack of faith. The Father wants us to know and believe that He is the answer to all of our problems and circumstances. Every aspect of our physical and emotional well-being and eternal salvation depends solely on His character and eternal attributes.
Why did the Father allow Moses to fail at the very beginning of his mission when he went to Pharaoh the first time? Perhaps, if Pharaoh had released the nation of Israel the first time Moses asked, Moses would have been given most of the credit. Instead, his attempt totally backfired. As a result, he had to shoulder all the blame.
The people were convinced that Moses was incapable of leading them to the Promised Land. Only the Father could bring them out of Egypt by His mighty hand (Exodus 32:11). The longer Moses and Pharaoh quarreled and wrangled over the release of Israel from bondage, the clearer it became.
The Father was teaching His people to put all of their trust in Him. In due time, they discovered that when all else failed, the one thing they could count on was the One who said, “I am the LORD” (Ryken and Hughes).
His answer is always the same, “I am the LORD!”
“Exodus is a God-centered book with a God-centered message that teaches us to have a God-centered life. Whatever problems we have, whatever difficulties we face, the most important thing is to know who God is. We are called to place our trust in the One who says, ‘I am the LORD.’ . . . When nothing seems to go right, and it is not certain how things will ever work out – even then he says, ‘I am the LORD’” (Ryken and Hughes).
© Dr. H 2022