“So, Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.” (Exodus 6:10).
Do you ever struggle with being able to listen to God because of the various trials going on in your life? Intellectually you know you should be focusing on what God has to say to you through His Word, but because of the difficulties through which you are going you find yourself not hearing Him.
Following the Lord’s encounter with Moses at the burning bush, Moses and Aaron come to the Israelites to tell them that the Lord has looked upon their affliction and has visited to them. God’s people welcome the news: “And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. Then he did the signs in the sight of the people. So, the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel and that He had looked on their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped” (Exodus 4:30-31). The Israelites heard what God had to say to them.
However, following Moses’ initial request for Pharaoh to let Israel go and serve God, Pharaoh responded by adding additional burdens to the children of Israel and increasing the hardship of their slavery unto him (Exodus 5:5-19). Pharaoh assumed this request of Moses was made because the children of Israel were idle and had too much time on their hands. He orders the enslaved Israelites to go and get their own straw for the bricks they were making for him while not reducing their daily quota of bricks to be made. The Israelites could not keep up the daily quota of bricks under these circumstances and the Israelite officers in charge were beaten for failing to do this (Exodus 5:16).
These Israelite officers confront Moses and Aaron: “Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. And they said to them, ‘Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us’” (Exodus 5:20-21). Things were becoming worse for them, not better, since they had decided to follow Moses in seeking for Pharaoh to let them go out of Egypt to worship God. It is safe to say they were very discouraged. Even Moses got disheartened by this: “So Moses returned to the Lord and said, ‘Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all’” (Exodus 5:22-23).
In His response to these circumstances, God encouraged both Moses and the people by letting them know He was going to fulfill His promises to give them the Promised Land. God said, “I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord." (Exodus 6:8-9). However, as the opening verse above indicates, the people were so discouraged by what had happened to them they refused to heed this promise of God (Exodus 6:9).
God has given us many precious promises throughout His Word (cf. 2 Peter 1:3-4). However, like Israel, we must guard against allowing the challenging circumstances we often find in our daily lives to drown out our ability to listen to God. I rejoice that God speaks to me through His Word. Today, I will strive to hear God above the circumstances that come into my life today!
“This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your word has given me life.” (Psalm 119:50).