Have you ever felt that an advancement or opportunity in your life was delayed for far too long, or maybe the door appeared closed altogether? It can be discouraging, can’t it?
Your situation might have concerned a bad habit that you weren’t able to kick, a lack in advancement at your job, an achievement that didn’t come to fruition, a friend that was seemingly never going to accept Jesus, a ministry that faced delays or closed doors, a marriage that apparently wasn’t ever going to change, or family matters of another sort. Perhaps you became anxious in the wait or bondage, resorting to the comfort of discouragement. I imagine most of us have run to discouragement’s embrace at one time or another. It seems comfortable at the time, almost second-hand in nature, doesn’t it?
Moses and the Israelites dealt with discouragement. I read it myself recently on my Bible reading plan on the handy You Version App. It’s in Exodus.
Moses dealt with it on the positive side, God’s side. He heard, “I will free you,” in so many words. It was a conversation with the Lord and it was full of promise and hope. Moses found encouragement, not discouragement, from the promise and eagerly relayed it to the Israelites. The Israelites, on the other hand, weren’t quite so spiritually optimistic. Look at the verse below:
Moses told this to the Israelites,
but they refused to listen to Moses because of their impatience and anguish of spirit and because of their cruel bondage.
Exodus 6:9 AMP**
The Israelites somehow saw a completely different picture. In fact, their ears weren’t even open to hearing the encouragement, the hope, the promise. The harshness of their situation brought them down as they allowed impatience and a shortness of spirit to reign. They refused to listen to the man of God, and ultimately, the Lord Himself.
I can almost hear it now, the complaining, the groaning, the whining, the fault-finding and grumbling. Wait! Is that me I’m writing about?! Sometimes, unfortunately, it has been. Tsk! Tsk! Even recently I had a situation where discouragement needed to be overcome, and it dealt with a ministry opportunity! That’s where the Lord used this passage to perform heart surgery, and am I ever thankful for His counsel! In fact, it was put to the test again yet today, the very day I’m writing this. His hope and encouragement has won!
It’s quite easy to become discouraged, or in anguish of spirit, when things aren’t exactly the way we’d like them to be. It’s easy to become impatient. The Israelites are proof-positive this can happen, I’d venture to say we are no different when tough situations arise or our timeline is not met.
What struck me the most while reading this verse was the fact that they didn’t hear what God was trying to communicate. They didn’t hear. They refused to listen, missing the encouragement and hope of the Lord because of their impatience. It was somewhat like they tuned their stereo to different station, hearing the voice of discouragement across the air waves versus God’s station of hope.
Conversely, Moses, one verse later, went back to God. He spent time with the Lord, listening with patience. Much was gained because of it, specifically the encouragement to move forward in a seemingly no-win situation. To add, he faced rejection and “try, try again” multiple times, situations where discouragement can eagerly await its prey.
We’d be wise to learn from this. Discouragement or impatience is not from God.
Leaning in, waiting, and listening to the Lord is of Him. And great things can happen as a result.
As we honor God by listening, waiting for, and believing Him to do His wonderful work, we are transformed and our Daddy gets the glory. It’s a beautiful thing.
Take inventory in your life right now. Is there an area where you are discouraged? Is there an area where impatience is taking charge? If so, those are the areas of your heart, thought-life (mind), and mouth that can be offered to God. Take them to Him in prayer, offer them on the altar of sacrifice. Walk with praise and hope as you cling to the very One who sees it all. It is there, with patience and listening ears, that we find ourselves in the counsel and presence of our very real God. It is there that we find hope and deliverance.