When Obedience Seemingly Backfires Part Two

When Obedience Seemingly Backfires Part Two

Bishop Craig Oliver Sr. 

 

They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; and they said to them, "The Lord look on you and judge because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us."

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 has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all." – Exodus 5:20-23



In Exodus 5, we find Moses dealing with another life and leadership challenge. The result of his obedience to God has brought him into a place of opposition—obedience backfiring in his face. Things are not working in his favor to the point that it seems unfair to Moses. He obeyed God, and yet, as a result of obedience, things are not working out as he thought. 

There have probably been moments in our lives when we've obeyed God with the assumption that things ought to go in our favor when we obey. Perhaps we've thought life would be comfortable, pleasant, and peaceful once we've obeyed. But we know, as did Moses, that our obedience can bring us directly into a place of opposition.

This is what happened to Moses. He obeys God, and as a result of his obedience, Moses tells Pharaoh that God had sent him on assignment to ask Pharaoh to let His people go so that they could worship Him in the wilderness. Unfortunately, this does not go as Moses would have expected. As a result, Pharaoh is resistant and even rebellious against the directive of God. 

The Bible mentions that the very act of Pharaoh was something God had shared with Moses before he went to Egypt. God had told Moses that Pharaoh wouldn't cooperate and it would require a lot of heart before Pharaoh would comply. 

 

Moses does what God had asked of him, and things are not working out as Moses expected. The people are upset with Moses and blame him for the mess he had created. Blaming Moses and telling him that it's as if Moses had put a sword in the hand of Pharaoh.

The people exclaimed that they were forced to build bricks and now have to do that without the resources. They are beaten, burdened, and as a result, are bitter towards Moses and the God he represents. 

Their bitterness is hard to miss. The scripture says the people have now entered into a crisis of faith. Moses has also gone through this process, where he's disappointed with God. He feels disconnected and also feels that he's been deceived by God. 

All of us have had a crisis of faith where we begin to doubt our belief and confidence in God so much that we feel as if God had disappointed us, let us down, and deceived us. All because we had prefabricated assumptions about how life was supposed to be, and life did not come out as we thought it would be. 

As a result, we're disappointed, deceived, and distant from God. The scripture shows how the Israelites and Moses were in a crisis of faith based on the threefold questions they presented to God.

Moses questioned the perceived goodness of God in Exodus 5:22. Moses asks the question that we've probably asked ourselves, "I know God is good, but I question that now because my look doesn't look as if God is good. Not this time, God. My life has been turned upside down." When we question God's perceived goodness of God, it's because we are doubting what we see when what we see is contradictory to what we believe. 

The next thing we question is the personal guidance of God based on what we don't see. Something like "I don't see how God can use me." Look at what Moses is saying in Exodus 5:22: "Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, "O Lord, why have you done evil to this people? Why did you ever send me?"

Moses told God to send somebody else, and he was fine living in Midian, but now that he obeyed God, his life turned chaotic. So now we can see Moses wished that he had stayed and not obeyed, and he might have been spared from the pain and agony he is experiencing currently as a direct result of his obedience to God.

 

After questioning God's goodness and personal guidance, Moses is now questioning the proposed goal of God in Exodus 5:23: "For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people, and you have not delivered your people at all." 

Moses tells God that His goal was to deliver His people, but it looks as if He's come short on His part of the bargain. Moses even tells God that he went and did what God told him to do but then asks God, "Where are you? I did what you told me to do. When are you going to deliver your people?" Moses perceives that God is not living up to His proposed goal. 

When we question God's personal guidance and then question His proposed goal and even His goodness, we're in a crisis of faith. We all ask how we deal with life if we're in this crisis—when we have more questions than answers.

Notice what happens in Exodus 5, where Moses articulates his heart's anguish, anxieties, and aches. Then, he gives words to his worries. Finally, at the end of all of Moses' questioning, look at how Exodus 6:1 opens up:

"But the Lord said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong hand he will send them out, and with a strong hand he will drive them out of his land."

After a crisis of faith, you need to have some correctives to your faith. Here is how faith is corrected. First, Moses poses all his questions—questioning God's goodness, guidance, and goals. Then, God allows Moses to keep talking and asking all the questions in Exodus 5 but tells Moses that after he's finished questioning, God asks Moses to position himself so that God can now talk to him.

Whenever we have questions more than we do answers, God always has a response. God always has the final say "But the Lord said to Moses… Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh". Moses may have felt that God forgot about him and forsaken him, but God gave Moss a front-row seat to see that God is who He says He is—that He is God and Pharaoh is not.

 

Trust the sovereign plan of God

 

If we are going to have a corrective to our faith, the corrective starts with trusting God's sovereign plan. God is in control. The sovereignty of God denotes that God will do what He will, when He will, with whomever He will, and whenever He wills to do it.

 

God is in control when your life appears out of control and you have more questions than answers. Moses seemed to have talked himself out of faith, but God said let me talk you back into faith by telling him that now he shall see what God would do.

Until now, Pharaoh had been talking and acting like he was God, as if he had the final say. But God told Moses that He would show him His sovereignty, so the first corrective to faith in Christ is that we must learn how to trust the sovereign plan of God. We must trust Him when we can't trace, track, or trail Him. 

We may not track Him, we may not trail Him or trace Him, but God, we trust you. I trust you. Even when our obedience brings us into opposition, we trust Him. Even obeying God has let us into a life of chaos and confusion. We trust Him. Even when life is turned upside down and inside out, we trust God because the turning point of our faith is here in Romans 10:17 "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

When we find ourselves talking out of faith, we can only talk ourselves back into faith when we position and posture ourselves to allow God to speak to us. Some of us are not in faith because you've listened to everybody, even yourselves, and now you've doubted your confidence in God.

Faith can be frustrated by what we see. However, faith can be formulated by what He says. They got out of faith because of what they saw, but you get back into faith by what He says. When you base your faith upon what you see, like the inflation, for example, you'll never trust God in giving, but when you base your faith not on what you see but what He said, as David's testimony said, "I've never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seeds begging for bread."



Trust the supernatural power of God

 

You must trust what He says when you can't trust what you see. Not only must you trust the sovereign plan of God, but you must also trust the supernatural power of God. God tells Moses, "Now, you're going to see my supernatural power as you have never seen it before." 

 

In Exodus 6:1, God said He would drive the Egyptians out of the land. The same Pharaoh who fought against the Israelites' leaving will learn how to obey God. 

Many of us focus so much on the natural that we have lost sight of the supernatural. You and I no longer believe that God has supernatural power—He has supernatural power. He can do the impossible, the unimaginable. God is a God who has supernatural power. The same God who raised His son from the dead is the same God who has supernatural power in my life. He can heal, deliver and set the captives free.

God reiterates the reality of His supernatural power by this redundant phrase in Exodus 6:6-8,

"Say therefore to the people of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.

​​ I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God, and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.'"

 

He can do it because He is God. He is the Lord. He is Jehovah. He is Elohim. He is Yahweh. We have got to trust the supernatural power of God. Believe that He is a Waymaker, a Miracle Worker, a Promise Keeper, and a Light in the darkness.

Have you heard people talk about certain things that just come naturally to them? Part of the problem is that you have been leaning and depending too much on the natural—on what you know, what you think you can accomplish because it just comes naturally to you. As a result, you've placed yourself in the same status as God. 

Now, God sometimes allows chaos. He will allow you to get above your head in a situation where all you can do is trust God. Not on your health, connections, or associations—nothing except trusting in the sovereign plan of God. Trusting in the supernatural power of God.



Trust the steadfast promises of God

 

"God spoke to Moses and said to him, "I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord, I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they lived as sojourners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Israel whom the Egyptians hold as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant." Exodus 6:2-5

Moses was now done speaking, and now it was God's turn. First, God reminds Moses about who He is. Next, God reintroduces Himself to Moses, reminding Moses that He's got history with his ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

Part of the problem with Moses' faith is that his faith was only based on his ancestors, but here, God now wants to help Moses cultivate a personal faith. See, God's trying to transition some of us from the faith of our grandparents because there are certain seasons in life that you need much more than faith borrowed from your lineage.

You can't keep leaning on the faith of your grandparents. You can't keep leaning on borrowed faith. At some point, you got to mature in your walk with God so that you begin to say what you know about God for yourself. You can only testify about what God can do in your life, but first, you've got to go through the "test" before giving testimony.

God wants to move you beyond the testimony of your ancestors and give you your personal testimony about His power and ability to open doors and make ways. He wants to show that He is your way. 

God tells Moses that He has remembered His covenant, see Exodus 6:5. He reminds Moses, "Though you may have felt forsaken and forgotten, don't you forget that I am the Lord. Though the promise may not appear in your lifetime, I remember. I remember the covenants I've made." Not only is God a God who remembers His covenants, but He is a God who will execute what He has promised. 

Moses had been questioning God about His goodness, guidance, and goals, to which God responded to Moses' questions with a credible statement based upon His character. He says, "I am the God who keeps His word."

 

Moses had been in disbelief based on whether or not God was going to keep His word. God had already told Moses that Pharaoh would not cooperate as Moses had expected, but Moses "suffered" from selective hearing. Moreover, God had told him it wasn't going to be easy. So Moses got too excited about the Promised Land, the destination but he wasn't prepared to deal with the journey towards it.

God's promises are based on the fact that God is obligated to Himself to honor what He has said. God said it. That settles it. God's promises are not contingent on you or me. 

God is not obligated to keep any abstractions, assumptions, or assertions that you and I have crafted and prefabricated for our lives that aren't contained in the Bible. Likewise, you don't base your life on an assumption or assertion that somebody has made that's not anchored in scripture. God is only obligated to keep His word and no one else's.

Your faith is only corrected when you trust God's steadfast promises. No matter what it looks like, God's promises are true. When you trust God's supernatural power that He can do what no power can do, when you trust His sovereign plan though it may not look the way you think it ought to look—God says, "I got a plan."

 

The conquest of our faith

 

One of the most dangerous places is when you have so much head knowledge. Have a heart of faith, trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not unto your own carnal calculations because you won't figure it out. We don't get to calculate how everything is supposed to work. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, not to your own understanding. Let the Lord your path, and when He directs your path, you can rest assured that faith will secure your salvation. And your salvation supersedes your situation.

It doesn't matter how bad your situation is. What always supersedes your situation is your salvation. Our relationship with God supersedes our life situation. When you have this faith where you walk by faith and not by sight, it avails you of so many incredible blessings.

 

We are included in God's plan. Salvation is like a diamond. When you hold it up to the light, you can look at it from different facets. You can see the prism of color that comes from it. Like a diamond, our faith has many facets, including God's plan.

He says this in Exodus 6:6,

"Say therefore to the people of Israel, 'I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from slavery to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great acts of judgment.'"

You can rest assured that we are included in God's plan. Part of God's plan is our freedom. Freedom of God may come in this world or out of this world. There are moments that God will free us from burdens while we live here. There are also moments when the freedom of burdens comes when God takes us from here. Sometimes, freedom comes when God takes us home.

Our salvation includes freedom. It has God's plan, and you have to trust it. Salvation also includes that you and I are identified as God's possession—a prized possession. We have been purchased with a price. 

 

Exodus 6:7 says we are identified as God's people, and verse 8 says that we inherit God's promises and are inspired by God's power. 

Remember, God is in control of your situation. God is faithful to what He has said, not what you or others have said. Finally, God will save. We may not know when or how, but one thing is sure, God will save us.

When our faith and obedience backfire, let's trust in God's sovereign plan, His steadfast promises, His supernatural power, and the reality that He will deliver us.

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