For the week of January 11, 2003 / 8 Shevat 5763
Torah: Shemot / Exodus 10:1 - 13:16
Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13-28
Sometimes It's a Process
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD" (Shemot / Exodus 10:1,2).
Israel had been serving the Egyptians as slaves for many, many years. They suffered terribly under cruel taskmasters. For at least a period of time (the time in which Moses was born), Pharaoh, king of Egypt, sought to decimate them through the murder of all male babies.
The people cried out to God. God heard them. He decided that the time to deliver them had come. And so he sent Moses to them, who, in spite of opposition from Pharaoh and lack of support of the elders of Israel, persevered in his calling. But it wasn't Moses' persistence that wrestled the people from Egypt's grasp, it was the hand of God. God pummeled Egypt with destructive plagues until Pharaoh begrudgingly let Israel go.
Every time I think on these things, I find myself wondering why if God wanted to free his people, didn't he just miraculously transport them from Egypt to the Promised Land. After all isn't he the all-powerful God of the universe? If he could send those plagues (and stop them at will), not to mention the other miracles Israel would experience later on, couldn't he have utilized a quicker method?
I don't know how you deal with difficult situations, but one of the things I do is wish they didn't exist. Some problems to me are like nightmares that I wish I could wake up from. But I know that life doesn't work that way.
The reality is that most problems don't disappear through wishes or the snap of a finger. The resolution of most problems occur over time through a process, even when God is as involved as he was in the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.
Understanding this will help us have the kind of faith we need to deal with the difficulties of life. If we think that God will always provide instant solutions to all our problems, then when things don't happen as quickly as we expect, we might think that either God doesn't care or is unable to help us.
This is not to say that God won't or can't fix our problems in an instant. Sometimes he does. But when he doesn't, we need to keep looking to him to guide us through the process as he works things out step by step.
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