6 “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.’”9 Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go, tell Pharaoh King of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”12 But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
I am teaching the book of Exodus in Sunday school, and I find myself gaining new insights as I study this great book of the Bible. Tonight, as I was re-reading a previous chapter of Exodus, I came across a passage that spoke strongly to me: “Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor” (Exodus 6:9).
So many people today are struggling with their labors. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, most people I know feel the daily pressures of their work. Some people handle that stress well but there are also many who do not. Even people that are retired can become easily discouraged trying to make ends meet or worrying about increasing health concerns. Students can face discouragement from many directions as they try to plan their future and learn to trust God and seek His guidance. All of us face those seasons of discouragement many times throughout our lives. The way to overcoming these moments of discouragement is found in taking our problems and worries directly to God and believing in God’s promise that we need not worry about things that are beyond our control.
Moses was attempting to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land, but he was in for a great challenge. The children of Israel had been in slavery in Egypt for 430 years and they were discouraged and had probably lost all hope for freedom. Being in bondage to the Egyptians was all that they knew and they seemed to prefer what was known (being in bondage) instead of trusting the God of their ancestors and being obedient to Him. They would not even listen to Moses “because of their discouragement and harsh labor.” Sometimes, we prefer the known suffering, instead of praying to God for a way out of our discouragement and burdens.
Satan constantly tries to plant seeds of doubts and discouragement in the minds of believers today. He wants to prevent us from trusting God and he ultimately wants to destroy our reliance upon God and our relationship with God. Satan wants us to believe that we are better off trusting in our own power instead of God’s unlimited power. The evil one wants us to look to the things of this world to fulfill our needs and desires so that we will be filled with a false hope. Satan’s ultimate goal is to cause us to become so preoccupied with worry, doubt, and discouragement that we either won’t think about God or we will come to believe that our problems are bigger than God.
Because of their discouragement and harsh labor, the Israelites didn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t listen to Moses – God’s appointed deliverer to his chosen people. Their discouragement kept them from trusting God for a way out of their burdensome troubles. Even after leaving Egypt and witnessing many miraculous signs, they still refused to trust God and longed to once again become slaves in Egypt.
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).”
- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”
- “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).”
God wants you to trust Him and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and then follow him. You can trust the Good Shepherd to strengthen your faith and to lead you into a good life that is free of unnecessary worries, burdens and discouragement. Seek God throughout the day and trust in His power to lift you up from your valley of heavy burdens, hard labor, and discouragement. Believe in the power of God which is so much greater than all of your heavy burdens that you constantly carry around.
In this life, we will have troubles and discouragement; that is something none of us can completely escape. Instead of allowing our troubles and discouragement to overwhelm us, we must seek God for help in dealing with our burdens. God can give you a peace of mind, as He guides you through your labors in this world, while giving you a hope and a promise of a future day when all of the discouragement and harsh labor of this world will cease to exist.
2 Corinthians 4:17: For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.