“…but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.” Exodus 6:9
Moses confronts Pharaoh for the first time—“let my people go!”
“No, Moses! In fact, I will not only not let them go, but I will increase their misery.”
So, Moses complains to God, “God, this is impossible. All I have now is trouble on both sides. Trouble from Israel and trouble from Pharaoh.”
Moses is confused. No one is listening to him as he obeys God’s commands. Nothing seems right. So, God responds in Exodus 6:1, … “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh.” When all seems lost, God is still in control. God is constantly showing Moses that it is God Who will win this impossible battle. This must be our answer to every human problem. Every trial. Every moment of uncertainty or fear. God is working.
God goes even further and reminds Moses in Exodus 6:2-8 of His past promises. God reminds Moses of His faithfulness and the great promises He still has in reserved for Israel. I will bring you out. I will rescue you. I will redeem you. I will take you as my people. I will be your God. I will bring you into the land. I will give it to you as a heritage.
Bottom line: God delivered in the past and He will deliver again!
So, the problem for Moses, Israel and for us, is not God’s performance or reliability. The problem is our thinking. Israel simply did not believe. Why?
Verse 9 reveals their problem and our problem, “…but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.” For Israel, the world and its problems were much bigger than God. Years of slavery and trials caused them to change their identity. They viewed themselves not as God’s chosen people or people of God’s great promises, but they viewed themselves through the lens of their circumstances. Egypt and Pharaoh overwhelmed them.
That’s what happens to us. Our problems and circumstances overwhelm us and we forget who we really are—we are children of God. We are children of promise. Verse 9 tells us that the Israelites would not listen to and trust Moses because of their “anguish of spirit.” The word anguish means shortness or impatience. They stopped short of trusting the Spirit of God and placed their trust in the ways of the Egyptians. Ezekiel 20:7-8 confirms that the Israelites took their eyes off God and placed them onto the idols and gods of Egypt in purposeful rebellion.
When the world and its problems become bigger than God to us, we fall into the “anguish of spirit.” We can start to look for answers elsewhere because we think God has failed us. But He hasn’t. He is simply awaiting our cry to Him. He is awaiting our prayer and our plea. God will not fail us if we truly call and surrender to Him. God did not fail Israel. Israel failed to walk in truth despite their circumstances.
God will carry out His plan. God will bring pressure on our lives like He did with Israel to cause them to turn. Why? Because God has a reputation to protect. He has a name that is above all names. He has a mission for you and I that will not fail if we will simply allow Him. Look back again at Ezekiel 20 verse 9.
“But I acted for My name’s sake, that it should not be profaned before the Gentiles among whom they were, in whose sight I had made Myself known to them, to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
God’s going to act on our behalf in order to protect His name. The only reason He did not leave Israel in their sin and misery is because He will protect His good name. The only reason He won’t let the Christian stay comfortably in his or her sin is because He will protect His good name. So, do we trust Him or do we trust the world? The world will not act on our behalf. God will act on our behalf if for no other reason than to protect His own reputation. Who’s bigger to you? Who will act for you?