Problems *IN* the Will of God
Welcome to the 88th issue of Pulpit to Pew Crew Newsletter, I'm Brad McClure, and we are on a journey through the Bible in 2023.
If you could go back in time to watch one Bible story, which would it be?
I've thought about this many times. I've asked many of the classes I teach the same question. Popular answers are:
- David and Goliath
- The raising of Lazarus
- Peter walking on water
But one that has to make the list is in our reading this week—the crossing of the Red Sea.
Can you imagine the panic in the minds of the Israelites? I can't blame them. Yes, they saw God's power in the plagues, but now they see nothing but water and an angry army.
What they don't see is a future.
God led them to this point, but now what?
It's funny...they didn't respond in great faith. Instead, they criticized Moses and blamed him.
But Moses trusted God, God did a miracle, and guess what. At the end of chapter fourteen, after all the complaining and after seeing God's miracle and destruction of Pharaoh's army, here's what the Bible said,
And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.
After the miracle, they changed their tune. They feared the LORD and said, "Hey Moses, you're not a bad leader after all."
When we start chapter 15, they sing praises, but it doesn't last long. Soon after, they ran short of water, and their praises turned to complaints.
But God did a miracle–and they were happy again.
Until they ran out of food, and this time the complaining got worse. Claiming they were better off as slaves!
Then, God did a miracle–and they were happy.
Well, that is until they ran out of water again. Then they blamed Moses. Then they said they wished they had their old life back as slaves.
Until God did a miracle. Then they were happy.
Do you notice a cycle?
- God does a miracle and answers prayer–Happy.
- Life IN THE WILL OF GOD gets difficult–Complain and wish for an old or different life.
- God, in His mercy, works things out. (Usually through the faith of another, Moses)
- People are happy...UNTIL...well, you get the point.
Have you ever found yourself in this cycle?
Life after a miracle or answered prayer is so nice and peaceful. Free from tension and worry, we settle into a life of happiness.
Then comes the challenge. The trial. The pain.
Peace flees as tension and worries retake the throne, much like a childhood game of "king of the hill."
With no clear picture of the future, we do what the Israelites did. Complain. Attack. Lose hope.
Thankfully, some of us have people like Moses around us that can see by faith what we can't see.
Thankfully, we also have a loving and gracious Heavenly Father that yes, is grieved by our faithless complaints but is moved to guide us through the pain.
Prayers are answered, and peace rules our hearts again.
Yeah, the cycle happens to all of us at some point.
How do we break the cycle?
It starts with our mindset. This last week I was teaching teenagers, and I referred to an unhealthy mindset some Christians have as "entitled Christians."
My working definition of "entitled Christians" is Christians who, because of what they do (go to church weekly, read my Bible, pray, etc.), they believe God owes them a life of blessing. A life free of trials.
God owes me nothing. He is faithful to His promises, but the Bible hasn't promised a life free from heartache and pain.
He has promised that in the heartache and pain, He'll never leave us or forsake us.
Israel learned this lesson and saw the power of God on the top of Mt. Sinai just before receiving the Ten Commandments.
But we'll discuss that on the podcast Thursday.
Have a great week!