Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mercy for the Short in Spirit (church bulletin cover)

It seems that no matter what we’re going through, God expects His people to trust Him. But it also seems that even those who find it difficult to do so will still experience God’s mercy. In Exodus 6:5-6, it’s clear that God intended to deliver His people from bondage. He cared about their situation. But their battle for hope had just gotten worse after Moses’ first attempt to speak to Pharaoh. Even Moses’ confusion is evident: “Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and You have not rescued Your people at all!” (5:23). And as a result, the people’s initial belief in Moses’ promises (4:31) turned to unbelief. “They did not listen to Moses on account of their discouragement and cruel bondage” (6:9). The Hebrew word for “discouragement” there means “shortness of spirit” or impatience. Impatience? Shortness? These people had been groaning in bondage for over 400 years! And then when hope had seemed near, things had suddenly gotten worse! Yet God still called their response impatience. It’s as though He was saying, “If I am big enough in your view of the battle you’re in, then I will dwarf any length of time you compare me to or any increase in warfare you go through!” If God is big enough in my understanding, no amount of trouble should cause my spirit to be short of hope in God. And thankfully I can rely on His infinite mercy, for even as He describes the Israelites as impatient and unwilling to listen to Moses’ words of hope (6:6-8), He immediately follows through on fulfilling the promises they wouldn’t listen to (6:10ff)! Oh how I need that mercy in the battles for hope that I face, for my shortness of spirit occurs much sooner than after 400 years! The story of how God delivered His people from Egypt reminds us that we can trust God through even the most epic of battles! With His help, our spirits won’t be short in the battles we face!

© 2008 by Ken Peters

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