God sent Moses on a journey to set the Israelites free from their bondage in Egypt. From the very beginning he was faced with opposition; difficulties and impossibilities overwhelmed him, but it didn’t mean he wasn’t doing God’s will.
Moses was able to convince the Israelite leaders, but when he went to Pharaoh and asked him to let the Israelites go into the wilderness to worship their God this was his response…
“And who is the Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I don’t know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go.” Exodus 5:2
Not only would he not let them go, he made their work even harder.
“Then Moses went back to the Lord and protested, “Why have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me? Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” Exodus 22-23
How often do I determine what God’s will is based on how things appear to me?
“God, if I’m doing Your will why is it so hard?”
God reminded Moses who He was, Yahweh-‘the Lord,’ El-shaddai-‘God Almighty.’ And He reminded Moses of the covenant He made, to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites.
“So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.” “But Lord!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!” Exodus 6:9-12
I often see opposition as bad.
It gives me reason to fear. It gives me excuses to stop.
It discourages me from doing what I’m called to do.
But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them orders for the Israelites and for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.” Exodus 6:13
But the call of God for Moses was clear.
Could there be purpose in opposition?
Could it be that what the enemy means for harm, to bring fear that causes the plan of God to be thwarted, is actually intended for good?
Moses and Aaron pushed through the rejection of their own people, and through the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart and continued to listen to the voice of God.
God sent them to Pharaoh, over and over, only to be rejected.
With each plague, as yet another of the Egyptian gods was over powered by the One true God, Pharaoh’s heart became hardened even more.
But with each plague, with each miraculous evidence of God, with the protection over the Israelites from the fifth plague on…what was happening to Moses’ heart?
How was this opposition; the rejection, and the hardening of the enemy’s heart affecting Moses?
I believe it was strengthening Moses’ heart.
I believe it was showing Moses just how powerful God is over the enemy. It was showing him how loving God is towards His people.
I believe it was training Moses how to listen to God’s voice and teaching him to obey no matter what the circumstances looked like from his perspective.
God continued to instruct Moses and filled his mouth with words to speak.
Moses obeyed and never gave up.
I had reasons I couldn’t minister to teens…
I had excuses as to why I wanted to quit…
But I have learned that each of those reasons, each of my excuses, strengthened me and showed me God’s power. I learned to take these difficulties to God. I complained to Him when I couldn’t sing. I told Him I couldn’t relate to teens, that I would rather go to Africa! And I certainly begged Him to keep me from speaking in front of people! But, when I complained to Him about these things He didn’t remove them, instead He began to give me a different perspective, He changed my prayers.
God showed me that behind my inability to sing, my frustration of not knowing how to relate to teens, and my incredibly shaky voice, was fear. I’ve written much about the fears I have had and how God has set me free. Youth ministry was one of those places I saw how fear hindered me. Like Moses, I needed to “Do it afraid.”
Facing our fears takes away the insecurities of self and replaces them with confidence in God.
I did it afraid, and I kept showing up.
I didn’t allow fear to keep me from singing. I asked God to give me a better singing voice and over time, as my fear eased, my singing sounds better. I’m still somewhat off key, but there is a confidence within me that has freed me and I enjoy singing.
Just showing up has given me the opportunity to realize what teens need most is…
Someone who shows up!
I’ve learned I don’t need to have all the answers. I don’t need to have been where they are. I don’t need to have experienced what they experienced. I just need to care, to listen, and point them to Jesus.
And, the shaking voice thing…
Well, that was certainly embarrassing, but I suppose it was the most important thing that caused me to realize the power of opposition…
I had a choice of how I would handle the opposition I faced.
I am so glad God gave me the strength to push through and find the good He intended!
If I didn’t have the experience of knowing what it was like to, “Do it afraid,” to be so insecure and full of fear, to know how my fear kept me thinking about myself instead of what God put on my heart to say, and realized that I was more concerned with what others thought of me than what God wanted to say to them through me, I wouldn’t have seen the kindness and love of God as He changed me from the inside out. I wouldn’t have cried out to Him for understanding. I wouldn’t have asked Him for forgiveness of the lies I believed that led to my fear and pride.
Opposition has great power…
It can discourage to the point of quitting the call of God…
It can empower to fulfill the call of God.
God had a call on our lives, a call to set God’s people free through ministry to youth. It began as words spoken into the atmosphere as an answer to a question, it broke our hearts for the issues facing teens today, it grew stronger through the opposition of fear and insecurity, and it has become an incredible blessing as we see how God has worked through us for His glory and for His praise!