"Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage." (Exodus 6:9)
The Israelite's situation does not improve, as expected, and deliverance doesn't occur as they had penned in their mental day planner. The Israelites don't handle the "set back" well. False expectations and discouragement go hand in hand. The wisdom writer describes the heart sickness that occurs when expectations are dashed: "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12).
Holding onto discouragement impairs one's ability to hear from God. Moses reiterates the promises that He made to Abraham regarding this very day and season in their developmental journey. He speaks on God's behalf promising them sure deliverance. But their false expectations have sickened their hearts so that they cannot even hear the truth.
Like many believers today, they took the promises of God and developed a script on how God would carry it out. Immediately. And according to their plan. God does not follow man's script, but His own.
Disappointment drowns hope. We, just like the Israelites, become upset with God and with His servant-spokesman and are then deaf to the Word of God.
Discouragement occurs when hopes are dashed and things don't go according to plan. So, how does anyone avoid heart sickness and remain whole when plans go awry?
(1) Don't try to interpret the promises of God by mentally scripting how you think God is going to work. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts (Is. 55:9-10). And He seldom does according to our plan or interpretation. So, expect delays and detours.
(2) Discouragement comes when we set our hearts on "the plan" rather than "the Planner." Plans must remain loosely in our hands and hearts while our hearts cling to the Lord Himself.
"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding [mental scripting]; in all your ways [unknown or unclear] acknowledge Him and He will direct your path" (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
- How has Pharaoh already demonstrated hardness of heart?
- How does God describe the task Moses will face in Egypt?
- What is the purpose of circumcision? (See Genesis 17:9-14)
- How do the elders respond to the miracle and the news that Moses gives regarding their delivery from slavery?
- What is Pharaoh's attitude toward God from the very beginning?
- What are the Israelite's expecting and what actually happens to them?
- What causes despair? (see Psalm 27:13)
- What does Moses' prayer reveal about his expectations and disappointment with God?
- How does discouragement and cruel bondage affect the Israelites?
- How does God differentiate between Moses and Aaron and the Egyptian sorcerers?
Confess your discouragement to the Lord and then affirm your trust in Him as "the Planner."