What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? Go ahead, take a moment to answer that question. Now that you have it, consider one more factor. What if God blessed your plans? It’s a no-brainer, right? If God came to you and asked you, specifically, to do something, like maybe through a burning bush, would you then be fully encouraged to run with it? Of course! If God is in it, failure is impossible, right?
This is how it starts. You know from our recent reading that Moses has been called to free the Israelites. God has very specific conversations with him about it. Reluctantly, Moses accepts and charges forward. But it doesn’t work. Moses fails. Not because Moses wasn’t obedient, he was. He went to Pharoah and did exactly as he was told. Pharoah didn’t listen. Instead, he retaliated. Now, the Israelites are forced to work twice as hard.
Moses had to be devastated. What more could he have done? The people hate him and have lost faith in him as their leader. They curse him, saying “the Lord look on you and judge because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.” (Exodus 6:20). Why in the world would God call a leader, then let him fail?
At this point in the story, I become frustrated. I am rooting for Moses, but he is losing. And it’s God’s fault. He didn’t even hide it. God told Moses, that “[He] will harden [Pharaoh’s] heart so that he will not let the people go.” Exodus 4:21. In other words, God set Moses up to fail. Wait. What?
I could pontificate about why God would do such a thing. I could stretch the words to weave a story about how God had to do X to get to Y, or that by taking the circuitous route, more people got to experience God and his power was better revealed. When I started down that path of thinking, I realized that I was asking the wrong question. I have been focused on how. What if I focused on who?
Something changes when I move to who this reveals God to be. Sovereign is the word that comes to mind. God is sovereign. He can do what he wants, for whatever reason he wants. Yea, but….
I want to resist his sovereignty. I want to argue with his methods, just like Moses. “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?” Exodus 5:22
God is patient with my questions, as he is with Moses. Despite his careful explanations of why (Ex 6:2-7), my pride and self-preservation prevent my agreement. God has to remind me I am the Lord! (Emphasis God’s). (Ex 6:8)
Now, at this moment, I see God as Lord. I stand down, surrendering my foolish pride to exalt the Lord God Almighty. Thy kingdom come.