It seems the summer travel is a season for obstacles. Over the last month everywhere I go there is a traffic jam. The reasons have ranged from road construction, to accidents and just driving at the wrong time of the day, rush hour. The truth is “obstacles” are part of life. We fail to see that our biggest obstacle is ourselves!
I was struck by my Bible reading this morning. It was a face-to-face chat between Moses and God. “On the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, the Lord said to Moses, “I am the Lord; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I say to you.”” (Exodus 6:28–29) The conversation takes place after Moses’ and Aaron’s first attempt before Pharaoh. If you remember the account; Moses’ request on behalf of the Lord was rejected by Pharaoh. Like us, the Israelites were excited about God’s promise, a promise of deliverance, but misjudged how the Lord often works. Pharaoh’s response was to “bring the hammer” by refusing to provide the straw for the bricks and requiring the same production quotas. The Israelites blamed Moses for making things worse. This was the reason for the Lord’s little chat with Moses.
We often quote the saying, “No Pain, No Gain!” There is a spiritual element of truth to this. The lack of difficulties in our lives robs us of genuine growth experiencing God’s work. It is also easy for us to blame ourselves when things are not a walk in the park. What we fail to miss is that God is working through the difficulties.
I was hit with Moses’ response to the Lord. “But Moses said to the Lord, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips. How will Pharaoh listen to me?”” (Exodus 6:30) Another translation for “uncircumcised lips” is not being eloquent in speech. It might sound a little crazy to us observing from a third-party position. But we do the same thing all the time. Moses was thinking the lack of results was because of him. Now, we know that there are times that we are the barrier, but many times the lack of results may be because God is working. I would imagine that Moses was feeling the heat of criticism from the people whose lives just got that much harder. The anticipation is that the Lord would lighten their burden, not increase it. God will deliver them but not before revealing His glory before the Israelites, the Egyptians and us!
Moses would go on to become the humblest man to ever live. He would have a unique face to face relationship with the Creator. But he had to deal with the biggest obstacle in his life, himself. The obstacle of not trusting God. A trust that is only developed by facing the apparent road blocks in our lives. Yes, Pharaoh was a huge road block, but God was greater! The biggest obstacle was Moses’ lack of trust in the Lord.
Just as obstacles are part of summer travel in the Pacific Northwest, so are they in my walk with the Lord. I wonder how often we miss what God is doing by making excuses for trusting Him. I just returned from a leadership training event that reminded me of my need to trust God in a greater way. I would encourage you to join me by embracing what our Lord is doing in us and through us by overcoming our greatest obstacle.
-Pastor Joe Parkinson