You ever hear about those scams people end up falling for? Men and women send money to people halfway across the world, believing the scammer’s promise of millions of dollars in the future. Hopeless romantics form relationships online, despite the object of their affections dubiously claiming to be Tyler Perry or even just super rich and super hot. These stories are fascinating and shocking because the scam seems obvious. We all know the adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. We can’t believe everything we hear. We need to use our heads.
This kind of skepticism is not all that revolutionary or even modern. It was around thousands of years ago, most notably among the enslaved Israelites in Egypt. After a somewhat disappointing first round of Moses vs. Pharaoh, the Israelites and Moses were jaded. They complained to God, and His response is enthusiastic, emotional, and filled to the brim with encouragement. God was serious about this. He was not going to let His children down.
But it seemed too good to be true. The Israelites didn’t listen (verse 9). They waved Moses away like the quack they were beginning to think he was. And even though Moses had heard God’s promises straight from His lips, even he couldn’t believe that Pharaoh would listen to him if his own people wouldn’t (verses 12, 30). Hope was quickly draining away. Was it time to look for another escape plan?
The Treasures Within:
Faith > Logic?
I think sometimes we are caught off guard by how much faith requires from us. Yeah, having faith is difficult, but it’s not supposed to be our very worst option. It’s not supposed to be insane. God wouldn’t ask me to abandon all logic, reason, and sense, would He? Didn’t He create logic? He’s not supposed to ask me to do something crazy.
Yet that’s exactly how things looked from where the Israelites stood. It would be crazy to trust that God would free them. After all, they’d given Him a chance to keep His promise, and He had only made things worse – Pharaoh was now working them even harder. Now it just seemed as if God was saying the same things over and over, with no action to back them up. The Israelites were not about to be scammed. They weren’t fools. These promises were too lofty. There was no evidence to back up these claims. What would be worse? The sting of giving up on freedom now? Or the destroying sorrow of getting their hopes up for nothing?
Three Reasons Why
God was not unaware of how the situation looked. He knew exactly what the Israelites were thinking and why. Yet He didn’t do much to convince the Israelites further. He didn’t even explain the latest disaster in the quest for freedom. Why not? Why didn’t He do a little more? Give them a sign, make Pharaoh backpedal a little, something?
Maybe God had already given them enough. What seemed like nothing but words was actually something. As little trust as people have in promises sometimes, they are better than nothing. And God’s promises were particularly beautiful. You know how people say you should set specific and measurable goals? Well, God fulfilled that requirement. He gives the Israelites five clear and spirit-lifting promises of what He would do for them: “I will bring you out…I will free you…I will redeem you…I will take you as My own people…I will be your God” (verses 6-7). Not only did God make promises, but He presented Himself as evidence that He could keep His promises. He bade the Israelites look beyond the most recent past to what He had done for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. “I am the Lord”, He reiterated (verse 2). His record spoke for itself.
“That’s not enough!” was the interjection of every Israelite heart. “So let Me prove it” was God’s answer. God promised to free them so that the Israelites would know He was God (verse 7). It was like God saying “watch Me”. He had determined to prove Himself to them. He had shown up to prove Himself to them. Whether they’d stick around for the results was up to the Israelites.
God’s Message To Us:
“You can trust Me despite your reasonable doubts.” Agnosticism and atheism is on the rise these days. There are some blindingly intelligent, logical, and reasonable people who don’t believe in God, His words, or His promises. That’s because you can always find a reason to doubt. There’s always a reason to look at our options, to find another escape plan, to put our faith in things other than God. But God bids us trust Him anyway, no matter how illogical it seems. Why? Because He promised. Because we have stories in the Bible that show that He keeps His promises. Because His entire goal is to reveal to us that He is God. It may not look like enough. They might still call us crazy. But what’s worse? To fail to believe and spend eternity regretting it? Or to believe and discover for certain that God is the Lord, who has brought us out from under the yoke of this world?
There Are Always Questions:
- In verse 3, while mentioning what He had done for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, God admits that He “did not make myself fully known to them”. What does that mean? Is God saying that He held back in the past? Why would He do that?
What do you think? Has faith in God seemed illogical to you? What did God teach you as you read from this chapter of His Word?