The God Who Is—And Will

ThanksLiving: 365 Days of Gratitude

Sometimes the journey takes us to “the wall.” The proverbial wall is a place our faith rarely anticipates. Yet the Biblical record reminds us that what we can’t see past the wall is that the God who is—and will—is already there, already at work, already securing victory in the assignment he has called us to. Walls are no big deal to the God who is—and will!

Going Deep // Focus: Exodus 6:6-8

Therefore, say to the Israelites: “I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.”

After 40 years of desert training, God finally gets Moses back on track with a divine assignment—and what an assignment it is! He is to go, as God’s voice, and demand that Pharaoh, the world’s most powerful leader, let the tribes of Israel leave Egypt. And not just for a field trip, mind you—to permanently leave in order to establish their own nation elsewhere. That would mean over two million unpaid laborers leaving Egypt’s workforce. From a human perspective, this is a non-starter; God is sending Moses into a mission that will be dead on arrival.

Further complicating the matter, Moses was painfully insecure about himself—from his past failures, his personal limitations, and from his brutal sense of reality—he knew the ways of Egypt, having been a one-time prince there, and he knew that this was definitely a very bad plan. Not only that, Moses’ previous attempt to submit a leave request for Israel had resulted in Pharaoh increasing their workload while decreasing the raw material need for their project. This was a case where God’s will had made things worse before it would get better. The Israelites were in the “things are worse” phase and couldn’t see the “things will get better” phase, and they were none too happy with Moses and not too thrilled with God. At this point, they were not listening to either.

So at this point in the Exodus story, Moses has hit the wall. Doing the will of God did not bring immediate success. On the contrary, it brought more difficulty—more failure and more insecurity, a real reality-check for the reluctant deliverer. When you listen to his arguments with God over the past three chapters, you get the sense that Moses felt abandoned by God, hung out to dry and given an impossible task. Now he was the cause of even greater hardship for his people, which left him with a deep sense that he had missed the will of God by miles.

Side Bar: Obviously, you have felt that way in your walk with God, too. I’ve certainly been there. That is just part and parcel of what it means to walk in faith and obedience with God. How often does the journey take us through a place that is darker than what our definition of faith allows before we come into the sunshine of divine favor. And it is in those dark places that we doubt ourselves, our calling and our God.

But in response to Moses’ pleadings, we see two eternal truths about God that should help us in those times when doing the will of God seems to bring us up against the wall:

First, we see that five times, God says, “I am…” That is who God is: the Great I Am. He is the Eternal One, the self-existent Sovereign of the Universe. And he makes no mistakes—ever! When he calls you, he will care for you in the journey. Where he guides you, he will provide for you. Don’t focus on the I can’t—lean into the Great I Am. He knows what he is doing, even if you don’t.

Second, we see that times God says “I will…” God is not the God of the past, he is the Ruler of the present. He is not a laid-back noun; God is in action. He is always at work—even right at this very moment. You can’t see it, but you can trust it: God is working to perfect his will through what he has tasked you to do. In the Christian walk, in reality, there is no such thing as “a wall”; there is only an “I Will!”

The Lord is with you and ahead of you. When God calls you to a step of faith, in reality, he has already gone before you and is waiting where the step of faith will take you. Yes, he goes before you (“the Lord is going before you, and the God of Israel is your rear guard.” Isaiah 52:12), he prepares the way for you (“I am going to send an angel before you to protect you on the way and bring you to the place I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20), he gives you safety and protection on the journey (“For the Lord your God walks throughout your camp to protect you and deliver your enemies to you.” Deuteronomy 23:14), he guarantees your success (“if you are careful to obey each of his laws, then you will be successful in everything you do.” Joshua 1:7) and he ensures the journey of faith will leave you with an outstanding testimony (“If you do, he will make you greater than any other nation, allowing you to receive praise, honor, and renown.” Deuteronomy 26:19). So wherever God calls, step out, even if it means stepping through the wall.

Your God is the God who is—and will!

Going Deeper With God: Read James 1:2-8 and you will see how your difficulties and God’s will go together. You will discover how God employs temporal hardship to build eternal character in your life. Now, if your faith has led you into a difficult spot, quit focusing on “the wall” and start looking for the “I Will” from the God who is “I Am”.

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