So God speaks to you, not once but often, promising something huge. He tells you to do something about it and you obey. And then all hell breaks loose.
First of all, the exact opposite to what God promises happens. You pray for healing believing God has spoken to you saying that that person, or yourself, will be healed and you feel more sick. You pray for money because God has promised you will be rich financially and your poverty gets worse. You ask for that deliverance from addiction that you know He has promised and you fall more heavily than ever.
If that is your experience you are in good company. Moses had exactly the same experience in spades. You can read all about it in the first 6 chapters of the book of Exodus in the bible.
There was no doubting God had spoken to him in that burning bush. He had seen the signs of the rod turning into a snake and his leprous arm miraculously clean. Aaron, his brother, was with him and he also knew that God had spoken to them both. Then they went and did what they were told. They went right up to the ruler enslaving their people and told him that the Lord had commanded him to let the people of Israel go.
So now Pharoah rolls over and out walk the people of Israel taking with them a bunch of Pharaoh’s people’s goods and money. You wish!!
No, the first thing that happens is the very opposite of what they asked for: the slavery gets worse. The people are discouraged and no one believes Moses and Aaron anymore.
22 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? 23 Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!” (Exodus 5:22-23).
God then repeats His promises and explains why He is going to deliver the people of Israel. Moses is still not convinced that it will happen if it has anything to do with him:
12 “But Lord!” Moses objected. “My own people won’t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? I’m such a clumsy speaker!”
In my own experience I have found that when something God has said to me is challenged I don’t doubt God, I usually doubt myself. The promise is clear enough and there is no doubting God’s ability to bring something about. So I reckon that the reason it is not happening must be to do with me. It seems the most logical explanation.
Moses did have something to do. He and Aaron were given orders from God for the people and for Pharaoh. The Lord commanded and they obeyed.
Now if you are reading the passage that I am referring to in Exodus 6 you will notice a strange thing happening at verses 14-30. The writer goes into this seemingly pointless listing of Moses & Aaron’s ancestors. I can just imagine this story being told around a camp fire by a Jewish village elder to children and others who may have been hearing it for the first time. The suspense is deliberate. Our heroes have been told by God to do something and all that has happened has been the opposite to what they have been promised. Instead of taking us out of our suspense we are left waiting. What will happen next? How will God deliver His people as He has promised? When will it happen, next week, next month, next year? In 400 years?!
In this case we know the story. The miracles of the rod and Moses’ leprous arm are almost petty in comparison to what God does next. It doesn’t take God long to fulfil His promise to deliver the people out of slavery and it sure is spectacular when He does.
There are, of course, other stories in the bible of people who got a promise from God and then experienced the exact opposite immediately or soon afterwards. Abraham is one example, David is another. In their cases the time spans between the promise being given and being fulfilled were quite different and called for even more patience.
However, in every case the promises God gave were fulfilled.
If you are in the middle of waiting for a promise from God to be fulfilled and it looks like the opposite – or nothing – is happening, take heart, you are in good company.
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.2 Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation.