At the close of Genesis, the Hebrews were in Egypt. A famine in Canaan had forced them to make this journey, and Joseph’s assistance had made it possible. For a full generation, nothing changed. Joseph and all his brothers passed away, but the Hebrews continued to increase in Egypt, which threatened the new Pharaoh, who had never known Joseph or his brothers. For the Hebrews, this resulted in their mistreatment, murder, forced labour, and misery; they had become victims of bondage rather than visitors in Egypt as they once had been.
“Never, ever think that God is through doing great things through you.” —Charles R. Swindoll
Our Lord is full of surprises! His leading includes twists, turns, ups, downs, potholes, and drop-offs, which shake us up. The fact we can rarely guess the ultimate destination only adds to the adventure. God’s plans for us are often over and above what we can imagine or desire, and our response is often reluctance. Yet God continues to stretch us beyond what we consider our limit.
In this message, we’ll meet an obscure, 80-year-old shepherd whose failure broke his spirit and left him feeling “over the hill” and washed up. Little did he know—he was on the verge of something great.
When God wants us in His service sometimes that means rearranging our priorities and putting our pursuits on hold.
With every surprise and opportunity God also brings answers for our fears, objections, and defences. Here are four promises God’s answers offer us.
Dealing with change in life can be hard but Scripture does provide us with some direction. One of the best examples of change was the Israelites leaving Egypt after 430 years and heading to the Promised Land. One would think they would welcome the change from slavery to freedom, and at first they did. But human nature being what it is they weren't long in the desert before they wanted to go back to the familiar settings and food of Egypt—even if it meant bondage.
For well over four hundred years, the Israelites lived as slaves in Egypt under conditions that grew more and more unbearable. In His grace, God heard their cries and ultimately called Moses to lead them out of Egypt in the most miraculous manner—through the parted Red Sea. Under Moses’s leadership, they left the painful but familiar setting of Egypt. With the yoke of slavery broken from their necks, God’s people followed Him into an uncharted, unpredictable, unexpected wilderness. Their destination? Canaan.
It takes courage to stand against the crowd and speak the truth. Sometimes it isn’t easy, and it can be isolating and lonely. But that’s how God shapes our character—when we depend solely on Him for our strength.
The manna was more than it appeared to be—basically, it was a test. It was God's examination, carefully planned, wisely implemented, administered on a daily basis.
God cares about good leadership—the kind mentioned in Scripture, modelled by men and women who served their generations with integrity and refused to lag behind because of pressure, demands, or ingratitude. Strong and determined yet gracious and godly are the qualities we witness in those we will study in this lesson.