In Exodus 16, the Israelites are in their second month of wandering through the wilderness. They have faced the harshest realities through this journey, to the point they even consider going back to oppression and slavery to be better than this. They surely couldn’t be difficult or flawed. But you know who was making life pretty difficult for them? Moses.
Even though God appointed Moses to lead them through the wilderness and confirmed this truth time after time, they were too disconnected from God to fully understand the situation. They’re grumblings weren’t being heard by Moses, they were being heard and felt by God. Moses stopped them to ask, “why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” (Exod. 17:1). They even frustrated themselves to the point of wishing they would simply die before following Moses any longer (Exod. 16:3).
What a way to feel about a leader appointed by God. That death would be better than following him. Again, sounds harsh, right? It is.
So how do we soften our hearts? Obedience and prayer.
Moses isn’t without difficulties himself, none of us are. He’s killed, run away, made excuses for what God called him to do, disobeyed God, and so much more. However, Moses continually turned to prayer and actively tried to obey what God commanded of him. He had his moments of doubt, but for the majority of his life, he completely trusted and obeyed God. Moses actively sought God, prayed that God would use him and guide him, and acted as a messenger of God in the first five books of the Bible.
So let us continually be seeking opportunities to obey God’s will so that we can be a light in this world. It’s a humbling experience, just like wandering in the wilderness for forty years, to be obedient even when it isn’t easy.
But it becomes slightly easier when we remember why we are being obedient. Why we continue to press on through the hard things- because God is good. Because God’s perfect will is better than anything we might have in mind for our lives. So we trust Him and we pray. We pray that God would show His will to us and give us the hearts to be used by Him. To soften our hearts so that we can shine His light to those around us.
These two things won’t make it so that we aren’t difficult in the eyes of others and our neighbors will never again be difficult to us. But it does mean that we can delight in His works being done in us and in the hearts of others.
This week I challenge you to find the difficult or challenging people in your life and pursue them. Pray for them, pray with them, get into God’s word with them. And don’t forget to pray over your heart too.
Memory Verse: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32
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