“Go back to Pharaoh,” the Lord commanded Moses. “Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so they can worship me.”
Even though God had warned Moses that He would harden Pharaoh’s heart nothing could have prepared his heart for the repeated rejections. Moses was already insecure about facing down Pharaoh as a man who couldn’t utter a few words without stuttering. Now, as a man who had left Egypt in failure and defeat, this son of shame had to go back and face his worst fears. It wasn’t just a one and done deal either. In fact, most of the time in life, it never is a quick fix. Moses had to go back over and over again.
When God performed the miracle and the pagan priests performed a counterfeit miracle that looked the same Moses had to press past his embarrassment and come back again. When God performed miraculous feats that the pagan priests couldn’t compete with Pharaoh still refused and rejected God’s man. Moses had to choose not to take this rejection personally even though he was the one personally receiving the death threats. All throughout this process, God asked Moses to go back so Moses would be ready to go forward. If Pharaoh had simply let God’s people go on the first round it’s possible Moses would not have had the faith nor the stamina to face down the Red Sea in front and an army behind. This whole process of going back to face down his fears 10 times was better training for leading God’s people through the wilderness then Moses probably realized at the time. In fact, most of us don’t realize that what God is doing in us is directly connected to the resistance around us.
Without consistent resistance, we won’t have the strength to be persistent in what lies ahead. I was reminded of this painful truth this morning as the alarm went off at 4:20 in the morning. There’s that moment after turning the alarm off where both Cyndi and I have to decide if we are going to follow through with plans from the night before or lay like slugs for another hour in our bed. We rallied and urged each other on to make our way back to Egan’s Gym. We had been very consistent in 2018 until we hit weeks of travel and the holidays. Then, we supplemented our lack of attendance there with our home gym and figured that was fine. Neither of us, however, were achieving new levels of fitness on our own. We were maintaining but we weren’t improving. To go forward we had to go back. We knew the pain that awaited. The exercises that would push us to our limits in each station. The friendly ribbing we would get from our coaches and fellow gym rats for not being there for a while. Sure enough, all of that happened, but as we walked out of the gym at 5:30 this morning we walked forward as we moved one step closer to our fitness goals. I lost my core somewhere between Christmas and New Years but I found my core desire to move forward instead of staying stagnant.
Self-coaching is a great way to maintain, but if we want to kick it up a few notches we need someone to kick us in the butt. This is what God was doing with Moses to get him out of his sheep herding slump of shame and this is what God wants to do with us this year. Before we even get started on the road to The Promised Land we have to back and face our fears, worries, shame, failure, and insecurities. We have to surrender our “I Am Not” list to the Great “I Am”. This won’t happen overnight, but every night we battle means another morning in victory through Jesus. He’s more concerned about what’s happening inside of us then in what’s going on around us. Yet, He’s using what’s going on around us to effect change inside us. He may call us back to a broken relationship, a broken promise, a broken dream and everything in us will want to resist. Just remember, regardless of the other person’s response we must know that we must go back to go forward.
Lord, thank You for this fresh reminder this morning. Thank You for the understanding that resistance doesn’t mean I’ve missed this. In fact, it may very well indicate that you are training me for a new level, for a new promise, for a new battle, for a new victory. Forgive me for resisting Your coaching in favor of the “easy way”. I want to grow as never before in You which means I must go back to the places I’ve fallen before and learned what I failed to catch the first, fifth, or tenth time around. Thank You for Your patience with me.