"That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and overseers in charge of the people: 'You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don't reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, 'Let us go and sacrifice to our God.' Make the work harder for the people, so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies." Exodus 5:6-9
"Moses returned to the Lord and said, 'Why, Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.'" Exodus 5:22-23
Have you ever been overwhelmed by discouragement? Discouragement means "to be deprived of courage, hope, or confidence." In this life you will face discouragement. You will face it at home, in the workplace, in school, in the community, and even in the church. If we are not careful, we may actually believe in the false doctrine that if you are right where God wants you to be in His will, then you will not face discouragement. However, we find in this passage of Scripture that Moses was obedient to God. He went where God wanted him to go. He said what God wanted him to say. By definition, Moses was right where God wanted him...right in the center of His perfect will, and discouragement fell upon him.
We have to remember that Moses was not perfect. He was a man. He was a sinner. God called him to be the deliverer of the Israelites during this time of great oppression. Moses lost focus, more than once, and he felt unworthy to do the work. He was worried about many things that would be out of his control. However, once Moses put his focus back on God, he realized that God is Almighty! He realized that God would equip him and empower him to go and do all that God wanted. Moses followed God obediently...he traded his unworthiness and his doubts and his fears and his questions (for the moment) for the courage, the confidence, and the hope of God. God promised Moses that He would walk with him. God promised Moses that He would perform many incredible miracles through him. God promised Moses that the Israelites would be rescued and taken to the land that He promised Abraham. But God also promised Moses that Pharaoh's heart would be hardened. And in the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, the Egyptians made life even more miserable for the Israelites. Even after hearing that God had heard their cries and even after worshiping God, the Israelites began drowning in discouragement. They even went to Pharaoh in their discouragement rather than turning to the one, true, living God! Then the Israelites turned on their godly leaders. Exodus 5:20-21 says, "When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, and they said, 'May the Lord look on you and judge you! You have made us obnoxious to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us." Moses was now overwhelmed with discouragement. He went to God, yet again, with questions and with doubts. And yes, it was good that he went to God rather than going somewhere else. Why? Because God would give Moses exactly what he needed in his time of overwhelming discouragement. God gave Moses great promises! In Exodus 6:1-8, God reminded Moses of who He was. Four different times God says to Moses, "I am the Lord." Moses needed to hear that, and more importantly, Moses needed to know that. Seven different times God says to Moses, "I will!" God promised Moses that He would deliver the Israelites and that they would be His people and that He would be their God. Moses needed to hear that. Moses needed to know that! Moses learned a valuable lesson during this early trial with Pharaoh. He learned that God's promises were greater than his discouragement.
I don't know where you are in your life journey at this point. You may be right where God wants you to be. You may be where you want to be. You may be at a place of peace. You may be at a place of chaos. If you are feeling discouraged, you need to turn to God with your questions, with your doubts. Only God can give you the courage, the confidence, and the hope that you need. Only God can give you promises that will truly be fulfilled. As you walk daily with God, you will find that God's promises are greater than your discouragement! God created you! God wants you! God loves you! God has redeemed you! He gave His perfect Son, Jesus, for you...to live for you, to die for you, to be raised from the grave for you. Don't let your discouragement get the best of you! Don't let your discouragement cause you to lose focus of God and of who you are in Christ! Believe God's Word! Claim God's Word! Live God's Word out loud! Amen.