God is the only being in existence who is completely trustworthy. But even those of us who follow Him don’t always feel like we can trust Him. We have our questions, our doubts, and our stumbling attempts to fully trust Him. Sometimes, He seems absent, like He doesn’t care, and we question where He is in our times of trial.
Since we live in this world, we are constantly surrounded by actions, activities, and situations that would hinder us from trusting the Lord. But we must continually place our trust in Him. We must learn how to give our cares and concerns to Him, to put our faith into practice, because He has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us. Because we have that promise, when feelings are absent, we can continue in faith.
Is the god you worship worthy of your trust? Can you carry him around and set him where you want him on a shelf? Can he do anything for you, or must you do everything for him? Can he calm your fears and give you peace deep in your heart, down in the depths of your being? If not, then WHY NOT TRUST HIM? That is, why not trust the true God?
As God prepared Moses to deliver the people of Israel out of Egypt, He presented Himself as the One who can be trusted. The answer to Why Not Trust Him is found in Exodus 3:16-22.
16. Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt:
17. And I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.
18. And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
19. And I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not by a mighty hand.
20. And I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
21. And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty:
22. But every woman shall borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put [them] upon your sons , and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians.
This text provides us with the FOUNDATIONS upon which we should firmly set our trust.
The first foundation for trust is
I. The Foundation of Revelation.
You notice how the LORD came to Moses; He made an announcement to him. He said, “Go, gather the elders of Israel together and say unto them, (now listen carefully to the revelation here contained) the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me…” There is an announcement which is a part of the revelation, and then He said, “I have surely visited you and I have seen that which is done to you in Egypt.”
You can hardly turn to a page in the Holy Scriptures without finding that God is relating Himself personally to somebody. Here He is relating Himself to Moses, and He is instructing him to go to the elders of Israel and how He, God Himself, is understanding their very deep needs.
But the foundation of the revelation is not only the announcement but also the promise because God said that He was going to bring the people out of their affliction of Egypt. If we were to go back in history to the time of Abraham and open the Bible to Genesis 15, we would find that God had predicted to Abraham that the people of Israel, Abraham’s descendants, would be going down into a land that was not theirs and they would be down there for 400 years. God remembered this promise, and He said, “I am going to bring you out now, and I’m going to bring you into the land that I’ve promised, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
There is quite a contrast between the land of Egypt and the Holy Land. The land of Egypt was very fertile along the Nile Valley. It is surprising how much food they can produce in that narrow strip. But much of the remainder of the country is barren. So God said, “I am going to take you out of this land, and I’m going to take you into a land that flows with milk and honey.” God laid this foundation for trust when He revealed Himself to Moses in this promise. God never asks anybody to trust Him without proof. Here is the proof in His revelation. He revealed that He understands what is going on. We can trust Him explicitly because of His revelation.
The next foundation for trust I have called
II. The Foundation of Evaluation.
God told Moses how to approach the situation. He said, “Go, bring the elders of Israel and go unto the king of Egypt.” I’m impressed with the way God orders things. He doesn’t let them happen; He causes them to happen. He arranges the affairs so that everything comes out the way He plans it. So, He told Moses exactly how to do this. First, the elders would listen to him, then they would go with him to the king, and they would deliver a message to the king of Egypt. I find it is very important to do things right. Some people pay little attention to details. They don’t mind if something isn’t quite right, but God is very concerned that everything be exactly right. So here you have the approach that God gave Moses to carry out.
God also gave Moses the appeal to the king of Egypt. They were to say, “The God of the Hebrews hath met with us and now let us go, we beseech thee three days’ journey into the wilderness that we may sacrifice unto the LORD our God.” Or, to put it in our words, God has met with us, and now we want to go to meet with Him. He even specified it right down to a three-day journey. The reason was to sacrifice unto the LORD their God.
I am impressed with the way God works out His plan with precision. Some modern theologians talk about faith being a leap without knowing where you are going or whether you will ever land, but God never asks a man to trust without a plan. Here was the plan for Moses. God understood it, described it carefully, and told him exactly how and what to do. God’s instructions laid a valuable foundation for trust.
Do you know what God’s plan is for you? Have you evaluated God’s promises? What I mean by that is, have you tested them? Have you put them to work in your own life’s experience? I have tested God’s promises. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have found that God’s promises are trustworthy. You can rest your faith on God’s plan.
The final foundation for trust is
III. The Foundation of Authorization.
Further into the chapter, you find that the LORD said to Moses that He was going to chasten the king of Egypt because he would not let them go. God said, “I know he will not let you go, but I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst of them. After that, he will let you go.” Sadly, some people resist God until He brings discipline. He has to chasten them. He has to bring them great distress before they even think about God. But then the LORD said. “After I have performed my wonders in Egypt, then he will let you go.”
I urge you, don’t be like that; don’t be like Pharaoh! Don’t resist God and His power. Proverbs 29:1 says, “He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” Pharaoh had to learn the hard way that you don’t ignore God when He tells you what to do.
But the foundation of authorization carries another part, too. It is the collection of back pay. The people of Israel had worked many years as slaves. They worked hard. They had cruel taskmasters over them. Now the LORD said to Moses, “I authorize that they collect back pay. I’m going to give them favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. The women are going to ask their neighbors and those that dwell in their houses for jewels of gold and silver and clothes.” These were goods that most people strive for.
Later in Exodus, when we study the tabernacle, we will see that gold, silver, and precious stones were very important for the building of the tabernacle. God must have had in mind when He promised Moses that the people of Egypt would load them down with these kinds of treasures. So, God not only would display His power over Pharaoh and all the false gods of Egypt, but He would use the gifts of Pharaoh’s own people to be the materials to build His dwelling place among His people. Amazing!
God never asks anyone to trust Him without foundations. He provides the foundation of revelation, evaluation, and authorization. God understands and provides. Why not trust Him—the God of Moses?
Thanks, J. Mark, for teaching us more from Exodus, and thank you for being there. If you would like this teaching or if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us; I’ll give you our information shortly.
I love how Exodus teaches us that God is in control and He’s at work, He always has been, and He always will be. We can trust Him right now, no matter what we are experiencing. We won’t always understand Him, but we can trust Him. His timing might be different than ours; think about Moses. And He may not do what we think He should be doing; remember what happened to Joseph. However, we have the benefit of looking back at many years of history, and we can see God is Sovereign: His purposes will be accomplished. This is His story, and He is the author.
If you are interested, we have a study guide for Exodus available. It is a small booklet designed to help you learn more from each of these lessons. We call it the Hope Herald, and if you would like one, all you have to do is ask.
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Thanks again for joining us for today’s program. I encourage you to join us again next week as we continue our study in Exodus. We look forward to being with you then and will leave you with a verse from I Corinthians 10, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, Do it all for the glory of God!” Blessings to you as you glorify Him.
This episode is an exposition of Exodus 3:16-22 by J. Otis Yoder, re-recorded by J. Mark Horst, with an opening and closing by Arlin Horst.