Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bitter and Sweet (05/28/09)
TITLE: Break Their Backs!
By PamFord Davis
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“and they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and at all kinds of labor in the field, all their labors which they rigorously imposed on them (Exodus 1:14 NAS).”
A bitter life is empty of hope and joy; and ceases to have purpose.
God’s people were in a foreign land and things went from bad to worse, as the Pharaoh ordered the murder of all males at birth! One special child, Moses, slipped between the cracks and ended up an adopted grandson to the Pharaoh in a twist of circumstances only God could prearrange!
Cared for by his natural mother at the request of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses truly experienced conflicting beliefs. The traditions, customs, and convictions of both the Israelite and Egyptian people greatly influenced the young man.
Rashly he tried to take matters in his own hands and murdered an Egyptian. Fearing the Pharaoh’s wrath he fled the country; and moved from palace luxury to dwelling in a foreign land. He may have been out of the sight of Pharaoh; but never out of the presence of God.
Mean while back in Egypt…God’s people cried out to their God for deliverance. God heard their desperate pleas and lovingly looked upon them in their bondage. (Exodus 2:24-25) He began His evacuation plan with His calling card in a burning bush!
When He drew the attention of Moses, He revealed His master plan. Imagine Moses shock to learn after running away from Egypt as a fugitive, he now would be sent back to free God’s people! (Exodus 3:1-10). It took a lot of coaxing to convince Moses; and God understanding his fears promised not only His presence, but the assistance of Moses brother, Aaron. Together they would face Pharaoh!
God presented His message to Moses, with instructions to proclaim it to the leader of Egypt. A second declaration would be directed to the elders of Israel. Part of that message shared encouragement and a promise. “So I said, I will bring you up out of your affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 3:17 NAS).” Their bitter existence would give way to the abundance of sweet honey!
Sadly the story takes many wilderness turns…Of those who left Egypt only two faithful men, Joshua and Caleb would enter the Promised Land. Even Moses did not walk across their inheritance; because of anger and not following God’s instructions. When the Lord God told him to speak to a rock, and water would flow; in rage he struck the rock!
The Promised Land is in our view, as we look to God through eyes of faith; and we can tread those plains, hills and valleys across the pages of our deed to inheritance, God’s written word. If our lives are bitter and we become weary and discouraged, we can find satisfaction in the sweet fruit of God’s Spirit!
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