Devotion – Exodus 5

When God is about to do his greatest work, He often allows His people to go through the
greatest hardship.  A great preacher once said, God will not mightily use a person until He has crushed him greatly.  At first glance, this may seem like God is cruel and unloving.  But the opposite is actually true.  God will bring us through the most difficult of times in order to mold us into the image of His Son.

When we have discouraging and difficult times, God is always up to something in our lives.  The difficulty may seem terrible at the time, but God is in the process of preparing us for His blessings in life.  Take the Hebrews for example.  Chapter five is probably their darkest hour.  They are in slavery when Moses shows up announcing to Pharoah that God wants Pharoah to let His people go.  Pharoah’s response is to make the Hebrew slaves’ work more difficult and force them to do the impossible task of making bricks without straw.  They must have been angered at Moses and frustrated at God.  But God was about to do a work in their lives that they could not even imagine.

So why does God allow these hardships in life?  A number of reasons come to mind.  First of all, hardship causes us to realize our insufficiency.  For the Hebrews, their assignment of making bricks without straw was impossible.  They were incapable of doing what they were asked to do.  As a result, they were being punished.  The only way out was if God did something for them.

Another reason for hardship is to bring out of what is really inside.  When difficulties come, our response will demonstrate our true faith, or lack thereof.  It’s easy to believe God in good times, but difficult times will show us the real quality of our faith in God.  God will expose our weakness and lead us to repentance in the midst of trials.  A Christian’s true character will be demonstrated during tough times.

Trials also help us develop perseverance and strength.  When a believer encounters a desperate situation, and God answers the prayer, his faith is strengthened.  Then when future trials or situations arise, the believer’s faith is deeper and stronger.  For most Christians, their greatest time of growth in the Lord came during their darkest time of life.

The Hebrew people were in the midst of their worst hour.  Their lack of faith was being demonstrated. Their lack of godly character would show up.  But God would demonstrate His faithfulness, and their lives would be changed drastically in the midst of this difficult time.  God was preparing His people for deliverance, but to get them there, He had to bring them through a horrible time of slavery that would force them to trust and depend on Him.

What difficulties are you encountering.   Have you rejoiced and thanked God today for bringing you through a tough time?

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