Exodus 5:22-6:8 says, “Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people and you [God] have not rescued your people at all.”
Moses, an unkempt, elderly 80-year-old shepherd faces off with one of if not the most powerful man in the world at that time: the Egyptian Pharaoh. In obedience to God (Exodus 5:1), Moses went boldly with his outrageous request to “let my people go,” convinced that Pharaoh would indeed release the Hebrews from their captivity. Imagine Moses’ distress when Pharaoh not only refused to give the slaves their freedom but he intensified their bondage as a result! It goes without saying that Moses lost all credibility with the Israelites (Exodus 5:21). Not only that, but God was accused of failing His people too.
I am sure we can all identify times in our lives when God appears to have let us down and His promises of deliverance seem far from the difficulties in our lives. But, Moses wisely takes his disappointments straight to God. And God responds to Moses by saying, “Now you will see what I can do… (Exodus 6:1)
Up until this point in the Biblical account, Moses had no idea how God would humble the power and pride of the Egyptians with the 10 plagues or how God would miraculously bring the Israelites through the Red Sea. Moses and the Israelites did not realize that Pharaoh’s refusal and their disappointment provided God with the opportunity to reveal Himself as Israel’s Redeemer in a way they had never experienced Him before (Exodus 6:2-9).
Sometimes our setbacks and failures provide the context for God’s greatest work in our lives.
Notably, in God’s response to Moses, God repeats the phrase “I am the LORD” four times. This refrain emphasizes God’s sovereignty over all successes AND setbacks. Ultimately, He overrules with His provision and purpose. Moses is reminded that the key to any outcome we are faced with is our faith and submission to God’s Lordship and Presence in our lives. Let our disappointments be opportunities to trust God for greater things.