Exodus Devotional | Exodus and Easter, Day 3: Our Good Shepherd
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Exodus and Easter, Day 3
“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.” - (John 10:14-15)
The Lord, it seems, rarely takes the quickest, straightest, or easiest route...at least, not by our human standards.
He sends Moses to Egypt, rather than letting Moses invent ZOOM a few thousand years early so he can resolve this issue with Moses in a brief meeting. He hardens Pharaoh’s heart so that over a dozen meetings and confrontations have to be held. He doesn’t overcome Pharaoh’s resolve in one plague, but over the course of ten. God chooses Moses, a stutterer, to deliver his Word--he chooses a man who actually needs help to do the thing he’s sent to do.
Over the course of the first half of Exodus, God’s people see-saw back and forth from belief and joy, back to disbelief, anger, fear, and accusation. Imagine the doubt and anxiety Moses would have felt through the plagues, seeing God’s power but having a hard time seeing the path God was taking. Imagine the confusion God’s people went through each time an elderly Hebrew died in his bed, just months or weeks before Israel was set free. After four hundred years, it seemed like the Lord was finally here and doing something...but why is he taking so much time and putting on such a show to do it?
Indeed, when the Israelites are finally liberated, God doesn’t take them on a direct course to Canaan (the Promised Land). He takes toward the Red Sea and the deserts of Sinai. There, they’ll spend forty years “wandering.” Wandering, at least, by their limited human understanding.
How long has it been since Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose? How long has he been preparing a place for us, readying for his return? How many believers will live and die in faith, never getting to see the sky over Jerusalem crack open, revealing the returning King? How many times will we each go through our own cycles of belief and weak faith, victory over sinful temptation and being ensnared by it?
Just like the ancient Israelites, God has made himself known to us, made and fulfilled promises, shown his power, and started us on a journey toward the Promised Land (the New Heavens and New Earth). And, just like them, we don’t see the course...and it’s hard. It really is. We are all Christ’s sheep--and though we don’t know the way or the time it’ll take to get there, we entrust ourselves to the voice and commands and directions of our Good Shepherd. Surely, it must have been infuriatingly mystifying to Jesus’ disciples that the road to salvation led straight through to a bloody Roman cross...but, now we see that road and God’s wisdom.
With every twist and turn, God is showing us (often, with eyes only to see it after the fact!) his goodness, his power, and his wisdom. He’s not goofing off, he’s not dilly-dallying. He’s patient. He’s kind. Each day he tarries is a gift of grace to those who do not yet know him, but might. Each day we look for, find, and follow him is a gift in which he is preparing us for his Kingdom.
Join our ancient Israelite brothers and sisters--join our historical church family--join the Apostle John--in prayer today. Revelation 22:20: “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Look to your circumstances and the events of today’s world--rather than focusing on how confused and troubled you are with them, I want you to try to trust God’s use and purpose for them.