“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him”.
Ex 3:18, 19 NIV
Does God know everything before it happens? If he does, that must surely mean that we are not free to do either right or wrong? Does it not make robots of us? Maybe these are really hypothetical issues in reply to which God tells us to get on with the business of trusting and obeying him.
In preparation for his mission to liberate the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt God orders the elders and Moses to ask Pharaoh for leave to worship God in the desert. Moses did not know what lay ahead, but God did. He set a programme for Moses, even giving him the words to say to Pharaoh – very appropriate for one who was the messenger of God. Although Pharaoh did not let the Israelites go on their desert worship exercise, God did not punish Pharaoh. This indicates his long patience, even with those who try to thwart his purposes.
Christian believers know about God’s long patience. They know that he bears with their weaknesses and forgives their sins. He knows and understands their shortcomings and is waiting to pick them up – knowing that that they will fall and falter. And he has all eternity in which to work and to bring his sovereign and saving purposes to fullness.
Lord, thank you for being so patient with me.