The original language of the Old Testament refers to God as Jehovah-Jireh, which translates the Lord will provide.
As Christians, we say that, but do we really believe it?
Interestingly enough, many of the Old Testament figures struggled with this as well. Their stories highlight faithfulness in the midst of unfaithfulness, something I can relate to in my own life. Abraham and Sarah laughed at God while Jacob deceived his father and stole the birthright from his twin, Esau.
And then there’s Moses.
The king of Egypt hated God’s people, the Israelites, and ordered that all of their baby boys be placed in the Nile River—a crocodile-filled, piranha-infested, watery grave. In fearful obedience, a young woman places her three-month-old son in a basket and sends him downstream.
I imagine her watching her helpless son float away, crying for someone to save him.
God’s favor rests upon this little boy in the basket. He is carefully lead downstream through the turbulent waters. As God’s provision unfolds, Pharaoh’s own daughter is bathing in the Nile when she hears this infant crying. She compassionately rescues this boy, gives him the name Moses, and raises him as her own.
This fateful, God-inspired union allows Moses to be reared with all of the benefits of royalty, worldly education, and provision. However, Moses knows his roots. He is, by birth, an Israelite. He’s one of God’s chosen people.
Moses wrestles his identity. He sees his native people mistreated by the Egyptians and even kills a man in defense of one of his own. As word spreads about his deadly deed, Moses becomes fearful and he does what most of us do when our circumstances overwhelm us.
He flees his royal provision and ventures into the dry desert of Midian. Yet there, in the desert, God shows up. Again.
“The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God. God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.
Now Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush.” Exodus 2:24-3:2
As I read this account, I thought about a couple of things:
God always shows up
It amazes me that God’s provision for Moses began at his birth, yet His calling of Moses was close to eighty years later. Too often, our impatience wins. We want God to provide now in the way we want Him to provide, and we force the issue. On the other hand, our impatience wins and we write God off completely. “He doesn’t care…He’s forgotten about me.”
Our inability to understand His purpose doesn’t discount His provision.
Cry out to the Lord
The beginning of the verses above gives us a clear example of our response when we become impatient. We are to cry out to God. The Israelites did this and the scripture says, “God heard them and remembered His covenant.” If we’re not longing for the Lord and crying out to Him, we are lacking in our faith. However, when, in faith, we cry out, we are given His attention. As the verse says, “He was concerned about them.” He’s concerned about you.
Crying out to the Lord isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a response of faith.
Tend to your flock
I often speak with people who are unsure of what to do while they are waiting on the Lord. More often, I am that person, so I fully understand that it is a difficult place to be. However, during these times, I see people neglecting the very things that are right in front of them. Their jobs, their children, their marriages – they fail to tend to their flock. While Moses was waiting on the Lord, he was still tending his flock. He was stewarding the things that were in front of him while he waited for the things that were not.
We must learn to tend that which is in front of us before we can be entrusted with what waits ahead of us.
In the end, God will show up. But maybe, just maybe, our willingness to cry out to God and faithfully tend to what He’s already given us is where we should begin.
QUESTIONS: Have you grown impatient? Are you crying out to the Lord? How are you tending to your flock?