Do certain words ever leap off a page at you?
My reading through the Bible yesterday had me in Exodus 6. God has heard the prayers of the people of Israel and seen their oppression. Moses has spoken to Pharaoh, and his response is to make it significantly worse for the people of Israel. Even Moses accuses God: “you have not delivered your people at all (Exodus 5:23).” God responds, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh (Exodus 6:1).”
And the people can’t hear it: Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery (Exodus 6:9).
That phrase, ‘because of their broken spirit,’ crashed into my brain and then exploded.
I know what a broken spirit feels like. Many of you know it as well when your hopes have been crushed one more time, and you can’t even hear good news.
Look at their situation. The elders had believed the signs that Moses had offered from God (Exodus 4:31). Hope was being kindled. Moses goes to Pharaoh. Rather than being released, Pharaoh made the situation even worse for them, and they blamed Moses.
Their hopes had been crushed. Even Moses says he can’t go back to Pharaoh (Exodus 6:12).
What do health, wealth and prosperity preachers do with that? Obviously God won’t be able to do anything since these people all lack faith.
Except, of course, God isn’t constrained by anything!
God looks at his spirit-broken people and the very man he has called to lead them, and begins to move with such power that we’re still reading and talking about it thousands of years later. God says such astonishing, outrageous (except that it is God saying them) things about his sovereignty over all things in the next chapters that we will either bow down and worship him for his majesty and goodness and wisdom, or we will reject him entirely.
And, the irony is, because God isn’t constrained by our lack of faith, we can have faith that he will do all that he has promised to do for those he has called. That’s what made my brain explode – God looks at dead, unbelieving, anxious, hopeless, broken hearts, and makes them alive. Not one hint of faith on the Israelite’s part, and he moves to rescue them.
Because he knows the ends from the beginning, and has promised that all things work together for good, and truly knows what love looks like in all situations, and has given us a future hope that is so glorious it is indescribable, we can have faith that even our broken spirits will bring God glory and will be for our good.
These are not easy days in our household; I am fighting discouragement on several fronts. But I KNOW that God is not hindered in his purposes when I am battling the sins of unbelief and anxiety. I know that my dependency on him rather than on myself brings him greater honor.
Do you have a broken spirit? Pray. God will help. Trust his blood-bought promises rather than your perceptions.
Do you know someone with a broken spirit, and they can’t hear anything you say? God will help. Pray, and trust him that he will do the right thing. Pray, and by doing so fight for them when they can’t fight for themselves.