“And God said to Moses … Therefore say to the children of Israel: … So Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel; but they would not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.” (Exodus 6: 2a, 6a, 9, NKJV).
It wasn’t that long ago that the buzz words among many Christians were, “I’m too blessed to be stressed!”, yet my personal observation has been that some Christians are the most stressed out people I have come across. I am convinced that on any given Sunday, there are people sitting in church pews who are there in body simply because it is Sunday and their ritual dictate that they be there. While they may physically participate – go through the motions – in the various services, their minds are preoccupied with the proverbial “million and one” things.
In the local church I attend, the mission statement reads: “Expect the Word to change your life!” Implied within this statement is the awareness that each person has to receive the Word, meditate, act, and stand upon that Word, and allow the truth of God to become manifested in their lives. One word from God can change any life, any situation, but we have to be properly positioned to not only hear that word, but to actively receive it.
Our reference text is nestled in the context of the plight of the Israelites, God’s first-born (4:22), in Egypt. Their suffering was of such that “the children of Israel groaned because of their bondage and they cried out, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remember His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them” (2:23-25). God then called Moses and commissioned him to go to Pharaoh and lead his people out of Egypt (Exodus 3-4), but He also sent with Moses a personal message to the stressed out and oppressed children of Israel. A message – a Word – that would have lifted their spirits and from which hope would have sprung in the dry and barren places of their hearts, yet this very group that had labored for generations as slaves under Egyptian rule, and who had cried out to God for deliverance, “would not heed (listen) to Moses because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.” In today’s language we would probably say there were too stressed to be blessed! Does that sound like you?
As we go through our days we are faced with various challenges. Someone once said it is as if we are so caught up in making a living that we have forgotten how to make a life. Far too often it seems that there is so much to do and so little time in which to do them. Parents are worried about their children, marriages are drifting apart as partners become so caught up in the various responsibilities of daily living that they are too stressed to find quality time to spend with each other. We are stressed out by not having enough to pay our bills, the uncertainty of our jobs in the workplace, the uphill battle of living a life that is pleasing to God to in a society that is hostile to the things of God. Some are victims of their own thoughts, afflicted by sins and failures of the past while wrestling with insecurities, the uncertainty of the future, and generally speaking, the unknown.
These are the some of people that occupies the pews on Sunday mornings. People who are desperately crying out to God for deliverance, wanting one Word from God that would change their situation, yet even as the message is preached and as the anointing flows, for these people the pressures and cares of this world are of such that their minds are disengaged from hearing the life changing Word they need. Are you one of them?
As we saw earlier, God heard and acknowledged the cries of His people. He sent them His agent (Moses) with a very powerful message for them: “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgements. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. Then you shall know that I am the Lord your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. And I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as a heritage: I am the Lord” (6:6-8). The problem was that they were too stressed out to listen.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of your days, what is God saying to you that you are not hearing? God speaks in various ways; through the words from a song, a verse or portion of the scriptures, something from your pastor’s sermon or that of a televangelist, a conversation with a trusted friend whose walk with the Lord has been proven. If our minds are constantly busy with worry and fear, it is possible to not hear Him speak in the quite places of our minds. I do strongly believe however that it is not God’s plan for His people to be too stressed to be blessed.
As we pass through this life we will have situations and issues to deal with. However the child of God has to remember that we serve One who is able to do for us far more than we can ask or think according to the power that worketh in us (Ephesians 3:20), and as such we do not have to get caught up in, or be overtaken by, our individual circumstances. I think this was the realization of the Psalmist that caused him to pen the words: “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings.” (Psalm 61:1-4, NKJV).
One word from God can change your life. Quiet your mind and take refuge under the shelter of His wings. It is my prayer that whatever that Word is, you will hear it, meditate on it, act on it, stand on it, and then expect that Word to change your life. Oh, I almost forgot: once you start doing that, you will be become too blessed to be stressed.