Daily Devotional

Exodus 3:17a

I have promised to rescue you from your oppression in Egypt. I will lead you to a land flowing with milk and honey…

We as humans don’t really like change. When everything is going great, we wonder why we would ever want to risk changing. “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” is often the mantra. Even if things are bad, we think “but what if changing things makes it worse?!”

The Israelites were in slavery for hundreds of years in Egypt. When God sent Moses to deliver them, there are some whose sentiment was “Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians” (Exodus 14:12b). At least life in Egypt was predictable, even if horrible.

Someone once told me there are basically two ways people change; pain or picture. Pain pushes and picture pulls. Pain really only causes temporary change, just enough to alleviate the pain, but a picture of how things could be better can pull us forward. The pain of touching a hot stovetop may push you to move your hand away, but the picture of some cold water and a bandage will cause you to continue taking action that will lead beyond immediate relief and toward true healing.

Remember that after Moses arrived on the scene, things actually got worse for the Israelites. Moses and Aaron met with Pharaoh and the immediate outcome was that the Israelites had to continue making bricks, but now they had to find their own straw…oh and they’re quota wouldn’t be reduced at all (Exodus 5). The Israelites experienced enough pain and that pain caused them to be ready to leave Egypt. That’s what pain does, it pushes, but pain can only push us so far.

God also gave the Israelites a picture; a picture of a promised land flowing with milk and honey. Pain might push, but picture pulls; it pulls us toward something better. Though the Israelites had a long and difficult journey ahead of them, they had a picture of something better pulling them along. Yes, they still fell short of God’s best (often), and yes, they still complained (even more often), but all the while God’s promise was before them, and eventually fulfilled.

Pain is a good motivator to change but it’s only a temporary catalyst. This has certainly been a season of pain for many, and that pain has caused us all to have to make some changes. Some of these changes were no doubt difficult and some may have actually been beneficial. Many have had this season of pain push them closer to God. My question is, what picture will continue to pull you forward in your faith? What will cause us to KEEP following God further on?

The best picture I can give you is a simple one; God loves you. What you do won’t make Him love you more, and what you don’t do won’t make Him love you less. His love is not based on your performance. He loves you because you are His. I believe if we really understand the love of our Heavenly Father, if that picture really comes into high-definition clarity, then it will naturally alter how we live. The pain of life may push us towards momentary change, but the picture of a loving God will pull us to continue following after Him even when the pain subsides.
"New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved."