Read: Exodus 12-14
Focus Passage: Matthew 2:13-18
My first husband and I waited for the Lord to show us where he wanted us when the small church he pastored for 9 years closed its doors. There were already signs the Lord was shutting down our ministry there. The waiting was stressful.
Don had cancer, but was still able to work and had a promising prognosis. Owens Corning, his secular employer, closed their plant in a nearby town. Don was sent to their warehouse instead to drive tow motor. Our church closed due to inability for our small, godly group to pay the bills for it to stay open. My job was in a tremendous season of change. We tried taking matters into our own hands.
I decided to try to get a job at another Y in a nearby town. We also considered moving closer to Don's secular job and that Y. My interview looked good. That same night, I had a dream of walking down a well-lit street at night. Confused about where I should go, I turned onto a path that got darker as I went. Cats began to follow me, but they were lurking to pounce and devour me. It was really creepy. Suddenly an angel appeared in my path. He told me to go back the way I came. When I returned to the well-lit street, the cats were gone. Then I woke up. In a very short time, Don's job shut down at the warehouse and the Y where I interviewed closed. We would have had no income for 3 months if I had taken that job. What would have happened if we had moved? Disaster, I'm sure. Then a church opened up in another state for him to minister. We had to move quickly.
Waiting for God to say, "Move." is really hard. This is especially true for people looking for a job, a home, or better living conditions. God's timing is not always our timing, but His timing is always right. We get impatient. We try to bargain with God. We even try to force doors open when they ought to be left shut. Some people may even look for answers anywhere but God. The truth of the matter is we must look to Him waiting until He says, "Go!" God will make it obvious the time is now, then we must run-not walk- the direction He has for us to go.
Israel was in slavery in Egypt for 430 years. They cried out to God to be delivered from the oppression of the Egyptians. They were tired of their own people being beaten and killed at the hands of the Egyptians. So God called Moses to lead them out of Egypt into a land God promised to give them as their very own. In Exodus 12, Moses is told to have the people pain their door posts with the blood of a lamb so God would spare the firstborn males of each family. They were told not add yeast to their bread, which takes time to rise before it can be baked. They had to eat standing up and ready to run. This must have sounded really odd to these people. Was Moses kidding?
But God was not kidding! They did exactly as they were told. Their firstborn males were still alive in the morning, they ate standing ready to run. The Egyptian Pharaoh was fed up with the plagues God gave them, but the straw that broke the camel’s back? When Pharaoh’s son died. He could see keeping Israel any longer was a curse. He couldn’t wait to get rid of them.The Egyptians were more than happy to give the Israelites anything they asked for as long as they left. Pharoah’s heart was angry, so he decided to chase them all down and kill them. This is why they were to be ready to run.
Mary and Joseph, after Jesus was born, were told in a dream to take the baby and run to Egypt for safety. They had the exciting experience of the shepherds visit after the angel told them about the Messiah. They also had a visit from the Magi of the East who followed a star to see the baby, Herod was planning to kill baby Jesus because he was afraid the baby would grow up and depose Him as King of Israel. Mary and Joseph did exactly as God said. Boy, was that the right thing to do! Herod killed all the male children 2 years old and younger. It wasn’t time for the Messiah to die. When it was safe to go back, God told them again to go back because the one who had threatened the baby’s life was dead.
Sometimes, things look bleak where we are. Just because circumstances don’t look good doesn’t mean it’s time to leave. It is time to leave when God says it is. We are to continue living out our faith where we are, but we must be ready to go. Sometimes the waiting time is really discouraging. God speaks to us through His Word (the Bible), prayer, circumstances, and the Church-His people, not “or” (Experiencing God). Some Christians have dreams and visions, but they must always be interpreted through the Bible and prayer to discern whether it is from God or not. Certain Bible passages will stand out, like God is saying, “See, this is what I am showing you. Listen to Me.” As we pray, we it is important to listen for God's voice. Circumstances will line up with His Word and what we hear from Him during our prayer time. Then we will receive confirmation through faithful Christians that the move is right. Be very careful whose advice you take, though. When He says, “Go!”, it may not look like the best thing to do, but we have to trust Him and go immediately the direction He has for us. His plan for us is always right. He will bless you when you get there with a deeper intimacy in your relationship with Him. Don’t walk, run!
May God bless you!