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Failure and God’s Timing

The book of Hebrews identifies Moses as a hero of the faith, even though he experienced failure. After reaching a position of power and wealth in Egypt, Moses decided to give it up. He chose instead “to be mistreated along with the people of God,” and “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb. 11:24–28). Then, in Exodus 2:11, we see Moses react impulsively to the suffering of his people by striking and killing an Egyptian.

Moses failed to achieve what he had hoped: “Moses thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them, but they did not” (Acts 7:25). Rather than gaining support for the liberation of his people, he was forced to flee for his life. The right time in God’s plan had not yet come, and Moses was not spiritually ready. We can imagine that he must have felt frustrated. Although he was an Israelite (v. 11), he had lived a life of palace privilege, while his people had toiled in slavery. He no doubt felt the urge to do something! But it is clear that this murder of an Egyptian did not have the result he desired. Instead, it roused Pharaoh’s anger and, humanly speaking, Moses lost everything.

At age 40, Moses ended up as a desert shepherd in the land of Midian. His “career” had crashed and burned. It is clear that God cared about the Israelites’ suffering (vv. 23–25). So why didn’t He bless Moses’ well-intentioned act? Because His ways and timing are entirely different from ours. Forty more years would pass before He even introduced Himself to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2).

>> Most of us appreciate plans and goals. We tend to assume God will bless any plan we think is worthwhile. What we should do instead is to submit all our plans, goals, motives, and timing to the Lord (James 4:13–15).

BY Brad Baurain

Dr. Brad Baurain has worked as a writer and editor for Today in the Word since 1993. Currently, he serves as associate professor and TESOL program head at Moody Bible Institute. Brad has the unique privilege of holding a degree from four different universities (including Moody). He has also taught in China, Vietnam, the United States, and Canada. Brad and his wife, Julia, have four children and reside in Munster, Indiana.

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