Friday, April 21, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Learning to trust and obey God through it all

Good Things Await
A devotional by Hannah Benson

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”—Psalm 81:10 (ESV)

As I read the story of the Israelites, I realize that I can relate to them in a lot of ways. Many of the lessons God teaches His chosen people throughout the Old and New Testaments can certainly apply to us as well. Do you remember their story? In case you don’t, I’ll write a refresher below. The following is the shortened version.

The Israelites had suffered as slaves in Egypt for 430 years. They wanted nothing more than for someone to come save them and to set them free from their bondage. Eventually, God raised up one of their own—a man named Moses and his brother, Aaron, to lead His people out of Egypt.

It’s a long and harrowing process, but once Pharoah finally let the Israelites go, things seemed to be looking up until Pharoah changed his mind and with his armies, chased the Israelites soon after their exodus. For a moment they panicked because the Red Sea was infront of them and Pharoah and his army were behind them. They needed a miracle and God delivered them by splitting the Red Sea so that they could walk through it on dry ground. As soon as they were safe on the other side, God closed the Red Sea over their enemies, and they never had to see those Egyptians again!

But then, they entered the Wilderness of Sin. They spent days in the desert that turned into months and years before they could enter the Promised Land. A trip from Egypt to the Promised Land should only have taken 11 days but there was a delay because the Israelites complained and disobeyed God. As a result, they had to wander through the wilderness for 40 years. During this journey, they were not content with God’s daily provision of manna from Heaven (Exodus 16). They didn’t have any meat available to them like they had as slaves in Egypt. They said that they would’ve rather “died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 16:3).

Had not God had proven Himself faithful when he brought the ten plagues upon the Egyptians and kept the Israelites from harm? What about when He had parted the Red Sea?

The Israelites had forgotten the faithfulness of God and their past season looked enticing. On multiple occasions, they were even willing to return to Egypt and be slaves again because the fear of the future was too frightening!

In the same way, sometimes, God calls us to walk away from a season because it was harmful for us. Or maybe, it was a great season, but it’s simply time to move on. How many times have we been like the Israelites, afraid to face change? Have you ever wanted to go back to a past season just because change looks too scary? I know I have.

God doesn’t desire that we live in captivity. I also believe that He doesn’t mean for us to stay in the same season forever. But what do we do when seasons change? It can be frightening, and we can be tempted to hold onto the past, whether it was good or bad. But I truly believe that He wants us to let go and step into the new season. Remember His words in Psalm 81:10, “I am the LORD your God,” He tells the Israelites. “who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.”

God was faithful to bring the Israelites out of captivity. He didn’t want them to go back. We, like the Israelites, need a frequent reminder of that story. We need to remember that God brought us up out of the last season, out of high school, out of a longtime job, out of a relationship, and we’re not meant to go back.

This is where the next part of the verse comes in. After we’ve come out of a previous season, I think we just stand there, too afraid to move forward, and long for the past because it seems “safe”.

But we’re so busy staring at the past that we miss the present and the fact that God wants to move in our lives now. I believe God wants us to be expectant. We should trust that He will provide for us now as He did back then. There is beauty in every season. Imagine how many good things await us if we opened our hearts and allowed Him to move freely in our life.

Let’s Pray:
Dear Father God, please forgive me for being stuck in the past when you’re calling me forward. Please help me to be brave and courageous and take the next step forward, whatever that looks like. I trust that You have my best interests at heart. You will not lead me somewhere that You will not be. Thank you for that! In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Trusted” by Jillian Edwards. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Hannah Benson is a Jesus-follower who’s passionate about sharing the love of Christ with others. 

From the time she could hold a pen, she was writing. But it wasn’t until she was sixteen that she began to seriously follow God’s calling to write a novel. Hannah is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has at least four novels in the works. For the past five years, she has been involved with her local Biblical theater company. She wants to show others the love of Jesus through the creative arts.

When she’s not acting or working on her upcoming novel, you can find Hannah laughing with her siblings, cuddling her little fluffy dog, or reading books (usually historical fiction or fantasy stories). You can read more of Hannah’s writings on her blog or on her Instagram where she strives to write content that leaves others feeling encouraged.

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