THINK:Have you ever done the right thing-and still gotten grief for it? Or perhaps you ended up in a bad situation and wondered how you got there - and how anything good could ever come of it. Whether you're experiencing the consequences of your own actions or suffering through no fault of your own, the results never take God by surprise-and they certainly don't prevent His purposes. In fact, God can use the most difficult and confusing circumstances to heighten people's awareness of Him and deepen their dependence on Him. In fact, many of Christ's most faithful and passionate followers have endured some of the most extreme hardships. But God works through it all, preparing His people to become all He created them to be.
RESPOND: In what way had God blessed the Israelites in Egypt up to this time (see 1:7 note), and what tensions did this cause with the Egyptians? (See 1:8 note.) In what ways can God's blessing sometimes bring difficulty and opposition from other people? Why do you think God allowed His people to be enslaved? (See 1:11 note.) How and why can tough times help you grow in character and spirit? How can the unusual ways that God preserved Moses' life inspire your faith? (See 2:2 note.) What are some of the prophetic parallels between Moses and Jesus? (See 2:11 note.) Though Moses may have overreacted when he killed the Egyptian, what did his actions reveal about his priorities? (See 2:12 note.) As with Moses, how and why does God use "desert experiences" to prepare His people for higher purposes? (See 2:15 note.) Why does it often take tough times to inspire people to turn to God for help?
PRAY: Ask God to help you obey and identify with Him in every situation, regardless of the difficulty you might encounter. Express thanks to God for teaching you-even through tough times - to depend on Him more fully.
ACT: Is there a difficult situation or issue in your life that has caused you to wonder if you're missing God's plans or if He has left you on your own? This situation provides an opportunity to grow your character and increase your faith in God. Do something specific and practical to show your trust in God, your determination to honor Him and your willingness to inspire others to consider Christ.
THINK: What happens when you've been faithful to God but still end up in a bad situation. Do you keep trusting God - even as things continue to get worse. Just like the sky is darkest before dawn, God's greatest miracles often follow intense difficulties. Remember, God's strength and character are unchanging. He remains the great "I AM" - everything you need Him to be and more. You're never limited by your weaknesses if you trust God's to carry you through. You don't have to be in a cathedral or a mountaintop to be on holy ground. You can experience God's presence wherever you are. Yet how you respond is up to you. By following God wholeheartedly, you too become holy-set apart for His purpose-not because of anything you've done, but because of His presence within you.
RESPOND: How did Moses' time in the desert differ from his time in Egypt? (See 3:1 note.) How did this time prepare Moses for the future? What was the first character trait that God revealed about himself to Moses, and why? (See 3:5 note.) What did it mean that Moses was on "holy ground"? What is significant about God identifying himself as "I AM WHO I AM"? (See 3:14 note.) Why was Moses reluctant to accept God's call? Why do people make excuses like this to God? How can God's reply to Moses reassure you? (See 4:10 note.) How did Pharaoh's response to God differ from Moses' response? (See 5:1 note.) How did Pharaoh attempt to distract the Israelites from listening to God's message (5:8-9)? In what ways does Satan try to distract Jesus' followers from hearing and responding to God? Why does God often allow things to get more difficult before finishing His plan? (See 5:22 and 5:23 notes.)
PRAY: Give God thanks that He is all you need in every situation. Confess any reluctance you have to following God's plans and give your fears to Him. Pray that God will help you live with holiness and dependence on Him.
ACT: If you've made excuses or been reluctant to following God's plans, confess your lack of faith, quit making excuses, and do what God wants you to do. If you've allowed anyone or anything to distract you from hearing or responding to God, remove the distraction and obey God without further delay. Go through the day with an intense awareness of God's presence that strengthens your faith and inspires spiritually bold behavior. Determine that all of your thoughts, words and actions will bring honor to Christ.