God Isn’t Finished With You Yet

For the conscientious Christian, weaknesses and failures can be particularly vexing. To put it bluntly and personally, I hate it when I fail to live up to God’s standard. It irritates me. I know that when it comes to sinners, the apostle Paul staked a claim to the moniker, “chief” (1 Tim. 1:15). But he died centuries ago, and I can make a compelling case that I now deserve chieftain status in the tribe of the sinful. Yet I know that I’m not alone. The world swells with folks who sin, and I suspect quite a few of them are as haunted by their shortcomings as I am by my own.

The Philippian church was acquainted with failure, too. It was a wonderful body of Christians, but not a perfect one. Lest they become discouraged and despondent in their efforts to improve, Paul encouraged them with these words:

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Philippians 1:6

To any individual or church family striving to become more and more like Jesus, but keenly aware of their many stumbles, these are refreshing words. One of the characteristics of our God that boggles the mind is His wonderful and incredible patience. Indeed, He “is longsuffering toward us” (2 Pet. 3:9, NKJV) as He molds our character through our life events (Phil. 2:12-13). Through each experience, each decision made, each Bible verse read, each prayer uttered, each person served, each trial faced, each victory enjoyed, and each defeat endured, God is working on us. And He will continue to work on us until the day of Christ’s return.

When you discover personal sin, remind yourself that you are a work in progress. Don’t ever justify your sin on that basis. Deal with it and obtain forgiveness for it according to God’s will. Then thank Him for His amazing patience and forgive yourself.

Evaluate your sins. How could you have beaten the temptation? What could you do to avoid that temptation again? Committing this particular sin shows a weakness in what part of your character? How can you strengthen it?

God desires that you mature in the faith (2 Pet. 3:18) and that you become increasingly holy (1 Thess. 4:3). Through His amazing patience, He helps us not to be overcome by our weaknesses and sins, but gives us the necessary room to learn from them.

What Exodus Teaches Us About God

Exodus does not merely tell the facts about the life of Moses, the ten plagues, the Jewish people escaping Egyptian slavery, and the Ten Commandments. It draws the reader ever closer to the God who made all that happen. What do we learn about God in the book of Exodus?

God Keeps His Promises. God had promised Abraham that he would make a great nation out his descendants (Gen. 12:2; 15:12-16). The book of Exodus emphasizes God’s intention to fulfill those promises (Exo. 2:24; 3:6–8, 15–17; 4:5; 6:2–8; and also 32:13).

God Wants to Be Close to His People. One of the themes emphasized in this great book is God’s presence among his people. He appears to Moses (3:1-4:17). He descends to the top of Sinai in the presence of the people (19:16-20). He shows himself to Moses, Aaron, and 72 leaders (24:9-11). He reveals his glory to Moses (34:1-10). Most of the second half of the book (chapters 25-40) focuses on the tabernacle, through which God promised to dwell among them (29:43-46; 40:34-38).

God Can Still Use Those Who Struggle With Self-Confidence. In chapters 3 and 4 Moses wrestles with accepting God’s charge to deliver the Hebrews from Egyptian slavery. Moses saw nothing in himself that would qualify him for the task God set before him (3:11). He didn’t want to be asked a question that he could not answer (3:13). He was fearful that the people wouldn’t believe him if he did answer (4:1). He didn’t think he was eloquent enough to effectively communicate what God wanted (4:10). But God’s consistent responses changed the focus from who Moses was to who God is (3:12, 14; 4:5, 11-12), and that made all the difference.

God Deserves the Credit for Our Victories. We succeed only by the power he supplies (13:9, 14; Col. 1:29; Eph. 3:16). “Our God will fight for us” (14:14).

The Laws of God are Tests of Our Faith (15:25-26). How we relate to God’s commands tells us the nature of our relationship to God himself (cf. John 14:15; 15:14; 1 John 5:3). We cannot successfully argue that we have faith in God if we consistently live without regard for his instruction.

God Deserves to be Feared (20:18-21). Interestingly, Moses says in Exodus 20:20, “Do not fear” and then says that “the fear of him” should be before the people. The first reference to fear in that verse is connected to the end of verse 19. They were afraid that God was trying to kill them. Moses is telling them not to be afraid of that. The second reference is to the proper fear of God, which includes the dread of punishment for wrongdoing as well as the offering of reverence that God deserves. In that sense, it is proper to fear God (Prov. 1:7; Psa. 19:9; Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:11; Heb. 10:31; 12:28-29).

God Deserves to be Worshiped (20:22-26; 22:20, 29-30; 23:13-19). God instructed the people to build altars “in every place where I cause my name to be remembered” (20:22-26). In addition, there were three times each year that the people were to observe feasts: the feasts of Unleavened Bread, Harvest, and Ingathering (23:14-17). These celebrations reminded the people of God’s worthiness to be praised. All of the instructions regarding the tabernacle, its furniture, and the work of the priests (chapters 25-40) also stressed the importance of their worship to God (Psalm 18:3; 29:1-2; Rev. 4:11; 5:12-14).

There is tremendous practical value in studying the Old Testament (Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11; 2 Tim. 3:14-17). The book of Exodus reminds us to trust God, draw near to God, be confident in God, be grateful to God, obey God, fear God, and worship God. Those are reminders we need every day.