When You Want to Ask Why

We are a people who like to ask, “Why?”

Why has this happened?

Why hasn’t that happened?

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve asked, “Why?”

I’m beginning to think it’s the wrong question entirely. Ultimately, the why is always “for the glory of God.”

Why was Pharaoh in power? So that God’s name would be exalted (Exodus 9:16.)

Why was the man born blind? So that God’s power would be known (John 9:3.)

Why do we do anything that we do? Isn’t it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31?)

“Why” isn’t the question. God’s purpose is always God’s glory.

The question, then, becomes, “How?” How do I bring you glory in this, Lord? How do I make much of you? How do I honor you in this situation, relationship, or affliction?

“Why” usually is self-focused.

“How” turns our attention and intentions outward and upward.

Let’s try it. The next time we are tempted to ask “why,” let’s flip the script and ask, “how.”

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Exodus 7: Obedience, Not Outcome

Exodus 7

“You shall speak…” God told Moses in vs 2. “Aaron shall tell…” Moses and Aaron had a part to play.

But, God also made it clear that deliverance would come through him.

“I will bring my people out of the land of Egypt… (verse4.)

We are responsible for obedience and not outcome. We become overwhelmed when we don’t stay in our lane. When we try to do what only God can do. When we try to play the Holy Spirit in other people’s lives. Only God can do what only God can do.

Moses and Aaron brought truth. God brought deliverance.

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Freedom From Fear

The old me felt the familiar fear.
The breathtaking burden of it.
With a heavy heart I would sit.

I heard the swirling symphony
Of should haves and shame.
Accusations and blame.

I couldn’t change the beginning
And was racing toward the end.
Time flew by and walls closed in.

But Jesus…

Jesus relieved me of familiar fear
The bonds broken and me set free.
Who I once was wasn’t who I had to be.

I could acknowledge my wrongs
But not be condemned by them.
I lived knowing I was loved by Him.

No longer looking back. Embracing today.
Allowing Jesus to capture by gaze
As I walk in freedom the rest of my days.

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Exodus 6: Of Burdens and Broken Spirits

In chapter 5, we had Moses asking, “Why?” Not once, but twice. And how does the Lord respond in chapter 6?

I am the Lord… vs 2

I am the Lord… vs 6

I am the Lord… vs 7

I am the Lord… vs 8

Sometimes, we just need a reminder. God patiently responds to Moses, “I see your two whys and I’m countering with four reminders of Who.”

He then outlines all of his promises for his people and Moses takes those promises to the children of Israel. But, again, the outcome is not what he expected. The people would not listen because of “their broken spirits and harsh slavery” (verse 9.)

Have you ever felt too broken to believe? Has the harshness of your circumstances hindered hope? Has your predicament made it impossible to entertain the promise of relief? This is where the people found themselves and, do you know, it’s exactly where Pharaoh wanted them?

Look at the reasoning behind the heavier work laid on them in chapter 5.

“Let heavier work be laid on them that they may labor at it and pay no regard to lying words.” Exodus 5:9

[Isn’t that the way the enemy still works today? He wants people so burdened and weighed down that they will not even entertain the possibility of freedom.]

The Lord sends Moses back to Pharaoh with the same demand to let the people go and Moses responds with the same excuses he offered in chapter 4.

I can’t because of them… Ex 4:1, 6:12

I can’t because of me… Ex 4:10, 6:12

But God isn’t going to rehash the same debate. He gave Moses and Aaron a charge – an order, a command, a mission – to bring the people of Israel out of bondage (verse 13.) There is an urgency. An unwillingness to entertain any more excuses while people remained in bondage.

People in bondage (of various kinds) don’t stay in bondage because it’s fun. They do so because it’s familiar. They do so because the pain of burdens has blinded them to the possibility of blessings. They may not listen to freedom’s call the first time. Or the second. Or the third.

But we, as Christ followers, are still given the charge to go and tell. To proclaim freedom to the captive. To preach good news. To lead the way out of darkness.

There is no time for excuses on our part while people are living in bondage.

Exodus 5: When Obedience Doesn’t Produce the Result We Wanted

Exodus 5

Moses and Aaron did exactly as the Lord directed. And things got worse.

Harder work. (Verse 9)

Have you ever felt like you did exactly what God was telling you to do and things got worse? Yeah, me too.

Moses’ words to God make my heart hurt because I feel them deeply.

“Why, Lord?” Not once, but twice, in verse 22. “Why?”

I did my part, Moses declared. And you, God? Well, you have not delivered your people at all. (Verse 23)

Whoa. “God, I did my part and you didn’t hold up your end of the deal.”

Now, we know the rest of the story. Moses did not.

It made me think, “How do I respond when my obedience doesn’t produce the result I expected?”

When I listened and followed and did the hard thing and nothing changed? Or things got worse?

Chapter 6 starts with the greatest words in Scripture. I won’t jump there until tomorrow but will leave you with a teaser…

“But the Lord…”

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