Hope for the Broken Spirit

Text: Exodus 6:1-27

On God’s command Moses went to Pharaoh and delivered the message, “Let my people go”. Moses was excited. The Hebrews were excited. But instead of freedom, Pharaoh refused and gave them harder labor. The Hebrews complained to Moses. Moses complained to God. The people of Israel didn’t want to hear any more from Moses “because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery” (v. 9).

To be broken in spirit is not always something to be rescued from. Sometimes being broken is actually a condition God leads us into – to humble us, or prepare us, to free us from idols, or to remind us of things we have forgotten, to remove what is harmful, and fill us afresh with His Spirit.

That’s what God is doing in Moses and in His people Israel. In their brokenness, God is giving them hope by reminding them of some things they’ve forgotten, some truths that turn our brokenness into something beautiful. And they are reminders for us today as well.

I. Remember the bigness of God (vv. 2-4)

God reminds Moses of who He is. In these verses, four different times God says, “I am the LORD”. When you see “LORD” in all-caps in your Bible, that’s YHWH – the covenant name for God.

God appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as “God Almighty”, as “El Shaddai”, which mean the God who is sufficient, who meets the individual in our weakness.

El Shaddai, God Almighty, who meets us in our weakness, who is more than enough. But to Moses, God calls Himself, YHWH, God over all. God is teaching Moses something. God is not just El Shaddai, sufficient for one person in their weakness, but God is YHWH, He is Jehovah, He is God over all His people. God is not just faithful to one person. He’s faithful to all His people.

Moses and the people of Israel needed to be reminded of the bigness of God. And that’s something we need reminding of as well. Sometimes it feels like our trials are bigger than God, that our pain is more real than our prayers. In those times, we need a bigger view of God. In our brokenness, we need to be reminded that God not only sees us, but that He has a plan. He acts, because that’s who He is.

Your trials are real. Your pain is real. But when we remember how big God is, our fear begins to shrink, and our faith begins to grow. When we see our struggles in light of God’s strength, our hearts are encouraged and our gaze is lifted. And we are reminded we can make it, we will overcome, because God is with us, and nothing I’m going through is bigger than Him.

II. Remember God is faithful to His promises     (vv. 6-9)

Like bookends of truth, God reminds Israel, at the beginning and the end of this list of promises, “I am the Lord”. All these promises are anchored in who God is. One commentator beautifully summarizes these promises as: God keeps his word, feels our pain, sets us free, brings us close to Himself, and will eventually lead us home. And all of it is anchored in who God is.

But as beautiful as that is, sometimes our weariness and our brokenness prevent us from being comforted. The people of Israel did not listen to Moses because of their “broken spirit” (v. 9). Their slavery was so harsh, their circumstances so dire, and now – add to that the disappointment of Pharaoh not setting them free as they expected – they are broken. And their this case, they were hopeless.

But brokenness does not have to lead to hopelessness. That’s why God is reminding them of His promises. In their trial, God is teaching them to trust Him. God is preparing them for life outside of slavery, a life of following and worshiping God. In their brokenness, in their desperation, God is reminding them there is hope. And the kind of hope that endures is the hope anchored and rooted in who God is – His power, His mercy, His love and His faithfulness to do exactly what He’s promised He will do.

For us, it’s important to remember that all who have submitted their lives to Jesus Christ, you are in covenant with God Himself. God has made covenant with you through faith in Jesus. God remembers you. He has not forgotten you. He sees you, and He knows you, and He is faithful to meet your every need.

III.  Remember your story is part of God’s bigger plan     (vv. 10-27)

Moses is coming face-to-face with crippling fear and doubt. So what does God do? He responds, starting in v. 14 with Moses lineage. After reminding Moses and Israel of who God is, reminding them of God’s promises, now God reminds Moses of his own family line.

God is reminding Israel that He’s not new to this. Their story is not the beginning or the end. God has been working out His plan since the beginning of time. And just as God was faithful to all these people before, God will be faithful to Moses and to Israel now.

And notice that this family tree here is not just a list of ancestors, but also of descendants. Not just who came before Moses and Aaron, but also some who came after them.

This is a reminder that what God was doing was not just about Aaron and Moses. It wasn’t just about the people of Israel that were in slavery. It was about their children, and their grandchildren, and generations that would come after, as a chapter in God’s bigger story of redemption, and as a sign of God’s faithfulness to all His people.

God doesn’t start with our struggle and then attempt to fit it into His plan somehow. Instead, we are already a part of His overall plan. The trial you’re going through is not just about you. It’s about what God is doing through you. Your trial, your pain, your struggle – it’s meant for your good, to grow you and mature you and cause you to trust in Christ more.

But it is also meant to help someone else, to minister grace the next person who goes through something similar, so that they will know God is faithful. They will have a reminder that God is good. That He is enough. That He answers prayers. That He will bring beauty for ashes. He will take something ugly and make something beautiful. He can take what is broken and make it whole again.

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