【Bible Study】Exodus 05: Hold onto Our Faith in God When Things Get Worse

Bible Study: Exodus

Hold onto Our Faith in God When Things Get Worse

Trust in God even when things get worse

Today we are going to study Exodus chapter five. I assume all of us have read through this chapter. You probably have similar questions as to what Moses and Israelites have raised: “How come things get worse, and what does it really mean?” I am sure if you read Genesis to Exodus, and have understood the Bible, you will figure out a pattern, how God works. For example, when Joseph had a dream that he would become a salvation for his family. But Joseph was sold to Egypt as a slave. Were things getting better? No, things were getting worse. Joseph was facing a situation where he became a slave in Egypt, but he still had a strong belief in God and believed things would get better.

When Abraham came out from Haran and went to Canaan, things also got worse. Why is God doing things like this? That is a very interesting topic. You and I might say: “God is going to do a wonderful job; God will execute his plan in me and things should get better.” But no, things will always get worse. When I was praying for a person who suffered from severe disease, do you know what happened? Sometimes, many times, it got worse.

Every change is a battle

What do you see when things get worse? You will see that the battle has started. Israelites were slaves in Egypt. And if you want to come out from Egypt and want to be set free, do you know what will happen? The enemy will always try to block you, which means the battle has started. From that moment on, do you still hold on to your faith in Lord? We got to know how things work, and how God works. For example, Moses was sent to Egypt, and performed signs and wonders. The Israelites started to believe in Moses, bowed down and worshipped the Lord: “Thank you Lord for saving us.” But things got worse because that was only the beginning of the battle.

When you start a battle, things will get worse. Either you start to fight, or you keep silent, and remain a slave in that place. If you are born with some kind of weakness, for example: you are stubborn, you have fear in your mind, or you are not that kind of person who is bold and daring. You want to challenge all these weaknesses, and turn away phobias and stubbornness. Do you know what will happen? The moment the battle starts, things will get worse. If you just want to be a good slave in the Egypt, your life will go on, day after day, very peacefully. Do you want to start the battle? In fact, every change is a battle.

In the management theory, there is a marketing word called "sigmoid". If you open a book of marketing management, every product has a lifecycle and it is always starting from an S-shaped curve. When you start to invest in a product development, you are losing your money. Investing means you put your money in, and haven't got any result or return yet. You are only investing and the curve is starting from the low point. The moment you start to market the product, the market learns about your product and the product will move by itself, the curve will go up. At the end of it's lifecycle, the curve of the product will go down again as it will be replaced by new technology. This curve is called sigmoid.

If you want to grow your company, you need to have a good product which the market receive very well. If you want to make a great profit, you have to know that every product has a lifecycle, and there will be a day that the product will be replaced by something else. So, the Sigmoid curve is representing the way the market behaves. The company always start with the investing, and the curve will go down. Your money will be invested and sometimes you may lose your money, as there are risks of investing.

If the company fears to invest and is only waiting for the products to be sold, the company will close down one day. When the company has a good product and sells well in the market, you have to invest in another product line. For example, investing in telecommunication, first you invest in 1G and when 1G is selling well, you start to invest in 2G and 3G. When 3G becomes popular, you start to invest in 4G and 5G. You always invest ahead of the time,as investment comes with great risk. But that’s life.

If you want to grow yourself, you have to start the battle and deal with your weakness; which came from the time when you were born. You also have to deal with the enemy, and the enemy normally will fight back. Behind every problem is a spiritual force. If you understand how things work, when things get worse, you will know that you need to exercise faith. That is exactly why God wants us to do new things. Every time when we start to do new things, things will get worse. Every time when we start to invest in new things, we deal with the weakness, deal with the problem of being stubborn, and we deal with a new potential product, the spiritual forces will be blocking you. So then, what do you do? You need to exercise your faith. And you may question God: “Oh God, why things are not getting better?” That is exactly how it should be.

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness. “Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:1-2)

The response from Pharaoh is the problem we are dealing with and this problem is being stubborn. And now the battle has started. The enemy responded, the spiritual forces know that you are going to be set free from the problem and know they will try his best and pull along other allies to come and join him to stop it.

Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.” (Exodus 5: 3)

What kind of answer was that? Yes, this was the answer they had given, but in fact, God never said this. And this was what God said: I wwill strike Egypt including the Pharaoh. God will deal with the enemies using a plague and the sword. But not with His people. No one would bother or care if God wanted to kill the king of Egypt. God will help us to kill the enemy. And if anyone stops us from getting free, God will fight for us.

Our gospel will set us free from all our problems

Our gospel is trying to set us free from all our problems. If we are slaves of a phobia, we will be set free. If we are a slave of money, God is going to set us free. If we are a slave of sickness, God will set us free. If you are slaves of the enemy, of spiritual forces, God is going to set you free. If you want to fight against the spiritual forces, fight against the sickness, combat against your weakness, and prepare yourself to start the battle. The moment you start the battle, it would obviously get worse, and your situation would intensify. Then you know there is the signal of the sigmoid curve, the signal of growth, and the signal is going to set you free. All you need is having faith.

We need faith when things get worse

Faith does not come from having good sleep. Faith does not come from eating well. “If you are very healthy. If you are happy. If you enjoy your meal. Enjoy your sleep. Enjoy your play.” When your life is going very well and smoothly, then you do not need faith. The moment you face difficulties and situations you cannot handle, do you know what you need? You need faith. Do you have faith in the Lord? At this time and at this moment you need faith to overcome your problems.

Never ask questions like: “God how come this happened to me? God, I thought we prayed for destiny, why is the situation was getting worse?” If we question God for not helping us, the spiritual force will prevent us from moving into our destiny. Sometimes it seems like the spiritual force is not helping us, but on contrary, it is helping us. In other words, we see from the outside that our situation is not improving, but has worsened. This is exactly the time we exercise our faith and believe our God is in control, regardless of how bad our situations are.

Do you have the characteristics of Abraham’s descendants?

Personally, I believe if Jacob is facing the same situation, he would not react the same way as the Israelites. Whether the Israelites are from Abraham’s descent or not, it would not matter. If they were from the bloodline, the main point was their inner being. Do you have the character of Abraham? Do you have the character of Isaac? Do you have the character of Jacob and Joseph? If you possess the characteristics of Abraham’s descendants, then you are his descendants.

Different kinds of people read posts and respond to situations with different types of attitudes. If you embrace attitudes like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, even when things get worse, they will still exercise faith in the Lord, and know God is a good God. They understand that God’s plan will never fail and they know God is doing a wonderful thing in their life. That is exactly what I follow, I will follow the footsteps of Joseph. I follow in the footsteps of Jacob.

God is in control, not the Devil

For an example of Jacob, he wanted badly to get a blessing from his father. He desired to be the firstborn son. Do you want to get this blessing too? After receiving the blessings from his father, Jacob’s circumstances had worsened, he was expelled from his family. He began his journey to a very remote place and finally reached his Uncle Laban’s place. Do you know what had happened? His uncle bullied him for 20 years. In these 20 years, he suffered tremendously.

Many people interpreted the Bible as if Jacob had tricked his father, and that this was the reason why he was cheated by his uncle. No, that is not what the Bible is telling us, and it is also not the way to interpret the Bible. Unfortunately, many pastors interpreted it in that way. That was the time God was working in him. God had done a wonderful job. When things get worse, so what? Living in this world we are not going to have a peaceful life with the devil. We are not going to back down; we are going to combat against the devil and fight against the strongest enemy in this world.

At the moment we start the battle against the strongest enemy in the world, do you know what will happen? The enemy will chase after us and find any opportunity to kill us. The enemy wants to put us in a difficult situation but let me tell you: “The devil is not the one who decides. God is the one who decides. God is in control. The devil is not in control, but God is. Do you have faith in God?

God’s revival is a group of fighting warriors

When I started the church, I had to face all kinds of music. Before starting a church, I had a very good working environment job with a high salary, but I lost my job. At that time, I thought it was a curse, but no, it was God’s work; he was working in me. Even though I lost my job, I knew God was still in control. In the past, I was facing all kinds of challenges, even financial challenges and I was struggling a lot in my heart. I attended a meeting, and a prophet laid his hands on me. We did not know one another, and he prophesied to me: “My dear brother, you are moving in the dark tunnel, a very long, very long tunnel. I said to myself, "Oh my God, how come the tunnel is so long?" Then he said, "At the end of the tunnel, you will see the glory of Almighty God.” Wow. How encouraging was that? It was very encouraging, as I was moving along, in the dark tunnel, day after day. I tried to control myself from asking the question: “How long it is going to be?” I believed that day would come, and I will see the glory of Almighty God. I had struggled a lot with the hope to see Almighty God’s glory, but still marched forward.

Sometimes, I looked at other pastors, who have also started a church, and their congregation grew from 100, to 1000, then 10,000. I was awed by their numbers but later I understood, God has a totally different plan. When I was studying the bible, I realized that 10, 20 thousand was not a revival at all. Do you know where I got the conclusion? In Jerusalem, the Apostle Peter preached, and gathered 3000 to 5000 people turned to The Lord. I am very good at studying and I was a top student the whole way. When I studied the Bible further, I realized that when the number of believers increased, problems would also start to arise. They would be fighting for food. And they were not believers, but rather, they were like strange animals. That was not called a revival.

I prayed a lot to God, and I told God, I do not want this kind of revival. I wanted to have a church full of fighting warriors, where everyone is a descendant of Jacob as well as carrying the character of Jacob. Everyone carried the character of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. I wanted to be there. I wanted to be Joseph. I wanted to be Jacob and I wanted to have a full house of Jacob. And it is happening now. I believe that in the church, everyone should have Jacob and Joseph's characteristics. A character of winning the spiritual battle, defeating and trampling down the devil. Even Satan will kneel himself before us and God will let our enemy be our footstool, under our feet. I am having this kind of faith; I am not boasting about myself, but I am boasting about how amazing our God is. For many years, I was struggling, but today I do not have regrets for becoming the servant of our Almighty God.

Increased hardship does not deter God's plan.

Do you know what had happened? The Israelites faced an order from the slave driver: "I'm not going to give you the straw, but you have to make the same amount of brick." And the Israelites, their elders, and their foremen went to appeal to Pharaoh. If you were, suppose the Israelites or the foremen, what would you do? Fear not, so what? I cannot deliver the result, and I'm going to get out of this stupid place! You are Pharaoh. You are the king of Egypt; so what? I am the servant of Almighty God. The battle will be over, and the game will be over, and I will stay victorious. Your son, the firstborn of King of Egypt, and of every household of Egypt will be killed by the Lord.

Two types of people - faith or faithless

No one will stop us from serving the Lord. This group of Israelites, most of them died in the desert. They are not the people who gain access to the promise of Almighty God. There are only two groups of people: One group of people had faith in the Lord, and they will always gain access to the promise of Almighty God. Then another group of people, they even came up from Egypt and God set them free, but they cannot gain access to the promise of Almighty God.

What kind of person do you want to be? The question is very obvious. At that time, they blamed Moses. They are very capable of having no faith, and they are also capable of blaming Moses and Aaron. But they are very weak in faith. They do not know that it is God working. They do not know their ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were even telling the story about Abraham. They were telling the story of Isaac, and they were telling the story about Jacob and Joseph. But they do not know them, and they do not share the character of these faithful people. These men of faith.

Blaming game

Moses is facing the kind of face, the long face, like a "papaya face". (Singapore colloquial of an unhappy face). "Papaya face" or the very long face of the Israelites against Moses and Aaron. And then they say: "May the Lord look upon you and judge you." Ah, they also know the Lord? Do they know the Lord? And they said, may the Lord judge you --- judge what? You have made us a stench to the Pharaoh and put a sword in their hand to kill us. How horrible can that be? God wants to save them, but they say their enemy will kill them. Is that so? No. God is in control.

And Moses returned to the Lord and said, "Oh Lord, why have you bought trouble upon these people? Is this why you sent me? Ever since I went to Pharaoh, to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon these people, and you have not rescued your people at all." Is this Moses? He was facing a situation like this. But, of course, God is not calculative about this kind of response. God is still moving forward. You know what God says: "For the sake of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, I will carry out my plan."

Sharing the glory of God in victory

What kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to be the kind of Israelite who died in the desert in the end? Or do you want to be a man of faith? You want to be a man of faith and exercise your faith exactly as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. No matter what kind of situation it is; whether it gets worse or better. We hold onto the faith in our Lord and God; the Almighty God will fulfill his plan in you and me, sharing his glory among us.

A battle has started the moment you wanted to go into the plan of Almighty God, the salvation of Almighty God. The moment you want to go into the plan, that God has in you, the battle will start with your enemy. Who is your enemy? The enemy is the Pharaoh. The enemy is the Devil. The enemy is Satan. Therefore do not forget they are, the most potent enemies in the world. Do you have the faith to stand in a victory?

Fear not! God is still in control. And that's why I trust him, and that is what a man of faith should have. So I encourage all of you. In one way or the other, you will face a challenge against the Devil, but never mind. One day I will defeat the enemy, because God will help me defeat the enemy. And God will put the enemy, even Satan, under my feet to become my footstool. So what? I am the son of Almighty God. I am the child of Almighty God. I am the one who trusts in the Lord. And I will serve my Lord, the God Almighty, with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength. When we face a cancer patient, I know God will work. God will work through my hand. We lay our hands on the sick, and the sick are healed. They will be healed because of the promise of our Almighty God. If the first time you lay hands, it didn't heal, lay another time. If not cured, never mind. There will be one day when God will heal them. I will fight again with the Devil. And I see a lot of miracles following me.

Testimony of miracle

I share with you a miracle: A person suffering from lung cancer. Lung cancer usually takes lives away after three to four months, if you study the mortality trend carefully. And this cancer patient is so weak, lying in bed for two weeks and couldn't even get up. So I prayed for her and she vomited a lot. And then she recovered and could go to the field to her work as a farmer. They go up and down because her house, is a two-story farmhouse. She tidies up all the family chores and other household work.

She lived for a year. Sometimes farmers are not knowledgeable, and are very calculative. They have their daily problems, with family and other issues. Later she trys to commits suicide by drinking the poisonous pesticide. She drank a bottle of pesticide; also called insect killer. And the whole house was full of the pesticide smell. And her daughter, standing beside her, called me up. She said: "What am I going to do?" I asked her to lay her hand on her mother and pray, and she returned to life. She came back to life and became very lively again. She vomited out the greenish poisonous liquid.

Be the man of faith

Can you imagine drinking that kind of poison, and she still comes back to life? And not because she drank the poison for the Lord. She drank the poison because of, you know, all the "nitty-gritty" matters. She came back to life. She was a lung cancer patient. But after a while, she came back. She said: "I'm going to leave. I'm not going to be in your church anymore." So she left. A week later, she died. And I suddenly realized that God prolonged her life, it was not because of her sickness. It's for the sake of the man of faith. A group of people like us. How wonderful can that be? I know God is mighty. He is a powerful God. You are probably in the cycle of starting a battle to deal with your problems. Let me tell you. If things get worse than they should be, that's how it should be.

Things getting worse don't matter. Our faith will not be shaken, and you and I want to follow in the footsteps of the men of faith, like Abraham and Jacob and Joseph. And you will experience the glory of Almighty God. In the end, you will surely see the victory. May the Lord bless all of us.

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