Whenever you and I face a challenge in life, we always respond in one of two ways—our way or God's way. Although we know that God's way is best and that He has a will and a purpose for our life, we still choose to do things our way. Dr. Stanley teaches us the best way to respond to challenges and that God's way really is the best way.
GOD’S WAY IS THE BEST WAY
KEY PASSAGE: Exodus 1:7-14
SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE: Exodus 1:22 | Exodus 2:1-25 | Exodus 3:1-22 | Exodus 4:19-20 | Psalm 32:8 | Proverbs 3:5-6 | Isaiah 41:10 | Isaiah 55:8-9 | 2 Timothy 1:7
In every situation, especially challenging ones, we have two options.
We can either respond our way or God’s way. Even though we know that doing what the Lord desires is the best choice, we’re naturally drawn to our own way. Yet God knows everything about us and our situations and has the power to work everything out for our good. Therefore, the only way to experience His best is to follow Him, not our own agenda.
Many scriptural principles are illustrated in the lives of people in the Bible, and Moses offers us an example of both options—doing things God’s way and our way.
While Jacob and his 12 sons were living in Canaan, Joseph’s brothers became jealous of him and sold him into slavery in Egypt. After many years living as a slave and a prisoner, Joseph rose to the position of prime minister. When a famine hit the entire area, Joseph saved his family and brought them to Egypt.
There they increased to a great multitude, and eventually a new king arose who knew nothing about Joseph. He feared the Israelites might turn on Egypt in a time of war so he forced them into slavery and afflicted them with hard labor. But despite his attempts to subdue them, the people kept multiplying.
Moses was born when the king was seeking to kill all the male babies, but his mother kept him alive for three months until she couldn’t hide him anymore. Then she put Moses in a basket, placed it in the Nile River, and stationed her daughter to watch over him. Moses was found by the princess of Egypt who kept him as her own son. She appointed Moses’ mother to nurse him until he was weaned. Then he was raised in the palace as heir to the throne.
When Moses had grown up, he became concerned about the harsh treatment of his people, the Hebrews, and wanted to do something about it (Ex. 2:11-15). But he did it his way, and made several life-changing mistakes. When he saw an Egyptian man beating one of the Hebrews, he rescued the man by killing the Egyptian and hiding his body in the sand.
- He focused on an event rather than the big picture. Instead of considering how to save the entire nation, he focused on one act of cruelty.
- He followed his reasoning. Moses thought the only way to help the Hebrew was to kill the Egyptian.
- He acted on impulse. Moses didn’t pause to think, but responded spontaneously.
- He acted in his own strength. He took matters into his own hands instead of relying on the Lord.
- He acted in anger. His unchecked rage led him to murder.
- He failed to consider the future consequences. Moses didn’t think about what would happen as a result of his actions.
When we do things our way, we’ll make these same mistakes. But if we’re in the habit of obeying the Lord, we’ll recognize that His thoughts and ways are higher than ours, and respond as He desires (Isa. 55:8-9). Walking in God’s ways can become the habit of our lives.
The Results of Moses’ Choice
- He murdered a man.
- He was full of fear.
- He was banished from Egypt.
- He became isolated from his family and the Hebrew nation.
- He became a shepherd.
- He had to think about what he’d done.
- He lost his high position, power, and influence.
- He lived in a desert, while his people were suffering in Egypt, and he couldn’t do anything about it.
When we choose our way over God’s, we too will experience difficult consequences. We’re usually filled with regret and disappointment and face costly consequences for our actions. They hurt not only us but others as well. Even though God’s way isn’t always the simplest, may run against the grain of our desires, and could be painful, it’s always the best option because it fulfills God’s plans and purposes for our lives.
The Prerequisite for Doing Things God’s Way
No one can follow the Lord’s way apart from a right relationship with Him through His Son. We must acknowledge and repent of our sins and believe that Jesus paid our sin debt on the cross so we could be forgiven and enter into a relationship with God as His beloved children.
The Result of Doing Things God’s Way
After 40 years in the wilderness, the Lord spoke to Moses through a burning bush (Ex. 3:1-6). By now, Moses had lost all confidence in himself and could now be used by God to rescue the Israelites His way. When Moses turned aside to see why the bush was not consumed by the fire, the Lord instructed him to go back to Egypt and demand that Pharaoh let His people go (Ex. 3:7-22).
- Moses acted on divine command (Ex. 4:19-20). He obediently followed God’s instructions instead of his own agenda.
- He proceeded on God’s timing, not his own.
- God provided everything Moses needed. Aaron became his spokesman when Moses felt inadequate, and He gave him great signs to perform to convince Pharaoh.
- The Lord banished his fears. He assured Moses that His presence and power would go with him.
- God gave Moses specific directions.
- Moses experienced God’s power in his life. Egypt was a mighty nation, but Moses came in the power of almighty God.
- He saw God’s power working in unusual ways. Moses witnessed the miracles God performed to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage.
- The Hebrews experienced great blessing. They carried away riches from the Egyptians.
- Moses learned God’s ways. He witnessed the effectiveness of God’s way and the futility of his own.
- He learned God could use him in his weakness. He stood before Pharaoh, armed only with a staff, and watched the Lord act on Israel’s behalf.
- God accomplished in a short time what Moses couldn’t do in a lifetime his way. Moses rescued one man, but the Lord set a multitude free without a revolution or war.
When we follow Moses’ example and choose God’s way, we too will learn that He is faithful to accomplish His will through our weakness when we obey Him.
- Can you remember a time you chose to do things your way rather than God’s? What consequences and regrets followed your actions?
- What keeps you from doing things God’s way? Do you tend to respond to situations based on emotions, human reasoning, or impulses; or are you prepared to respond according to God’s will as revealed in His Word?