I had read Exodus 6 and 7. The Holy Spirit took me back to camp on Exodus 6:9. Moses had just told the children of Israel that God was going to bring them out of their distress-filled circumstances. In verse 6 he reiterated God’s words, “…I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”
Why couldn’t they grasp hold of God’s promises when Moses told them? Verse 9 says, “…but they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage.” The Hebrew for anguish meant impatience, or shortness. It conveyed several meanings for spirit. One is the mind, another is the seat of emotions such as anger, or dispositions such as troubled, bitter, and discontented.
Let me take you back to what had happened. Before Moses came they had Egyptian taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. Exodus 1:13 says, “…all their service in which they made them serve was in rigor..” Exodus 2:23 says, “…the children of Israel groaned because of their bondage…” God heard their cry and sent Moses.
After Moses came, Pharaoh gave a harsh command. He deduced that because they wanted to go into the wilderness and worship their God, they were resting from their labors and idle. He gave the edict that they were no longer to be given straw. They had to go out and gather stubble. Yet, the quota of bricks was not reduced.
When we are distressed in our heart, we are tempted to default to unbelief. Our flesh rises up to protest through self-pity, self-focus, impatience, or any number of emotional fillers to deflect the pain.
The pain is present, but the promises seem too far away. When we are emotionally hurting, spoken truth hits the inner heart barriers of unbelief. The desire for immediate relief kicks in. I call it the dark night of the soul.
Think of the caterpillar inside the cocoon. It is dark. There is no relief from the transformation that is taking place. The caterpillar had to die to ‘self’ to make room for the butterfly. The caterpillar melts, and God forms the butterfly from its liquid.
The Lord uses our hard trials as His tool to transform our character. Ephesians 4:22-23 says, “That you put off, concerning your former conduct…” That is what the caterpillar has to do.. Its cocoon days abruptly stop the enjoyment of fresh leaves. Ah, but the butterfly drinks life-giving nectar“…and be renewed in the spirit of your mind.”