Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at how to discern and live out God’s call in our lives. We also saw the power of living in community when it comes to discerning and living out this call. While the discernment and validation of our call is an important piece, at some point we have to start actually living out God’s call.
Just because God’s given us a mission for our lives, it doesn’t mean there won’t be opposition. We have an enemy. John 10.10 tells us that “the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” When it comes to our calling, the enemy’s desire is to steal our joy, to kill our plans, and to destroy our effectiveness.
So far, we’ve seen that God called Moses, along with his brother Aaron, to go to Pharaoh to demand that he set the people of Israel free. And this call was affirmed by all the elders of the nation. Now we’ll look at the action that Moses takes to live out the call: going to Egypt and demanding Israel’s freedom.
Read Exodus 5.1–21.
Pharaoh didn’t respond to Moses by giving up control of Israel and immediately letting the Jewish people go. Instead, he laughed at them: “Who is the Lord, that I should obey Him?” Not only did Pharaoh not let them go, he increased their hardship and labor. This will be true for us when we decide to take up the call God has placed on our hearts. The enemy has weapons that he’ll use to distract and discourage us as we step into God’s calling for our lives.
Question: Have you ever experienced a time when you sought to obey God’s direction in your life, but you sensed the enemy’s opposition? How did the enemy attempt, or succeed, to keep you from following through?
There are five weapons of the enemy that we can observe in the interactions of Moses and Pharaoh. We can learn to watch out for these in our own lives as we seek to fulfill our calling.
1. Doubt—the enemy will use doubt to destroy our faith.
No doubt the response of Pharaoh to their demand left Moses and Aaron second-guessing their mission. Instead of being met with fulfillment of their call, they were met with powerful resistance to it. When things don’t go as planned, we’ll be tempted to begin wondering if we really heard God correctly, or if it was even God that we heard.
2. Busyness—the enemy will use busyness to distract us from our calling.
We saw in verse nine that Pharaoh commanded the slave drivers to make the work of the Israelites harder “so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.” Pharaoh knew that if the people were consumed with their efforts they wouldn’t have time to focus on this call to go and worship God. This is true of us as well. The enemy will attempt to keep us busy in order to distract us from the most important work God’s called us to.
3. Pain—the enemy will use pain to produce despair in our lives.
In addition to giving the people of Israel an impossible amount of work, we read that when the people failed to meet the demands the slave drivers beat them. When we’re in pain, it becomes our primary focus. It’s hard to think of anything else, especially our calling. It’s the enemy’s tactic to bring pain into our lives so we become preoccupied with it and lose focus on our calling.
Satan also has more subtle tactics that he uses to derail us from our calling. As God begins to intervene on behalf of His people and brings plagues against Egypt, we see a shift in Pharaoh’s responses.
4. Compromise—the enemy will use compromise to get us to sell out.
Pharaoh suggested they stay in Egypt and worship God, or that just the men go and worship God. Moses could’ve been tempted to compromise, but that wasn’t what God had called him to. He was called to lead all of the Israelites out of Egypt.
5. Deceit—the enemy will use deceit to discourage us.
In chapter eight, Pharaoh tells Moses that if he can provide relief from the plagues, he’ll let the Israelites go. After Moses prayed and God removed the flies from the land, though, Pharaoh hardened his heart and changed his mind, deciding to keep Israel in slavery. When the enemy fails to distract, destroy, or somehow bring us to despair, he’ll bring out the full-on assault of deceit in an attempt to discourage us from fulfilling our calling.
Question: When have you been tempted to give in and settle for a “good enough” solution instead of God’s best for you? When have you experienced the full-on attack of the enemy in an attempt to knock you off your calling?
There’s no denying that the enemy’s weapons are powerful. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the challenges of fulfilling the calling God has for our lives. But the good news is that He’s given us all the resources we need to combat these weapons and fulfill our callings. Throughout the interactions that Moses and Pharaoh had, we see that God’s given Moses three incredibly powerful resources.
Read Exodus 6.1–8.
1. His Promises—God is speaking His promises into your calling.
When Pharaoh begins to oppose Moses and the people begin to complain about Moses and the abuse his actions brought about, God reminds Moses of His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And then He makes a renewed promise to Moses: “I will bring you out…I will free you…I will redeem you…and I will bring you to the land.” God promised Moses that He would, and He did.
God’s also promised these things to us. He’s promised us that He’ll bring us through the enemy’s attacks on our own lives.
Romans 8.35 and 37 reveals one of the most powerful and encouraging promises of God: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Holding to the promises that God makes to us is necessary to living out His call. This is why it’s so critical that every follower of Christ spends time regularly reading the Bible. We can’t cling to God’s promises for our lives if we don’t know what He’s promised us.
Question: What promise from God’s Word do you most need to hold on to right now? Is it possible that you need to spend more time in His Word discovering His promises to you?
2. His Power through Prayer—God’s power gives us strength to face opposition.
God didn’t just send Moses to Pharaoh as someone who brought plagues and destruction. God also worked through Moses to remove the plagues. Multiple times, we read that Moses prayed and God removed the plague. God used Moses to demonstrate His power.
As much as this was true of Moses, it’s even more true for us as followers of Christ because God’s given us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Read Ephesians 3.14–21.
His power is at work within us to do more than we could ask or imagine. There’s no better way to face the weapons of the enemy than through the immeasurable power of God. For us, that power is accessible through a vibrant and active prayer life. Just as Moses called out to God and the winds shifted and blew the locust into the sea, we can call out to Him and He will shift the winds of opposition away from our calling.
3. His Provision—God’s provision brings forgiveness through the blood of Jesus.
The final plague that God brought against the land of Egypt was the death of every firstborn child in the land. Even though the Israelites were living in Egypt and weren’t completely innocent of sin, God provided protection from death for His people. He told Moses that every household should sacrifice a lamb and place some of its blood on the doorposts of their home. God tells them in Exodus chapter twelve, “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” This sacrifice was called the passover lamb because God’s judgement passed over those covered by the blood.
Just as with Pharaoh, our rebellion and sin requires a punishment of death. But God provided a Passover Lamb for all of us in His son, Jesus Christ. At the same time as Israel remembered the passover provision in Egypt, Jesus gave His life on the cross, shedding His own blood as the provision for our forgiveness. He was our Passover Lamb.
It’s important to remember that Jesus’ sacrificial provision for us didn’t just provide a one-time forgiveness of our sins. Instead, we have continual provision to overcome the the primary weapon of the enemy—our sin—and to live out our calling in His victory!