“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” [1 Peter 5:10, KJV].
For years, the Israelites had enjoyed freedom, prosperity, and growth in the land of Egypt until “A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He spoke to his people in alarm, “There are way too many of these Israelites for us to handle. We’ve got to do something: Let’s devise a plan to contain them, lest if there’s a war they should join our enemies, or just walk off and leave us” [Exodus 1:8-10, MSG]. Centuries prior to that, God had made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would journey to a foreign land, but after a while would be made slaves. He also made a promise to Abraham that this bondage would not be forever, but he would set them free and take them into a land they could call their own. From the time God made this promise to Abraham, God’s Word came to pass as He has said, with Joseph becoming prime minister and bringing his family into Egypt during the famine.
Years later when Joseph died, the Israelites became enslaved just as God had told Abraham, and it happened in the time frame God had prophesied. Before this, the Israelites were comfortable in Egypt and had no thought of leaving there. But when they became enslaved, they cried out to God for him to deliver them. The Bible says, “many years later the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God: God listened to their groanings. God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw what was going on with Israel. God understood” [Exodus 2:23-25, MSG]. Can God see and understand when we are going through challenges, as in the case of the Israelites? Can He remember His promises to us during suffering and adversity? Or is God forgetful like man and oblivious to us in such difficult times?
The intent of the Israelites being in slavery was not to destroy them; God had a plan of redemption for them. God is faithful, merciful and kind. Even during the storm, He has a plan to calm the winds and storms. The only challenge is that sometimes we give up and give in too quickly, to see the mighty hand of God at work. We allow the weight of the situation to overwhelm us such that we choose an Ishmael over the Isaac God promised us. We make decisions for God, instead of trusting and waiting on Him to do what He has promised to do. We figure He is moving too slow or His plan doesn’t fit what we imagined it would be. So, we take on the reins of our lives, fixing our own destiny. However, God’s plan is that “after you have suffered a little while, our God, who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you his eternal glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever” [1 Peter 5:10, TLB].
Just as He had promised, God delivered the Israelites from slavery with such might that it wrought great havoc to the Egyptians, including their army. As the Israelites sojourned to the promised land, fear and terror gripped the people and lands they traversed in, for they had heard about how God delivered them. That is what God does for us after we have “suffered a little while”. He makes us so strong that the fears, addictions, worries, and things that used to easily unsettle us, no longer have the same effect. We would have developed patience and greater trust in God. We would have become immovable and unshakeable in the face of adversity because we know that the same God of all grace, who was faithful to keep us through will do the same again. Indeed “we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a shared feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liability to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it]” [Hebrews 4:15-16, AMPC].
Do you find yourself in need of help or in trouble? Go ahead, boldly draw near to the throne of grace and receive ALL the help you need, because we serve a God of ALL grace!