Weekly Devotion – Exodus 3:18

Published 10:43 am Sunday, March 19, 2023

By Mike Caton

Exodus 3:18, “‘The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.’”

This seems like an amazingly simple plan. Go and talk to the elders, the leaders of the Israelites, tell the everything that has happened to you, tell them you are coming to lead them out of their bondage, tell them you are taking them to the Promised Land, and they will believe you. We understand it is not really Moses doing all these things, it is God working through Moses to accomplish these things. And there is no indication Moses was trying to make it seem any other way. The thing God wants Moses to understand here is the elders will listen to him, believe him.

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Then they are to go to the king of Egypt and tell them God has told them to take a three day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices. I have always wondered about this: God does not want them to take a three day journey, he wants them to leave Egypt permanently, God is about to lead them to their new homeland. So, what is this all about? There can be no doubt of what God’s ultimate intention is. But sometimes, people respond better to small steps than to the whole story at one. It will become clear in the next verse that God knows exactly what pharaoh’s response is going to be. And God knows exactly what he is going to do in response to pharaoh’s hard heart.

But what about the Israelites themselves, what would they think about leaving Egypt for good? They have been there for 400 years, and much of that time has been in brutal slavery. For them to suddenly be freed, to have a land and a nation of their own, would be beyond their imagination. They would have no idea how to deal with that situation, as much as they might long for it. So, maybe God is only giving them a glimpse of what he has in store for them. If (or maybe I should say since) you are growing in your faith, you are doing things now that you never dreamed of when you first became a Christian. And God did not spring all of those things on you at once, he (and his people) led you along, gave you small opportunities to serve, helped you grow and mature in your faith. And so, now you are farther along that path. But it was not one huge leap it was a series of small steps.

Think now where you are in your faith. And imagine where God wants you to be. And consider the steps you need to be taking. We need to thank God he uses us where we are now, but he is always leading us to greater things.

Father, help me grow in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works full time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.