Why do we not believe what the Lord has said? Well, if we are anything like the Israelites in Egypt who were treated harshly by Pharaoh AFTER Moses told them God would deliver them, then it is because our humanity gets the best of us. Ironically, the leaders of Israel had seen with their own eyes the miracles that God would do at the staff of Moses and through the words of Aaron in a private demonstration. (Exodus 4:29-31). The result was that “the people believed” (Ex. 4:30).
The first time that Moses told Pharaoh that the people should be released to worship God, Pharaoh punished the people, making their lives miserable. The people did not continue to believe what they had previously seen because their personal circumstances became difficult. They had drawn their own conclusions as to what their deliverance should look like and at the first sign of trouble they assumed that they were wrong to believe.
For the people of Israel in Egypt, believing God meant that he would make their lives physically better, spiritually better, and emotionally better. They did not allow for continued suffering and delayed deliverance. When Moses was assured by God that deliverance was coming, he told the people and their response reflects the human condition: “…but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit.” (Exodus 6:9).
When our spirits are broken we assume that God is not there anymore. We are experiencing what is common to man (1 Cor. 10:13) but we are instructed not to grumble and not to lose heart. What is really happening is the promise is delayed and we cannot see outside of our circumstances…truly, it is unbelief. For if we continued to believe, as if the promise remained, we would not be in despair. What is the right response when our circumstances crumble and the world crashes in on us?? We must believe in our sovereign God no matter what! “Though he slay me, still I will trust in Him” Job says (Job 13:15). Those who trust in Christ are the only ones who can truly endure harsh circumstances and continue to have pure joy because they are the only ones who can cling to a hope in something that IS TO COME. We have the comforter with us now, that is the Holy Spirit, but we also dwell in temporary darkness which seeks to devour us at every turn. Outsiders should give glory to God because they see their fellow humans giving glory to Him in the same evil that befalls them. When our joy is gone and our circumstances have broken our spirit, it means we have lost sight of our faith.
Surround yourselves today with people who have faith in God! Cry out to your father to help your unbelief and do not flail desperately in the pit of despair you are in, but believe that God WILL rescue you out of your circumstances in the time that He chooses. This belief will not get you out of your pit, but will help you accept the pit until the time that God moves you. Our faith is what sanctifies us and shows to the nations who we are…not the removal of negative stimuli and having no problems! Whatever you experience today–God is aware. Our curse is that we cannot see the salvation that lies on the other side of our bad circumstances, but our blessing is that we believe in a God who saves our soul (Matt. 10:28) though our bodies and lives may perish inside of this temporary dwelling.
Do not judge your brothers and sisters for their negative circumstances–help them, encourage them, pray for them. Maybe God has called you to be his hand of mercy and salvation today. If you are not suffering today, do not think it is because of your “holiness”…Paul gives a good warning: “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Each one’s time of testing will come because God does not show partiality. Let us only be ready to turn in faith even though all we want is relief.
Therefore, the remedy for a broken spirit is belief (trust) in a God who allows us to suffer because it will glorify Him (not to mention, ultimately glorify us through our faith). We have to let the suffering wash over us–we have to accept it.
One exception I would add here is demonic oppression/possession. If you are suffering from something that you can identify as not human and seems to drive your thoughts and behaviors into evil and hurtful ways, please consult with a pastor or believer you know is walking with the Lord who can pray with you about these things.
**Based off of today’s reading in Exodus chapters 4-6