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Great expectations

What is needed for a healthy relationship are healthy expectations. Healthy expectations are realistic and formed in connection with an accurate understanding of those in relationship with us. They aren’t too high or too low. Most important, they are the result of seeing others as they really are rather than as we are.

This is also true with God. We form unrealistic expectations because we see God as we are rather than as He actually is. And that’s a problem that’s going away either because none of us are able to see God completely as He is (no matter what they tell you). The very best we can do is strive for a mature understanding. That’s why we have texts like Isaiah 55:8-9; Proverbs 3:5-6 and others that encourage us not to think that we have the Almighty One figured out because we don’t.

Like everyone else, Moses struggled with his expectations of God. When he was forty, “he thought that his own people would realize that God was using him to rescue them” (Acts 7:25). And though the text specifically speaks of Israel’s expectations (per Stephen’s purposes), God was definitely included in that as seen by Moses’ reluctance when God calls him forty years later. He’s had plenty of time to think about things and he no longer wants any part of the deliverance business. “Please send someone else,” he tells God (4:13). The upshot is clear—Moses had his expectations crushed once and that was enough.

Moses seems to have done what most of us would do. Rather than evaluate his expectations of God and realign them, he seems to have brooded over things and blamed God. He named his firstborn son Gershom—saying “I have become a foreigner in a foreign land” (2:22). This is probably the same son referred to in 4:24ff who has not been circumcised and received the sign of the covenant (Genesis 17:11). Moses’ faith is still there (see Hebrews 11:27 which could be referring to the entire forty years in Midian), but he has no desire to be on the front line for God.

The good news is at some point Moses does change His thinking about God. God uses him to deliver His people, give the Law and lead them to the Promised Land. He speaks to Moses “face to face, as one speaks to a friend” (Exodus 33:11). All of this encourages us to pay attention to our expectations of God and always leave room for God’s will to be done. 

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