Our study today comes from Exodus 18. Please read this chapter.
Based on this passage, how did God make a way for Moses as he faced some difficult circumstances?
Let’s consider this story together. God called Moses into leadership. The nation under his control numbered approximately one and a half million people. Imagine how daunting this task must have been. No one could offer advice to Moses because it was a position no one held before. Moses had no formal education or training, and no course on leadership. For a brief time, he did the best he could.
The people approached their trusted leader for everything. Moses served as guidance counselor, judge, defense attorney, pastor, and mentor. He wore many hats. Over time, though, Moses began to wear down physically, mentally and emotionally. As time went on, Moses became less joyful and more frustrated. He was simply burnt out. Burnt-out is more common in today’s church than we would like to think. God is the one who instituted leadership, but it is not His way for us to carry on in ministry positions when the load becomes too much to handle.
In Moses’ situation, God finally made a way when his father-in-law, Jethro, came for a visit. Upon noticing the frail state of his beloved son-in-law and the huge demands placed upon him, Jethro offered Moses some valuable advice. He instructed Moses to delegate. Delegation is one of the most beneficial qualities of a great leader. Moses then put his father-in-law’s suggestions into practice. Imagine the relief and joy he must have felt. How satisfied Moses must have been when he could finally do the job he was called to do, and he was able to let go of all the other stuff. The nation of Israel would be the ones benefiting from a leader who could now govern with great enthusiasm and determination.
You see, when the road became tough, God made a way—like an oasis in the midst of the desert. Let’s continue to look for those streams that are sure to burst forth at the right time. The time when they are most needed.
How will God make a way in the desert for His people, according to Isaiah 41:17-20? Write out words describing the desert, and words describing the oasis God promised.
Earlier, I suggested we should always look for the streams God provides in the midst of the desert. Several years ago, I noticed an oasis in my own desert—an oasis that gave me incredible hope. My husband and I encountered some difficulty with our son. He started making poor choices. During that time, I clung to the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). And I prayed fervently. One day, Matt moved out of our house and began to slowly distance himself from our family. I can’t tell you how many times I recited, “I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will be not shaken” (Psalm 16:8). In addition to his poor choices, our son also befriended people who were not good influences. One day I called him and asked if he would go to church. He agreed. I found a church not far from where he was living and he got up early on Sunday morning and went. This was an oasis—a beautiful stream in the desert.
Now, several years later, Matt is still struggling in some areas, but he has been reunited with our family. God is working in his heart. He may have rebelled against our lifestyle, but he was not rebelling against his faith. In our previous lesson, we observed Scriptures that would help us “close the gap.” By putting into practice those simple guidelines, we will be more prone to see each stream that God provides. This is hope, my friend.
Now go back go to our previous passage: Isaiah 41:17-20. By examining specifics about these trees, I think God’s oasis will be unveiled a little more. Read each definition carefully.
Biblical Trees – Isaiah 41:17-20
Details about the Tree
|This tree provided excellent timber and was known as a symbol of growth and strength. Its trunk was tall, growing to a height of 70-80 feet. The tree had a beautiful fragrance and repelled insects. The red wood is solid and very slow to decay.|
|This tree possesses strong thorns and its timber was used in the construction of the Tabernacle.|
|A shrub with fragrant leaves and white flowers. This tree with its delicate flowers and berries has a rich, fresh scent.|
|Small rounded orchard tree with flowers that grow olives. This tree is rich in fruit and beauty and symbolizes strength and blessing.|
|A tall tree with long needle-leaves and cones containing seeds. Its timber is workable and used for construction.|
|The wood from this tree was used in the floor and ceilings of Solomon’s Temple, and in the construction of ships.|
|A tree yielding long lasting hardwood. Most scholars believe that the “gopher wood” used by Noah to build the ark was actually cypress wood.|
Scan over the list again, and choose one of these trees. How can this particular tree be an oasis to you right now? How does it bring you comfort? An additional exercise is to write a short prayer to God asking Him to provide a much-needed oasis you have been looking for.
Psalm 107 provides a beautiful picture of some oases that God provided for His people. Look up each group of verses, and write the Desert and the Oasis.
|4 – 9|
|10 – 14|
|17 – 20|
|23 – 30|
According to verses 6, 13, 19 and 28, what did the people do to spur God to provide an oasis? Write down the common words:
“They… ___________ _______ _____ ________ ___________.”
Relate this phrase to your situation right now. Does it show you how you should respond? Explain.
According to John 7:37-38, how can Jesus be an oasis for you and me in the midst of the desert?
Fill in the blanks, according to John 7:37:
“If anyone is ______________, let him ____________ to me and _____________…”
The verbs in John 7:37 mean continuous action in the Greek language. In light of this, what does Jesus actually mean when He says “come to me and drink?”
Relate this response to finding an oasis.
How does today’s lesson provide hope for you?
Well, you’re on the right path, my friend. You’re doing great. Keep up the good work and remember that God honors a faithful servant. He’s calling His children to be students of His Word. Because you have answered that call, His blessings will be poured out upon you and your wilderness wanderings more abundantly. He is smiling upon you right now.
Please pass this along to someone that needs an oasis right now.