Exodus 6:2-5 God also said to Moses, “I am the LORD. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, where they lived as aliens. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are enslaving, and I have remembered My covenant.
There was a day when commerce seemed so much easier. Opportunities abounded and you and I were in a constant state of gratitude as we all raced to keep pace with the world’s flourishing economies. The formulas for success and prosperity we all embraced seemed to be working because everything was working. Yet, something was out of God’s order and we knew it, but we were all running so fast that what was actually abnormal had become “normal” to us. Whether we recognize it or not, we have experienced a change of seasons. Make no mistake about it, God changes the seasons. He doesn’t bring change because He thinks we need something new to keep us engaged; He changes things for His strategic purposes.
Let me offer a different perspective to you. We are never simply victims of the economic downturns in our respective nations, because we are citizens of a Kingdom government and its economy. You have the privilege of being a participant in a new season of the economics of the Kingdom. The principles of Kingdom Economics were laid out clearly in scripture and they are timeless – no upgrades are needed. Our understanding of their relevance and functionality is new. This is a day for piercing evaluations of our business conduct, our personal lives, and our sense of security. However, God is not a passive spectator in the economic challenges the world is facing. We are in a historical moment of transition to a new season. You and I must understand what is taking place and how we can fulfill our role and Exodus 6 will give us a key.
A New Revelation of God’s Character
Moses had nothing on his job resume that would indicate he had specific qualifications for the role as deliverer of a nation. Nonetheless, God sent him back to Egypt as His representative to declare there was a new season coming for His people. For the first time in generations the people embraced a glimmer of hope because of the words of Moses. You know the story; Moses went before Pharaoh to declare what God had spoken and Pharaoh promptly added more burdens. Under the crushing weight of those burdens, their hope disappeared, and the 80 year old man with a shepherd’s staff and a message of freedom was now scorned as the culprit. They had learned to cope with the abnormal life of oppression and it had become “normal” to them. In Moses frustration at what appeared to be an aborted attempt at the mission of his life, God spoke the following: ‘I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name the LORD(Yahweh-the redemptive name of God) I did not make myself known to them.’ God went on to say, He heard their groanings and He remembered His covenant. Change was coming.
The Hebrew names of God reflect various elements of His nature and character. God was telling Moses that to the patriarchs He revealed one element of His nature, El Shaddai – God Almighty. However, by the name He was about to reveal to Moses’ generation, He was not yet known – Yahweh, Redeemer. When God wants to change things, He reveals more of who He is to His people. No generation yet born, has known the full revelation of the “I AM”. We think we have known Him, but we continually underestimate Him. Moses’ generation was no different.
Consider that the Jews had lived in Egypt for over 400 years; for generations their lives had been filled with oppression and slavery. Fathers and grandfathers lived under that yoke of bondage, and it must have seemed that there was no hope for their sons and daughters to expect anything different. Yes, there was some vague expectation of deliverance and a promised land, but for a family in survival mode, that was a dream for another day.
Survival Mode and Short Term Thinking
People in survival mode can only think short term. I’m sure praying people were saying “God, where are You? Have You forgotten us?” Imagine the heartbreak of a father watching his young children in forced labor doing the work of grown men. Yet, this was life as a Jew in Egypt in those days. These conditions still exist in many nations today. Oppression and slavery have always been a byproduct of the world’s system that Jesus spoke about, no matter what the generation. The prevailing system of that day was one of enslavement and oppression and it is still the same today. Yet the system that God had prepared for His people was one of freedom.
It is revealing that in Moses’ frustration over his apparent failure, God spoke to him again. Allow me to paraphrase; “It doesn’t matter what Pharaoh says; it doesn’t matter if the people believe you; I am going to display My sovereignty because of My compassion for My people and My covenant with them!” Moses must have been emboldened by these words, so he tried again. Yet Exodus 6:9 says the following, “So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.”
The Hebrew word for despondency means “shortness of breath”. These people were working so hard under the bondage of this system of slavery and oppression, they simply could not hear the message of freedom and deliverance that Moses was bringing. They were laboring to keep pace with the demands of an unforgiving system and were locked into meeting their daily quotas. God’s people were in survival mode, and survival mode forced them to think short term. Yet in spite of their survival mode, God displayed His sovereignty, the Passover took place and a new season of history began.
How does this apply to us today? We would all agree that seismic shifts are taking place economically, governmentally and politically. Power bases appear to be shifting and believers seem to have less influence in world affairs. Have we become irrelevant, as some are saying? I think not! Many of these changes are disruptive and troubling, but you can be assured that God is at work. You and I live in one of the most exciting times in history. We need to recognize God’s hand and understand what takes place when He changes seasons.
Marketplace leaders tend to be productive people, yet we have continually underestimated God’s sovereignty. We are in the beginning of a season when God is about to display a new dimension of His sovereignty. That display will produce tangible results in economies and governments around the world. Economies and governments function for people and people are at God’s heart. You have not been forgotten or overlooked, but you are being positioned. To flourish in good economic times is not supernatural, because anyone can do that. Flourishing in challenging economic times is supernatural. We become more acutely aware of the reality of His sovereignty in challenging times. If you are a leader in any capacity, you have to understand the times, stay flexible and respond to what God is doing. We are in a season of change and it is important that you and I listen to His voice and move accordingly.
The Undeniable Realities
In my view, the undeniable reality is that we are in challenging economic times around the globe. Some may feel the economic pressure more than others, but these are difficult times for many in the world. There is also another undeniable reality that is functioning simultaneously, and that is the reality of the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke about over 150 times in the New Testament.
In recent years, we have all become more aware of the move of God in the marketplaces of the world. Clearly, it is the Kingdom being established in the world of commerce and government. We are seeing banks are being established on Kingdom principles; businesses and investors are functioning more with prophetic insight than ever before. Leaders in commerce and government are standing unashamed for biblical principles of integrity and honor. We are on the cutting edge of something way beyond a Sunday School class on Marketplace Ministry. Battle lines are being drawn for those who stand for righteousness and justice in commerce and those who live by the systems of the world. Leaders, both young and old, are coming out of the shadows and into a new realization of God’s age old plan economics. He is restoring the ancient paths of the Kingdom economy that were so clearly established in the Torah. We are part of a worldwide movement that is in the beginning of a shift into a new season.
The Implementation Stage
Whenever there is a move of God, He will first raise up the apologists who begin to define and clarify the validity of what is taking place. The next phase produces new leaders who bring a deepening of the original principles and the implementation phase begins. In my view, we are entering that implementation point of history. It sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Yet, it requires that you and I respond to the hunger that God creates in us to move into a new season of liberty.
You have undoubtedly heard leaders refer to this new season as the Kingdom Age. When He changes seasons, He creates a hunger for more of Him in the hearts of people. Sometimes that hunger begins when we become discontented with the status quo. You and I begin to ask questions like “Is there more to this life in Christ?” When you respond to this stirring, you move forward into the new things God is doing. Your hunger is replaced with the joy of discovery, life takes on new purpose, and we are renewed. The hunger is what moves us to a deeper relationship and the new season.
The Cost of Choosing Predictability
You also are free to say, “Thanks God, but I’m comfortable. This has always worked before and it is predictable.” The byproduct of this decision is that life gets stagnant and difficult, routine sets in, and we begin the paralyzing process of short term thinking and living ordinary lives. We continue doing what we have always done because it is familiar and we never move into what God has for us. We may dream about how things could be different, but different is unknown, so we cling to the routine. Breaking the short term thinking cycle takes leadership; Moses proved this. This is not only true with individuals, but with organizations, governments and entire nations.
Crisis and chaos have always been an incubator for new leadership with fresh ideas. It is clear that we are in a season of global economic chaos. Could it be that you are the new kind of leader who has been formed and nurtured in this incubator?
In this new season, you and I may need to choose to feed our hunger for the things of the Master, rather than our desire for predictibility. This is a day be close to Him, but the benefits of doing so, far outweigh the cost of choosing what is comfortable. Join us as we serve God in this new season of change!