19 The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.” 20 They met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them, as they came out from Pharaoh; 21 and they said to them, “The Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us stink in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
One of the biggest mistakes that we make sometimes in interpreting our life circumstances is that we assume that God must make our lives easy if we do what is right. Of course, such folly is preached on religious TV and sold in positive-thinking, prosperity-theology books. But such a formulaic explanation for how life works simply does not match the Bible. Job shows us that good behavior does not always equal easy living. Ecclesiastes shows us that bad behavior does not automatically lead to an earthly life of misery—though the end of the book shows us that, eternally-speaking, God will do justice.
Here too, in the book of Exodus, we see a great picture of the truth that obedience to God does not equal a life of instant success and ease. Moses obeyed God. He followed God’s commands pretty much perfectly. Look what happened. Instead of everything falling into place, Pharaoh makes life miserable for the people of God. Moses watches his obedience to God lead to the people of God turning on him and calling for God to judge him and Aaron for making their lives difficult.
God does not promise us ease of life for obedience. Success, at least as the world defines it, does not always accompany following of the commands of God. Some pastors who preach the word of God will see smaller, not larger, congregations. Some workers who refuse their bosses’ orders to do immoral things will lose their jobs. Some wives who follow God’s commands will have rotten husbands who take advantage of them. Some missionaries will spend years on the field and see no converts.
The thing you want to grasp here is that obedience to God is more important than the results that such obedience brings in the here and now. We are made to live for eternity. We exist to give God glory. It glorifies God when we are faithful to him, even if that faithfulness does not lead to earthly success. It is not certain that we will get what we want on earth through obedience. However, it is a certainty that believers who obey God will never lose their reward.