You know the story. The Egyptians are slaves in Egypt and God has all these really cool promises that he has Moses deliver them. In Exodus chapter 6, verse 9 in the message it says, "But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn't even hear him -- they were that beaten down in spirit...."
Have you ever been so beaten down in Spirit that you can't hear God's message of hope? I think we've all been there. We need to remember, however, that God has a purpose and a plan for us -- and that regardless of how downtrodden we are, listening to that is what can give us hope.
A couple chapters later, God is trying to motivate Pharaoh to let the people go. He has to use force because Pharaoh is playing hard ball and being super stubborn. So God has to go to great measures -- He has to send things like gnats and flies and boils and turn the river into blood and all kinds of other stuff and still Pharaoh is stubborn.
I wish I were the kind of person who always pays attention to God when He's going the easy route of promising future and hope. I wish I weren't stubborn and didn't require figurative flies and gnats to get my attention.
Maybe 2017 can be a year when we all pay attention to the gentle nudging and rely on God's promises of hope regardless of how down trodden we are, so God doesn't have to kick it up a notch.
At least that's my plan.....