There was no guarantee that Israel would take their freedom, even if Moses secured it for them. None. He simply could not know how the people would react. And early in his campaign, it was clear they were not reacting favorably. (How could they, when every time Moses asked Pharaoh for freedom, their slavery became more and more of a burden?)
But this is where God steps in.
Now, remember - this was not Moses. Moses didn't keep pestering God about convincing the people. Moses only asked God to make his own mission fruitful, to give success to the calling that God had put on him. How long, Lord, until You finally break Pharaoh's hard heart and he will let Your people go? Moses became single-minded about the work to which God had called him - Israelite support or no Israelite support.
He trusted that if God was going to call him to this thing, then God was going to work out all of the details.
And work them out, He did.
See, that series of plagues we're all so familiar with - frogs, gnats, locusts, blood, hail, murder - they weren't just for the Egyptians to witness the power and glory of God; they were for the Israelites, too.
Israel might have lived in Goshen, but they worked in Egypt. Every morning, they got up and went and saw the absolute devastation of the land that held them captive. And every evening, they went home and saw that their land remained lush and beautiful, completely untouched by the darkness that fell over Egypt.
We think that it took as many plagues as it did to change Pharaoh's heart, but I think the truth is that God used as many plagues as He did to convince His own people. So that Israel would see His power and glory. So that His people would be ready to follow Him, to go with Him wherever He wanted to go....because they could see, clearly, how He was already taking care of them.
If someone is taking care of you, you don't let them just move on without you. You want to be wherever they are. I believe God used those plagues to convince His people that they wanted to be where He was.
After 400 years of slavery, that's something that's too easy to forget.
But the same is true with us. If we, like Moses, are called to something by God, it doesn't matter if the people of God are with us right away or not. There might even be pushback.
If we stay consistent, maintain our integrity, keep pushing forward and keep pursuing that thing that God has called us to, I believe that God will show up and make it so unmistakable to anyone watching that He's involved in this that they can't help but want to be part of it, too.
So many good ministries start out this way.
So many good ministries start out as crazy ideas with a lot of pushback and one person who says, no, this really is on my heart, and I want to at least try it. And then, in trying it, it's clear that God is doing something amazing, so a few more persons come on board. And then a few more. And a few more after that. And all of a sudden, you've got a ministry that is not just doing good in your community, but it's become a hallmark of your church. Twenty years from now, someone might look back and say, "Remember when we thought that was a bad idea? I can't believe how powerfully God showed up through it, and now, it's one of the greatest things we've ever done."
I can't guarantee overnight success. I can't guarantee success in your lifetime. What I can say is that if God is calling you to it, He will show up in it. That much, I can guarantee.
And when God shows up, it's really hard for the people of God to keep turning a blind eye for long. His presence, His power, His glory are so unmistakable that it would be stupid not to go along with it.
No one who saw the destruction in Egypt wanted to stay in Goshen. Not when that kind of God is on the move.
So shall it be for the rest of us who encounter, and persevere through, The Moses Problem.