What Exodus Teaches Us About Navigating Change

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What Exodus Teaches Us About Navigating Change

Change is often difficult; it can be exciting and stressful at the same time. In Isaiah 43, the prophet addressed the changing circumstances facing the exiled Israelites: their army had been scattered, their nation destroyed and the situation around them seemed hopeless. In this frightening time of change, God reminded them through the prophet Isaiah: “fear not, for I have redeemed you”, “do not be afraid, for I am with you”. God was with them, and promised to provide for his people.

God didn’t just reassure his people, he also declared a new thing in Isaiah 43.

A new thing is needed because things have changed – Israel is in exile, their old city is gone and a new city must be built. When God is doing a new thing, we must not get in the way by staying invested in how things used to be. God calls us to constantly adapt to the changes we face, and in doing so, we keep his message of hope fresh and our trust in him secure.

The Bible is one story after another about navigating change. When God brought Israel out of Egypt, (beginning in Exodus 12) it was a big change for the people.

When enslaved, they at least had a roof over their heads and food to eat in Egypt. After they crossed the Red Sea, they were nomads, with no defined sleeping place or food source. It was frightening and unnerving, and the change was almost too much to bear. They grumbled at God, and as a result they wandered the dessert for 40 years and and entire generation was kept from entering the Promised Land.
We see from the Israelites’ experience that in order for something new to begin, something old has to end. It’s hard to imagine grumbling against God when he brought us out of slavery, but give it a little thought: we’ve all grumbled at change, even good, healthy change. Even when changes are good, like a move, a marriage, a promotion at work, or a baby, we still lose what we leave behind and we should remember those things and give thanks for God’s goodness in the change. Israel didn’t take time to think about leaving Egypt and what they would lose as they followed God. They just left, and once they had safely crossed the Red Sea, they couldn’t let go of the past or see God’s faithfulness. They compared everything to their old way of life; they were stuck in their minds, not trusting God for their future and to see them through this scary change.

Change is inevitable. Change will come even when we do our very best to hold things stable.

We can’t control what life throws at us. Often, we have no power over the changes or disasters in our lives, and we must lean on God to direct and guide us. Times of change are uncomfortable and many of us are likely to try to rush through it and start something new. Instead, let’s ask God what he has to teach us in the changes of life. What can we learn and how can we grow? Once we’ve learned those lessons, we’re ready for a new beginning.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Read an earlier post by Amy here.

About The Author
Amy Hemseri-Sabala
Amy Hemseri-Sabala
Hi, I'm Amy. A few years ago, I left a successful business career to pursue her ministry call and earned a Masters in Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. I now serve Church Resource Ministries as their Vice President of Finance & Administration. I'm currently seeking a pastoral call in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and serving on the board of directors of the Birkman Foundation. I am so grateful for the guidance of God in my life, and I'm passionate about mentoring and discipleship. I'm also the proud mom of my grown son, James, and am working with my golden retriever, Spice, to become certified as a therapy dog. I love my home and life in Huntington Beach, California, and delight in traveling internationally whenever possible.
73 Comments
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  • Joyce Thacker Mitchell
    October 31, 2013 at 6:45 am

    YES AMEN

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  • Kay Emery
    October 31, 2013 at 7:56 am

    Yes.

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  • Linda Solum Zander
    October 31, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Yes!!

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  • Teresa Boutwell Childs
    October 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    a better question would be, do I ever NOT struggle with change!!!

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  • Linette Sherrod
    October 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    NO, CHANGE IS GOOD. AND CAN BE GOOD FOR THE THE MIND, HEART AND SOUL~AMEN~

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  • Linda Dixon
    November 2, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    The older I get, yes I do. But One thing that will never change (Praise God) – is His Love.

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  • Jan Dorinski
    November 11, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Please hurry!

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  • Marthanna Britt
    November 11, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    HAPPY I LOVE HIM VERY MUCH

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  • Ana Natal
    November 11, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    HAPPY HE WILL END THE MESS, THAT WE HAVE NOW

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  • Judy Miller
    November 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    AMEN

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  • Sandy Cryder
    November 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Amen!

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  • Lois Rae Haggard-Price
    November 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Blissfully awaiting, helping others in the mean time…

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  • Scarlett Hutchinson
    November 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    AMEN

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  • Dianne Smith
    November 11, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Amen

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  • Craig Foley
    November 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm

    Can;t be soon enough

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  • Michelle Reed
    November 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you, GOD! Amen

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  • Lori Beebe Brocious
    November 11, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Amen

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  • Naomi R Campbell
    November 11, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    I believe it is sooner than we think.

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  • Carla Walker
    November 11, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    Amen!!

    0
  • Harry David Travis
    November 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Come quickly Lord Jesus…come quickly

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  • Evelyn Martin
    November 11, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I’m going home !!

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  • Stephen Therey
    November 11, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    amen

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  • Imogene McNeal
    November 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I can’t wait for Jesus to come back to get us.

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  • Katrina Terry
    November 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    Amen

    0
  • J Denise Leggett'Parker
    November 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Happy

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  • Lena West
    November 11, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    hopeful

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  • Nancy Barrett
    November 11, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    come quickly Lord Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Gerald Freeman
    November 11, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    COME LORD JESUS!!!

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  • Patricia Sandritter Unger
    November 11, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Amen

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  • Rebecca Morgan Larson
    November 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    EXCITED!!!! Even so Lord, come soon!

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  • Alice Faye Woods
    November 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Amen

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  • Vivian Palmer Harvey
    November 11, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    yes..

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  • Deborah Richard Sledge
    November 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Yes Come Lord!

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  • Doris Preston
    November 11, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Amen! Praise God!

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  • Christine Smith Bangert
    November 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I’m ready!

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  • Evelyn Skinner
    November 11, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Praise the Lord and what a happy day it will be.

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  • Manuel Bonilla
    November 11, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    amen

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  • Cindy Nagy
    November 12, 2013 at 2:41 am

    AMEN

    0
  • Elizabeth Thurow
    November 12, 2013 at 4:13 am

    amen come quickly

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  • Joyce Thacker Mitchell
    November 12, 2013 at 4:14 am

    AMEN

    0
  • RevRobert Sexton
    November 12, 2013 at 4:30 am

    Comfort… & Peace..

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  • Peggy Hardy
    November 12, 2013 at 5:27 am

    At peace with Jesus either here or in heaven. Can’t wait to meet him face to face

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  • Maudie Jolly Parker
    November 12, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Ready or not ,Jesus is coming back ,

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  • Teresa Woods
    November 12, 2013 at 6:58 am

    Praying that more people will be saved before it is eternally too late. I have loved ones and friends who are lost and undone, but think they are okay because they have sat under a “feel good” preaching that has taught them nothing. God called our preachers, teachers and ministers to lead and to teach everyone God’s living, true words. Not to lead them astray.

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  • Mary Carmel Smith
    November 12, 2013 at 8:03 am

    let us help all to get ready in their hearts by faith and love

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  • Odessa Mehmood
    November 12, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Amen

    0
  • Linda Dixon
    November 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    It makes me not only feel hopeful, but KNOW – This awesome being that gave it ALL for us who care to know Him . . . I will FINALLY be able to see the face of this God-Man that has a heart that is indescribably beautiful, compassionate, caring and WANTS us to be with Him. Like the song that says “Who am I… that the God of all the earth should care to know me”. . . (that song so gets my heart … and says SO MUCH ) – He has helped me in so many ways of trials, troubles, hard times AND good times – to finally be able to see Him and just hug Him and simply say how much I have appreciated Him – and how much I Love Him back – will be so wonderful to be able to do when I can see Him face to face. “Heart to heart” is a wonderful thing with Jesus !! – – – but I just want to SEE HIM TOO – – and hear in person all that He still has to tell us… “Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, and the heart cannot imagine what the Lord has prepared for those who love Him ” … 1st Corinthians 2: 9 – – – we haven’t begun to know all that we will one day … and I DO Believe it is SOON. I can’t help but get excited about it – – – and at the same time know that I have to keep trying to reach out as much as I can to others as well – – and praying for the ones who haven’t come to believe yet, to have the strength to endure what they wil see or endure, and to make the right choices in God’s eyes. His Son gave it ALL for us – how is it that a person cannot see that . . . Everything is historically recorded . . . Jesus DID live and die just as God’s word says, and was Risen back to life on the third day ! – – He is waiting for “whoever” will believe … John 3:16 – He gave so much – – – !!! – for US – –

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  • Donald Morris
    November 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Relived!

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  • Emma Jean Thomas
    November 12, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Comforting

    0
  • Scarlett Hutchinson
    November 22, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Amen

    0
  • Barbara Ann Squires
    November 22, 2013 at 6:41 am

    sounds like this generation. Parents we must give our Children the foundation of the Lord.

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  • Harold Bray
    November 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

    That’s a picture of our current “generation” in charge of the U.S.

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  • Linda Bozick
    November 22, 2013 at 8:57 am

    Lord Help Us To Help All Generations To Know You…I Pray For All To Turn To You Lord ” The Truth” And The Only Way For( All) To God In Heaven…In The Name Of Jesus Our Savior Amen

    0
  • Mary Carroll
    November 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

    It is every parents responsibility to teach by showing the reverence and acknowledging The Lord. Children learn first by good examples. So if this generation isn’t much for the Lord, that is the generation before fault.

    0
  • Mary Carroll
    November 22, 2013 at 9:46 am

    STOP THE CYCLE. Have you taken your kids to church lately??

    0
  • Rina Loureiro
    November 22, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Amen

    0
  • Akira Tnc
    November 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    the real church are without walls …in our homes we need have a true relationship with God and is what we can share with the next generation till 4th generation !!!

    0
  • Pat Kennedy Copper
    November 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    THIS IS SOOOO TRUE!!!!!

    0
  • Linda Dixon
    November 22, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Live the way we should “In God’s Eyes” – for our children to see. Tell them what we have learned or experienced from the the help of The Lord. Show them Incredible scriptures from God’s word … 1) Isaiah 53: all – – – 2) Isaiah 9: 6-7 – – – 3) John 3:16 – – – 4) 1st Corinthians 15:All – – – 5) Matthew 18:21-23 “The incredible Forgiveness of Jesus ” – – – Tell them in a loving, kind way … of how you have seen people who suffer when they choose to go ways that are not of God . . . and Pray – Pray – Pray and never stop praying knowing God “hears” our prayers.. and will deal with what we have prayed for . (In His timing) – May God bless and help us all

    0
  • Donald C.Vest
    November 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    AMEN

    0
  • Kathy Horton
    November 22, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    amen

    0
  • Charlotte Marie Johnson
    November 23, 2013 at 12:59 am

    No matter how many times you’ve read the book of Judges, please read it again. God can use you for his glory!

    0
  • Nila Cross
    November 23, 2013 at 5:37 am

    AMEN

    0
  • Lilia Coffin
    November 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

    AMEN!!!

    0
  • Dorothy Ingram
    November 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Parents must impress the love of our Savior in to the hearts of the young ones God gave them.

    0
  • Judy Miller
    December 17, 2013 at 6:27 am

    MOSES

    0
  • Ladyg Boudreaux
    December 17, 2013 at 7:56 am

    John 3:16

    0
  • Laverna Terrill
    December 17, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Abraham and the covenant

    0
  • Beth Waymire
    December 17, 2013 at 11:19 am

    Saul to Paul – now that was a real life changing happening! don’t tell me God doesn’t get personal.

    0
  • L Jean Proctor
    December 17, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    The forgiveness of Mary Magdalen, let ye who is without sin cast the first stone.

    0
  • Alexandra Stormes
    December 17, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Naomi’s story with Ruth!

    0
  • Herb Garfield
    December 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    when Ruth chose to stay with Naomi with great conviction, where you go I will go, your people shall be my people

    0
  • Linda Dixon
    December 24, 2013 at 1:41 am

    The story of the man with the crippled hand. I think I love this story so much because it show the compassion Jesus has for us .. and of course the change it made for one man who very much wished for healing. Even though Jesus knew that if he healed this man’s hand … some “religious” leaders would set out to try and go after Jesus (because it was a Sabbeth) and they thought that would be “work” to heal on the Sabbeth … Jesus decided to heal the man’s hand anyway. The Bible says, he looked at the “religious” leaders … and it angered Him that they would rather see this poor man suffer, than Jesus to heal him. Jesus turned around to the man and said “stretch out your hand” … the man did stretch his hand toward Jesus and he was healed. He was so happy to be healed. The Bible says “immediately they left ” (the religious leaders) … and set out to kill Him. What so gets my heart about this story is … Jesus, when He turned to look at these men .. He KNEW what they were going to do if He healed the man’s crippled hand … but Jesus’ compassion for the man moved Him to heal his hand. The Compassionate, kind heart of Jesus is something every person that has ever walked this earth should be thankful for. He loves so much EVERYONE … I would imagine that man whose hand was healed spent the rest of his life talking about this Compassionate man of Nazareth.

    0

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