“One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people. Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, ‘Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?’ The man said, ‘Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?’ Then Moses was afraid and thought, ‘What I did must have become known.’ When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.” — Exodus 2:11-15 (NIV84)
God never promises that if we do the right thing the path before us will flow smoothly. As a matter of fact, many biblical people’s lives seemed to get rougher after they chose to do the right thing. So what is God doing? Take Moses, for instance. What inner turmoil he must have lived with. He knew that he was a rescued Hebrew boy. He must have wondered about his family and his people. As he got older, he must have learned much about the Hebrews but knew he wasn’t one of them anymore. He was not just raised as an Egyptian, he was raised in the palace of Pharaoh himself. How conflicting it must have been to live the way he did while his people suffered under horrendous treatment.
One day it all came to a head. Moses witnessed an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrews. It was all he could take. Already feeling led to help his people, he killed the Egyptian in a fit of rage and buried him in the sand. Word about what Moses did began to spread among the Hebrew people. When he questioned two Hebrews fighting the next day, he was asked whether he was going to kill one of them, too. Moses, after saving one of his own people, faced the skepticism of his own people. If that weren’t enough, Pharaoh found out and wanted to kill Moses. Within days, Moses ran away and found himself in Midian sitting at a well. So, Moses did something right by defending his own people, and look where he ended up. You can imagine him at the well wondering, “Lord, what are you doing to me?”
Ever been in this position? Are you in that position now? Well, you’re not alone. Many people in the Bible found themselves facing negative effects for participating in what seemed to be a good cause. Consider Abel, Joseph, King David, Peter, and the Apostle Paul, to name just a few. So what is the lesson? Walk by faith and not by sight. God will work through the negative response to your good act. He will make sure that your good work is never done in vain. Our God, remarkably, can take bad situations and make them good.
Doing the right thing may not seem to pay off, but be assured it always does!