So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a leader and go back to Egypt.” Numbers 14:4
When I read stories from the Old Testament to the little lovelies they always groan at those crazy Israelites who just don’t get it! The story is always the same…God does something amazing…they thank Him…they begin to grumble and turn away from Him and do something crazy and unfaithful…they get themselves into a pickle…they ask God for help…God helps them because He loves them…and then it begins all over again. My question to them is always the same…do we ever act like the Israelites?
I won’t speak for you but I know I sure do! They cried out, “God deliver us from the Egyptians and this life of slavery.” So, He did, in fine and dramatic style I might add, what with the plagues, the blood on the door posts and the parting of the red sea! I’d like to think if I could have walked through the parted sea I’d be a perfect disciple for life! Or would I? I wonder if I would have joined in with the groaning for bread, and water, and meat just like everybody else. Maybe I wouldn’t have started the grumbling but after enough folks climbed on the bandwagon I suppose if I’m being truthful, I probably would have too. The part of the story that makes me really scratch my head is the part when the Israelites actually wanted to go BACK to Egypt! It was awful there; dangerous, oppressive, ruthless and degrading, yet they still wanted to trade the unknown for the known no matter how awful the known was. That’s crazy talk…or is it?
The desert was God’s way. He had his beloved people wrapped tightly in his arms of compassion but I suppose it wasn’t easy enough or comfortable enough or didn’t look exactly like they had pictured it in their mind so they revolted and turned their backs on Him again and again. Does that sound at all familiar to you? It sure does to me! They were willing to go back to Egypt; to settle for less than God’s plan because it was familiar; awful, but familiar. They knew what to expect and there weren’t any surprises. They didn’t trust and they weren’t all that willing to obey without guarantees, regularly updated timelines and a detailed schedule of events. Rather than hope and wait with obedient trust, they thought it would be easier to hightail it back to Egypt.
So what’s in your Egypt? What are you willing to settle for because it’s familiar and absent of surprises? What are those habits and attitudes you are willing to return to because it’s easier than trusting, obeying and patiently waiting for God’s good work to be revealed? I’m very aware of my shortcomings and weaknesses. I’m completely aware of the way those things trap me like an Israelite slave at the hands of the Egyptians so why haven’t I conquered or abandoned them? I suppose a big part of the reason is because it would be really really hard and I’d have to surrender a lot and it might get uncomfortable so what do I do…I go back to Egypt where I know I’ll be miserable. The right thing to do would be to go back out to the desert, take the Father’s hand and let him lead me through it. Even if the sand is hot and the walk is long I have to trust him to lead me to the perfect people, places and things he has planned. So…what’s in YOUR Egypt?
A Seed To Plant: Take some serious prayer time and ask God to show you the things that are sending you back to Egypt…then ask him to take your hand and lead you in his direction.
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