|Troublesome… SO troublesome… The toiling these days… the many events coming at me… the many and surmounting problems swirling all around me… tugging at my life… challenging me in SO many ways… demanding my time… disappointing me… causing me to err… giving me grief… adding burden upon burden… forcing me deeper and deeper into some trance… some mesmerizing stare.|
See… the life I lead just seems so fragile anymore… so precariously balanced…. and somehow, it tends to lean toward the anxious side of things… the hurtful side of things… the sorrowed side of things… causing me, in itself, to be even the more discouraged… even more the stressed… even more the SURE that I am SO weary from well doing… from trusting the Lord… from being faithful… from holding out here… afraid… scared… lonesome… troubled to the core of my soul… weary… fatigued… so downtrodden.
I cannot help but consider how my life was before I met the Lord…. and began this whole journey… Compared to NOW, it all seemed so normal…. so much closer to nice, then… so much safer, then… easy… settled… quiet… and certainly consistent!! And then, I began to reflect on the massive exodus of the children of Israel… when they were in bondage in Egypt…. and Moses led them out…. to the Promised Land they went… on that sacred journey!
They cried to the Lord, and He heard their cries, huh??
He sent Moses to them… showed the entire Egyptian world just how alive and powerful God really is. And their journey was well on it’s way too. But, even in the middle of all those wondrous miracles… the many, many ways God ‘saved’ them time and again… showed them He was trustworthy… fed them… fought for them… led them… protected them… lighted their way! Such an utter presence of God in their lives…. even then.
And yet, when things were hard for them… they seemed to quickly return to grumbling, and moaning, and complaining… and TOO often, would reflect how things were SO much better…. in their past…. in their Egypt. This really made me think…. made me pray… made me bow my heart in shame… in complete resolve. So many lessons to learn from these ‘wanderers’…. so very many places where God was always in their midst, yet they missed the essence of His leading. His promise for them… His love for them… and His patience for them!
So, I found myself looking back over time… reviewing the WHY as to the reasoning for these children of God to even be in bondage in the first place… to need saving… to finally getting to the place of calling out to their God… to help them… restore their world… save them from this torment… from the utter agony of separation from Him.
And I am remembering that the Israelites were all subdued and intertwined with the Egyptian culture… mostly due to hardships in their country, but certainly as a direct result of the sin and disobedience of each and every king, the priests, and certainly the people themselves. See, slowly but surely over the years, Israel and Judah gave in to the compromise of commingling… of being ‘in the world‘ instead of only being ‘of’ it… and ultimately, the entire nation was embedded within the Egyptian culture… within the Egyptian world.
And the leaders of Egypt saw that these Israelites were multiplying… and fear set into the hearts of the Egyptian leaders. The decision was made for the Israelites to all become slaves… under the Egyptian’s total control… See, in the event a war broke out, the Egyptians did not want/need too many people fighting for the enemy… and they realized that they were quickly becoming outnumbered!! So begins the utter slavery and bondage of God’s people… slowly, it takes over… slowly it consumes your life, and your very soul… without ever really noticing it.
Along with this bondage, Pharaoh also decides to kill all the sons of the Israelites… ordering the midwives to execute the boys as they are being birthed, and allowing the girls to live. God’s much smarter and quicker than all that, and Moses is born, and survives… for at least three months, with his mother. Then, fearing certain exposure, he is placed in that fateful little ark (yet another ark of deliverance), and set into the water at the river’s edge. Sometime later, Pharaoh’s daughter spots him and has him retrieved from the river.
He is wholly and completely accepted into the Pharaoh’s house… and grows to be a fine, strong Egyptian soldier. Some 20-odd years later, Moses witnesses an Egyptian soldier brutalizing one of his own people, the Israelites… and fights and kills the soldier… this ultimately leads to Moses fleeing the country altogether… to avoid certain death himself… to follow God’s plan, oddly enough. Meanwhile, the Israelites have already endured utter hardships at the hand of the Egyptian culture.
At the hands of this world that they so wholly accepted some 30 years previous… as though this new way of life… the popular way of life, was really any salvation at all. Sure, it appears welcoming, and safe… but, the snare DOES close…. The trap was certainly set. But our friend, Moses, goes into the desert and finds a bride, has a family…. Sort of disappearing from that whole bondage scene…. For almost the better part of 40-odd years…. Just tending his flock… nurturing his family… and being steadfast in the Lord.
As you can guess, the bondage and slavery of the Israelites becomes worse and worse… and the people begin to cry out to the Lord… to beg for mercy… to really wail!! You know that wail? That deep down “I really, REALLY mean it” wailing you have when you finally realize the depth of your troubles… the completeness of your loss… the wholeness of your emptiness…. You know that feeling… right??? Well… the children of God were there… and had been there for SO long.
Only, they were really so busy enjoying Egypt, it took a while to really realize it… In fact, it took two generations for them to actually hear the burdens on their own heart… and realize just what it was they sold out to. They sold out to the very opposite of God’s leading… to the very separation from God Himself… such a lonesome and empty place… when you settle down enough to be honest with yourself… to acknowledge that eating leeks and onions is NOT a nice thing… that working with someone over your back is NOT acceptable…
…that someone beating you and your family is completely wrong… this all is NOT a condition of freedom and security… this is not a by-product of love and acceptance… NO!!
On ANY level!!
So… God summons Moses… gets his attention… pulls him back onto the scene… and through many, many interesting chains of events and miracles, Pharaoh finally ‘allows’ the children of God to depart from Egypt… not as bonds-people either. They are wholly and completely lavished with tons of gifts, provisions, and material goods to assist them with the journey they were facing. And off they go… jubilant, for sure… optimistic, at least… hopeful, proud, thrilled, excited, trusting, and certainly with a renewed love and faith for the Lord their God. Their ‘rebirth’ caused SO much energy and passion. So, they travel and travel… some number of days… and finally come to the edge of the great Red Sea… that massive body of water. Unable to cross it, however!!
It does not take long for the people to begin to complain… to point out the obvious… to surrender… and even to begin to consider just how goofy this whole trip really has been… I mean… to go all that way from any civilization… to have such a mass exodus from Egypt… after being such in integral part of that society. And many of them begin to even consider things from that curious angle we all look at things sometimes… you know that angle?? That angle where we consider ‘how is this even possible’, almost NEVER considering where God was in all that… No!
Instead, they begin to consider how it was that they so easily got out of such a horrible and tight bondage. Who was this Moses guy anyway?? REALLY?? Some say he actually grew up in Pharaoh’s house… and that he was just ‘absent’ for all these years… And they begin to doubt… to over-analyze, and not trust… to rethink, and not recommit… to look for tangible answers to spiritual problems!!
And then, it happens… they actually seem to forget just how bad that bondage was… they forget the depth and passion of their cries for God to save them… to redeem them. They even begin to acknowledge that while it ‘was’ bad there… it was at least BETTER than ‘this’… than being here WITH God, and facing ‘the impossible’… facing that huge body of water… wondering just how they were ever going to get across. “Promised Land” my foot… “we’ll do good to see it from here, on a very clear day“, they’d mutter! …and then MORE happens!
Over the horizon, behind them… a great cloud is stirring… and they learn that this cloud is being stirred by the rush of all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh’s mighty army… and that he is bearing down on them there… with no place to go… no weapons… and even if they HAD weapons… they have not assembled an army of warriors… ‘ever’! See… these people are 2nd and 3rd generation slaves. Slaves do not know how to fight…. Have never really been exposed to it… They think a shield is something you use to keep the hot desert sun off your back while you are in the mud fields!!
The pressure really sets in here. See… on the one side, the great waters are no escape… on the other side, the warriors are bearing down on them… Hopeless, either way!! They see this entire scene from a ‘godless’ approach… Looking at the ‘limits’ and not even seeing the opportunities, the promise, the hope… forgetting, only days before, all the majestic moves God made in their midst… forgetting, SO quickly, just how close to them God really was… at all times… leading them… caring and providing for them… watching over them… loving them, certainly!
And they boldly begin to jest at Moses…. To remind him, again, that ‘at least’ in Egypt, they had food, shelter, safety, and security… not all this uncertainty… all this turmoil… and certainly, the apparent foolishness of this very situation. They consider how ALL of Israel will forever be remembered as utterly foolish, for the ‘unbelievableness’ of this very situation. How, nation after nation will forever remember their plight, and folly… Only, for some reason, the Israelites are looking at the loss.
They are defeated before the battle even begins… they have resigned to loss… they have already surrendered to the enemy… without even lifting a sword… without even seeing the enemy close up… weak… feebly minded… hopeless in heart… lost… utterly lost. And, as you know… God moves Moses to part that mighty Red Sea… to allow an escape… relief…. salvation… grace… mercy…. What an AWESOME God!! Leading us, despite ourselves!!
So… wanna go back to Egypt now?? NOT!!
Somehow, when we see those waters part, we don’t give it a second thought, huh?? Sure… we are no longer following God by ‘faith’… we are now following a very tangible leading of His spirit!
- Has the Lord brought you out of any Egypts?
- What bondage has he freed you from?
- Which Red Sea are you now facing, and can just feel Pharaoh’s Army bearing down on you now??
See?? Even when we ‘fall’, we know ‘where we stand’!!
Well… the Israelites went on to the infamous Mount Sanai… to the very location where Moses meets God again, and receives all those new ordinances… directions for a righteous life in the Lord… and there, as well as many other places, the people quickly resort to grumbling and complaining… often looking at their current predicament, and measuring it against that life they had back there… in their little Egypt experience… And they KEEP coming back to that moving song of Keith Green’s… So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt? They are thinking that “at least THAT was better than THIS”!
Why?? Why are we SO weak and fainthearted?? Why??
So faithless with God… almost always looking on the things of this earth as proof that the Lord is REALLY going to fulfill His promise to you (us). This all brought me back to what actually started all this… Do you know?? Do you remember? Is God just SO bored with things to do, that He’s going to make us leave a safe a secure place… struggle in the desert of our lives.
Always facing choices between ‘parting seas’, or dieing at the hand of the enemy we were fleeing? Seems all twisted and confusing…
Until, we remember… It was actually US who started all this!! Remember… “God heard the cries of His children“… that they have finally had enough of the disobedience and the bondage of their sin.
And wanted OUT!! They ‘wanted’ to be free from this Egypt of theirs… they cried DEEPLY unto the Lord… and He heard them… in the depths of their bondage… in the face of the very impossible, He heard their cries and arranged for their freedom… for their great Exodus from that world. Makes you cry, doesn’t it?? To think… God DID and DOES hear your cry. God DID and DOES see your heart from there… and arrange the impossible to get you out of THAT bondage. He is THERE with you… right there!!
He is giving you the strength and passage to flee from each and every Egypt in your life… to be loosed from that slavery… that bondage!! So… face those Red Seas!! Face those moments in your life… when YOU cannot see any way out… God is very busy making a way!! Follow Him, dear friend… Trust Him… Use your faith like you have NEVER used it before… do NOT wait for the waters to part… begin walking right towards that water’s edge… Knowing He will make that way true for you!!
And, even better… Your enemy WILL follow in, right behind you (see, the enemy is not all that bright!), and will be WHOLLY consumed by the very element of YOUR faith!!
Live that!! Believe that!! Trust that!!