Longing for Egypt

Throughout the Bible we read about a specific group of people. The group of people that God chose as His own. Their name? The Israelites.

Now I don’t know about you but often I find myself completely frustrated with the Israelites as I read stories about them. “Don’t you get it?” I want to yell, “God is with you, He is clearly leading you and yet you still turn your back on Him repeatedly.”

Recently, I have been doing some research on Exodus 14-17 and Numbers 20 (for a college project that turned into so much more). In each of these chapters a challenge is faced. Lets quickly review what they are:

  1. They faced Pharoah’s chariots immediately after being released from Egypt (Exodus 14). God split the red sea and let them through.
  2. They had no drinkable water (Exodus 15). God told Moses to throw a stick in the bitter water and it became drinkable.
  3. They had no food (Exodus 16). God sent manna from Heaven.
  4. They had no water (Exodus 17). God told Moses to strike the rock.

Before we get to Numbers 20. Take a look at those challenges. As they faced each one the Israelites cried out and complained, saying each time “Why didn’t you leave us in Egypt? We liked it better there.” Each time God provided a solution to their problem and the Israelites were happy… until they faced the next challenge at which they would once more cry out “Why didn’t you leave us in Egypt? We liked it better there.”

When I saw that, it frustrated me intensely. I mean, come on Israelite people, you were in slavery and now you’re free. You were under the control of Pharaoh, leading a miserable life,  and now you are under the one true God’s reign! You seriously want to go back to Egypt? Look at all the miraculous signs that God is showing you! Don’t you think that wherever He is would be far better than Egypt?

Now we get to Numbers 20. The story in this passage takes place about 38 years after the first challenges. The Israelites have been under God’s rule for more than twice the amount of time that I have been alive. Unfortunately, they are without water. Do you want to guess what they said? Yup, that’s it: “Why didn’t you leave us in Egypt? We liked it better there.”

When I got to this point, I was actually angry. Like super angry. “You’re complaining again? After all this time you still think Egypt was better?”

And then I realised…

I am like the Israelites.

I am a saved woman. Saved from slavery to sin. I am a new creation; I am under God’s rule, a God who loves me: The one true God. Yet there are many times when I say to him “I liked it better in Egypt [sin].”

I think it is true of the majority of Christians. We like sin and we like how much easier it seemingly is. Yes, we may have been enslaved there but we don’t like the fact that here it is hard. We look longingly at Egypt, seeing all the other people there who are supposedly happy, forgetting what it was actually like, even forgetting that there we were enslaved, and say “It wasn’t that bad, I liked it better in Egypt”. We fall back into sin and forget God, our Saviour, the One who gave everything for us to be free

It’s time to step up and live like we are supposed to. We are no longer in Egypt, let us not act as if we are.

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