As I was praying about what my lesson for tonight would be, I read in Exodus about the children of Israel and their constant proclaiming to love and obey God then immediately going out of God’s will once things got tough. How like me.
The children of Israel had been in the wilderness a little while. They had manna and quail, God had miraculously delivered them from Egyptian slavery, and the hands of Amalek and provided for their every need.
About this time Moses was called up on the mountain to speak with God and get His instructions for living like a special people who were obedient unto Him alone. Moses was gone a week, two, three, four… until it was almost 6 weeks and the people asked Aaron… make us some gods to lead us… cause we don’t know what happened to that Moses guy.
So Aaron said give me all your jewelry and he made an idol out of the gold and they worshiped and sacrificed to it saying… these are the gods that brought us out of Egypt. How ridiculous right? They had seen the miracles of God first hand, experienced a MIGHTY deliverance time after time and now because they are having to wait, they decide to take things into their own hands and do what they were accustomed to doing. Worshiping idols.
Acts 7: 39 “whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt”
Stephen is recounting the history of Israel he puts it this way, they rejected Moses and went back to Egypt in their hearts. They desired the bondage of slavery because of the comfort of the known verses the unknown. Now we see that no one had to force them into slavery or bondage… they willingly went there in their minds and it transferred into their actions resulting in sin and consequences.
I want us to think about this, they did not have anyone over them making them worship an idol, they did what was familiar, they went back in their hearts and minds to that time period and were bound up in chains as real as any physical chains could be.
Do you have something in your life that you go back to when things are uncertain? Things like a relationship, even just an emotional one… there are many types of relationships and you don’t have to be in one physically to have it bind you mentally or emotionally. Do you go to something to numb the pain, anxiety or distress and frustration? Do you call a friend or prayer partner first? Or, do you go to the One who already knows the situation and has it in hand?
The reason I am asking is because I believe we all fall into a trap of the enemy’s lies which say, calling a prayer partner is not bad, taking a nap to forget the present is not bad, zoning out in front of the tv or computer is not bad, eating comfort food is not bad, withdrawing from family, friends and church is not bad if it is just for a minute…
However we choose to cope or deal with our problems, if it doesn’t lead us directly to God Himself it can be bad. I believe our idols, our calf is whatever we choose to do instead of going to Him and letting Him handle the situation. The devil will lie and allow us to believe if we just do ____ that we will be able to handle whatever comes our way.
This is precisely opposite of the point that God is making. We can do nothing without Him. We can’t breathe without Him. But with Him and through Him we can do anything and we can conquer whatever it is that steals our time and attention from Him. He desires our total dependence on Him.
I once heard a friend of mine say that no leper that Jesus ever healed was leprous again unless they went back and lived in the leper colony again. We can go back physically or emotionally to a time period and relive, replay and return to a form of bondage that we were so comfortable with. Sometimes we didn’t realize it was bondage.
How do we keep from going back to Egypt in our hearts? We must keep our eyes, hearts and minds fixed on Him. We must stay in the Word and speak the Word over us even when we don’t see what is going on. We have to trust that His heart is good and He wants what is best for us even when it looks like things are impossibly broken and beyond repair.
We must keep our minds on the Truth of Philippians 4: 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
Ask Him to direct us moment by moment. This is not a time where we can roll the dice and move 7 steps ahead. We must be in step with Him each moment and if He is not moving we must not move either.
Knowing these things and applying them are entirely two different things. You can know all about soap and die dirty. We must apply the soap (Word) to our lives in order to be free from bondage and brokenness. We must learn to live in the moment with Him, moment by moment surrendering our will to the unseen, unknown will of a Well Renown God. He is faithful and He can be trusted.