Carrying Egypt into the Wilderness
“…God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt’. So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea…”
God knew that they were still very fragile getting used to this new found freedom. Remember, they still carried a “bondage mentality” from all the generations of captivity. He thought if they had to deal with a battle right away, they’d change their minds. Interestingly enough, they DID have a battle to contend with, as Pharaoh changed his mind and came after them. Just as God knew they would, when some of the people saw Pharaoh’s army coming after them, they wanted to run back to Egypt:
“Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt? ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.'”
I’ve seen many people today who are bound by all kinds of junk that effects their lives. They hate it, they complain about it, but they aren’t willing to do what it takes to be set free. In their own minds, they believe it’s better to stay in Egypt where it’s familiar, than to believe God for deliverance.
The Bible says that for 400 years He heard the cries of His people asking that they be delivered out of bondage. Although in the natural it’s justified, I’m sure along with prayer, there was also a great deal of murmuring and complaining about the injustice. So He sent Moses to lead them and he performed many miracles before their eyes.
- The plagues (Ex. 9:14)
- Cloud by day & fire by night (Ex. 13:22)
- The parting of the Red Sea and victory over their enemies (Ex. 14:21)
- Manna from Heaven (Ex. 16:35) Water out of a rock (Ex. 17:6)
- Their clothes and shoes never wore out (Deut. 8:4)
After all that God did to show the people they could trust Him, how did they react?
- They talked about turning back to Egypt
- They murmured and complained.
- They wanted to stone Moses and Aaron
- They decided to make the wilderness like “Egypt” by using the spoils they’d received from the Egyptians, melted down the gold and made a golden calf for idol worship
Here’s what we can learn from this:
1) Go forward, even if you’re apprehensive of the unknown – God has promised to be with you every step of the way.
2) Stop murmuring and complaining! Did the children of Israel have legitimate gripes when they were in bondage? Of course. Do we have things that happen to us in life that are hurtful, unfair, and unjust? Absolutely. But when God sets us FREE, it’s time to move on, and not allow our past experiences to dictate our present or future. They went from a “bondage mentality” to a “victim mentality”. Bondage mentality is when you carry the memories of the bondage with you and haven’t fully recognized you’re free. Victim mentality is where you refuse to move past the bondage and live out the rest of your life murmuring, complaining and blaming everything on what happened to you.
3) Don’t try to “stone” the ones that God has sent to help move you into your destiny. God places people in your life that sometimes push you out of your comfort zone. Don’t turn on them just because you don’t like what they’re telling you.
4) You can’t decide to add a mixture of other religions or the ways of the world to God’s plan. Do it HIS way. Otherwise you create an idol by trying to make God into an image that suits your lifestyle.
I’ve heard it said that the journey to the promised land would’ve taken them about two weeks. Instead, they wandered for forty years. According to Hebrews 3:16-18, the Israelites didn’t enter into the promised land because of unbelief. God was angry with them because after all those years of His faithful care, they NEVER learned to trust Him.
“For who having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”
What is the lesson for you and I? It’s found in Hebrews 3:7-11:
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said ‘They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'”
*** Know God’s ways, know His character – trust Him. Don’t be filled with doubt & unbelief. Don’t let your past bondage make your heart hard. God set the children of Israel free from bondage and desired to lead them to a promised land. Jesus saved us and gave us the Holy Spirit, and weapons to overcome every stronghold of the enemy. Too many Christians are saved and going to Heaven, but still walk around bound and oppressed by demonic strongholds. No matter what has happened to you in the past, don’t be a victim! Jesus came to set you FREE and you are free indeed.***
Don’t try to carry Egypt (bondage) into your Promised Land – or you’ll wind up wandering around in the wilderness.