October 27, 2007

Longing for Egypt?

Last month a speaker asked if I was dissatisfied with the way of the Lord. Was I growing weary of God's way and (alluding a powerful Old Testament event:) wanting to have a foot in the Promised Land and a foot in Egypt? These questions continue to burn themselves into my mind. It is like God is shaking me, and saying E03, what do you really think you're going to miss out on if you finally choose to serve me with abandon? Why won't you just let me be your all, for always? Let's move forward in this relationship!

Perhaps we should review the general storyline of Israel's escape from Egypt to the Promised Land. Life was not good in Egypt. The Israelites had a great land promised to them, but they were stuck in slavery. "[The Egyptians] made [the Israelites'] lives bitter...the Egyptians used them ruthlessly" (Ex. 1:14)

The God of the universe heard, and acted. The Creator was relational, and compassionate! "The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry...went up to God...God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them." (Ex. 2:23, 25)

The Lord brought them out of Egypt in a miraculous way, a way that should have been unforgettable. That act of God should have been so incredible that the Israelites would choose to serve the Lord from that day forward. ("Didn't He bring us out of Egypt?!") But so quickly, so quickly, the Israelites were looking back at their Egypt affair as if those were the glory days. "Didn't we say to you...'Leave us alove; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians...." (Ex. 14:12) "If only we had died...in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death." (Ex. 16:3) Another passage says that they had fond memories of the garlic in Egypt. They wanted to go back.

Is there something wrong with this picture?
1) Israel in big trouble
2) Lord saves Israel
3) Israel wants to go back to its trouble

But am I not the same way?
1) E03 owes a sin-debt she cannot pay. E03 is in life of destruction and headed for eternal destruction.
2) Lord pays her sin debt with his own blood. E03 saved.
3) E03 wants to go back to the destructive lifestyle.

What makes me long for Egypt, when it seems to ridiculous to do so? Is it the guilt of "the list" of things that I know I shouldn't do, but sometimes wish I could do? To give a few examples, do I wish that I could:
- work less hard at my job?
- call in sick when i'm not really?
- pirate all the software and music i want?
- waste more time on fun but non-helpful activities?
- sleep in on Sundays?
- spend all my excess income however I want?
- skip Bible reading and prayer?
- fit in with the cool crowd, whatever they're doing?
- ignore the tough stuff in relationships, lie a little?
- spend time with only the people that make me comfortable?
- date around, have some "fun"?


Looks like I get bogged down in longing for Egyptian ways. When I think that way, I'm forgetting that the Lord looked on me and was concerned about me. I am pitting my limited knowledge against His omniscience when I determine that my way is the better way. My don'ts list starts to ring of a legalistic relationship (checklist/if-I-must -style) rather than a loving relationship. It sounds too much like I'm doing what I do to maintain appearances, not out of love and gratitude to the Lord.

The speaker I heard asked these questions:
Am I dissatisfied with the ways of God?
Do I think that the wicked have all the fun?
Have I ever gotten past the "sour" bits and entered into the goodness of God?
Do I enjoy the relationship? God isn't a subject, he's a person.
How well do I know the Lord? Do I just know about Him?

I think that those last sentences help hold the key for the solution to my longing for Egypt. If I long for Egypt, I must not know the God of the Promised Land very well. When the Lord saved me from the penalty for my sin, I entered into a renewed relationship with Him. But how well do I really know Him? Relationships are dynamic, growing, changing, maturing...
and as I learn about this, my relationship with the Lord is definitely a work in progress.
Taste and see that the Lord is good,
blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 3:8

7 comments:

  1. Have you been watching me and replaced "Captain Forr" with "E03"?
    Well, I don't wish to sleep in on sundays, but I do wish to go fishing...
    Captain Forr

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  2. Wow, I love reading your blog! It's cool how you share what God is teaching you.. It makes me smile at times and ponder some other times... I pray that God may open our eyes to the wonders of his "promised land", and teach us to walk by faith when we can't see.. Like hebrews 11

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  3. Thanks!
    Captain Forr

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  4. Jules,
    It's so awesome to read what God is teaching you, you have a gift of expressing your heart in writing, and I sincerely appreciate your honesty and transparency. Too often we are too proud to admit/post what God's doing in our hearts. Your thoughts have spurred me to personaly refelection as well. Keep on grwoing in Jesus girl, and posting along the way! After all, iron sharpens iron!

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  5. karen,
    thank you for the note. i appreciate...you! and i appreciate knowing sometimes who's reading and if it is any help to them. i think it is important to learn to be honest and say "everything's not OK in my walk".
    Sometimes when i am honest enough to say what i am struggling with, i find out that i'm not the only one!

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  6. yup it's true... :)
    wow, thx for all the good points & reminders & challenges sis! i love you lots!!

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