This year, our church is challenging us to read the Bible through in a year. I am following the chronological plan they provided, and am currently reading through Exodus and the story of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land.
As I read, I am realizing that so much of this story illustrates the Christian walk. God called Moses to rescue the Israelites from the bondage of Egyptian slavery. Their life in Egypt was one of working in temperatures of over 100 degrees F, in the mud and muck making bricks. They had taskmasters who would make sure the slaves met a certain quota. As the slaves worked, I am sure the taskmasters would get to know the slaves in order to learn how to best motivate them and get the most amount of work out of each and every slave. The taskmasters knew how to get every ounce of work out of the slaves without excuse, and when the slaves did not meet their quota--I am sure there was a severe penalty to be paid.
You would think that because they were living in those conditions, that they would be happy to escape with Moses--even if it led to wandering through the desert or fighting for their land. Anything would have been better than what they left behind in Egypt...right?
Well, as with anything, the newness of their freedom begins to wear off, and life begins to get difficult. They begin to miss the food of Egypt, complain about too little water, and I am not even going to mention that they make and worship a golden idol when Moses is away for a few days meeting with God.
But before we condemn the Israelites for being spoiled, ungrateful children, let's take a look into our own hearts.
As the Israelites, we were rescued from the bondage of sin by Jesus. We were enslaved by Satan and doomed to live a life of sin without God. Jesus rescues us from that and calls us into the Journey of the Christian life. At first, we are on fire, ready to impact the world for Christ. After all, we have seen his power first hand, and we want others to know feel what we have experienced.
As the days and years drag by, the newness begins to wear off. Our short attention spans forget the miracles, wonders, and the lengths that Christ went to to save us from our sin. We forget how helpless we were, and that we were enslaved by a cruel taskmaster whose soul purpose was to torment us in this life, and in the afterlife.
Life gets hard, and we lose faith. We begin to try to do things in our own power, only to find out that we can't. We look back to the good old days when we were captive and remember those pet sins that we used to indulge, or those days with no responsibility---because after all--slaves do not make decisions about their life, they just do what they are told.Then we grumble, just as the Israelites did as they wandered through the desert and the wilderness.
God took the Israelites on a round about route to the land of Cannan, because they were not spiritually ready to fight the native people of the land. He led them on a longer path, to build their faith. I think sometimes God does the same with us. He knows where our weaknesses are, and works those things out before we ultimately find that sweet spot where God meant for us to be.
We were not created for this life. We were created as eternal beings for paradise, but sin came in and our purpose was altered. We are not supposed to be comfortable in this life, but in the one yet to come when we enter Heaven. Until then, life is a journey, and God uses this life to transform us into who we were meant to be. As we travel on the journey, we will learn joy, peace, patience, love, and the other fruits of the spirit. We will be transformed and even live an abundant life here--if we just trust God and allow him to work in the ways that He needs to in this life. We are on a journey, and the purpose of the journey is to transform us and to make us like Jesus, and to have fellowship with him and obey his commands along the way.