Bible study prep for tonight was so good for me. We're studying Hebrews, and this week, looking at chapters 5 and 6. Hebrews is all about the supremacy of Christ, but there are so many Old Testament connections. The author of the study book (Matthew Capps) noted, "Many have experienced the blessings of the new covenant yet spiritually 'turn back to Egypt.'" Oh man! That's totally me.
I can sit here in 2017 and look down on the lack of faith exhibited by the children of Israel. They wandered around after refusing to enter the Promised Land, and had the nerve to say that they wished they were back in Egypt! [Me: Looks down nose at them.] But, honestly, here I am, wishing in my own way to go back to Egypt. [Me: Looks down nose at me.]
For me, Egypt is sulking. Egypt is being angry. Egypt is shaking my fist and self-righteously saying I know best. Egypt is telling God that his plan is slow and kind of crappy.
In Hebrews (as most of the Bible), Egypt represents being out of God's will. It is a place where the Israelites experienced no freedom. Yet, every time I experience a setback in my life (as was the case this week), I am tempted to turn around. Run back to the familiar. Swim the Red Sea I once saw parted by the mighty hand of God. Go back to carrying my bricks, mixing mud, and suffering under the hard taskmaster of my terrible attitude.
The challenge is to press forward and keep wandering. If wandering is the plan for now, then wandering is exactly where I'm supposed to be. Not to be all JRR Tolkien on you, but "not all who wander are lost." Maybe there is a design in the wandering... I have previously blogged about being in the wilderness, and today's lesson was such a good reminder that the wilderness is ok. Manna is ok. Great, in fact. Fulfilling. I need to remember that the temptation to 'go back to Egypt' is a lie -- there is no peace, no happiness, no freedom, in returning to my old ways.
Lord, help me press on in faith! I will not return to Egypt.