Leaving Egypt or Leaving the place of bondage

I have had one of those aha mornings like I haven’t in a long while and I am excited about this post.

Sherlene pointed out a story from the Old Testament to me this morning that totally fits into the line of thought from my previous post about how hard it is to leave the meetings and for some, hard to stay away for very long (see Blessed are those Who Mourn). She has given me permission to share her thoughts and expound on my own from there.

She reminded me of Exodus 16 when after being delivered from Egypt, the Children of Israel (COI) soon after their journey started, began looking back to where they had been. They had not anticipated the long journey through the wilderness. I don’t know what they were thinking but it seems like they thought it would just be a matter of days to get to where they were going. After all, they had never been outside of Egypt, so they had no idea how big the land was outside of what was known and familiar to them. The journey through the wilderness was taking longer than anyone expected. And they weren’t happy about it. As soon as they got to the desert, the entire community complained. (We need to remember that they did everything en mass in those days.)

They’d been journeying about a month and half and it was hard. It was long, hot and they were getting hungry. They began looking back and wishing they had never left. They kept focusing on what they had back “home”; the good food, the familiar settings and FORGOT about the fact that they were SLAVES there. That they were in bondage there. That they had NO freedom.

So, God gave them something new. Something totally different. It was manna. It kind of freaked them out because they weren’t used to anything new. Everything had been the same their whole lives. But, this something new was from God. It was bread. It was life sustaining. It was enough.

The wilderness was foreign and different but it was the path to the Promised Land. The Promised Land was not heaven but it was heaven on earth for them. It took a while to get there.

God did not let them return to Egypt because he couldn’t; he had made a promise to deliver them out of Egypt on a certain day and on a certain year and he had fulfilled that promise.

But because they complained and didn’t trust God with their journey, most of them never made it to the Promised Land. They never experienced the best of the best.

It is all just such a crystal clear picture to me of how I and others often react when we think about leaving meetings or especially when we have already left and have started feeling new feelings and experiencing things we had not anticipated. Go back and read this story for yourself and see if you can identify. I have said several times how I never anticipated the loneliness I would feel after leaving. However the freedom God showed me was making enduring the loneliness possible. God was giving me the first glimpses of True Grace that I’d never seen before. The truly Glorious Good News of the Gospel! The meeting fellowship doesn’t believe in the Gospel of Grace. So, going back to it would mean being surrounded in part, if not all, (depending on where you live) by people clinging to salvation by works rather than salvation by grace.

Going back to meetings after you’ve left for a season with an awareness of what true Grace is can be done, yes it can, but you will be swimming upstream. You will be going against the current. And that is hard and exhausting to maintain for very long. You will hold on for as long as you can for your own reasons and also with the hope that maybe, just maybe, others will want to swim against the current with you. Maybe you can start your own Swimming Against the Current Club. How cool would that be! A quiet revolution. Making a difference and a statement by golly.

Screeeeeech!!! Hold it!!

You know what will happen if you get too many followers. I’m not going to even put it into words!

One last thing to remember, and I love this because it is from God Almighty Himself and it is so easy to forget these two little verses spoken to the COI soon after they left Egypt.

Exodus 13:17-18 The KJV says, “God did not lead them by the 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 lead the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea.”

The Voice translation puts it this way:

“God did not take them by the coastal road that runs through the land of the Philistines, even though that was the nearest and easiest route. Instead, God said, ‘For if they see battle with these contentious Philistines, they might regret their decision and then return to Egypt. So God chose a different, longer path that lead the community of His people through the desert toward the Red Sea.”

I write these words with so much passion and love; (not at all out of anger or frustration). It’s just so much of what I wrote in a previous post, “No one said leaving would be easy” We need to follow God wherever He may lead us as individuals. We can trust Him. No two journeys are going to be identical; just the desired destination is. In the Old Testament, they followed as a group and were lead as a group along the same path, but we don’t see Jesus doing that. He alone knows how best to get you to your desired haven. Maybe this is your time for great things! For a walk of faith as never before. Maybe even for a leap of faith! Or maybe just a few baby steps of faith. Our faith is supposed to keep growing. It will be made to grow into a huge tree like Jesus talked about.

Trust Him with your journey. Yes, it won’t always be easy or comfortable but there are great things ahead! There is so much ahead of you that you never knew even existed before while you were still in bondage! Are you willing to face the wilderness, knowing God will provide everything you need while in the wilderness? Can you follow until He leads you to true rest and your desired haven? God is faithful to deliver.

“Painting Pictures Of Egypt”

V1
I don’t want to leave here
I don’t want to stay
It feels like pinching to me
Either way
And the places I long for the most
Are the places where I’ve been
They are calling out to me
Like a long lost friend

V2
It’s not about losing faith
It’s not about trust
It’s all about comfortable
When you move so much
And the place I was wasn’t perfect
But I had found a way to live
And it wasn’t milk or honey
But then neither is this

Chorus:
I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
Leaving out what it lacks
The future feels so hard
And I want to go back
But the places that used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I’ve learned
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned

V3
The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy
To discard
I was dying for some freedom
But now I hesitate to go
I am caught between the Promise
And the things I know

If it comes to quick
I may not appreciate it
Is that the reason behind all this time in sand?
And if it comes to quick
I may not recognize it
Is that the reason behind all this time in sand?

 

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10 thoughts on “Leaving Egypt or Leaving the place of bondage

  1. Hi Darla, I wish I had known about your blog and this song years ago when I left ‘the friends’ as they are called in Australia. I was doing some creative writing today and the whole thing about leaving came up again. I started poking around on the internet and came across your blog. I can so relate to the sentiments in the song. I felt as if I had taken a gigantic leap forward but was continually being dragged back by regret for the past. It’s been a long journey. Keep up the good work. I have found a home in the Unitarian Universalist tradition (which is very small in Australia) but the open minded acceptance and freedom to pursue by own version of spirituality really works for me.

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  2. When GOD calls someone to do something,it may not be a popular decision….it may be your calling….just like Abraham was singled out to leave his family and familiar surroundings to go to an unknown place,(nevertheless,known to God)….it was a test of Faith ,but Abraham would later prove that it was really meant to “enlarge his coasts” ….it was meant for him to experience a closer relationship with God,to prove God’s Love in a greater way…..When the disciples were fishing all night and caught nothing, Jesus gave them instructions to cast their nets on the “other side”,…….it was meant to make available greater things…..to prove that when we obey God,……..great things happen…..provision is made ….Jesus said “Launch out into the deep! ( quit paddling by the shore) ….There is a saying that The Will of God will not lead you ,where The Grace of God will not keep you….,but we must know we are in The Will of GOD……you will know! …..because GOD does not lie…..HE is faithful in HIS promises….HE NEVER fails!…..so wherever God is calling you, we need only to obey and humbly follow His leading……God will NEVER disappoint!….. HE will make a way where there is no way….He will open doors no man can shut, and close doors no man can open……..
    When you are in God’s Will, there is no looking back…it is all forward steps….

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  3. I found this tonight and it fits with this post

    Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way that you should go.
    Isaiah 48:17 AMP

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  4. Here is a song that God brought my way when I was in the throes of indecision about the meetings. The message hit home! The artist is Sara Groves.
    “Painting Pictures Of Egypt”

    [Verse 1:]
    I don’t want to leave here
    I don’t want to stay
    It feels like pinching to me
    Either way
    And the places I long for the most
    Are the places where I’ve been
    They are calling out to me
    Like a long lost friend

    [Verse 2:]
    It’s not about losing faith
    It’s not about trust
    It’s all about comfortable
    When you move so much
    And the place I was wasn’t perfect
    But I had found a way to live
    And it wasn’t milk or honey
    But then neither is this

    [Chorus:]
    I’ve been painting pictures of Egypt
    Leaving out what it lacks
    The future feels so hard
    And I want to go back
    But the places that used to fit me
    Cannot hold the things I’ve learned
    Those roads were closed off to me
    While my back was turned

    [Verse 3:]
    The past is so tangible
    I know it by heart
    Familiar things are never easy
    To discard
    I was dying for some freedom
    But now I hesitate to go
    I am caught between the Promise
    And the things I know

    [Chorus]

    [Bridge:]
    If it comes to quick
    I may not appreciate it
    Is that the reason behind all this time in sand?
    And if it comes to quick
    I may not recognize it
    Is that the reason behind all this time in sand?

    Like

    • Jeanine,
      Oh my goodness! What a PERFECT song and how amazing. I am going to have to find it and download it today! The song that helped me over and over was “Status Quo” by Nicole Nordeman.
      Thanks so much for sharing that.

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  5. Exactly! I can identify with the Children of Israel. I have also often thought of Hebrews 11.

    8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
    9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
    10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

    I didn’t find the exact place it mentions this in Genesis, but I think I remember that he was an old man. I have often marveled at moving to another place and not even knowing where he was going. In a natural sense, moving is awful enough, even when you know where you’re going and what space you will have when you get there. I am learning that when I will totally trust God and go wherever He leads, His presence is like a wall of fire around me. I love that feeling of security.

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  6. I love this post! I have learned so much these past few years and most of it has been me alone with God. Ive learned that beeing alone with Him is about as lonely as being alone with the One you love. It has become the most exciting thing Ive ever felt. It is truly nourishing to me in a deep way. I have come to value reading The Song of Solomon. It expresses how I feel about Him. I hope no one goes back. We will all be together one day!

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