Exodus 17:3-But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”
Have you read Exodus and the story of the Israelites and thought “how could they have constantly grumbled and complained throughout their journey to the promised land?” After all, the Israelites were just brought from a miraculous place of redemption at the hand of God out of slavery and oppression. They had just witnessed miracles which had never been seen before: The Red Sea, manna from heaven, deliverance from Pharaoh, not to mention all the plagues in Egypt leading up to their departure. And yet, here they are in Exodus 17:3 and other places as well longing for Egypt again. Did they forget the sting of the whips on their backs? Did they forget the physical exhaustion from constant days of hard labor? Did they forget how their infant sons were massacred at the hand of Pharaoh? Did they forget their cries for a savior to come and rescue them out of Egypt? Evidently they did…
Now before we can be too hard on the Israelites, we need to look at ourselves. We all have an “Egypt” we have been delivered from. If we have accepted Jesus, he has delivered us from a life of sin and destruction without an eternal future with Him. He might have also delivered us from things like: an addiction, a destructive relationship, a financial struggle, a lack of self-worth, or countless other vices. We, just like the Israelites, can be tempted to look back on what we were delivered from and long, even for a brief moment, for what is was like back then, for the “fun” times, for the times when we were able to “enjoy” ours sin with no immediate consequences, for a time when things seemed “easier”. Have you gone down this thought path before? Maybe looked back on a destructive relationship with someone and remembered the “good moments.” Maybe you looked back on a financial struggle at the “things” you had even though you were in debt. Maybe you look back on your struggle with self-worth and depression and missed the encouragement you got from those around you when you would become depressed. Maybe you looked back on an addiction and remembered the “friends” you had around you at the time or the way it made you feel. Maybe when times get hard now, you are tempted to go back to that addiction because it had power over you for so long at least it’s “what you know…”
Brothers and sisters I would caution against entertaining these thoughts; look at where God has taken you from and where you are going, you cannot look back unless it is to praise God for his faithfulness. Read Psalm 106- it chronicles a brief history of the Israelites and their grumbling and complaining against God. It gives a chilling reminder against rebellion in verse 43 “Many times He (God) delivered them, but they were bent on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.” Sin can look appealing; it’s one of the tools of the enemy in getting us to sin in the first place. Our past can look appealing as well, as our memories can play tricks on us and make us think “it wasn’t THAT bad..” Ecclesiastes 7:10 states “Say not, ‘why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” Jesus warns in Luke17:32 “Remember Lot’s wife!” Why did he say this? If you remember from Genesis 19, Lot and his family were delivered from a sinful and corrupt city and was given the warning to NOT LOOK BACK, however his wife did, and she was turned to a pillar of salt. She was one of the very few people being delivered and yet she still wanted to look back at the sinful city, she physically left the city, but her heart was still there.
Maybe you are in a situation where you are asking for deliverance. I would encourage you to keep asking God, keep trusting in Him. Deliverance was not quick or easy for the Israelites, it was a process, BUT God came through in miraculous ways for them. Do not give up, take courage in Psalm 18:2 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”
Phillippians 3:13 also encourages us saying “but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining towards what is ahead. I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Looking to what God is doing and going to do in your life is the only way to stay focused on HIS plan for you. Isaiah 43:18-19 says “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
Discerning Reflection: What is the “Egypt” that I have in my life that I keep looking back to? What specifically has God delivered me from? What am I praying for now for God to deliver me from?
Prayer: Lord, help me not look back at the sin in my past with any type of longing. Help me see the journey you are taking me on and look towards the future with the plans and calling you have on my life. Thank you for your deliverance time and again in my life and may I continue to trust in you with all my heart. Amen.