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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Made Many Trips to Egypt?

If you've glanced at the news lately, you've noticed that Egypt is experiencing quite a bit of upheaval, violence, and turmoil. There's rioting in the streets, trash talk among the citizens, and ousting in the government.

My son almost had the opportunity to go to Egypt this past year, and even then I was a little concerned about the political unrest in that country. And I definitely wouldn't book a plane trip to that little desert country right now.

But at one time Egypt was the country that had it all together. It seemed to be the land of promise, the fruitful country, the wealthy purse and stable arm. Back in the time of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, Egypt was the go-to place for food, riches, civilization, military strength, and wisdom. Or so it seemed.

You see, God ended up rescuing His people from the land of Egypt when their place of friendly refuge suddenly turned on them. The Israelites had multiplied to the point of causing a serious threat to Egypt and so their host country had inflicted cruel labor and difficult living conditions on Israel. The very hand they had run to for safety, satisfaction, and security now slapped them in the face!

That's an old story, so to speak, and you've probably heard it countless times. But have you considered your own trips to Egypt?

I've been to Egypt. No, not physically. I'm just in the process of securing my first passport this week, so I certainly haven't seen the pyramids of Egypt or ridden atop their regal camels. But I've run to some sources of safety, satisfaction and security only to find them sour in time. I've run to people, activities, and substances to meet my dire needs. And I've paid ever-increasing prices for those needs to be met by those sources once they've strangled their hold on me...and they always do.

The Bible tells us in Isaiah 31:1, "Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, and rely on horses."  And the crazy thing is, Isaiah was written years and years and years after Israel had fled slavery in Egypt with the mighty assistance of their gracious God. But over the years, God's people had continued to look to other sources for assistance rather than leaning completely on God to meet their needs. "Running to Egypt" had become a metaphor for their propensity to run to anyone and everyone for their fickle fancies rather than running to their dependable and trustworthy God, the source of every good and perfect gift. God had promised them over and over to bless them richly, He had shown them the path to His favor, and He had mercifully taken them back countless times when their relentless unfaithfulness had gotten them into thick trouble. He had been good, but they had ignored His love.

Have you found yourself in Egypt lately? Like I mentioned, it's not a safe place to be right now physically. Nor is it a good place to be metaphorically. It appears to be a source of satisfaction, but there's always a price to pay, followed by slavery and cruel treatment. It will promise much and deliver little. And the ruler of your Egypt will convince you, as Pharoah did the mighty nation of Israel, that you can't possibly leave.

Friend, don't be duped. You can leave. You must leave. Call out to the same God who delivered His people so many years ago. He will come to your rescue if you will follow Him out. And then, by His good and gracious hand, He will satisfy your every need.

 "O God, Thou art my God; 
I shall seek Thee earnestly;
My soul thirst for Thee, my flesh years for Thee,
In a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary,
To see Thy power and Thy glory.
Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips will praise Thee. 
So I will bless Thee as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands in Thy name.
My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
And my mouth offers praises with joyful lips.
Psalm 63:1-5

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