Exodus 3:7-8(NKJV) 7And the Lord said: “I have surely seen the oppression of My people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. 8So I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites.
For the last two years, the Lord has had me on a journey with the children of Israel. This journey has taken me from bondage in Egypt to possessing the Promised Land in Canaan. We have learned a great deal about the Israelites’ journey and how their journey relates to our Christian walk.
Just as Israel was delivered from Egypt for a purpose, we were delivered from bondage to sin for a greater destiny. It is certainly true that God sent Jesus to save the world because he loved the world. God sent Moses to Egypt because he loved Israel. There was more to their deliverance. God had chosen Israel to be the channel through which the Messiah who would save world should come. God delivered you and me from the bondage of sin because he loves us, but he also delivered us so we can carry the message of freedom to the world around us.
Many Christians receive salvation and are satisfied to live a good life that is comfortable, acceptable and relatively free of trouble. They thank God that in the end they will go to heaven and have an eternity with the Lord. There is nothing wrong with this way of thinking except that God has so much more for his children. God has a destiny for you. He wants you to be a co-laborer with him in winning the world. God wants more children and you are part of his plan to get them.
Israel’s journey required commitment to be successful. I believe ours does as well. If Israel had been able to find a comfortable place in the wilderness and stay there, they would not have needed such a high level of commitment. We know that in their case, there was no comfortable or safe place for them in the wilderness. They often complained to Moses that it would be better for them to return to Egypt. However, there was no safety or acceptance for them there either. Their only hope was to continue on to Canaan and God’s destiny for them.
I believe the devil has deceived many into thinking they can settle down in the wilderness of an ineffectiveness Christian walk and survive until the Lord comes. Worse still is the sense that so many Christians seem to have that there is no need to be extreme in their approach to their relationship with the Lord. It seems that a little sin and a little spirituality is OK. They think it is not necessary to “be sold out to the Lord.”
We are comfortable and safe in our world, so there does not seem to be any need to go farther in our Christian walk. If we live relatively good lives, go to church, read the Word and pray a little bit, that is OK. We can have the best of both worlds. We can partake of the world and keep just enough spirituality so that our conscience does not bother us too much. This is a dangerous way to think. It is also a far lower life than God wants for his children.
This kind of thinking reminds me of my struggles to learn language. I have had the privilege of traveling to many countries to preach the Gospel and train church leaders. There are some places I go to repeatedly and it would help to be conversant in the local language. I know I can learn language. When I say what I know, the local people understand me clearly. When I am traveling, I tell myself that I am going to go home and learn. I will come the next time knowing how to communicate in that language.
When I get home, I once again hear only English. I do not need to speak French, Spanish or German. The urgency is gone and soon it is time for another trip. I usually try to catch up a bit and refresh what I do know for whatever country to which I am headed. This never works.
I know what would cause me to learn French. If I were dropped in one of the countries I visit in French West Africa and left there for 6 months with no English speakers, I would learn French. I would have to because I would need to communicate to get by. Need would produce the urgency to do what I should do anyway.
I believe that is what is happening to us in the church as we begin 2013. We are on a journey. God has a destination and a purpose for our lives. However, we are comfortable in our wilderness. We have homes here. We seem to be safe here. All the while the “Egyptian Army” called the world is at our heals tempting us to compromise and drawing us farther away from the plan God has for the Church. We cannot allow this. God will not allow this.
In Israel’s history, they came to Egypt as favored members of Joseph’s family. It was a place of safety and prosperity for them. However, their destiny was not in Egypt. Their destiny was in Canaan. No matter how comfortable they were in Egypt, their promised land was Canaan. I do not know if things could have happened differently for them. Maybe if they had not become so at home in Egypt, the Lord could had led them out of Egypt to Canaan without bondage and slavery. However, they did not cry out to God until their bondage was so severe they could no longer stand it.
I believe God is speaking to his church today. We have a calling and an opportunity in our world to affect real change in the lives of those around us. We know that things are deteriorating and yet we still seem to think we are safe. We are not. The pressure is rising and I believe it will continue to rise until the church recognizes that we must go all the way to Canaan. We must go all the way to our destiny in God or we will find ourselves in bondage so severe we will cry out to God as Israel did.
I want to be part of generation that will hear God and go forward without needing to be jarred out of apathy. I want to be one who will lead the people of God to their destiny instead of someone that God has to drag there kicking and screaming. Worse yet I do not want to be someone who compromises to the point that I am useless in the Kingdom of God and have to be left behind in the wilderness.
We are entering a New Year and a new phase in our journey from bondage to destiny. Join me in leading the way by committing with your whole heart to follow God wherever he may lead us this year. If we have o face some wilderness times, so be it. If we face them in the power of God, they will be victory times for us. In the end, if we walk by faith we will be provided for in every way by our Heavenly Father and we will be able to lead many to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. This is our Promised Land destiny. I pray we follow the cloud of God’s presence in this part of our journey.