Some time ago, I heard Christine Caine (a fellow Aussie) describe how the Israelites, when they left their slavery in Egypt and headed for the Promised Land, managed to turn an 11-day hike into a 40-year odyssey!
Her one-liner that struck me most deeply was simply this: “It took a few days for the Israelites to get out of Egypt but 40 years for God to get Egypt out of the Israelites.“
What a powerful and painful metaphor that is. We say “Yes” to Jesus, and are immediately delivered. But sometimes it takes years for us to experience the full freedom which He intends for our lives (Galatians 5:1).
“Delivered but not fully free” might be the uncomfortable admission for many Christ-followers. They’ve gotten out of Egypt, but Egypt has not yet gotten out of them.
Egypt, in the Bible, stands for anything that would enslave us; everything that would destroy our identity as the people of God; whatever would reduce us to nothing more than “bricklayers with mud and straw.” Each of us know the persistent taskmasters in our lives, but Christ intends so much more for us.
How often do we say “Yes” to Christ and follow Him through the Sea (1 Corinthians 10:2), but quickly realize that this deliverance means the end of the “leeks, onions, and garlic” that tasted so good in slavery (Numbers 11:5)? So we complain or we look back wistfully. Some of us may even sneak back to those old places. We’re delivered but not truly free.
If you’ve been in the spiritual wilderness a while, perhaps it’s because you left Egypt but Egypt hasn’t left you. If this be so, here are some simple (biblical) steps to consider.
One, walk away from the ways of the Egyptians; hard as that may seem.
Two, look instead to the promises of God; uncertain though they may feel at times.
Three, trust Him. Every day, trust Him. Profoundly simple; unquestionably challenging.
It’s the difference between 11 days and 40 years; between simple deliverance and full freedom. May we have grace for the Journey!