In the Bible Egypt symbolizes the world without God in it. Egypt symbolizes a mind-set where man places himself in the center of the universe with everything revolving around himself. This self-gratifying attitude causes a person to exalt his own intellectual and physical capabilities. Self gratification is“a way of life centered on human interests or values.”(Webster’s) The Israelites were God’s chosen people. They were promised freedom from their bondage to the Egyptians and a place of their own; a place where they would never be slaves to anyone again. The land awaiting them was full of hills and valleys with plenty of rain-a land that God Himself cared for. It had large flourishing cities, houses filled with all kinds of good things, wells, vineyards and olive groves. It was theirs for the taking with only one condition. They had to cross a harsh desert and brave the elements to get there. To receive their land of promise, and be free forever, meant having to put up with some discomfort along the way. Not a bad deal when you really think about it.
In addition, they were not sent into that desolate place without being provided with everything they would need to make it through safely, and they did not have to go thorough the wasteland alone. God guided them through the wilderness every step of the way; shading them in the midday heat and shielding them during the desert storms. Not one person went hungry or thirsty and yet—in spite of God’s unchanging faithfulness—some of the chosen people gave up in the middle of their journey. Many who were meant to live in the Promised Land never got to enjoy it because they were not willing to do what it took to get there.
However, many did. Those who were convinced that God would not forsake them kept on walking without looking back at what they had left behind, and without reverting back to their old ways. They got through every trial and withstood every discomfort without grumbling or complaining because God had proved that He was their fortress and their strength in times of distress and they chose to stay within the safety and comfort of that fortress.
What is it that causes some of us to press through to the finish line while others fall away? The people who make it are the ones who can see beyond their present circumstances. They see that what will be is far better than what is or what was. These people are not tied down to the things of this world. They succeed in obtaining the blessings that have been set aside for them because they do not lose hope as they journey toward a better life. They believe in what they hope for and cannot see. These people are no longer prisoners to the world, but prisoners of hope; and the chains of hope hold them captive to what they have been promised.
No one who is a slave to this world can expect to claim their intended blessings. A person who is attached to his intellect, career, family, friends, religious tradition, or the temporary pleasures of this world is not free to dedicate himself to God or his god-given purpose. God requires our wholehearted devotion. There is no middle ground when it comes to pleasing Him. There is no room for compromise. If we are serious about serving our Creator, we better be willing to stick it out until we know that we have completed what we have been called to do—in spite of any difficulties…and you can be sure that difficulties will come.
If you are intending to serve God be prepared to be challenged. The bigger the vision you have been given, the greater the battles you will face. You’ve got to determine if you can do without the luxuries of life for a while in order to receive a greater blessing. How uncomfortable are you willing to get? Will you continue to follow the vision when you no longer have the money to do the things that your friends and family members are expecting you to do? Will you remain loyal to your purpose and to God in spite of ridicule or criticism?
Reverting to our old behavior and to our old ways of thinking is a form of idol worship. A person who has one foot in the world and one foot on the path of righteousness will not be able to run the race to the finish without falling out. Christ has taken us out of our bondage to sin, to the world, and to Satan. Why would anyone go back to doing the things they used to do and enslave themselves again? God will allow us to go through hardships because He knows that pressure has a way of bringing the hidden things in our heart to the surface, and He wants us to see who or what holds a special place in our heart.
There is something already prepared and waiting to bless us..if we can just take our eyes off ourselves, get humble, and hang tough we just might get it.