“Those were the days, my friend…” Some of you may remember the song by Mary Hopkin from back in the late 60’s. Longing for the good times lingering in the heart often provides a barrier, shutting out any memory of pain, hurt, and unpleasantness.
Take a journey with me, if you will, back to the day of Moses. As he was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt, they all witnessed the awesome power of God to deliver and hide them from their enemy.
But, it wasn’t long before one could hear the Israelites’ chorus echoing throughout the camp: “Those were the days, my friend…” as their memories of Egypt seemed strangely appealing. The memories of pain, slavery and oppression were lost in the shadows of days gone by, faded and forgotten.
“We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic…” The disgruntled and disillusioned Israelites bemoaned their new-found freedom: “… But our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes” (Numbers 11:5-6).
God had divinely and miraculously delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt and set them on their course to the Promised Land. They saw His hand protect them, spare the lives of their firstborn, lead them through the Red Sea, shield them with a cloud from their enemies, lead them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, no one was sick, clothes didn’t wear out, and so much more. Yet, although He fed them with manna every day, they murmured and complained, rejecting God’s provision and wishing they had never left Egypt.
Oh, what an ungrateful people! God provided manna – bread from heaven to feed them and sustain them as they journeyed through the wilderness. Yet, all they could think of was onions and leeks and garlic from Egypt! His miraculous deliverance became ordinary and unimportant in comparison to the false memories.
What was God’s reaction? “Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased” (Numbers 11:10).
Just as the Hebrew children needed to finally put Egypt and all it stood for behind them and gratefully focus on all that God had blessed them with, we need to learn to put the memories of the world behind us and be content with what God has provided.
Many times we find it easy to long for the days when we didn’t have to struggle to discipline our lives, when we were “free” to do as we wanted, when we were accepted by our friends, when we lived without constraint. Other times we look at others in the world who seem to have an easy life and dare to wonder if it’s all worth it. But, that’s exactly what the enemy wants us to do. He wants us to long for Egypt when God has miraculously and mercifully delivered us and given us everything we could possibly need for our journey.
Don’t get caught in the enemy’s trap. There’s nothing in Egypt that can compare to the journey toward the Promised Land … NOTHING!
Lord, forgive me for looking back with longing in my heart at the years I spent in bondage and oppression to this world. You have delivered me and set my feet firmly on the path to the Promised Land. You have provided everything I need; You have satisfied my soul. You have given me all I need that pertains to life and godliness. I truly am blessed, Lord. Help me to release any and all desires I have for “Egypt” and rejoice in all You have done. I surrender my heart to You once again. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
© Jan Ross
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