As a follow up to last weekend’s post, I found it interesting to think about two different occasions when the Israelites in the Old Testament left Egypt.
One time was when they mingled in peacefully with the Egyptians. Joseph, an Israelite was the second in charge of the entire land. During this time, the Israelites lived comfortably with the Egyptians and there was no conflict with them.
When Joseph’s father, Jacob died, Joseph requested of Pharaoh to allow him to go back to the land of Israel to bury Jacob. Joseph took with him his entire household and his brothers and their households. Joseph did not take the little children and their flocks and herds.
In addition to Josephs’ and brother’s household, Pharaoh’s officials and senior members of Pharaoh’s household also went with Joseph.
Joseph and the Israelites were embedded peacefully in the Egyptian culture and there was no conflict between them. When the burial remembrances for Jacob were over, Joseph, his brothers, and the Egyptians would all go back to their homes in Egypt. Though the Israelites primarily lived in a different part of the land of Egypt, they were all basically living together as one.
My observation is that there was no conflict between the Israelites and the Egyptians because at that time, both called EGYPT their home. The perspective of the Israelites settling in to the Egyptian culture as their home is critical to understand, because in truth – it wasn’t meant to be their long-term home.
In the second scenario, God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to go to their rightful home- the Promised Land.
In this second scenario, the Israelites experienced a huge amount of conflict with the Egyptians. The Israelites were saying “this is not our home and we are leaving —all of us and everything we have” -nothing was to be left behind. In essence, they were saying, “WE ARE ALL IN ON LEAVING HERE TO GO THERE!” The Israelites were looking to the future when they would be in their rightful home (not in Egypt).
To me, the lessons to be learned from these two accounts is something, we as Christians need to be crystal clear about:
* God has called us as to live in this world with a heavenly mindset. We are to understand that we are to be used of God here on this earth; to love others and to point people to Jesus Christ, but to always be motivated by the truth that we are just passing through this earthly existence. Our true citizenship is in Heaven, not here on earth.
*unlike a vacation experience where we can enjoy some exotic destination for a while, this time on earth is not our final home- Heaven is. Are you, or am I living our time on earth here with a “vacation” mindset? Are you and I focusing on the short-term mindset that this is all life is about – my time here on earth. It’s not!
If you are a Christian, there is so much more than this time here on earth. Are you investing your precious time on earth as though this is all there is, or are you investing your time, talent, and treasures, with the long-term in mind?
* Understand too, most likely, as a Christian, you will face little outer conflict with this culture, if you live like the first example, when Joseph and the Israelites were mingled in with the Egyptians. If you live your life, like everyone else in the world, with little true convictions; where you compromise with unbelieving people to get along with them, and then you also try doing the church thing as well, you will not face much trouble with others.
But be mindful that this double-minded lifestyle will not lead to your inner happiness. Not being “all in” will never be enough for you. Thinking you can be an on-fire Christian and also be compliant to accepting the world’s values won’t work and you will never be fully at peace within. You can not live both in the dark, and in the light.
* Christian, be fully aware that when you choose to leave “Egypt” and take everything with you, (to be “All In” to your faith) you will bring upon yourself conflict. Like a gang member intentionally deciding to leave the gang, it typically
will not come about easily (unless God’s hand is involved).
You will stir up the sinful flesh within you. You will stir up the Devil. You will stir up others in this world system who will take notice that you have crossed the line and are saying “you want out”. These 3 opponents, just like the Egyptians to the Israelites, will take notice and challenge you. They won’t like it and they will put up a fight–be ready for it.
“The Bible says, that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”. (2 Timothy 3:12- NLT) and Jesus says, “God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heave is theirs”. (Matthew 5:10 NLT)
Christian, know for certain, that you are never alone as you wander through this temporary time on earth. God desires your best and will walk on this journey with you.
Live today with eternity in mind!