Exodus Devotional | Provision and the People, Day 3: What Enslaves You
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
The Book of Exodus
The Greatness of God to His People in Need
Provision and the People, Day 3
“They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness, and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” - (Exodus 16:1-3)
When things get hard, a lot of us tend to retreat. Retreat back to old patterns, old habits, and old sins. We go back to what we think used to work.
As you read Exodus chapter 16, the Israelites are about two and a half weeks into their journey through the desert. Their memories of God’s goodness and provision have burned away under the Arabian sun. Their bellies shout the grumbling thoughts of their weakened spirits. They accuse Moses and God--yet again. We wish we were still in Egypt, where we at least had meat and bread! Pharaoh gave us at least that much! God, you’ve brought us out here to starve!
This is an ancient problem for humanity. We know how the Israelites feel. This goes all the way back to humanity’s original sin in the Garden. The Apostle Peter describes what’s going on when we crave former temptations of former sins of our former slavery:
For, speaking loud boasts of folly, they entice by sensual passions of the flesh those who are barely escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” - (2 Peter 2:18-22; emphasis mine)
Whatever overcomes you and compels you to obey it--that, Peter says, is what enslaves you. After the Israelites have escaped the slavery of Egypt through the power of the the Lord, they’re being “entangled and overcome” with doubt and fear--which, Peter says, is worse now for them than back then. It’s worse to have seen the Lord’s goodness and then be blinded once again by sin, fear, and doubt. Isn’t it terrible to know what love is and then lose it? We’re tempted to believe it’d have been better to have never loved at all. Solomon says, in Ecclesiastes, that life is just good enough that when it turns bad, he thinks it would’ve been better for him to have never been born!
This is futile thinking! This is a dangerous temptation! To want to run back to the seeming glory and happiness of the good old days of your sin and wandering and enslavement! Don’t give in to that! Don’t return to your vomit, thinking that it will fill your belly.
The Lord has, does, and will fill you with what you need. He does love you--don’t believe for a second that your former Pharaoh had any love for you. He enslaved you. Abused you. Sought to kill you, even while giving you meat and bread.
Jesus is the one true God. He gave up his meat of his flesh and was devoured for you. He is the Bread of Life, present to sustain the starving, grumbly belly of your soul.
What do you grumble to the Lord about? What is it that you feel like running back to since you don’t feel like the Lord is satisfying you?
Take your answer(s) to question one to the Lord in prayer. Call on him to protect your desires from the siren song of your past, unbelieving life. Pray and ask the Lord to satisfy you with belief and trust.