So this morning I woke up with this longing to go back to how things were. I long for the loyalty of relationships. I very much dislike the thought of having to start over, sometimes even if it means giving up something better in order to hold on to that comfort. This longing in my heart was immediately countered with this phrase: “The Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt too.”
We know that story third person. It’s easier for us to see the foolishness of the Israelites longing to go back to Egypt. I mean, they had seen the miracles of God going before them, they had been giving the promise of a land flowing with milk and honey that was to be theirs. Wouldn’t the journey to get there be seen as better than the harsh slavery of Egypt? But consider this for a moment. All their memories of Egypt were not bad. In fact, at one point Egypt was exactly where God had led them to be.
Let’s go all the way back to the story of Joseph. God gave him dreams that foretold of a time when his family would bow down to him. Through a series of events, these dreams came to fulfillment. Joseph’s family and descendants therefore came to live in Egypt. Egypt was exactly where God had led them to be.
So how could God now be telling them otherwise? If God had led them there, perhaps they never should have left. In the midst of the desert and seeing no future ahead of them, I’m sure these are some of the thoughts that were going through the Israelites minds. And rightly so. It had to have been more than just the complaint of uncomfort that caused them to seek to go back to the land of Egypt. It was confusion as well. If God had led their people into Egypt in the first place, why would He now be leading them out? Maybe they were never supposed to leave.
So, did God really want them to leave Egypt? Yes! Because He wanted to take them to the promised land, the home originally set aside for them.
So why the need for Egypt at all? If God knew that they would become slaves and have to suffer, why would he lead them to Egypt in the first place?
Remember. There was a famine in the land during the time that Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt. If they had not gone to Egypt (and by God’s divine grace of setting Joseph second to Pharaoh there) their whole family surely would have died from the famine. And there would be no story of the promised land to tell today. No inhabitants left to occupy it.
So why did God want them to go to Egypt?
To save their lives.
Sometimes God has to lead us on detours to get us to the promised land. Because sometimes (and most often the case) the straight shot to the promised land is hindered by many a things. It may appear that He has led us through unnecessary pain. But if only we could see the whole picture we would realize that He did so to save us from never getting there at all. Remember the promises. God has promised good to those who love him and obey his commands. Don’t be confused and hold on to Egypt because it was where God once led you, thank Him for leading you there because at one point it saved your life, and then be ready to follow Him all the way to the promised land.